European music festivals: the best of 2019
Looking to experience a bit of festival culture without the inevitable mud and damp that comes with a UK festival experience? Maybe it’s time to head across the channel and check out some of the awesome festivals in Europe. There’s an enormous variety to choose from, but we’ve rounded up some of the biggest and best summer festivals for you. Whether your taste is beach-side chilling or forest parties, Portuguese punk or Serbian Psychadelia, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
The classic Barcelona beach festival, Primavera Sound has attracted some massive names over the years. Like Reading & Leeds in the UK, Primavera takes place twice, once in Barcelona and once in Porto. Because Barcelona and Porto are both by the coast, both sites have a large beach area – within earshot of several stages. This gives you the chance to chill out and take a dip in the sea between sets, all while making sure you don’t miss your favourite artists! Also like Reading and Leeds, Primavera caters for a wide range of music – artists including Kendrick Lamar, Wu-Tang Clan, Lorde, Franz Ferdinand, Radiohead, LCD sound system and many others have taken the stages since its origins in 2001. The wide variety of music and arts on display create a uniquely chilled out atmosphere where people from all walks of life are welcome. Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the most popular destinations amongst global festival goers.
Dates: 30 May-1st June (Barcelona), 7th-9th June (Porto)
Price: 180 Euros
Britain’s favourite over-seas festival! Last year Benicassim attracted over 150,000 visitors in four days. 98% of them came from the UK or Ireland, so you won’t need to worry about any language barriers! Like Primavera, Benicassim is a Barcelona festival, complete with a beach area – a great way of catching a break from the music, especially in the heat. Generally, there’s an emphasis on indie rock, pop and dance, with some of the biggest names in these scenes performing recently. Ed Sheeran, the Stone Roses, the Foals and the Chilli peppers and many more massive names have all put on sets here in the last few years. Having said that, there’s a huge range of music available here so you’re guaranteed to have a great time, no matter what you’re into.
Dates: 18-21 July
Tickets: £110 (early bird)
Sziget Festival – Budapest
Sziget festival attracts over 1000 performers every year, making it one of the biggest music festivals in Europe. This week-long Budapest festival gets its name from the Hungarian word for “island” – it takes place on Óbuda Island, on the river Danube. Whilst there is every type of music available at Sziget, the festival is particularly famous as a rock and electronic music festival. With loads of unique features, including its psychedelic amusement park, Sziget has been compared to Nevada’s burning man festival. Artists such as Fatboy Slim, Pendulum and the Stone Roses have all played here – and after so many years of big names, its presence in the festival calendar is well established. You’ll find music for everyone to enjoy, and with Ed Sheeran headlining Sziget in 2019 you should have plenty of reason to bag yourself a ticket!
Dates: 7-13 August
Tomorrowland festival – Belgium
Not only is Tomorrowland one of the biggest festivals in the world when it comes to EDM, it’s also making a name as one of the best festivals in Europe. Every year, over 400,000 sesh-heads flock to Boom, about 35km north of Brussels, for this world-renowned festival. Although it’s been going since 2005, Tomorrowland really put itself on the radar in 2011, when it was nominated for the Best Music event at the International Dance Music Awards. The following year it won the category – having attracted some of the biggest names in EDM to headline that year. Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta, as well as many others, have since graced its stages. This vibrant and colourful festival has been gaining popularity ever since – it should be on the bucket list for all dance music fans.
Mad cool Festival – Madrid
A must-visit for any fans of indie and rock music! Whilst Spain has a fair number of festivals that are very popular amongst British tourists, Mad Cool is the first to hit Madrid. It’s still fairly unknown despite hosting some very impressive performances in its short lifetime. The festival ran for the first time in 2016, and 2018’s 3rd edition featured Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala, Pearl Jam and many more, combining a nice mix of modern and classic indie rock bands. This stellar line up has since led to a massive increase in interest in Mad Cool festival. Organisers have promised that 2019’s festival will be much bigger than this year’s (despite it already attracting 80,000 people last time around!). Still, because this festival is only in its infancy, tickets remain very reasonably priced considering the top tier performances. Get in there before it gets too mainstream!
Dates: 11-13 July
Tickets: 135 Euros (early bird)
Exit Festival – Novi Sad
This festival is seen as one of Serbia’s biggest and most famous cultural events. Taking place in the student city of Novi Sad, Exit attracted an average of 50,00 people per day in 2018. The festival originally started as a student protest for democracy against the Yugoslav government in 2000 but has steadily grown in popularity over the following 18 years. It has twice won awards for being the best major European festival of the year. Given its roots, it’s not surprising Exit has a heavy focus on freedom and individuality. The type of music isn’t restricted to one particular genre or style – you’ll find an amazing mixture of local underground artists and DJs, alongside some of the biggest names in music – from Guns n’ Roses to Stormzy. Exit’s many stages are able to cater for anyone, no matter what you’re into. The festival also boasts stunning views and extremely affordable ticket prices – making it an unmissable event for any festival goer.
Dates: 4-7 July
Tickets: £97.90 (early bird)
Outlook Festival – Croatia
One of the founding fathers of the Croatia festival scene, Outlook Festival attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year to the city of Pula. It originally started as a spin-off from a club event in Leeds, and now hosts some massive names in British hip hop, drum and bass and reggae. Because of the festival’s growing popularity, the local town has allowed it’s 2000-year-old Roman amphitheatre to be the setting for Outlook’s opening party. If the idea of Damian Marley and Lauryn Hill in a Roman amphitheatre doesn’t get you going, then Outlook’s boat and beach parties surely will. Fancy heavy basslines on a sunny beach? Get yourself down to Pula this summer!
Dates & tickets: TBC
Ultra Europe – Split
Imagine the EDM scene of Tomorrowland, throw in the idyllic setting of Outlook Festival and you’ve got Ultra-Europe. Ultra Music Festival takes place in several places around the world – from Miami to Melbourne – and the European chapter takes place in the stunning Croatian city of Split. The first three days of the festival are made up of loads of DJ sets, all performed in the Poljud Stadium. The last day is an all-day beach party on Hvar island. If some of Europe’s biggest DJs doing sets in a packed out 3,400 capacity stadium doesn’t sound like enough, then sun-soaked setting seals the deal! Be warned though – you’ll need to book your tickets and accommodation early – Ultra festival totally takes over the coastline during its time in Split. At the end of the day, it’s all with good reason – Ultra might be one of the best festivals in Europe.
Dates: 11th – 14th July
Paleo – Nyon, Switzerland
This six-day festival along the banks of Lake Geneva is Switzerland’s biggest rock festival – and one of the biggest in Europe. What officially started out as a Swiss folk festival gradually gained recognition and was first billed as Paleo festival in 1997. It attracted big names from the start – including Placebo and Simple minds in its first year. Since then, some of the biggest names in rock music have performed there. Arctic Monkeys, Gorillaz and the Red Hot Chilli peppers all doing sets in the last 5 years to crowds of over 230,00. Paleo takes place in the town of Nyon, which is just a short train ride away from Geneva so there’s no reason why rock fans can’t get there this summer!
Dates: 23-28 July
Tickets: CFH 375
Amsterdam Pride – Netherlands
If you’re looking to experience an amazing Amsterdam Festival with heart, Pride is the way to go. While there are plenty of Amsterdam music festivals and cultural celebrations, including the famous Kings Day, Pride is a truly awesome experience. Plus, it’s totally free to attend! The LGBT scene in the Netherlands has to be one of the best in the world, so it makes sense that Pride here is on another level. From the canal boat parade to the fabulous costumes and wild street parties, Amsterdam Pride is an incredible way to commemorate the StoneWall Riots of 1969, and celebrate love in all its forms.
Dates: July 27th – August 4th 2019
Hellfest – Clisson, France
Created in 2006 Hellfest Open Air festival has become one of the biggest and most popular French festivals – as well as one of the best rock festivals in Europe. The festival lasts three days and welcomes more than 150 000 festival-goers every year. Hellfest takes place annually in Clisson in France, and loads of international artists have already performed on the main stage at the festival – including Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Aerosmith, Linkin Park and Kiss. If you want to experience a different type of festival – or if you’re a heavy metal music fan – then Hellfest is the place for you!
Dates: 21-22-23 June
Boom festival- Idaho-a-Nova, Portugal
If you’re looking for something that’s far away from your main music festivals, Boom festival in Eastern Portugal might be what you’re after. Taking place once every two years, Boom festival is officially listed as a “transformational festival”, focussing on the transformation of a person – and of wider society – towards sustainability.
Apparently, this means that – alongside the 5 stages showing the best in psychedelic and trance music – this festival also boasts art exhibitions, street theatre, fire performances and many meditation areas. It also has a strong emphasis on the festival being environmentally friendly – which keeps the local habitat happy as well as the festival-goers. Boom Festival has been compared to Burning Man in Nevada – what’s certain is that it’s quite far from your standard music festival. So if you fancy trying something different to any festival you’ve tried before, Boom is the festival for you!
Dates: 22 – 29th July 2019
Festival tickets are available through Festtickets – our affiliate ticket supplier! Want to make your experience more than just a wild weekend away? Why not design a whole trip around one of these upcoming festivals! Experiencing summer in Europe wouldn’t be complete without hitting up some of our best festivals, so why not incorporate one into a longer trip? Just make sure you sort your accommodation well in advance, and you can combine the experience with city hopping around Europe. Want more info? Head to www.euroventure.com/custom and send us an enquiry. We’ll be happy to help you arrange your trip!