2015 has been one of the best years ever for live music. With a combination of huge global bands returning to the festival scene, and a plethora of new acts bursting through, festivals big and small boasted brilliant line-ups, increased capacities and all round merriment last year.
Despite the fantastic festivals the UK has to offer, sometimes the risk of a washout on home soil means us music fans have a wandering eye to what’s going on further afield. With cheap flights, great accommodation deals and guaranteed weather, European festivals are becoming the number 1 place for revellers to head over the summer holidays.
With the European Festival Awards taking place in Nooderslag Holland this Wednesday, it seems the perfect time to take a look at some of the super festivals that the continent has to offer…
Nominated for ‘Best Major Festival 2015’
- When: 10th-12th June 2016
- Where: Landgraaf, Netherlands
- Who played 2015? Muse, Robbie Williams and Pharrell Williams (and no, the latter 2 aren’t related…)
- Rumours for 2016: Rammstein and Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Why it’s awesome: It’s been around for the last 45 years, and with good reason - one of the very best pop and rock festivals in the world that always sells out and delivers.
- Who it’s for: Whilst the festival headliners cater for the mainstream, there is lots more to get your teeth into across the multitude of stages, including an up and coming rock scene.
With a scenic setting, and central location (being under 4 hours and less than £20 by train from Amsterdam), Pinkpop and is a firm favourite for music fans jetting off to discover their first overseas festival.
More info: if you can read the Dutch http://www.pinkpop.nl/2016/
Also nominated for ‘Best Major Festival 2015’
- When: 22-24th July 2016
- Where: the appropriately named Boom, Belgium
- Who played 2015? Alesso, Avicii, David Guetta, Armin van Buuren, to name a very small few…
- Rumours for 2016: None confirmed, but expect the latest and greatest on the scene.
- Why it’s awesome: Because you haven’t truly enjoyed EDM until you’ve been surrounded by 100,000+ chirpy Europeans, all dancing to their own beat. The line-up is always the perfect mix of huge household names, and underground awesomeness.
- Who it’s for: You don’t have to be a complete beat-head lover of electronic dance music to enjoy Tomorrowland… but it definitely helps. Prepare to not sleep, to meet a diverse range of amazing people, and to witness some amazing scenes and acts you never thought possible…
More info: http://www.tomorrowland.com/
Nominated for ‘Best New Festival 2015’
- When: 10th-11th September 2016
- Where: Berlin, Germany
- Who played 2015? Muse, Macklemore, The Libertines
- Rumours for 2016: we’re still waiting… with ears to the ground
- Why it’s awesome: Because the Lollapalooza name has been synonymous with the amazing party festival atmosphere for nearly 30 years now – with the first Lollapalooza touring festivals taking place across America in 1991… So why is it in the best new category?! Well because it’s branched off and taken residency in Europe for the first time! The artsy city of Berlin is the perfect location for this, and whilst 2015 was its first official year, the size and line-up screamed anything other than new festival.
- Who it’s for: The line-up is mainstream indie and chart, but the vibe is much more diverse than that. From art stalls to performance pieces, it’s fair to say that however you look and whatever you’re into, you’ll find a soulmate here. Slightly more cultured than some of the other festivals listed here, though it’ll definitely open your mind…
More info: http://www.lollapaloozade.com
Nominated for ‘Best Small Festival 2015’
- When: 26th-30th June 2016
- Where: Zrce, Croatia
- Who played 2015? Duke Dumont, Gorgon City, Sigma…
- Rumours for 2016: Jamie XX, Skepta
- Why it’s awesome: Because it’s on a freaking beach. Combing brilliant music with perfect weather has been something all great music locations manage… and we don’t want to say it’s the new Ibiza or anything, but it’s definitely the new Ibiza! There’s also a real focus on keeping the size and feel intimate, which means providing you can get your hands on a ticket, the set-up is incredible.
- Who it’s for: If you’re a lover of group overseas holidays already, then this will be right up your street (think Malaga with decent music). And whilst hedonism and partying rule this festival, there’s more than enough for the real music fans to knuckle down with and enjoy too.
More info: http://www.hideoutfestival.com/
So there you have it; a quick glance at just a handful of the amazing European festivals, which will all be fighting it out in their respective categories at this Wednesday’s European Festival Awards in Nooderslag.
You can checkout the full shortlists here, and if you’re massively impulsive, have a spare €45, and often get called ‘a legend’ or ‘king/queen of banter’ amongst your friends, you can even buy a ticket to the European Festival Awards and party with some of Europe's top festival folk! We're sure it'll be a night to remember.