After part one of our 2013 European Festival Guide here's the second part of our guide to the best festival action that Europe has to offer this year.
The legendary Outlook returns to Fort Punta Christo Pula, on the Croatian coast, from August 29th to September 2nd, and has surpassed itself with an absolutely mouth-watering roster of artists, celebrating the best of global sound system culture.
As sunlight sparkles off the Adriatic Sea, revellers can look forward to... deep breath... Talib Kweli, Alborosie & Shengen Clan, The Pharcyde, Andy C, Mala In Cuba (Live), David Rodigan, Pharoahe Monch, Goldie, Mr Scruff, Shy FX, LTJ Bukem, Todd Edwards, Kode 9, Calyx & Teebee, Zed Bias, Breakage, Phace, DJ Die, Mungo's Hi-Fi, Ikonika, Jack Sparrow, Kasra, Hackman, Maribou State, Rene Lavice, Halogenix, Alpha Steppa, Rich Reason, Dorian Concept and Benny Page... and that's literally not the half of it.
Hosted by Vagabondz, New Bohemia and Subdub/Exodus, Outlook has only been running since 2008 but has built a reputation as one of the best festival experiences in the world, maintaining eclecticism and personality while still operating on a high quality, gargantuan scale. As well as dusk 'til dawn raving, there are beach and boat parties to check out, and the opportunity to tent it up or opt for local hotels, apartments or cottages. Organisers describe it as a true 'rite of passage' for music fans – are you ready?
2012 saw the inaugural Dimensions Festival, Outlook's sister event, and it went down a storm. Taking place in the same former Austro-Hungarian fort as Outlook between September 5th and 9th, Dimensions offers a slightly sleeker, more techno and house-influenced line-up, including the likes of Theo Parrish, Floating Points, Boddika, Ben UFO, Levon Vincent, Daphni, Ben Klock, Bicep, Huxley, Pariah and Peverelist.
Like Outlook there are boat parties on offer, and daytime beach sessions are soundtracked by chilled-out beats before the evening foot-stomping drops. Maybe you want to check out the country and the venue but full-on force 10 whomp ain't yo thang, or maybe you've got the stamina (and the cash) to go for both festivals, two weekends on the trot. Either way, adventure beckons.
One of the longest-running European festivals, Hungary's Sziget has been going since 1993, when it started life as a low-key student event. It is held on the 266-acre Óbudai-sziget (Old Buda Island), and will set up this year between August 5th and12th.
A 2011 list by The Independent ranked it one of the five best festivals, and it has been referred to as 'an electronically amplified, warped amusement park that has nothing to do with reality', which sounds like our idea of an ideal festival experience. It might also be one for festivalgoers looking for a more band-inclined roster, rather than non-stop wall-to-wall raving.
This year's line-up includes our very own Blur, Azealia Banks, The Parov Stelar Band, Empire of the Sun, Everything Everything, Dizzee Rascal, Katy B, Netsky, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Chase and Status, Skip & Die and Nicky Romero, and the festival will also be featuring the brand-new Cirque de Sziget venue, which will pay host to exciting circus and acrobatic performances.
Let It Roll
The Czech Republic's Let It Roll festival, which in previous years has been split into multiple summer events, has been consolidated this year into one massive open-air extravaganza of d'n'b-inclined action.
The festival started life in 2008 with a series of events in clubs, castles and even factories, and has moved to a new location in 2013 – Benešov, near Prague, at a former military site that promises more stages and (for those of you for whom mud is simply not acceptable) paved ground.
Not many names have been released so far, but the few that have are tantalising – they include the peerless Noisia, the legendary Ed Rush & Optical, men of the moment Calyx & Teebee, The Upbeats, Wilkinson, Ayah Marar (Live) and A.M.C, with many, many more to come.
Heavy beats, bowel-loosening bass, sunshine (hopefully) and no mud – gotta be a few of you rubbing your hands with glee at that prospect.
More Croatian action – we should probably all just move there, shouldn’t we? – with Electric Elephant, which enters its fifth year in 2013, and setting up shop from July 11th - 15th a short way away from Tisno.
Organisers describe it as ‘a holiday, an escape, a getaway, an adventure in the land of music with like-minded souls that invokes the original spirit of Ibiza of the seventies and early eighties’. ‘Live Love Dance and Free Your Mind’, they say. Why not?
This year’s line-up includes Carl Craig, Mr Scruff presents Keep It Unreal, Doc Martin, Optimo, DJ Nature, Ewan Pearson, Horse Meat Disco, Pete Herbert, Prosumer and many more interesting, lesser-known names, making this a festival for connoisseurs, crate-diggers and those seeking a whole notebook’s worth of new favourites.
Brand-new festival Marvellous Island will be launching on May 7th and running until the 11th on the outskirts of Paris city centre, and will be the first open-air electronic festival of its kind to grace the French capital.
The provisional line-up is looking pretty tasty, and promises to hold its own against Marvellous Island's larger, longer-running peers – so far, the festival has confirmed Guy Gerber, Wankelmut, Damian Lazarus, Clockwork, Jamie Jones, Seth Troxler, Jacques Greene, dOP, Art Department, Audio Fly and Sauvage, among around 120 others, with many more to come.
Geographical details are sketchy at the moment – all we know is that it will be a ‘secret island location’ somewhere in Paris – but organisers promise ‘to plunge the 25,000 festival goers into an imaginary world sprinkled with chance encounters with incredible creations’, and say that ‘more than a festival, it is an artistic world, animated by decorations and scenery allied with acoustic and visual performances’. Music will continue until 6am, blasting from ‘perfectly tweaked speakers’. Sounds good to us.
Amsterdam Dance Event
This Dutch extravaganza started life as a three-day conference in 1996, and has now grown to a five-day event with up to 200,000 clubbers enjoying music from over 1,700 artists across 75 of Amsterdam’s finest clubs.
Working a little differently from other events of this type, ADE works across three platforms – ADE Festival, a multi-club celebration of electronic music with cutting-edge artists, ADE Playground, the daytime programme which includes exhibitions, film showings and showcases, and the ADE Conference, ‘the most important business platform for everybody working in the electronic music scene’.
This year’s ADE will take place from October 16th to 20th, and although line-up details are currently under wraps, a gander at just a few of last year’s names will show that this is a special one – 2012’s ADE featured 2manyDJs, Ben Klock, Ben UFO, C2C, Jackmaster, Joy Orbison, Julio Bashmore, Mad Professor, Maya Jane Coles, Roska, Skream, Soul Clap, Space Dimension Controller, Stimming, Sub Focus and Wolf+Lamb.
This year will see the 19th Festival Internacional de Benicassim, one of the biggest and most well regarded of the European festivals, taking place near Valencia, Spain, from July18th - 21st. Within walking distance of the beach and a water park, the festival covers art exhibitions, short films and fashion shows as well as the full spectrum of music, from big-name headline bands to DJs and more leftfield fare.
Apart from a few main bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Primal Scream and the Arctic Monkeys, little has been released of this year's line-up, but last year included such names as Todd Terje, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Maya Jane Coles, Little Dragon, Maverick Sabre, Chase and Status and De La Soul.
Maybe a slightly more mainstream offering than many of the festivals on this list, but we're assured that the vibes are spot-on.
This event in Völklingen, Germany may only be a daylong but plenty of good things have been said about it – Electro-Magnetic won the award for Best New Festival at last year's European Festival Awards.
It takes place on July 6th at a former steel plant, transformed with pyrotechnics and cutting-edge LED and laser technology into a haven for around 8000 techno fans, with both local and international artists gracing four floors of pulsating action.
So far the line-up includes Boys Noize, M.A.N.D.Y, Lexy & K.Paul, Wankelmut, Monika Kruse & Karotte, Mathias Kaden, Booka Shade, Carrot, HVOB and Sascha Braemer, with more to be announced. If a well regarded, brightly lit, throbbing industrial German techno furnace is your scene, you need to get baggin' a ticket.
Croatia may seem to have more festivals than is strictly fair for one country, but here's an exciting new one anyway – Love System will be making its debut this year in the picturesque town of Petrcane, with the aim 'to create an immersive experience for avid followers of house music and all its various guises'.
The festival, which will occur between May 30th and June 2nd, is set in the Punta Radman woods, a never-before-used site with 'a maze of bars, stages and chill-out areas nestled in between the trees', with the Adriatic coast not far away.
Thusfar, the line-up includes Bicep, Mario Basanov, Finnebassen, Ralph Lawson, Tom Demac, Jay Shepheard, Ben Pearce, Paleman, JOBE, Squarehead, Markas, Mike Gill, George FitzGerald, Sven Weisemann and Dirty Channels, with many more set to follow.
Labels such as Jaunt, Underground and Bad Apple will curate eight spectacular boat parties, and apartments and villas are available to up the luxury factor. Camping is still an option though, if you're of a more traditional bent. Tickets are limited to just 800 but they're a bargain. In the words of the festival's organisers: 'Roll on the Summer of Love!'
WORDS: Stefan Mohamed
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