For a more up to date list of the best festivals in Europe and beyond this summer check out:
European festivals are the perfect way to combine a summer holiday and a music festival in one. More and more are appearing every year, so with this in mind we have selected a prime cut of ones that we know are going to push boundaries. So, in alphabetical order, here are our top 20 for 2012.
Couleur Café, Brussels, Belgium / 29th-30th June
Couleur Café is an urban music festival held over three days, offering the best in hip hop, soul, funk, reggae, dub, dancehall & Latin. With extra ingredients to brighten this unique festival, such as the young designers market and handmade decorations, this festival also hosts the art exhibition ‘Cool Art Café’ and a Solidarity Village. This year’s music acts include: De La Soul, Erykah Badu, Sean Paul, Stephan Marley, Public Enemy, Ayo, Chinese Man, Zebda and Collie Buddz.
Dimensions, Pula, Croatia / 6th-9th September
Held within the legendary grounds of Fort Punto Christo, Dimensions features the finest underground sounds of electronic dance music from around the globe. With a higher technical specification of sound systems than you will find at any other festival of its size, Dimensions is the perfect place to enjoy the deep end of electronica, with the best in techno, house, deep dubstep, drum & bass and other electronic sounds.
An incredibly well tailored line-up to suit the most avid bass fan, with artists such as Alexander Nut, Ben UFO, Boddika, Consequence, dBridge, Dub Phizix, Eliphino, Floating Points, Four Tet, Gold Panda, Hint, Jack Sparrow, Kode 9, Little Dragon, Midland, Objekt, Pariah, Synkro and many more. With chilled beats playing throughout the daytime beach sessions so you can relax and rejuvenate, as well as twice daily boat parties taking off from the harbour, this festival is sounding like the perfect get-away!
Dour Festival, Belgium / 12th-15th July
An exceptional annual music festival held in the city of Dour, Belgium, offering a variety of cutting edge music from a spectrum of genres. In terms of house music expect Julio Bashmore and T. Williams, who will be playing alongside Mosca. As well as the label, Ed Banger who will be bringing SebastiAn, Feadz, Breakbot, Mickey Moonlight and Busy P with them. Also on the line-up is: Scuba, Danny Byrd, Fred V & Grafix, Murdock, Wilkinson, Lone, Pinch, Dub Syndicate, Doctor P, Funtcase, Caspa, Foreign Beggars, Friction and a lot more!
Echo Festival, Makarska, Croatia / 22nd – 24th June
Echo is an intimate underground electronic music festival on the picturesque Croatian bay of Makarska. Set over three days, a beautiful beach location will play host to some of the finest house, tech and bass music the scene has to offer. If you want to dance in the crystal waters, survey the impressive mountains and enjoy the golden sunset, then Echo is the place to be.
With a mix of funk, soul, disco, hip hop and reggae to groove you through the midday sun, followed by a mixture of house, tech, and bass to keep you on your toes until dawn, Echo’s line-up says it all- Koreless, Midland, Pariah, Spectrasoul, S.P.Y, Lenzman, Inxec, Droog, Lee Brinx, Deadboy, Hackman, Ant TC1, Zero T, Bailey, Stray, Soul Sinners, General Roots and lots more. An affordable way to celebrate the start of summer with early bird tickets selling at £35.
Electric Elephant, Tisno, Croatia/ 12th- 16th July
Electric Elephant is a holiday, an escape, a getaway and an adventure in the land of music that invokes the original spirit of Ibiza during the seventies and early eighties. After 4 amazing years in the beautiful village of Petrcane, Electric Elephant is on the move just a little further along the coast, where they will be situated at The Garden Tisno.
Set in a dramatic natural amphitheatre overlooking a beautiful bay and islands in the distance, Electric Elephant’s line-up includes Michael Mayer, Rebolledo, Andrew Weatherall & Sean Johnston, Optimo, Lone, Bill Brewster, Jonny Abstract and many more. Live Love Dance and Free Your Mind.
Exit, Novi Sad, Serbia / 12th-15th July
EXIT takes place at the beautiful and magical Petrovaradin fortress in Novi Sad, Serbia. A festival famous not only for it’s incredible headliners, but for its vast representation of dance music. EXIT has proved that music is a universal language that can connect and bring people together. It continues to evolve, bringing like-minded people together and although it gets bigger each year, the sentiment and unique vibe remains the same. Acts for 2012 include New Order, Richie Hawtin, Avicii, Laurent Garnier LBS, Buraka Som Sistema, Lone, TEED, Pariah and Brodinski.
The Garden Festival, Tisno, Crotia / 4th–11th July
After six amazing years in Petrcane, the original epicentre of Croatia’s now burgeoning independent festival scene – The Garden Festival has moved to pastures new, just a little further along the stunning coastline. The Garden Tisno is an undiscovered musical paradise, where the emphasis is always on an unparalleled experience combining festival and holiday vibes seamlessly as one. It’s situated pretty much right between Zadar and Split airports, with lots of flights from Europe to each.
This years acts include Nicolas Jar, Kenny Dope Gonzales, Tiger & Woods, Tim Sweeney, Space Dimension Controller, Alexander Nut, Ben UFO, Crazy P, Eats Everything, Greg Wilson, Laura Jones, Midland, Norman Jay and many more.
Hideout, Island of Pag, Croatia / 29th June-1st July
Set in a unique and stunning beachside location on the beautiful Isle of Pag, Hideout Festival is an electronic music-lover’s dream. Perched on one of finest beaches in the area that runs the entire length of the island and is surrounded by a variety of bars, restaurants, water-sports and attractions – the infamous Zrce beach will be taking host to artists such as Ricardo Villalobos, Chase & Status, Loco Dice, Annie Mac, Skream & Benga, Jamie Jones, SBTRKT, Sub Focus, Skrillex, Andy C, DJ Fresh, Four Tet b2b Caribou, DJ Marky, High contrast and Toddla T. Stay alert for updates and ticket information on the secret location parties they’re going to be hosting around the island.
Innovation In The Sun, Barcelona, Spain / 26th June-3rd July
Experience drum & bass in paradise this summer at the biggest drum & bass music festival in Europe, Innovation In The Sun. An unbelievable week of sun, sand, beats and bass in Spain’s Costa Brava with some of the scenes biggest brands: Innovation, One Nation, Random Concept, Warning and Raveology, uniting to host the night time entertainment in the amazing Club Colossos. Along with a line-up that is bigger than ever, including Andy C, Camo & Krooked, Danny Byrd, Hazard, Hype and many more.
That’s not all… The party continues during throughout day with the ever popular yacht parties, waterpark and foam parties and, being introduced this year, the world’s first ever d&b silent disco beach party.
KaZantip Republic, Ukraine / 4th August
Of all of the “festivals”, this one is often the most puzzling…maybe because “it’s not a festival” or perhaps because “Kazantip Republic doesn’t really exist” or does it…? Hell, it’s so secretive that even we don’t know what’s going on! But what we can tell you is that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the 4 week long electronic music “party”, “project”, “extravaganza” (dare we say “festival”) on the beach in the Ukraine. We don’t have the line-up yet but as ever you can expect to see the who’s who of dance music today. There are hundreds of rumours about Kazantip, a whole lot of crazy things written about the event and a lot of copycat Kazantips around the globe. It all adds to the mystery that this event seems to revel in. The magical gates to the kingdom open on August 4th and we’re pretty confident that the 20th anniversary is going to be nothing short of spectacular.
Melt Festival, Germany / 13th-15th July
It’s all quiet on the Ferropolis peninsular. No colourful lights, no marching rhythms, the Gremmin lake’s cooled down. But from July 13th–15th, the Ferropolis’ diggers will be coming back to life, with thousands of people dancing underneath the giants and celebrating the summery weather with the crème de la crème of indie and electronic music! Less than 2 hours outside of Berlin, the Melt Festival site is a sight to behold – imposing diggers are scattered across the industrial site, the lake is full of swimmers and the lights at night are nothing short of spectacular. And the line-up continues to impress year on year, with Benga, Brodinski, Claude VonStroke, Elektro Guzzi, Floating Points, Justice, Nero, Richie Hawtin and many more being a part of Melt 2012.
Outlook, Pula, Croatia / 30th August-3rd September
Outlook Festival is the largest bass music and soundsystem culture festival in Europe, featuring the biggest names from the most vibrant and cutting edge dance scenes around. As Duke Ellington put it “There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.”
Now approaching its Fifth year, Outlook has grown rapidly and is going from strength to strength! Anyone who has been to any of the previous Outlook’s will tell you how amazing the vibe was, how wicked the music was, how beautiful the smiling people were and how stunning the setting is.
Music acts this year include: Akala, Ant TC1, Aries, Biome, Boddika, Calibre, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Gentleman’s Dub Club, Girl Unit, Icicle, Jacky Murda, Mungo’s Hifi, Octane & DLR, Pangaea, Phaeleh, Serum, Soom T, T Williams, The Bug, Youngsta and many more.
Selector Festival, Krakow, Poland / 1st-2nd June
Chase & Status, Magnetic Man, Hadouken!, Buraka Som Sistema, Miike Snow, Neon Indian, Niki & The Dove, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Disclosure, Com Truise.
Burn Selector Festival: the centre of urban space, electronica and dance, new music trends, multimedia arts, music enriched with intriguing visual forms, avant – garde spatial instalations, in other words: best contemporary music and multimedia.
Soundwave, Tisno, Croatia / 19th–23rd July
Over four sun kissed days and nights Soundwave Croatia provides music lovers with the perfect environment to enjoy the finest bands and DJs from around the world, playing beautiful, thoughtful, and inspiring sounds. This Year sees the legends of hiphop De La Soul, the superbly soulful Fink, the deeply cinematic Hidden Orchestra, rising UK hiphop star Ghostpoet and the sublime Submotion Orchestra take to the Sondwave stage, as well as over fifty other amazing acts providing all the sunshine music soundtrack needed for the holiday of a lifetime.
Alongside the main festival stages Soundwave also runs a number of boat parties that embark twice a day on the waters of the beautiful Adriatic Sea, with the Kornati islands only a short distance away expect stunning scenery and sunsets, on top of this the festival also boasts its own onsite club to dance the night away under the moonlight at until the early hours. For those who want to kick back and relax alongside the awe-inspiring line-up there is also massage, mini golf and table tennis available onsite.
Stop Making Sense, Tisno, Croatia / 2nd-6th August
Brought to you by a like-minded collective of club and concert promoters, the third Stop Making Sense, located on the sunny shores of Croatia, presents a broad selection of musical delights over a happily extended five days and nights by the sea.
A festival that encourages leaving all sensibility behind, there is inevitably a stellar line up of DJs and bands playing across the dance music spectrum (from jazz, folk and Latin to house and techno via reggae, dubstep and electro) to accompany the fun, it’s a kaleidoscope of sun, sea and eclectic entertainment. This years line-up includes: Lil Louis, Ron Trent, Chez Damier, Tortured Soul, Jimmy Edgar, A. Skillz, Benji B, Steffi, Adrian Sherwood and Dark Sky.
Sun & Bass, San Teodoro, Italy / 1st-8th September
Sun & Bass is an exclusive drum & bass holiday on the beautiful Italian island of Sardinia. For one whole week music-lovers from all over the world meet up at this incredible location to enjoy electronic music and to simply celebrate life! Each year numerous international top-class artists visit the small town of San Teodoro at the East coast of the island to perform at local clubs, in bars and directly at the beach.
With a who’s who in drum and bass featuring on the line-up, this festival has a truly unique atmosphere, a sense of community in which everyone, including DJ’s, locals and festival organisers party together. This immaculately organised festival integrates seamlessly with the small town of San Teodoro, it’s stunning beaches making it a prime holiday location, with parties located at beaches and venues dotted around the town.
2011’s line-up featured Addison Groove, Bailey, Calibre, Consequence, dBridge, Doc Scott, Fracture, Goldie, Ill Skillz, Jubei, Kryptic Minds, Lenzman, Phil Tagent and Utah Jazz.
Sunbeatz, Ibiza / 16th-23rd September
Sunbeatz offers a week of drum & bass partying on the ultimate clubbing holiday destination, Ibiza. Experience seven of the UK’s leading D&B brands like AWOL, V Records, Low Down Deep, Grenade, Jungle Mania and Playaz with an all-star line up of DJs and MCs in some of the world’s most famous clubs such as Eden and Es Paradis.
The line-up this year includes the likes of LTJ Bukem, Bryan Gee, DJ Hype, Hazard, Original Sin, Grooverider, Crissy Criss, Micky Finn, Darren Jay, Ruffstuff, Eksman, Harry Shotta, Shabba D, Fearless, Moose and 5ive-O.
Tomorrowland, Boom , Belgium / 27th-29 July
Tomorrowland is the Glastonbury of the house world; the Coachella of the trance nation and the festival that every electro-fan dreams of attending. Consisting always of an immensely diverse stage set up, including dancers, a smiling sun with a function open/close mouth and enough fireworks to put Guy Fawkes to shame, this is something you don’t want to miss.
The line-up features Fatboy Slim, Jamie Jones, John Digweed, Alesso, Rebecca & Fiona, Solomun, Carl Cox, John Digweed, N-Type, Friction, Calvin Harris, Icicle b2b Rockwell, The Prototypes, Alix Perez b2b Spectrasoul and Pendulum.
Urban Art Forms, Wiener Neustadt, Austria / 5th-7th July
The Urban Art Forms is a weekender, an all-nighter, a dance-marathon and a stage for electronic art in sound and vision. Austria’s biggest electronic music festival presents Justice, Paul Kalkbrenner, Skrillex, Knife Party, Richie Hawtin, Pendulum, Chase & Status, Jack Beats, Noisia, 16 Bit, TEED, Alix Perez and many more.
Worldwide Festival, Sete, France / 2nd-8th July
Behind the scenes the WF gang is cooking up an amazing line-up for this 7th edition of the WF in Sete which promises to be the best yet. Artists already confirmed are: Moodymann, Little Dragon, Gregory Porter, Portico Quartet, Mo Kolours, Scuba, Floating Points, Mala, IG Culture, Fatima, Alexander Nut, Julio Bashmore, Robert Glasper Experiment, Channel One Sound System, Alice Russell & TM Juke, Mosca, David Rodigan, Onra… and many more still to be announced.
With plenty of beach parties, a street party, a Theatre de la Mer for live, a Theatre de la Mer for clubbing and a scene for large outdoor concerts with a giant dance floor, Worldwide Festival is looking to be huge.
Words: Laura Charalambous
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