9 Must-See Music Festivals This Summer
For travellers and music lovers, the summer festival circuit is one of the most exciting times of the year. It's an opportunity for both die-hard fans and casual listeners to get together and experience some of the top musical acts in the world. Due to the sheer amount of festivals out there, it can be overwhelming deciding which one to go to, so we narrowed the list down to eight of best you should add to your summer itinerary.
This intimate festival was developed by modular techno wiz Steevio in the early 2000s as not-for-profit networking event and party for performing artists. For more than 10 years, Freerotation has booked the leading names in underground dance music, making it a must-see festival for house and techno lovers. Freerotation has a strong focus on reducing waste and environmental impact: most food served at the festival is vegetarian or vegan, vehicles run on biodiesel and hot water is heated by solar panels.
Sonar was founded in Barcelona in 1994 by music journalist Ricard Robles and musicians Enric Palau, and Sergi Caballero. Within it's first three years, the number of festival attendees jumped from 6,000 to 18,000 and Sonar has expanded considerably ever since, with events now in Chicago, Seoul, Copenhagen, Tokyo and New York, among others. Outside of performances by Nicolas Jaar, Nina Kravitz and Optimo, the festival will also include video projections, art installations and a record fair.
Conceptualized and curated by electronic indie-pop band Hundred Waters, FORM is an intimate 2,000 person festival that takes place in Arcosanti—a tiny desert town said to be the inspiration for Star Wars' Tatooine. The fourth edition of FORM includes performances by James Blake, How to Dress Well and Skrillex. Outro will be there as the official software partner, running studio sessions with attendees and performers. Come say Hi!
The Pitchfork Music Festival has been held in Chicago's Union Park since 2006. Finding a balance between big names, legendary artists, and up-and-comers, the festival boasts a lineup that includes Vince Staples, A Tribe Call Quest, Cherry Glazerr and more split over three days.
Outlook is one of the few festivals worldwide with a focus on sound system culture, bringing in the top names from across the UK bass music spectrum, Dub and Reggae. Performance locations include a roman amphitheater, a sprawling beach and a 100-metre long moat. In addition to the electronic acts at the festival, Outlook includes a top-notch roster of Grime and Hip-Hop stars including Dizzie Rascal, DJ Shadow and Ghostface Killah to close out the summer festival season.
Over the course of a weekend, Awakenings will draw over 70,000 visitors looking to loose their minds to DJ and live sets from the crème de la crème of modern (mostly European) techno acts including Kink, Ben Klock and Adam Beyer. This summer will be the festival's 17th edition and performances will take place across eight unique stages both indoors and out.
For 15 years, Nuits Sonores have been bringing together some of the most forward-thinking artists in electronic and alternative music. Over the course of five days, artists will perform at "industrial heritage sites, iconic landmarks and everyday locations" in the historically rich city of Lyon. With a lineup pairing veterans Lauren Garnier and The Chemical Brothers with relative newcomers Floating Points and Beautiful Swimmers, attendees are bound to hear to some of the more adventurous music around.
Even though A3C starts in the Fall, it's probably a good idea to book your trip now. The festival brings in some of the biggest names in Hip-Hop and Rap, including mainstays Raekwon, Big Daddy Kane and DJ Premier, and modern acts J.Cole, Danny Brown and Lil Uzi Vert. The performances will take place outdoors, across 10 venues in the heart of downtown Atlanta.
Barcelona brings in another massive music festival during the summer: Primavera Sound. The festival includes performances from top-tier electronic, pop and indie artists, including Flying Lotus, BADBADNOTGOOD and Arcade Fire, to name a few. It's one of the more impressive lineups this summer, with both DJ and live performances expected to draw 200,000 attendees.