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. 

Outro picks: Ben UFO, BlawanObjekt
When and where: July 7-10, Baskerville Hall

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. 



Outro picks: Thundercat, The Black Madonna, Daphni B2B Hunee
When and where: June 15-17, Barcelona, Spain

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. 



Outro picks: Solange, Huerco SKaitlyn Aurelia Smith
When and where: May 12-14, Arcosanti, Arizona

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 BlakeHow to Dress Well and Skrillex. Outro will be there as the official software partner, running studio sessions with attendees and performers. Come say Hi! 


Pitchfork Music Festival


Outro picks: Acra & Jesse Kanda, Madlib, LCD Soundsystem
When and where: July 14-16, Chicago

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. 



Outro picks: Channel One, Digital Mystikz, Goldie
When and where: September 7-10, Croatia

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. 



Outro picks: Dense & Pika, Floorplan (Live), Black Coffee
When and where: June 24-25, Spaarnwoude, North Holland

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. 


Nuits Sonores

Outro picks: Levon Vincent, Marie Davidson, Helena Hauff
When and where: May 24-28, Lyon, France

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. 


A3C Festival

Outro picks: Questlove, De La Soul, Mike Will Made It
When and where: October 4-8, Atlanta, Georgia

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. 


Primavera Sound

Outro picks: Aphex Twin, Frank OceanFront 242
When and where: May 31-June 4, Barcelona, Spain

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. 


Daniel Dixon

Daniel is a music producer with a love for breakbeats and basslines. Content writer at Outro.


Image credits:
Freerotation: Daddy's Got Sweets
Sonar: ThatKidChris
Pitchfork Music Festival: DigBoston
Outlook: neonpandadesign
Awakenings: Geoffrey De Kleijn
Primavera Sound: acidpolly
Nuits Sonores: Adrien Chabal
A3C Festival: Festival website

Daniel DixonComment