Sonic summer: Six of the best European festivals

By Beth Roberts

The great British summertime is upon us, which can only mean one thing – notoriously unpredictable weather.

That’s why more Brits than ever are ditching their wellies in favour of sunnier climes, heading to Europe for some epic music getaways. A staple on the jetsetter’s festival calendar, Barcelona’s Primavera drew record crowds last weekend thanks to a combination of cheap flights, sure-fire sunshine and an impressive roster of acts.

But if you missed Primavera don’t worry – from Baltic fortresses to solstice parties where the sun never sets, here are six of the best European festivals to look forward to this summer (Field Day and its mini-heatwave notwithstanding).

Roskilde, Denmark (27 June – 4 July)
One of Europe’s largest festivals, Roskilde is Scandinavia’s more outlandish answer to Glastonbury – boasting big names in pop, hip-hop and rock with over 160 acts. Set up by two students in 1971, it’s retained its communal hippy vibe with a network of 32,000 volunteers and all profits going to charity. Swim and fish in the lake, or take part in Saturday’s naked run if you’re feeling brave. A diverse line-up includes Muse, Pharrell Williams, Paul McCartney, Florence and the Machine, Kendrick Lamar and Disclosure.


Tomorrowland, Belgium (24 – 26 July)
Held in the aptly named town of Boom in Belgium, Tomorrowland is one of the world’s biggest electronic music festivals. Electro heavy-hitters Avicii, Tiesto and David Guetta take to the stage in this psychedelic playground filled with giant disco balls, explosive butterflies, confetti canons and anything else you could possibly dream of.

Tomorrowland Festival

Hideout Festival, Croatia (28 June- 2 July)
Nestled on the Croatian island of Pag, this intimate festival is perfect for those who want to combine both beats and beach. Set between lush forest and the shocking blue Adriatic, Hideout offers boat and pool parties during the day with sets from some of the very best house and techno DJ’s when the sun goes down. Headline acts this year include Duke Dumont, Gorgon City and Eats Everything.

Exit Festival, Serbia (9-12 July)
Crowned the best major festival in Europe at the EU awards last year, Exit’s come a long was from its humble roots as a student protest. This Serbian sound-fest serves up an eclectic mix of pop, rock and rap, as well as a healthy dose of trance and electro to take you through to the early hours. Oh, and the best part? Well, it’s not every day you get to party in a medieval fortress. This year’s line-up includes Rudimental, Skrillex, Disclosure, The Prodigy, Emeli Sande, Faithless and Clean Bandit.

Exit Festival

Sziget Festival, Budapest, Hungary (10- 17 August)
Every year, nearly 400,000 fans converge on this small island in the River Danube, right at the heart of Budapest. With nearly fifty stages, there’s rock, folk, pop, reggae – and everything in-between. Circus acts, wonderland inspired costumes and art installations in the forest make for a sublimely surreal scene. Top acts confirmed for 2015 include Florence and the Machine, Avicii, Ellie Goulding, Kasabian, and Robbie Williams.


Secret Solstice, Reykjavik, Iceland (19- 21 June)
Party for 72 hours straight under the constant light of a mystical ‘midnight sun’ at this Icelandic celebration. Only in its second year but following a hugely successful debut, you can expect big things from this little festival. Case in point – this year’s event will play host to the world’s first ‘Icerave’, a gig underneath a glacier for 70 lucky guests, with a performance from electro DJ Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Wu-Tang Clan, Kelis and FKA Twigs are set to appear on the main stage.

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