Music festivals represent the young, wild and free. The summer acts as the perfect time for these popularized events in North America because of the warm weather and freedom from responsibilities. According to Jan Packer and Julie Ballantyne, authors of the Psychology of Music, most people who attend these festivals are mostly between 20-34 and go with the intention of connecting with community.
Festival season starts at the beginning of Spring and goes through to the beginning of Fall. These elaborate affairs tend to bring in tourists for a lot of states not to mention huge financial earnings. Southern California’s Coachella brought in $47 million from over 80,000 attendees in 2013, way more than the $25,000 the first event saw in 1999. Music festivals bring a sense of unity and pride as well as history…because you never know what might happen at one.
SXSW, Ultra, and Coachella kicked off festival season in the US, but we are excited to see what other global celebrations are out there as well. While each festival comes with a price tag (sometimes expensive ones), here are some options for your bucket list this year.
A Guide to International Music Festivals
Lightning in a Bottle – Bradley, CA
Hosted on May 22 – 26, Lightning in a Bottle holds the Greener Festival in America Award for its sustainability. The festival emphasizes waste management, recycling and filtered water stations. It can be called whimsical as the hippies around you can be seen meditating, attending yoga sessions and dancing in some pretty outrageous costumes. This year’s lineup includes electronic music producer Moby, Little Dragon and Phantagram. While attendees can enjoy good music, the festival focuses on inner beauty and maintaining the earth in healthier manners.
Firefly – Dover, DE
The West Coast can have Coachella. The East Coast has Firefly. This festival takes place on Jun. 19 – 22 and has attractions that span retro arcade games like Skeeball and air hockey, a silent disco in the forest, a designated hammock area, and a beautiful umbrella art pathway. Tom shoes has even set up a station to customize your shoes. This year’s lineup includes Foo Fighters, Outkast, and Jack Johnson, but music acts range from indie rock to folk and electronic dance music.
Sonar – Barcelona, Spain
Starting on Jun. 12, Sonar is a three-day event that hopes to immerse the average listener into the world of electronic music. With conferences and classrooms available, people can learn all about what actually occurs inside the mysterious world of musicians like Lykke Li and Tyga. Major companies like TEDx talks typically gather for workshops and demonstrations. There are two parts to each day: Sonar Day and Sonar Night. You’ll see major headliners perform during the day, while up-and-coming DJs usually perform at night. This festival is where technology comes to interact and play with the business of music.
Rainforest World Music Festival – Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Take a walk on the wild side…in Asia! At the Rainforest World Music Festival, you’ll hear the sounds of traditional music mixed with world fusion and contemporary while being immersed in the jungle of Borneo. While other festivals emphasize electronic music, this particular three-day event sticks to acoustic music. Performers come from all over the globe. Enjoy the eclectic vibe of didgeridoos and lutes while you walk around the village. Hosted on Jun. 20 – 22, this is a unique festival that takes a break from technology and reconnects you to the Earth.
Roskilde – Roskilde, Denmark
Since 1971, Roskilde has brought some of the biggest rock acts to the European stage and lasts a week, Jun. 29 – Jul. 6. The best part about the whole affair is that it’s all for a charity. Roskilde Festival Charity Society hosts the event to which all proceeds go to programs such as Doctors without Borders and Amnesty International. There’s a four-day warm up before the actual festival begins where you become accustomed to the campgrounds. You can swim in the lake or skate at the park. One infamous tradition is the annual nude run, which is pretty self-explanatory.
Mawazine – Rabat, Morocco
There is a world of various genres to enjoy at this particular affair. With eight stages of varying sizes, you can enjoy reggae, electronic, blues, fusion and soul. Mawazine headlines with Justin Timberlake, but many Middle Eastern artists hope to make their way to the stage in order to catch their big breaks. Hosted on May 20 – Jun. 7, the festival is the biggest opportunity for indie artists to join the Western main stage.
Holy Ship! – The Caribbean, departs from Miami, FL
While other festivals get their reps from being around for a few years, Holy Ship! arrived in 2012. The best part…you’re on a boat. You get to listen to artists like Zedd and Skream while on a cruise line headed towards white-sanded beaches. It’s over for 2014, but you can join the waiting list for 2015. Ship departs Jan. 3-6 and Feb. 18-21.
Pinkpop – Landgraaf, the Netherlands
Taking place during Pentacost (Jun. 7 – 9), the ambiance kicks up from Easter in order to roll in rock bands. As Europe’s oldest rock festival, it brought in a large and devoted following. The uniform? Pink. People even dye their hair pink in order to get into the Pinkpop mood. Some bands that have sent in their names include Metallica, Arcade Fire and Bastille.
Warped Tour – Throughout the US
Going on from Jun. 14 – Aug. 3, this is one of the only festivals that goes on a full tour. The other side allure of the tour besides the music is the extreme sports aspect. Venues are in parking lots or fields where skateboarding structures like halfpipes can be built. Mostly focusing on punk rock music, this year’s Warped Tour brings in Bowling for Soup and the Devil Wears Prada.
Tomorrowland – Boom, Belgium
Perhaps you’ve seen the YouTube video, “Aftermovie.” This brought an even larger following to Belgium’s Tomorrowland, a three-day event full of madness. It launched an American version called TomorrowWorld in Atlanta, Georgia in September. All of the stages are grandiose and flamboyant in their nature, and there is a twelve-hour set list for people to dance to and enjoy. Some big names performing include Armin Van Buren and Dillon Francis. Tomorrowland takes place Jul. 18 – 27.
Most music festivals offer camping grounds depending on the location, but a lot of them only offer nearby hotels in the city. Besides these few, there are many more to discover, and some may be closer than you think. The music festival scene has skyrocketed into the mainstream’s eye. So get your ticket before someone else does!