There are a ton of music festivals around the world, from the well-known, cult favourites Coachella and Lollapalooza to the small but pumping Sasquatch and the Vive Latino in Mexico City. This list of festivals is scattered across the globe and year-round, so whether you prefer surfing the crowds in historic Belgium, stomping through the mud in Glastonbury, or salsaing your way across a crowded dance floor in Spain, this list has something for everyone, everywhere. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for cheap travel deals to get you there!
1. SXSW, Austin, Texas, USA
This always-up-and-coming festival is the perfect place to scout new talent. Sure, they have big names like Lady Gaga (2014) and Drake (2016) but you’re more likely to see an unknown band at a local Austin bar… and then see them six months later on the big scene. Be sure to pack your flannel!
2. Ultra Music Festival, Miami, Florida, USA
This jam-packed EDM festival is held in various locations. The main festival is in Miami – which is a great city to throw a big dance party in – and it’ll be in Cape Town, South Africa in 2017. The lineup is always amazing, with names like David Guetta, Chainsmokers, Icona Pop, and more headlining, and the dancing doesn’t end.
When (Miami): late March
3. Coachella, Indio, California USA
Coachella might be the ultimate in music festivals. It’s attended by celebrities and us regular folk alike, the lineup reads like the Grammy Awards, and it’s the perfect excuse to sneak away from your desk for a long weekend and visit California. Past performances have included Sia (2016) and Arcade Fire (2014); this year’s lineup includes Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, and Radiohead.
4. Vive Latino, Mexico City, Mexico
Vive Latino is one of the most important Latin music festivals in the world, so if you’re into salsa, tango, bachata, and more, this is the place to go. Some of the biggest names in Latin music crop up here, and the festival also sees a lot of ska and reggae bands from the Caribbean islands. If you want to kick back and relax after the hustle of the festival, catch a cheap flight to one of the glorious Mexican beaches.
When: last weekend of April/first weekend in May
5. Sasquatch, Washington, USA
Set on the edge of the Columbia River Gorge, the Sasquatch festival attracts a wide range of people and acts. The focus is often on singer-songwriters and indie rock bands, but the lineup includes comedians, electronic, and alt rock. 2017 headliners are Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper, and Twenty One Pilots.
When: Memorial Day Weekend (May)
6. Primavera Sound, Barcelona, Spain
Who doesn’t want to go to the sprawling beaches of Barcelona and spend some time at one of the best music festivals in the world before venturing into the back alleys of Spain’s vibrant city? Barcelona doesn’t sleep, and neither will you at this incredible festival, often considered one of the greatest festivals in the world. 2017 acts include Bon Iver, Arcade Fire, and Solange; tickets sell out within minutes of going on sale.
When: last weekend in May
7. Bonnaroo, Manchester, Tennessee, USA
This is the ultimate music and arts festival – rock music, camping, late night gigs under the stars, celebrities, and more. Fans of Bonnaroo return year after year to stellar lineups that have included Chance the Rapper (2016), Elton John (2014), Paul McCartney (2013), and the Beastie Boys final performance (2009). Bonnaroo is considered one of the best festivals in North America, so it should definitely be on your list!
When: early June
8. Glastonbury, Pilton, Somerset, England
Pack your rain boots for this one: Glastonbury is one of the best green field festivals in the world. It’s also one of the oldest festivals, having been started in the 1970s when organiser Michael Eavis saw Led Zeppelin perform outdoors in Bath. Today, Glastonbury attracts almost 200,000 people over a five day period that involves not just music: circus acts, dance, theatre, and comedy appear on the many different stages.
When: last weekend in June
9. Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, Denmark
Roskilde isn’t just a massive festival, it’s also a not-for-profit event where all the profits benefit the development of music, humanism, and culture. The lineup includes a wide range of acts, from unknown Scandinavian artists to worldwide names like The Lumineers, Arcade Fire (see a pattern here?), and Bruce Springsteen (2012). Don’t miss the Naked Run, held on the Saturday of the festival; winners get a ticket to the following year’s festival!
When: first weekend in July
10. Exit, Novi Sad, Serbia
Exit is a premier festival held inside a Serbian fortress in the city of Novi Sad, but it’s also considered one of the best festivals with a focus on social responsibility: It started as a student movement against the government during the fight for independence in the early 2000s. The castle setting means great acoustics; the fortress can host various stages through the complex without sound interference.
When: early July
11. Tomorrowland, Boom, Belgium
Tomorrowland is one of the biggest EDM festivals in the world; it began in Boom, Belgium and has since spun off into three festivals: one in Boom, one in the US, and one in Brazil (which doesn’t happen every year). Notable acts have included David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia, and Tiesto. Belgium is a unique place to have an electronic festival; look for cheap flights and stay a few extra days to explore the historic country.
When: late July
12. Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay, Australia
Australia’s best music festival is a beachside bonanza with a ton of surf-toned, sun-tanned beauties everywhere you look. The lineup often includes a mix of semi-known indie bands, top pop names, and more (there’s also art, comedy, and “philosophical discussions” but that might be code for something else!). Keep in mind you’re camping in the sun, so pack plenty of water.
When: late July
13. Lollapalooza, Chicago, Illinois USA
Lollapalooza started as a traveling festival in the early 1990s, but since 2005 has been held at Chicago’s Grant Park. The festival attracts alt rock acts, metal bands, and punk rock artists, although in recent years they have expanded into comedy acts and EDM. Lolla is definitely a destination festival and Chicago is a great city spend a few extra days in, provided you can find a cheap hotels deal!
When: early August
14. Burning Man, Nevada desert, USA
Obviously Burning Man ain’t what it used to be – once upon a time it was the hippie haven for dreadlock-sporting, sage-burning wandering souls and today it’s got a reputation as a place for the Valley to decompress while bopping around to Deadmau5. It doesn’t matter: Burning Man is, and always will be, the ultimate in American festivals. It’s an entire city in the desert, built by festival goers over course of the festival, and at the end, the Man Burns.
When:last weekend of August
15. Oasis, Marrakech, Morocco
With the stunning Atlas Mountains as a backdrop, this festival might win on scenery (though Sasquatch isn’t too far behind) and flash. Oasis, held in Marrakech, is a newer EDM festival, but that doesn’t make it any less amazing – it’s definitely a lavish affair complete with a champagne tent (even the website is amazing!). Lineup for 2017 includes Charlotte de Witte, My Favorite Robot, and Young Marco.