Love music, will travel. With so many music festivals crowding the European summer calendar, you could spend the entire season walking between stages. And that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be stuck in a boggy field in the middle of nowhere. Music fixes now come packaged in all sorts of picturesque locations: Serbia’s Danube River, the Mediterranean coast in Spain and the rolling hills of Stradbelly, Ireland are just some of the places you’ll find this summer’s best soundtracks. Grab your tent pegs and choose your poison.
3-6 July 2008,
One of the largest and most musically diverse festivals in northern Europe, the four-day-long Roskilde will be sure to satiate your sonic craving. It’s been on the groove since 1971. These Danes know how to put on a well-orchestrated event: lethargic campers can even choose a pre-pitched tent option and all profits go to humanitarian causes. We went over two years ago and rocked out with the Danish. They burn the campsites when the festival ends, which is kind of weird but the facilities are excellent.
Headliners: The Chemical Brothers, Grinderman, Jay-Z, Radiohead .
£167.50 including camping (free admission if you’re 60 or older!)
3-6 July 2008,
Eurockéennes has been taking place on the peninsula of Malsaucy near Belfort, France since 1989. It?s beautiful, surrounded by lakes and hills with one of the stages on the beach. The campsite is located a short walk along a disused rail line from the festival site although shuttles run regularly for those who don?t fancy the scenic stroll. Gallery did this one in 2006 and it was excellent. Headliners: Moby, Massive Attack, CSS, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, The Wombats, Cali, Cat Power, The Gossip, Babyshambles, N*E*R*D, The Offspring, Band of Horses, Calvin Harris.
Tickets: Day tickets 37 euros, 95 euros for three days.
10-13 July 2008,
Novi Sad, Serbia
What started out in 2000 as a protest against the Milosevic regime has turned into an annual event, attracting more than 400,000 people over four days. EXIT prides itself on its political agenda – which includes campaigns around issues like drug trafficking and migration. The line-up has some major international acts.
Headliners: Sex Pistols, Gossip, Paul Weller, The Hives.
Tickets: £72 for four days of camping
4-19 July 2008,
Montreux Jazz Festival
Lake Geneva, Switzerland
Montreux Jazz Festival has been running on the sublime banks of Lake Geneva since 1967. Festival alumni include jazz greats like Miles Davis and Ray Charles, but in recent years the programming has expanded well beyond such refined sounds. The festival consists of a series of concerts that take place at a variety of venues around the lake, on a salsa train and a blues boat.
Headliners: Quincy Jones, Leonard Cohen, Etta James, N.E.R.D.
Tickets: Vary: free- £189
17-20 July 2008,
Benicàssim International Festival
If the words ‘Spain’ and ‘summer’ aren’t reason enough to go, then how about the fact that this festival takes place on the gorgeous Costa Azahar? Benicàssim has drawn an increasingly impressive number of indie and electronic acts to this Castilian paradise since 1995. As well as music, the festival includes tempting side-bars like a short-film festival and beach-side art exhibition. The official festival lasts four days, but you can stay and laze around for nine.
Headliners: Leonard Cohen, Gnarls Barkly, Sigur Ros, Roisin Murphy
Tickets: £170 four-day pass, including nine days free camping/one-day ticket coming soon
14-16 August 2008,
La Route Du Rock
St Malo, France
That?s right, just over the water. We went last year. We wore tiaras and jumped up and down. A highlight of the French festival scene, and blessed with a great venue within the crumbling ramparts of an old castle in Saint-Malo, La Route du Rock has blossomed into a major musical event. Fantastic stuff and they also have one of the best systems for drink buying. This year is the 18th one, they must be doing something right. Crepes at midnight… mmm.
Headliners: Sigur Rós, The Do, The Breeders, The Notwist, Foals.
Tickets: Day tickets 15-27euros, 60 euros for three days.
14-16 August 2008,
With a name like Pukkelpop, what’s not to love? Belgium’s best outdoor festival has drawn over 135,000 people and a very-now line-up in previous years. This year looks to be heading in the same direction.
Headliners: Metallica, The Killers, Flaming Lips, Serj Tankian.
Tickets: Day tickets 15-27 euros, 60 euros for three days.
12-18 August 2008,
Obudai Island, Hungary
More a self-contained universe than a festival, Sziget is a week-long extravaganza of leisure-making. Want big Brit-bands? Finnish glam rock? Every musical whim is catered for across Sziget’s five stages. When your ears need a break there are cinemas, sports, restaurants and kids’ activities.
Headliners: Sex Pistols, REM, Iron Maiden
Tickets: Advance booking 120/100 euros camping/non-camping; 32 euros day ticket
29-31 August 2008,
County Laois, Ireland
Set amidst the gentle landscape of Stradbelly, Electric Picnic has a killer line-up to go with its boutique philosophies. With felt-hat making, paintball, yoga, a foot spa salon and carbon blueprint talks on offer, Electric Picnic caters for body and soul as much as it does ears and eyes. Swanky camping options include beach huts, bivouacs, podpads, tipis or a double-decker ‘bus-bed’.
Headliners: Sex Pistols, My Bloody Valentine, Underworld, Grinderman
Tickets: 240 euros for regular camping
5-7 September 2008,
Isle of Wight, UK (interesting as it?s on an island)
Curated by renowned British radio DJ Rob da Bank, Bestival is one of the newest kids on the block, but has already earned its title. Its benefits include boutique camping, the colourful Bollywood cocktail bar, an inflatable church for Vegas-style weddings, the Restival chill-out area and the Breastival baby temple for new mothers. Bestival punters can also take part in the giant fancy dress parade. This year’s theme is yet to be announced, but in 2005 Bestival broke a Guinness World Record when 10,000 people hollered their way across the field dressed up as cowboys and Indians.
Headliners: My Bloody Valentine, Amy Winehouse, Underworld, The Breeders
Tickets: £130 including basic camping