Just a Pack | June 2nd, 2018 | 3 Comments

Europe's Best Summer Music Festivals

Summer festival season is upon us in Europe!

With so many incredible options, trying to figure out what the best summer music festivals in Europe are can be a bit daunting. Once the weather turns warm there are seemingly endless outdoor entertainment options, including amazing music festivals, featuring nearly every artistic interest one can imagine.

Finding the best summer music festivals in Europe is no easy task, so we turned to some of our favorite travel experts and trusted news sources for advice.

What we discovered is that Europe is a playground for the music enthusiast, and we came up with an incredibly eclectic list of festivals all over the continent that feature a wide variety of musical styles. Some of the festivals on our list are probably ones you’ve heard of, and a few are lesser known but still totally worth checking out.

So, pack your bags, buy your tickets, and prepare to immerse yourself in Europe’s best summer music festivals!

Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury Music Festival
PC: “IMG_3373” by chrisjames is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • Glastonbury Website
  • 2017 Headliners: Radiohead, The XX, Foo Fighters, The National, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran
  • Musical Genre: Contemporary
  • Festival Location: Glastonbury, UK
  • 2017 Dates: 21-25 June

The mother of all summer music festivals in Europe, period. Glastonbury is a five day festival with both live music and theater, dance, and even circus performances, that dates back to the 1970s.

This year’s event will be hosted on 77 stages with performances by Radiohead, The XX, Foo Fighters, The National, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, and literally thousands of other groups and bands.

If you want to attend the best summer music festival in Europe, Glastonbury might very well be it.

Tomorrowland Music Festival

Tomorrowland Music Festival

  • Tomorrowland Website
  • 2017 Headliners: Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, Axwell & Ingrosso, David Guetta
  • Musical Genre: Electronic
  • Festival Location: Boom, Belgium
  • 2017 Dates: 21-23 July 2017; 28-30 July

Tomorrowland music festival bills itself as the biggest and best electronic dance music festival in the world. It’s been going strong since 2005, takes place over two weekends, and draws hundreds of thousands of festival-goers each year.

This year’s headliners include Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, Axwell & Ingrosso, David Guetta, and hundreds of other performers on nearly twenty stages.

If EDM festivals are your thing, grab your dancing shoes and head to Tomorrowland.

NOS Alive Music Festival

best music festivals in Europe Nos Alive
PC: Arlindo Camacho
  • NOS Alive Website
  • 2017 Headliners: Depeche Mode, Imagine Dragons, Foo Fighters, The XX
  • Musical Genre: Rock, Indie, Pop
  • Festival Location: Lisbon, Portugal
  • 2017 Dates: 7-8 July
  • Recommended by: Gemma, Two Scots Abroad

NOS Alive is an annual music festival which takes place just outside of Portugal’s thriving capital city, Lisbon (Lisboa) in July. The three day open air event is already sold out this year which is not surprising considering the line up that includes Depeche Mode, The XX and Alt J.

My husband, Craig, and I (Gemma) attended two out of the three days last year, although the lineup was excellent for the more popular day (Arcade Fire) the festival just could not handle the numbers. The toilets were rammed and security were constantly moving people on from pee infused areas. However the quieter mid-week festival day was superb and it was great to see Junior Boys play in Europe (having seen them in the States in the March).

If you are considering attending NOS Alive in glorious Portugal, check out our guide to on things to do in Lisbon on a budget.

Colours of Ostrava Music Festival

Colours of Ostrava Music Festival
PC: NOMADasaurus
  • Colours of Ostrava Website
  • 2017 Headliners: Jamiroquai, Imagine Dragons, Nora Jones, Alt-J
  • Musical Genre: multi-genre
  • Festival Location: Ostrava, Czech Republic
  • 2017 Dates: 19-22 July
  • Recommended by: Jarryd, NOMADasaurus

Czech Republic is home to some of the most amazing scenery and gastronomy in Europe, and now it’s also home to one of Europe’s best summer music festivals!

Colours of Ostrava is an amazing event held in an insanely unique location – a decommissioned ironworks factory. With smelting chimneys and rusted pipes twisting their way across the venue, it provides an industrial atmosphere for music extravaganza.

At Colours of Ostrava it’s not just the big, international headliners that deserve your attention. The most amazing part of it is the small, local groups from around Czech, Slovakia and Poland who are all given slots to showcase their talents. Definitely don’t miss Colours during your tour of music festivals in Europe!

Sziget Festival

Sziget Music Festival 2017 Budapest
PC: Rockstar Photographers
  • Sziget Festival Website
  • 2017 Headliners: The Kills, Wiz Khalifa, Pink, Major Lazer
  • Musical Genre: Rock
  • Festival Location: Budapest, Hungary
  • 2017 Dates: 9-16 August
  • Recommended by: Gábor Kovács, Surfing the Planet

One of the major music festivals in Europe, Sziget Festival is organized every August in Budapest. The name of the festival “Sziget” means island, and it’s because it’s held in on Óbudai-sziget, a lovely island on the Danube River in the Northern part of the Hungarian capital. The festival started as a small event in 1993, and nowadays around 400,000 spectators are expected every year to attend this colorful gathering. Sziget Festival is much more than a series of evening concerts on various stages, but every day all kinds of other cultural programs take place on the island during the day.

This year the festival will take place between 9th and 16th August. The major names to perform are The Kills, Wiz Khalifa, Pink and Major Lazer amongst others. If you want to camp on the island, you can purchase the full week-ticket for €299, but if you prefer to spend your days visiting Budapest, and attend the concerts in the evening, you can also purchase day tickets.

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Mysteryland Music Festival

Mysteryland Festival Netherlands
PC: Anna Faustino
  • Mysteryland Website
  • 2017 Headliners: Alesso, Deadmau5, Axwell & Ingrosso, Above & Beyond, and Armin van Buuren
  • Musical Genre: House, Techno, Hardstyle, Trance, Trap, Drum & Bass, Hip Hop, Deep-House, and Disco
  • Festival Location: Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands
  • 2017 Dates: 26-27 August
  • Anna Faustino, Adventure in You

Mysteryland is a ridiculously fun festival held in Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands across a massive open land which they convert into an awesome space for wandering around and partying. I went a couple of years ago and had the time of my life. The festival has 17 festival stages featuring various music and activities featuring House, Techno, Hardstyle, Trance, Trap, Drum & Bass, Hip Hop, Deep-House, and Disco. This year, the event will be a two-day festival which where you can camp within the festival grounds with friends. When I went, my favorite part was climbing the top of this hill to see the panoramic view of the entire festival grounds which was decorated in balloons and all sorts of cool art installations.

Mighty Sounds Music Festival

mighty sounds music festival czech republic

  • Mighty Sounds Website
  • 2017 Headliners: Gogol Bordello, H20, and Dubious Kolektiv
  • Musical Genre: Punk, Rock, Hardcore, Reggae, Ska, Rockabilly, and Indie Rock
  • Festival Location: Tabor, Czech Republic
  • 2017 Dates: 14-16 July
  • Recommended by: Michael, Just a Pack

Not your typical Czech Music Festival, Mighty Sounds is a three-day event featuring an eclectic mix of international and Czech bands focusing primarily on punk, rock, hardcore, reggea, ska, rockabilly, and indie rock.

This year’s 10th annual festival will include performances from Gogol Bordello, H20, and Dubious Kolektiv and over 120 other artists performing on four live and three DJ stages.

The eco-friendly, socially conscious festival has a unique and inclusive atmosphere and festival organizers work with a number of non-profit organizations including DzLight for the Worlddz, which spreads awareness about the need of blindness prevention in Africa.

Ultra Europe

Ultra Europe Music Festival

  • Ultra Europe Website
  • 2017 Headliners: Adam Beyer, Afrojack, Armin Van Buuren, Axwell & Ingrosso
  • Musical Genre: Electronic
  • Festival Location: 14-16 July
  • 2017 Dates: Split, Croatia

We can’t think of a better place for a music festival than Split, Croatia! With world class DJs, incredible light shows, state-of-the art sounds systems, balmy breezes coming off the Adriatic, what more could you ask for from an Electronic music festival? This year’s headliners include Adam Beyer, Afrojack, Armin Van Buuren, Axwell & Ingrosso and nearly 50 bands in total will perform over the three day festival.

Since debuting in 2013 in Split the festival has grown to epic proportions, and now takes place in over twenty countries worldwide (but we’d still prefer to go to the one in Split)!

Primavera Sound

Primavera Sound Music Festival
PC: “The Cure @ Primavera Sound” by paniko.cl is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • Primavera Sound Website
  • 2017 Headliners: Frank Ocean, The xx, Aphex Twin, Bon Iver
  • Musical Genre: Rock, Pop, Dance, and more
  • Festival Location: Barcelona, Spain
  • 2017 Dates: 31 May – 4 June

This sixteen year old festival, located in Barcelona, Spain, gives attendees a wide variety of some of the best musical acts in the world. The festival has drawn such notable acts like Radiohead, Lou Reed, The National, Franz Ferdinand, The White Stripes and more.

This year’s headliners include Frank Ocean, The xx, Aphex Twin, Bon Iver.

Download Festival

Download Festival Derby
PC: The Curious Explorers

Download Festival is the most popular British rock and metal festival held annually at Donnington Park. Download Festival started in 2003 as a two day event but became so popular it expanded to a three day event in 2005. The festival has hosted some of the biggest names in rock including Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Metallica, Kiss, Guns N’ Roses and Aerosmith to name a few. The festival has become so popular in England that in 2016 they added a Download Festival France option that will be returning for a second year in 2017.

While Download Festival is mainly about enjoying live music across its many stages, there are other options of entertainment available for festival goers. There is carnival on the grounds to enjoy with a huge variety of food stalls available to chose from. They also have comedy acts performing and even a silent disco.

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Balaton Sound Music Festival

Balaton Sound Music Festival
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When it comes to music festivals in Europe over the summer, there are quite literally hundreds of amazing options to choose from. While it may not be the biggest or most well known festival, Balaton Sound is an absolute blast, and I’d strongly recommend checking it out.

Perfectly located on Lake Balaton, this venue is simply gorgeous, and the sunsets (and sunrises) are reason enough to attend. While the music is pretty much all electronic music, it’s a party that will definitely keep everyone entertained. The venue is large, and there are over a dozen of stages playing a vareity of genres. It’s also one of the cheapest festivals you can attend with beers costing less than €3! The vibe is amazing, the line-up is always top-notch, and it will surely be a festival you’ll never forget.

Super Bock Super Rock

Super Bock Super Rock Music Festival
PC: “Kaiser Chiefs – Super Bock Super Rock 2013 (Portugal) el” by feiticeira_org licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • Super Bock Super Rock Website
  • 2017 Headliners: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Future, Deftones
  • Musical Genre: Rock
  • Festival Location: Lisbon, Portugal
  • 2017 Dates: 13 – 15 July

This incredible Lisbon-based rock festival is somehow still flying a bit under the radar, despite having become one of the biggest festivals in Portugal.

Started in 1994, the three day festival attracts rock and metal fans, and some of the biggest bands in the industry like Metallica, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Iggy Pop, and The Strokes. The 2017 lineup is no less impressive, with the Red Hot Chili Peppers leading the list of fantastic rock bands gracing the stages.

BoomTown Fair

Boomtown Fair
PC: “Boomtown Fair Festival 2013” by Mr Seb is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
  • BoomTown Fair Website
  • 2017 Headliners: The Specials, M.I.A., Cypress Hill, Ziggy Marley
  • Musical Genre: Multiple
  • Festival Location: Winchester, UK
  • 2017 Dates: 10-13 August

The 9th Annual BoomTown Fair is a music and arts festival drawing nearly 60,000 people each year. The festival is said to be one of the most wild and inspiring in the United Kingdom. Attendees describe the scene as an inclusive community of free-loving individuals that come together to celebrate all genres of music.

Despite the wild atmosphere, BoomTown goes to great strides to follow sustainable practices by giving refunds to attendees for trash collection, providing drinkable tap water, using eco-friendly food packaging, encouraging recycling, and other practices that are good for the environment.

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Rencontres de Chants Polyphoniques de Calvi

PC: Travel with Kat

I’ve visited the beautiful Mediterranean island of Corsica many times but there is one particular day that stands out in my memory. It was the last day of a wonderful music festival, Rencontres de Chants Polyphoniques de Calvi. Each year a local group, A Fileta, hosts the event with choirs and musicians from all around the world joining them for a series of concerts in the magical setting of Calvi’s 500-year-old citadel.

On the final day, we had heard that there was going to be a series free concerts so we made our way up the winding staircase that leads to the main square of the citadel but nothing seemed to be happening. Then we noticed a steady flow of people heading down a side street. We followed them into a chapel, the 14th-century Oratoire, for a wonderful concert by the Italian singer, Francesca Breschi. As the singing ended a violinist could be heard outside which lead us to a square where a group for Mali, Sidikiba Coulibaly Trio, were waiting. A magical performance of African rhythms followed which ended with a standing ovation from the crowd. As the applause died down a young man with a small bamboo pipe lead the crowd, much like the pied piper, through the cobbled alleyways to yet another event. And so the day continued, one fabulous concert leading on to another and a different part of the citadel ending in a lively open-air performance by PVC Napoli Quartet playing Neapolitan folk music. With a stunning backdrop of the mountains across the marina, they played tarantellas as the sun went down and we danced into the night.

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3 thoughts on “Europe’s Best Summer Music Festivals – 2017

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