10 of the best summer festivals you’ve never been to
Tired of the same old fests in the usual locales? Time to expand your horizons
Sonar, Roskilde, Exitfest, Rock Werchter: Europe is overflowing with festivals for the adventurous types looking to breakaway from the usual local weekenders. In fact, given the cost of travelling by rail around the UK, the reality is it might even be cheaper to gather your pals, sling a trusty tent into suitable check-in luggage and do something entirely different this summer.
Rather helpfully, online retailer Zalando has compiled an interactive map of European festivals covering 21 countries, designed to inspire your imagination. The UK is on there, and sure, we’d all love to hit up Glastonbury, T in the Park or Bestival again, but considering the options offered by the likes of Denmark, Germany, Finland, Spain, Italy and Serbia, you have to wonder why on earth you haven’t thought of heading for the mainland before.
For those having difficulty choosing where to go, we’ve poured over the map and picked out some of our dream festivals in countries we might never otherwise visit. Whether electronic, pop, rock or doo-wop is what gets you going, there are plenty of ideas here to mix you welly-wearing dance moves with sight-seeing and memory-making …
Copenhell – Copenhagen, Denmark
When: 18-20 June
Who: Slipknot, Primus, Rise Against, Gojira, Body Count feat. Ice-T, Hammerfall, A Day to Remember
Best for: Seeing a rapper at a metal concert in an old shipyard.
How much: £69 day ticket
Fly from: Bristol, Edinburgh, London, Manchester (we used Easyjet to identify possible routes)
Sonar Barcelona, Spain
When: 18–20 June
Who: The Chemical Brothers, Skrillex, Duran Duran, A$AP Rocky, Die Antwoord, FKA, Twigs
Best for: Electronic goodness while working on your tan.
How much: £145 day and night pass
Fly from: Bristol, Liverpool, London, Newcastle, Southend
Rock Werchter – Werchter, Belgium
When: 25–28 June
Who: Catfish and the Bottlemen, Foo Fighters, Muse, Pharrell Williams, Prodigy, Mumford & Sons, Kasabian
Best for: Legendary festival experience and getting sweaty with 150,000 other revellers. Also the world's finest selection of trappist beers, naturally.
How much: £165
Fly from: London
Exit Festival, Serbia
When: 9–12 July
Who: Faithless, Hardwell, Martin Garrix, Motorhead, The Prodigym Tom Odell, Clean Bandit, John Newman
Best for: Pretending you’re on a Game of Thrones set thanks to the medieval Balkan fortress setting, and if that’s not enough, there’s a beach too.
How much: £85–120 package
Fly from: London
North Sea Jazz – Rotterdam, The Netherlands
When: 10–12 July
Who: Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, Mary J Blige, D’Angelo, John Legend, Paolo Nutini, Chaka Khan
Best for: Classing up the joint, but also for seeing Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga on the same stage – not exactly something that happens every festival season.
How much: £60 day ticket
Fly from: Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Southend (via Amsterdam)
Flow Festival – Helsinki, Finland
When: 14–16 July
Who: Pet Shop Boys, Belle and Sebastian, Alt-J, Beck, The War on Drugs, Florence + the Machine, Major Lazer
Best for: Partying in one of Scandinavia’s most spectacular cities while mixing up music, urban culture, art and film
How much: £123 (£189 inc hotel package)
Fly from: London, Manchester
Colours of Ostrava – Ostrava, Czech Republic
When: 16–19 July
Who: Björk, Kasabian, Rudimental, Mika, Clean Bandit, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Black Strobe, Klangkarussell
Best for: Releasing your inner hippy and going ‘ssssh’ with 20,000 others when a certain Icelander plays.
How much: £140+
Fly from: London
Summer Jamboree – Senigallia, Italy
When: 1–8 August
Who: Bobby Brooks Wilson, The Velvet Candles, The Good Fellas, The Jolly Rockers, Tiki Twisters, Ondrej Havelka and his Melody Makers
Best for: Oldmobiles, zoot suits, rockabilly haircuts and swing dancing.
How much: Free (seriously).
Fly from: via Rome
Lollapalooza – Berlin, Germany
When: 12–13 September
Who: Macklmore & Ryan Lewis, Skrillex, Seed, Beatstreaks, Sam Smith, Bastille, Clean Bandit, Robin Schulz
Best for: Going to an American festival without paying for transatlantic flights.
How much: £86
Fly from: Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Southend
Before you can say ‘tl;dr’, Zalando is running a comp to send you of on one of these adventures. Ten lucky party people can win a festival package of flights, accommodation and tickets to Lollapalooza in Berlin. All you gotta do is upload a picture to Instagram, tag @zalando_official and include the hashtag #IAMREADY4FESTIVALS and you can embark on your very own love parade.