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Europe’s 12 Best Music Festivals You Can’t Miss This Summer
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Europe’s 12 Best Music Festivals You Can’t Miss This Summer

Picture of Lani Seelinger
Updated: 5 December 2016
Along with the warm temperatures and the long days, one of the best things about summer is the proliferation of awesome summer music festivals. Alternative music in an old coal refinery? Electronic music to help light up a bright northern midnight? Rock on the doorstep of one of the continent’s favorite breweries? You can find all these and more with our choices for the 12 best European music festivals this summer.

Colours of Ostrava – Ostrava, Czech Republic

Ostrava, the Czech Republic’s third biggest city, becomes the country’s biggest draw for one weekend every summer for the Colours of Ostrava multi-genre music festival, which takes place this year on July 14-17. They have a rich and eclectic line-up, this year featuring the likes of Tame Impala, Kodaline, Passenger and Of Monsters And Men. Most interestingly, however, the festival takes place in Dolni Vitkovice, the industrial center of the city and former home to the mines and ironworks that once made it very wealthy. Music and industry together make for a very exciting weekend.

colours of ostrava
Kumbia Queers @ Colors of Ostrava 2015 | © Montecruz Foto/Flickr

Rock in Roma – Rome, Italy

Instead of packing everything into one unforgettable weekend, Rock in Roma prefers to spread things out and let Rome’s inhabitants and visitors alike enjoy the music and make the memories at exactly the speed they want to. Depending on when you decide to drop in and visit the festival village, you might run into Duran Duran, The 1975, The Stereophonics ,or Bruce Springsteen, just to name a few. They’ve got a band to satisfy any taste, much like Rome itself and its endless offerings of food and culture.

Longitude Festival – Dublin, Ireland

Anyone who knows Dublin knows that it’s a fun city – and on July 15-17, it’s going to get even more fun with Longitude taking place in Marlay Park. They’ve got a quirky and varied line-up this year, with headliners including Kendrick Lamar, Major Lazer, Jamie XX and CHVRCHES. Longitude is the Emerald Isle at its best – welcoming, chilled out, and ready to show you a good time that you won’t soon forget. Are you a person who chooses their music festival based on food? Expect something a little different at Longitude, with their full range of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.

Nos Alive – Lisbon, Portugal

Picture yourself in sunny, ocean-side Lisbon, sipping on some vinho verde and listening to Arcade Fire. If you go to Nos Alive in Lisbon on July 7-9, you can actually experience that perfect dream. With a unique combination of great music and a 15-minute walk to the beach, it really needs no explaining why Nos Alive has become an extremely popular stop on the summer music festival docket. Hurry to get your tickets, though – they’re selling out quickly!

A Summer’s Tale – Luhmuhlen, Germany

With even the name hearkening back to something Shakespearian, you know you can expect a poetic weekend at A Summer’s Tale, happening in Luhmuhlen on August 10-13. You can go out and enjoy nature in all of its glory, with musical acts like Fat Freddy’s Drop, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Sigur Ros, and Amy MacDonald only complimenting that peaceful feeling. In addition to music, though, this festival has readings, films, performance art, delicious food, and, if your back is aching from all that standing and swaying, yoga workshops.

A Summer's Tale 2015| ©Peeping Thom/Flickr
A Summer’s Tale 2015 | ©Peeping Thom/Flickr

Oya Festival – Oslo, Norway

Oslo is cool, there’s no two ways about it. When Oya Festival fills the city with music and partying from August 9-13, it manages to get even cooler. Since it lasts for over half the week, don’t feel like you have to take it all in at once, but the festival grounds are open and inviting and you won’t want to leave anyway. Check out PJ Harvey and Massive Attack’s fun beats on Friday, and every night you can even stay for the late show if you just can’t get enough.

Oya Festival 2015 | ©Liliane Callegari/Flickr
Oya Festival 2015 | ©Liliane Callegari/Flickr

Flow Festival – Helsinki, Finland

The white nights might be over by August 12-14 when Flow Festival takes place in Helsinki, but doesn’t mean you should be afraid of the dark. Flow is a great combination of music and art in a modern, industrial setting, and this year they’ve really gone all out with the line-up. Besides all the best that Finland itself has to offer (which is a lot!), don’t miss Evil Stööe or Rooxx, among others. It’s also perfect for the environmentally conscious festival-goer – it’s carbon neutral and they try to have as much locally sourced food as possible.

flow festival
Flow Festival Helsinki | © Alberto Garcia/flickr

Zurich Openair – Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich Openair started in 2010, and now, for their fifth go on August 24-27, they’ve put together a truly impressive lineup to complement the beautiful city that hosts it. If you’re feeling nostalgic for an earlier beat, check out The Chemical Brothers. If you’re looking for a louder sound, check out Bloc Party or Boys Noize. No matter which way you go, you won’t be sorry for coming.

Rock for People EUROPE – Plzen, Czech Republic

Plzen, in the western part of the Czech Republic, is taking advantage of their year as one of Europe’s Capitals of Culture to host their own version of the very popular Czech Rock for People festival. Rock for People EUROPE on July 3-5, however, has a distinctly more international bent, with a program featuring at least one band from each EU member state in addition to plenty of fun Czech rock bands. If you want to take a break from music, you can even check out the Pilsner Urquell brewery, which is usually Pilzen’s top attraction.

Sziget Festival – Budapest, Hungary

For the week of August 10-17, do your best to make an appearance in Hungary’s capital city for Sziget, one of Europe’s all-around favorite festivals. If you’re a Hungarian speaker, the name gives you a clue as to where it is – the word means ‘island’, and the festival takes place on one of the bigger islands in the Danube. Sziget always draws an amazing line-up for an amazing crowd, and this year it includes artists from all stripes – such as Rihanna, Kaiser Chiefs, Bastille and David Guetta.

Sziget Festival| ©JDUBOiS_/flickr
Sziget Festival | ©JDUBOiS_/flickr

Lollapalooza Berlin – Berlin, Germany

Lollapalooza was conceived in the United States, and became well-known as Chicago’s biggest annual festival. In 2014, however, Europe got its first taste of this wonderful brand of madness, and now it’s back in Berlin for the second time on September 10 and 11. They’ll fill up the wide-open Tempelhof Airport space with acts like Radiohead and Kings Of Leon, all in Berlin’s typically cool and welcoming setting. Lolla, as they call is, is one of the big daddies among music festivals, and now you don’t have to cross an ocean to experience it.

Lollapalooza Festival, Berlin |©- EMR -/flickr
Lollapalooza Festival, Berlin | ©- EMR -/flickr

Calvi on the Rocks – Calvi, France

Music by the Mediterranean, anyone? If that sounds like, well, perfection, you’d better head down to Calvi on the Rocks in Calvi, on the island of Corsica on July 8-13. The lineup oozes chic, and what’s more is that you’ll be able to enjoy it while enjoying the cool, fresh breezes blowing right off the sea. You can dance all day and then continue into the night, making your way up the coast from venue to venue. How about a dance party under a cliff right on the coast? Don’t miss this unique opportunity.

Corsica, Location For Calvi On The Rocks 2016 | ©Alessandro Valli/flickr
Corsica, Location For Calvi On The Rocks 2016 | ©Alessandro Valli/flickr