Widely considered the biggest electronic music festival in the world, Sónar is divided in two: Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night. During the daytime watch your favourite DJs and bands play live sets in the Fira de Montjuïc, while at night the party really gets going as the festival shifts to the Fira de Gran Via which can accommodate over 15,000 guests in front of one stage.
June 14-16, 2018
A staple on the Spanish calendar, the Benicàssim Festival – also known as FIB – is famous for its all-night party atmosphere, attracting university students and young revellers from across Europe for some of the best pop, rock and electronica acts of the moment. It’s the kind of place where there’s no such thing as too many glow sticks or glitter and if you’re camping you probably want to adopt a nocturnal way of life during the festival.
July 19-22, 2018
If you’re a fan of rock music then Azkena Rock is one date you won’t want to miss. You won’t find any DJ sets or pop bands here, this is a serious rock festival where you can hear everything from prog rock to punk and classic rock. Located in the Basque Country’s capital Vitoria-Gasteiz, Azkena Rock has been on the go for some 15 years and this year’s first announced acts include Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and The Beasts of Bourbon.
June 22-23, 2018
If you like a festival that allows plenty of time for life off-site, the Bilbao BBK Live festival, which takes place on the doorstep of Bilbao in the heart of the beautiful Basque Country, will do just that. The festival doesn’t really kick off until 5pm and the bigger acts don’t come on until the middle of the night, meaning the daytimes are yours to relax at the beach, explore the sights of Bilbao (like the Guggenheim museum) or fill your face with traditional pintxos.
July 12-14, 2018
DGTL Barcelona is the Spanish edition of the Dutch techno festival of the same name and promises to attract some of the biggest DJs of the international techno scene. This year’s edition saw the likes of Solomun, Derrick May and Jeff Mills get the crowd bopping at the Parc del Forum – a large concrete park by the waterfront on the outskirts of Barcelona. Unlike most of the other festivals in Barcelona, DGTL takes place in the midst of the August heat so be sure to keep your cool.
August 10-11, 2018
A much smaller festival than the others on this list, Vida Festival has only been around for four editions so far, but has already attracted the likes of Phoenix, The Flaming Lips, The Divine Comedy, Lana del Rey and Primal Scream. The festival takes place in the town of Vilanova i la Geltru about 30 minutes south on the coast from Barcelona. The festival has a chilled, family-friendly atmosphere and a more intimate feel than some of the bigger events which take place in Barcelona.
June 28-July 1, 2018
If Barcelona seems to have the monopoly on cool music festivals in Spain, the Mad Cool festival in Madrid is giving the Catalan capital a run for its money. An incredibly varied festival with everything from prog rock to techno, the festival held its second edition in 2017 with acts such as Belle & Sebastian, Alt-J, The Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. While the headliners for 2018 have yet to be announced, it’s fair to assume the line-up will indeed be mad cool.
July 12-14, 2018
If Sónar is all about the electronic music, Primavera Sound is much more about indie, pop, folk and rock. The festival is in its 18th edition and is well established as one of the best all-round music festivals in Spain, if not Europe. This is reflected in the price, with tickets on sale for €180 three days before the line-up is even announced. The festival takes place in the Parc del Forum and even has a section down by the beach so you can fit in a swim between acts.
May 30-June 3, 2018
It may only be one day long, but DCODE knows how to pack a punch. The ultimate indie and rock festival in Madrid, DCODE was launched back in 2011 and has since staged the likes of SUM 41, Franz Ferdinand, Sigur Rós, Vampire Weekend, Bombay Bicycle Club and Interpol. And when the show’s over the party continues in downtown Madrid over the weekend.
Date for 2018 TBC
Reviews of Cruilla have been hit and miss over the years, but last year saw a strong line-up and a much smoother production than previous editions. The Prodigy, Gramatik, Pet Shop Boys and Jamiroquaï headlined in 2017 and while the 2018 line-up has yet to be announced, there’s good reason to believe it will be worth holding out for.
July 13-14, 2018
The ultimate beach festival, Arenal Sound takes place in the seaside town of Burriana some 60km north of Valencia and not far from Benicàssim. The festival has large camping areas which function more as after-party sites than a place for sleeping – those who want a good night’s sleep should consider a hotel or Airbnb instead. Daytimes are for enjoying the beach, volleyball matches and jet-skiing, while the nighttime is all about the music.
July 31-August 5, 2018