The 10 Most Iconic Music Festivals In The World

Glastonbury Festival
Glastonbury Festival | Courtesy of Glastonbury Festival/Photo by Andrew Allcock
Helen Armitage

Whether rock, pop, folk, jazz, or EDM is your cup of tea, one of these festivals is bound to resonate. We line up the world’s most iconic music festivals from bucket list-worthy events like the UK’s Glastonbury Festival to quite possibly the most legendary event in festival history – Woodstock, 1969.


Debuted in 2005, Belgium’s Tomorrowland, despite its relatively young age, has quickly become one of the biggest and best EDM festivals in the world, attracting thousands of music lovers from all corners of the globe. Known for its legendary stage designs created around a new theme each year – like the most recent motif, “The Elixir of Life” – the festival spawned a spin-off, Tomorrowland Brasil, in 2015, held in the town of Itu outside São Paulo, and has been named the International Dance Music Awards Best Music Event every year since 2012.

Tomorrowland, De Schorre, Boom, Belgium

Tomorrowland 2011

Montreal International Jazz Festival

Named the world’s largest jazz festival by Guinness World Records after almost two million music lovers attended its 25th edition in 2004, the Montreal International Jazz Festival is a landmark event on the jazz circuit taking place over 10 days and featuring 3,000 artists from 30 countries across the globe. Iconic artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, and Herbie Hancock have graced its stages since the inaugural festival in 1980, and of its 1,000-plus concerts taking place on stages and in venues across downtown Montreal, two-thirds are free to attend.

Montreal International Jazz Festival, Venues across downtown Montreal, Canada

Montreal International Jazz Festival


Not only is Woodstock the most iconic event in festival history, the four-day fest attended by over half a million that took over Max Yasgur’s upstate New York dairy farm in 1969 is also one of pop culture’s most definitive moments. Captured in director Michael Wadleigh’s aptly titled and Oscar-winning documentary Woodstock, the festival featured sets from counterculture icons like Janis Joplin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and The Incredible String Band. But it was Jimi Hendrix who gave the most memorable performance with his discordant rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. Though technically a one-off, the festival has spawned a number of “revivals” over the years, none recapturing the glory of the first rendition.

Woodstock, Bethel, New York, USA

Woodstock Festival 1969

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