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The Best Music Festivals in the World 2018
Julia Wytrazek / © Culture Trip
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The Best Music Festivals in the World 2018

Picture of Ann Lee
Music Editor
Updated: 7 May 2018
Glastonbury may be taking a year off in 2018, but music festival season has well and truly kicked off.

As the world’s most famous festival enjoys a well-earned fallow year, it’s a good opportunity for lesser-known ones to shine.

But with so much choice these days, it’s hard to know which one to go for. Which has the better line-up? The most beautiful and Instagrammable location? The best non-music activities?

Obviously, you need to select the right one for your personality. From chilled-out gatherings to energetic dance raves, there are hundreds of music festivals located all over the world.

There lots to see and hear, but with many of them overlapping in dates, and a budget in mind, it’s obvious that seeing them all in one year is impossible.

But it is possible to catch a handful of the best festivals that fulfil all your music needs.

We’ve curated five themed journeys that will take you across all corners of the globe for the musical trip of a lifetime.

The famous ones everyone’s heard of

Even if you only have a passing interest in music, you’ve heard of these ones. These world-class festivals always manage to draw the biggest names in music. Denmark’s Roskilde and Hungary’s Sziget have the biggest and most high-profile line-ups to fill that hole left by Glastonbury’s no-show this year.

Julia Wytrazek /
Julia Wytrazek / | © Culture Trip

1. Primavera Sound
Dates: May 30–June 3
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Headliners: Arctic Monkeys / The National / Björk / Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / Migos
www.primaverasound.com

2. The Governors Ball
Dates: June 1–3
Location: New York, US
Headliners: Eminem / Jack White / Travis Scott
www.governorsballmusicfestival.com

3. Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
Dates: June 7–10
Location: Tennessee, US
Headliners: Eminem / The Killers / Muse
www.bonnaroo.com

4. Isle of Wight Festival
Dates: June 21–24
Location: Isle of Wight, UK
Headliners: Kasabian / Depeche Mode / The Killers / Liam Gallagher
isleofwightfestival.com

5. Roskilde Festival
Dates: June 30–July 7
Location: Roskilde, Denmark
Headliners: Eminem / Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / Bruno Mars / Gorillaz
www.roskilde-festival.dk

6. British Summer Time Hyde Park
Dates: July 6–15
Location: London, UK
Headliners: The Cure / Eric Clapton / Michael Bublé / Roger Waters / Bruno Mars / Paul Simon
www.bst-hydepark.com

7. Benicàssim
Dates: July 19–22
Location: Benicàssim, Spain
Headliners: The Killers / Liam Gallagher / Travis Scott / Pet Shop Boys
fiberfib.com

8. Bestival
Dates: August 2–5
Location: East Lulworth, UK
Headliners: London Grammar / Jorja Smith / M.I.A.
www.bestival.net

9. Sziget Festival
Dates: August 8–15
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Headliners: Kendrick Lamar / Arctic Monkeys / Kygo / Mumford & Sons / Dua Lipa / Gorillaz / Lana Del Rey / Shawn Mendes
en.szigetfestival.com

10. Reading and Leeds Festivals
Dates: August 24–26
Location: Reading and Leeds, UK
Headliners: Kendrick Lamar / Kings of Leon / Panic! at the Disco / Fall Out Boy
www.readingandleedsfestival.com

Best for indie lovers

If pop doesn’t do it for you, these festivals will fill your inner indie-kid’s heart with joy. Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys and Lana Del Rey are the headliners that seem to be popping up at each one, but it’s also a good opportunity to check out some up-and-coming alternative acts.

Julia Wytrazek /
Julia Wytrazek / | © Culture Trip

1. All Points East
Dates: May 25–June 3
Location: London, UK
Headliners: The xx / Björk / LCD Soundsystem
www.allpointseastfestival.com

2. We Love Green
Dates: June 2–3
Location: Paris, France
Headliners: Björk / Migos /Jamie xx
www.welovegreen.fr

3. NorthSide
Dates: June 7–9
Location: Aarhus, Denmark
Headliners: Björk / Queens of the Stone Age / The National / Father John Misty
northside.dk

4. Best Kept Secret
Dates: June 8–10
Location: Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands
Headliners: Arctic Monkeys / LCD Soundsystem / The National
www.bestkeptsecret.nl

5. Bilbao BBK Live
Dates: July 12–14
Location: Bilbao, Spain
Headliners: Florence + The Machine / The xx / Gorillaz
www.bilbaobbklive.com

6. Melt! Festival
Dates: July 13–15
Location: Gräfenhainichen, Germany
Headliners: The xx / Florence + The Machine / Fever Ray
meltfestival.de

7. Øya Festival
Dates: August 7–11
Location: Oslo, Norway
Headliners: Kendrick Lamar / Arctic Monkeys / Lykke Li
oyafestivalen.no

8. Way Out West
Dates: August 9–11
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Headliners: Kendrick Lamar / Arctic Monkeys / Arcade Fire
www.wayoutwest.se

9. Flow Festival
Dates: August 10–12
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Headliners: Arctic Monkeys / Kendrick Lamar / Patti Smith
www.flowfestival.com

10. Clockenflap
Dates: November 9–11
Location: Hong Kong, China
Headliners: TBC
www.clockenflap.com

EDM, techno and house festivals to rave to

If there’s one thing music festivals should be about, it’s the dancing. EDM, techno, house, drum’n’bass, dub… take your pick. Sonar in Barcelona is one of the most popular, but you can also follow the beat to places like Marrakech and Cluj-Napoca. Get ready for the drop.

Julia Wytrazek /
Julia Wytrazek / | © Culture Trip

1. Ultra Korea
Dates: June 8–10
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Headliners: Above & Beyond / Axwell Λ Ingrosso / The Chainsmokers / David Guetta
umfkorea.com

2. Sónar
Dates: June 14–16
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Headliners: Gorillaz / LCD Soundsystem / Diplo / Thom Yorke
sonar.es

3. Awakenings
Dates: June 30–July 1
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Headliners: Carl Cox / Adam Beyer / Nina Kraviz / Sven Väth
www.awakeningsfestival.nl

4. Balaton Sound
Dates: July 4–8
Location: Zamárdi, Hungary
Headliners: The Chainsmokers / David Guetta / Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike / Martin Garrix / DJ Snake
balatonsound.com

5. Dour Festival
Dates: July 11–15
Location: Dour, Belgium
Headliners: The Chemical Brothers / Mura Masa / Tyler, the Creator / alt-J
www.dourfestival.eu

6. ParookaVille
Dates: July 20–22
Location: Weeze, Germany
Headliners: Armin van Buuren / Axwell Λ Ingrosso / David Guetta
www.parookaville.com

7. Tomorrowland
Dates: July 20–22 and July 27–29
Location: Boom, Belgium
Headliners: Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike / Armin van Buuren / Carl Cox / Hardwell / Martin Garrix
www.tomorrowland.com

8. Untold Festival
Dates: August 2–5
Location: Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Headliners: The Chainsmokers / Afrojack / Jason Derulo / The Prodigy / Diplo
untold.com

9. NEOPOP Electronic Music Festival
Dates: August 8–11
Location: Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Headliners: Apollonia / Ben Klock / Jeff Mills / Joseph Capriati
neopopfestival.com

10. Atlas Electronic
Dates: August 30–September 2
Location: Marrakech, Morocco
Headliners: Jamie xx / John Talabot / Ben UFO
atlas-electronic.com

Jazz festivals to get you into the groove

Today’s jazz festivals have grown to encompass trip hop acts like Massive Attack and hip-hop superstars N.E.R.D. Montreux Jazz Festival has one of the most eclectic and wide-ranging line-ups, while Jazz à Vienne has the most stunning venue: an ancient Roman amphitheatre.

Julia Wytrazek /
Julia Wytrazek / | © Culture Trip

1. Rochester International Jazz Festival
Dates: June 22–30
Location: New York, US
Headliners: Jill Scott / Seal / Alison Krauss
www.rochesterjazz.com

2. Jazz à Vienne
Dates: June 28–July 13
Location: Vienne, France
Headliners: Morcheeba / Gregory Porter / Youssou N’Dour
www.jazzavienne.com

3. Love Supreme Jazz Festival
Dates: June 29–July 1
Location: Glynde, UK
Headliners: Earth, Wind & Fire / Elvis Costello & The Imposters / Steve Winwood
lovesupremefestival.com

4. Gent Jazz Festival
Dates: June 29–July 8
Location: Ghent, Belgium
Headliners: David Byrne / The Roots / Paolo Conte / Pharoah Sanders Quartet
gentjazz.com

5. Montreux Jazz Festival
Dates: June 29—July 14
Location: Montreux, Switzerland
Headliners: Massive Attack / N.E.R.D / Iggy Pop / Queens of the Stone Age / Gilberto Gil
www.montreuxjazz.com

6. North Sea Jazz Festival
Dates: July 13–15
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Headliners: D’Angelo / Nile Rodgers & CHIC / N.E.R.D
www.northseajazz.com

7. Umbria Jazz Festival
Dates: July 13–22
Location: Perugia, Italy
Headliners: Quincy Jones / Erykah Badu / David Byrne / Gilberto Gil / Massive Attack
www.umbriajazz.com

8. Heineken Jazzaldia
Dates: July 25–29
Location: San Sebastián, Spain
Headliners: Yann Tiersen / Gregory Porter / Curtis Stigers
heinekenjazzaldia.eus

9. Jazz Middelheim
Dates: August 9–12
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Headliners: Kamasi Washington / Mélanie De Biasio
jazzmiddelheim.be

10. Oslo Jazzfestival
Dates: August 11–18
Location: Oslo, Norway
Headliners: Sons of Kemet / Charlotte Dos Santos / Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles
oslojazz.com

Remote festivals to tap into your spiritual side

Get in touch with your hippy side at these far-out festivals. These aren’t just for music lovers: they’re a chance to connect with the community, raise your spiritual awareness and really become one with yourself. Everyone knows Burning Man in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, but smaller events like FORM Arcosanti and Genius Loci Fest have plenty to offer too. Headliners are still to be announced for many of these.

Julia Wytrazek /
Julia Wytrazek / | © Culture Trip

1. FORM Arcosanti
Dates: May 11–13
Location: Arizona, US
Headliners: Chance the Rapper / Charli XCX / Beach House
experienceform.com

2. Meadows in the Mountains
Dates: June 7–10
Location: Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria
www.meadowsinthemountains.com

3. Genius Loci Fest
Dates: June 21–25
Location: Baja, Mexico
geniuslocifest.com

4. Nowhere
Dates: July 3–8
Location: Castejón de Monegros, Spain
www.goingnowhere.org

5. Boom
Dates: July 22–29
Location: Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal
www.boomfestival.org

6. Ozora
Dates: July 30–August 5
Location: Dádpuszta, Hungary
ozorafestival.eu

7. BoomTown Fair
Dates: August 9–12
Location: Winchester, UK
Headliners: Gorillaz / Die Antwoord / Limp Bizkit
www.boomtownfair.co.uk

8. Burning Man
Dates: August 26–September 3
Location: Nevada, US
burningman.org

9. Equinox Festival
Dates: September 21–23
Location: North Carolina, US
eqfest.com

10. Quest Festival
Dates: November
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
questfestival.net