The Best Music Festivals in the World 2018

Julia Wytrazek / © Culture Trip
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Music Editor
Updated: 24 May 2018
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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 /
© 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 /
© Culture Trip

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Øya Festival
Dates: August 7–11
Location: Oslo, Norway
Headliners: Kendrick Lamar / Arctic Monkeys / Lykke Li

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

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

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

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 /
© Culture Trip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 /
© Culture Trip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 /
© Culture Trip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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