Our European choices...
So good, Floating Points named a tune after it — it's easy to see why. Nuit Sonores sprawls over five days and five nights in the idyllic French town of Lyon and is dedicated to all things electronic and independent. Since the festival’s humble beginnings 13 years ago, over 250 locations in Lyon have been used and repurposed for the event, including art galleries, industrial spaces, rooftops and even a private swimming pool. This year's soiree promises to be just as eclectic, with the festival set to welcome underground acts Barnt and Rødhåd plus stadium techno mainstays Ben Klock, Laurent Garnier and Marcel Dettmann. As if that wasn’t enough, Nuit Sonores is also purpose-built to be accessible either by bike or on foot, with attendees encouraged to explore the city while they commute.
WHEN? 13th - 17th May
WHERE? Lyon, France
HOW MUCH? €38
HIGHLIGHTS? Ben Klock, Jeroen Search, Barnt, Genius of Time, Joy Orbison, John Talabot, Jon Hopkins, Voiski, Laurent Garnier b2b Marcel Dettmann b2b Rødhåd b2b Âme
More a talent-spotting contest with a load of panels and club nights attached than a party in a field, Emerging Ibiza isn't your usual festival. Still, run over the space of five days, across various clubs, bars and locations on the White Isle, it calls itself a “break-thru festival” and, considering the calibre of the talent on offer, who are we to argue? Conceived as a way of discovering unchecked DJs and producers, it's for a good cause too. After last year's event, Patrick Topping, Mark Jenkyns, Anek and Detlef — picked by a panel of industry experts — have all, as predicted, emerged, and we expect more of the same this year. With Ibiza Rocks, Ocean Beach Club, Ushuaia Tower and a boat serving as spots for a party too, it's a perfect excuse for a trip to Ibiza.
WHEN? Tuesday 26th May – Saturday 30th May
WHERE? Ibiza Rocks/Ushuaia Tower/Ocean Beach Club
HOW MUCH? €99
WORLD CLUB DOME
Some of the world's most important live gigs have taken place in football stadiums. But Bruce Springsteen at Wembley, this is not. Considered the “world's biggest club” by its organisers, BigCityBeats World Club Dome is three days of dance music mayhem within one of Germany's top stadiums. Instead of just plonking a stage on the pitch and packing out the terraces, however, they've taken over the entire complex for this session, stacking soundsystems within whatever suitable space, room or foyer they can get their mittens on. As a result, there'll be three floors of music fitting 40,000 people, including a VIP area, where 150 DJs will play throughout the course of the event. Headliners like Avicii, Guetta and Steve Aoki will fit the enormity of the occasion, but a stage hosted by Space Ibiza is a sure-fire way to attract more subterranean dance fans too. Let's hope it doesn't go to penalties...
WHEN? Friday 5th - 7th Saturday June
WHERE? The Commerzbank Arena, Frankfurt
HOW MUCH? €69+/€109+
HIGHLIGHTS? Avicii, David Guetta, Steve Aoki, Oliver Heldens, Jamie Jones, Anja Schneider, Deep Dish, Art Department, DJ Koze, Dubfire, Joris Voorn, Matthias Tanzmann, Route 94, Klangkarussell and more...
Still the boss
Perhaps more than any other electronic music festival, Sonar's reputation precedes it. The Barcelona event is known for its dedication to the experimental and avant garde, and while nowadays its line-ups foreground bigger dance acts, there's always a handpicked counterbalance of underground artists operating at the vanguard of electronica, techno, bass music and beyond to enjoy, should the more mainstream acts not appeal. Now over 20-years-old, the stately event may have a myriad of other offshoots taking place year on year in an increasing number of locations (Stockholm and Bogota are new Sonar sites this year and in the past Seoul, Chicago and London have seen Sonar events), but Barcelona is the daddy. Split between the more mellow locale of Fira Montjuic in the day and the ravemungous Fira Gran Via de L'Hospitalet at night, the bill this year has to be seen to be believed.
WHEN? 18th - 20th June
WHERE? Barcelona, Spain
HOW MUCH? 54€ (day) / 72€ (night), weekend pass 180€/195€
HIGHLIGHTS? Chemical Brothers, Duran Duran, Flying Lotus, Roísín Murphy, Skrillex, Jamie xx, Seth Troxler, Maya Jane Coles, Autechre, and many more...
Ice, ice baby
It's not just the humungous glaciers that make Iceland cool. There's the volcanic landscapes, the Northern Lights, the friendly, creative people, the vibrant music scene, the fact the sun doesn't set in late June... what? You heard. Secret Solstice, back for its second outing this year, is a festival taking place in the constant daylight of the Icelandic summer solstice. That means tripping the light fantastic and raving all night in the sunshine. Weird but very cool we're sure you agree. And while last year's line-up for the festival that commands a leisure complex on the outskirts of Reykjavik was brilliant, with Massive Attack and Jamie Jones among the highlights (we were there), this year's bill looks even more epic, with Wu-Tang Clan, TEED and fka twigs just some of the icy delights appearing.
WHEN? 19th - 21st June
WHERE? Reykjavik, Iceland
HOW MUCH? £93 / 147 (VIP) approx
HIGHLIGHTS? Wu-Tang Clan, TEED, fka twigs, Moodymann, Erol Alkan, Daniel Avery, Leon Vynehall, Ghost Culture, KiNK, Detroit Swindle, GusGus, FM Belfast and more...
Everywhere you go
With clubs like Rex, The Social and now Concrete in the mix, there's no shortage of decent dance sounds in Paris. And thanks to the same people who brought us the latter, the French capital's chic, sassy clubbers now have Weather Festival for all their sins. Moving to a new outdoor location (TBA), after bringing only the best names in house and techno to Institut Du Monde Arabe last year, this three-day event quickly became Paris's festival du jour. A full-blown festival in the summer sun with the likes of Derrick May, Cassy, Josh Wink, MCDE, Mr G and Seven Davis Jr, plus a series of “off parties” — plus workshops and talks — across the city to choose from, this is the 'Weather' you can rely on.
WHEN? Thursday 4th June – Sunday 7th June
HOW MUCH? €107
HIGHLIGHTS? Derrick May, Ricardo Villalobos, Ben Klock, Josh Wink, Cassy, Mr G, MCDE & Marcellus Pittman, Seven Davis Jr, Blawan, Xosar, Peter Van Hoesen, Floating Points, Marcel Dettmann, Nina Kraviz, Rhadoo, Len Faki
Head for the Exit
Exit began 15 years ago as a protest against the oppressive regime of Slobodan Milošević, the President of Serbia later tried for war crimes. Beginning as a non-stop 100 days-long music event in 2000 put on by students fighting for freedom and democracy in Serbia, it moved to its current impressive home of the Petrovaradin Fortress in 2001. Yet it's retained a sense of social responsibility at its heart, as well as putting on pukka line-ups, always being favourably priced compared to most European festivals with comparable bills, and supporting social campaigns around issues affecting young people in the region such as human trafficking.
WHEN? Friday 9Th — Sunday 12th July
WHERE? Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, Serbia
HOW MUCH? €159, including local travel and accommodation
HIGHLIGHTS? The Prodigy, Faithless, Hardwell, Martin Garrix, Catz N Dogz, Chris Liebing, Dixon, Adam Beyer b2b Joseph Capriati, Goldie, Kölsch, Roni Size Reprazent, Wilkinson
I love ya, tomorrow!
Tomorrowland isn't really a festival, it's a separate nation of its own. The undoubted daddy of all dance music festivals, this event's quintessential status within EDM folklore lies not only in the fact it resides in a place in Belgium called Boom (no shit!). With 400,000 attendees last year, it's considered the biggest electronic music festival in the world and spin-off events now exist in Säo Paulo and Atlanta. Famed most for its ornately designed main stage of jaw-dropping proportions, rocked by the likes of Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike in recent years, Tomorrowland is more than just an enormous EDM love-in with lots of fireworks. Explore the full breadth of its vast, illustrious site, made up of sprawling walkways that lead to all sorts of magically conceived soundsystems hidden far and wide, and you'll find stages hosted by the likes of Paradise, Carl Cox, Cocoon, Full On, Minus and much more. There's something here for lovers of all sorts of music, as long it's dance-y.
WHEN? Friday 24th July – Sunday 26th July
WHERE? Boom, Belgium
HOW MUCH? Sold out!
HIGHLIGHTS? Hardwell, Tiësto, Avicii, Armin van Buuren, David Guetta, Carl Cox, Dubfire, Solomun, Dave Clarke, Seth Troxler, Josh Wink, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Axwell & Ingrosso, Martin Garrix, Deetron, Prosumer, Derrick Carter b2b Eats Everything, Mark Farina b2b Seth Troxler, Riva Starr b2b DJ Pierre, Steve Aoki, Deorro and much, much more
It hasn't taken long for this rave in a forest to become one of the most sought-after dance events in Europe. But for Dekmantel — the hotshot promoters behind ADE's coolest parties over the years and the stone-cold label putting out Palms Trax and Joey Anderson — this rapid rise hasn't happened overnight. Worlds apart from overblown EDM spectacles like Tomorrowland and Mysteryland, Dekmantel re-installs the free and easy rave vibe lacking in a festival circuit so often sanitised by corporate branding, or damped by urban sound restrictions. The line-up isn't bad either. Bringing together the world's most untouchable underground talent there is — Panorama Bar/Berghain residents to Detroit legends — Dekmantel Festival 2015 will be opened by German synth pioneer Manuel Göttsching, who'll present a live peformance of 'E2-E4', while two additional festival venues — Muziekgebouw aan't IJ and Melkweg — will extend the event's programme for the first time this year.
WHEN? Thursday 30th July – Sunday 2nd August
WHERE? Amsterdamse Bos, Amsterdam
HOW MUCH? 123€ (weekend ticket)
HIGHLIGHTS? Manuel Göttsching (live), Autechre (live) Marcell Dettmann, Tale of Us, Carl Craig (live), Motor City Drum Ensemble, Ben UFO, Legowelt (live), Steffi, Squarepusher (live), Midland, Untold, Floating Points, Omar S, Matrixxman, Magic Mountain High (live), Clark, Derrick May, Dixon, DJ Harvey and much more!
Nestled on the shores of Hungary’s picturesque Lake Balaton — the biggest lake in Central Europe — it's worth heading to Mastercard Batalon Sound festival just for its location. The lush festival site has 2km of beach to enjoy, plus the obvious appeal of the lake for a post-boogie cool off. There's also purpose-built piers, interactive water installations, and an array of floating bars, alongside a heavy line-up of the world's best commercial DJs. Nicky Romero, Showtek and Hardwell will all spin, plus there'll be sets from Pusha T, R3hab and UK staples, Faithless. Legendary label bosses Guy Gerber and Loco Dice will set up in the early hours, for those in search of late night techno over ear-bleed EDM.
WHEN? Friday 8th - Sunday 12th July
WHERE? Zamárdi, Lake Balaton, Hungary
HOW MUCH? €150
HIGHLIGHTS: Tiësto, Oliver Heldens, Guy Gerber, Dyro, AronChupa, Tony Junior, Axwell Λ Ingrosso, Nicky Romero, Zedd, Showtek, Dannic, Quintino, Hardwell, Jason Derulo, Pusha T, R3hab, Ummet Özcan, Boyz Noise, Faithless, Afrojack, DVBBS and Loco Dice...
Reverting back to its original name, Groove Parade, Monegros is one of the longest running festivals in Europe (currently standing at 21 years and counting). The crew behind it know what they're doing. The result of a hair-brained scheme almost two decades ago, that saw a bunch of friends concoct the idea for the festival at an after-party, Spain's Groove Parade now attracts over 40,000 revellers annually.
Owned by the world-renowned Arnau Family (Elrow, Florida 135, KER), the event books a consistently phenomenal line-up that — unlike other trendy, desert-based festival affairs — focuses strictly on heads-down house and techno. Think new school cool kids like Bicep, The Martinez Brothers and Motor City Drum Ensemble, plus vintage talents like Matthew Herbert and Dave Clarke. Stadium techno dons Richie Hawtin, Loco Dice and Marco Carola will also pitch up. Sweaty desert raving never sounded so good!
WHERE? Huesca, Spain
WHEN? Saturday 17th - Sunday 18th July
HOW MUCH? €120
HIGHLIGHTS: Marco Carola, Laurent Garnier, Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Ricardo Villalobos, Apollonia, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Isolee, The Martinez Brothers, Pan Pot, Tale of Us, Seth Troxler, Ben UFO, Marcel Dettmann, Ben Klock, Joseph Capriatti, Ben Sims, Dave Clarke, Maya Jane Coles, Blawan, Rødhåd, Maceo Plex, Bicep, Ellen Allien, Len Faki, Levon Vincent, Loco Dice, Matador live, Recondite live, Guti live and Matthew Herbert...
Despite a focus on rock, blues, jazz and pop, Sziget festival will still satisfy foreigners looking for a rave-up. Electronic fans will rejoice at the inclusion of acts like Kompakt's Gui Boratto, Brit electronic icon SBTRKT and Argentinean house legend, Hernan Cattaneo in 2015, plus a pack of EDM heavy hitters including Alesso, Nervo and Blasterjaxx to name but a few. If EDM’s not your thing, there’s a host of creative activities to enjoy, including contemporary circus acts, live theatre and even a spot of organised sports. Hosted on Obuda Island and accessible via a walking bridge, there'll be a tasty dollop of local food and culture too (look out for special performances of Roma music and dance) all nestled amid Budapest's historic architecture in the heart of the Hungarian capital.
WHERE: Budapest, Hungry
WHEN: 10th - 17th August
HOW MUCH: €229 for seven days
HIGHLIGHTS: Knife Party, Alesso, SBTRKT, Nero, Nervo, Blasterjaxx, Infected Mushroom, Gui Boratto, Hernan Cattaneo, Sigma
Also look out for...
When? Saturday 23rd May
Where? Java Eiland, Holland
When? Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th May
Where? Houthalen-Helchteren, Belgium
When? Saturday 30th May
Where? Het Twiske, Amsterdam
When? Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th July
Where? Ramla Bay, Gozo, Malta
When? Monday 6th July – Sunday 12th Jult
Where? Sete, France
Kappa Futur Festival
When? Friday 11th – Saturday 12th July
Where? Parco Dora, Torino, Italy
When? Haarlemmermeer, Holland
Where? Saturday 29th – Sunday 30th August
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