Bucket List Worthy
It’s that time of year — the air is warm, the nights are long and you can practically hear festival music wafting your way on a warm breeze. Yes, there are festivals all year long, and we’ve featured some of the places for you. But, there’s no denying that the start of summer rings in the mighty festival season, especially in Europe.
The European festival scene is amongst the best in the world, most likely for it’s combination of incredible history and preservation of tradition alongside its curious and progressive tendencies. It’s here where you will find the world’s leading classical artists performing in castles and rockstars hitting high notes in rolling countrysides or packed city centers.
During the summer months locals pour into the streets and internationals hop on planes to descend upon Europes most beautiful cities — all for a chance to hear their favorite musicians play in open air. Whether you like to rock out, bop your head to jazz, hum alongside classical tunes or get lost in an international lineup — there’s a concert out there for you. Curious as to what we’ve found, and what we’ve deemed the best on the continent? Check out the article below and be sure to comment & share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!
You’re going to want to line up for this lineup, because this summer Linkin Park, Simple Plan, MGK, Enter Shikari, Royal Republic, Counterfeit, Mallory Knox are all performing at an old Czech airport for one of the hottest summer rock festivals, Aerodrome.
Prague is pretty much the perfect backdrop for a summer European festival. The city itself is spectacular, the weather is going to be as hot as the music, and the exchange rate will surely leave you feeling like a king.
Running since 2004, Topfest 2017 is a multicultural rock festival featuring major names like Bastille, Rag – N- Bone Man, Gogol Bordelo, Skindred and amongst others. Besides the killer lineup, this year’s festival is full of different fun attractions like the FunZone, a book tent and even a beauty zone giving out makeovers to festival goers. If Slovakia wasn’t already on your list, we bet it is now.
Rock For People 2017 is a Czech rock festival that for 22 years has celebrated everything from heavy metal to punk. Setup at a former airport, jet setters and rockstars now land here to party away for the two-day festival and get lost in the music.
With a mix of legendary talent and an electrifying atmosphere, this festival has solidified itself as a core element of the European rock scene. Oh, and this is who’s on the lineup this year: Die Antwoord, Paramore, Evanescence, Foster the People, Three Days Grace — just to name a few.
Celebrating 50 years this year, Exit Festival started back in 1967 as a student movement for democracy in Serbia and since has transformed into an acclaimed festival. Its uniqueness lies in its mind-blowing location — the magical Petrovaradin Fortress — as well as artistic diversity, and local flavor.
Did we mention the lineup yet? This year they’ve snagged legends The Killers alongside talent like Years & Years, Alan Walker and more. Come to enjoy rock and contemporary music, dance to funky beats and celebrate this festival’s rich history.
It’s easy to get Lost in Limoges when they supply amazing artists, sick beats and a killer atmosphere. Over the course of the 2-day festival, music lovers will listen to more than 22 French and international artists like the Foals, Peter Doherty, Naive New Beaters, Las Aves, Talisco and many other bands.
And when you get hungry, of course the French have you covered. This year they’ve hired local restaurateurs to take you on an epic journey through their local cuisine. There’s also going to be great drinks and huge lounges to kick back and relax, too. But let’s face it — you’re there to have fun. When it’s all said and done, though, exploring the nearby cities and country isn’t a bad way to kill some time.
Ilosaarirock is an institution in Finland. The open air festival has been running in this Nordic country since 1971, and every year since has featured music alongside different social and cultural programs.
This year, some 50,000 festival goers will sing and dance alongside the lakeside event’s five stages featuring artists like Imagine Dragons, Rag’n’Bone Man, Shellac and more. While you’re sure to leave Ilosaarirock with a smile on your face already, the fact that they donate part of the profits to local artists is pretty much the cherry on top of the festival sundae.
This year the award-winning Splendour Festival is wowing festival goers with a lineup that includes the famous Busted, 1980’s legend Tony Hadley (Ex Spandau Ballet) and Grammy Award winning singer Billy Ocean — amongst many others.
The festival is for music lovers of all ages, with Splendour Festival encouraging families and everyone else to come out for the fun. There will be multiple stages for their 20,000+ guests to hop to throughout the day, as well as a kids area so the parents can go rock out on their own a little bit. This is an awesome event to see some legendary bands and enjoy some (hopefully sunny) British summer weather.
Since 2004 festival goers have been rocking out to Metal Days in Slovenia. This year, the week-long festival will feature heavy metal legends like Marilyn Manson, Abbath, Death Angels and so many more. Seriously, check out the lineup, it’s huge.
Besides the killer music, this festival is also located on prime real estate between two mountain rivers called Tolminka and Soca. MetalDays has two “festival-owned” beaches for only festival-goers to relax on, and they’re just 65 kilometers off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. So, while you might head to Slovenia to party and rock out, at the end of it all you can relax and relish in the fun with a few days on the beach. Doesn’t sound too shabby, right?
Featuring some of the world’s best indie rock bands in one of the most iconic cities of the Mediterranean, Low Festival is a bucket-list-worthy event. Alongside multiple stages, Low Festival has the grassy venue music lovers obsess over while being located right in the middle of the city. Oh, they also have an Olympic size pool to cool down in. And did we already mention they’re just 15 minutes from Benidorm’s spectacular beaches?
Since 2008 the festival has been thrilling indie-rock lovers, and this year they’ll be featuring artists like the Pixies, The Hives, Dorian, Fangoria and so many more. This is a summer festival that seriously has it all.
This famous metal and hardcore festival might be called Brutal Assault, but it will quite literally be music to your ears if you love this genre. Besides cultivating a loyal following and grabbing top 100 bands like the Architects, Power Trip, Nervosa, Macabre and many more, this festival has a killer venue.
The three-day festival, celebrating 21 years this year, will be held inside the 18th century Josefov Fortress. When you’re done rocking you’re going to want to check out this incredible part of East Bohemia where you can explore folk traditions, rich history, old castles and military fortresses and museums. It’s also important to note the exchange rate goes pretty far in Czechia these days, so if you’re looking for fun on a budget, this is the summer rock concert you’ve been looking for.
Bloodstock is the UK’s award-winning hard rock & heavy metal weekender with a loyal following that’s come to love the strong lineup year after year. Proudly one of the best heavy metal festivals in all of the UK, Bloodstock is keeping the momentum up by announcing Megadeth, Ghost, Amon Amarth and so many more for this years show.
The backdrop to this festival isn’t so bad either, especially for beer lovers. The township is known for their brewing and the festival will be showcasing that part of the area’s rich history with a beer tent that has 100+ different ales. Oh yeah, this is gonna be fun.
When you combine storied Sicilian mountains, the Mediterranean coast, and indie-rock, you get none-other than the Ypsigrock Festival. Situated at the foothills of the Madonie Mountains and 20 minutes from the north coast, this award-winning festival is the perfect mix of city charm and outdoor adventure alongside a stellar lineup.
During the three-day festival, you’ll dance to more than 30 international and Italian artists –Beach House, Car Seat Headrest, Bry, Digitalism and more — in stages across the historical Sicilian town of Castelbuono. Your backdrop is cobbled streets and ancient buildings under a bright sky and surrounded by delicious foods and world-renowned wines. Sound like your kind of place? Ours too. This might be one of the most ideal locations for a summer festival, ever.
How do you feel about a sandy beach stage during the day, and dancing under the stars and a castle stage by night? Yeah, we already have FOMO, too. Tucked in the seaside city of St. Malo on Brittany’s Emerald Coast, La Route Du Rock supplies these spectacular backdrops for festival goers year after year.
This festival has become well known in the European festival circuit for its incredible venues, exciting atmosphere and solid lineup. This year you can expect to see sets from PJ Harvey, Interpol, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Mac DeMarco, Ty Segall as well as promising up-and-coming bands you’ll probably be singing along to in a few months.
With more than 40 years experience under their belt, the folks putting together one of Europe’s hottest Folk festivals definitely know what they’re doing. In fact, their well-defined profile, electric atmosphere and loyal following have lead the Tønder Festival to become an institution for folk, roots, country and trad lovers around the world.
What sets this festival apart is it’s dedication to a tangible experience of the artist’s handmade music by bringing the musicians and audience close together. Plus, if you’ve ever wanted to visit this Nordic country, August is a pretty great time to explore all Denmark has to offer.
It’s not like you need an excuse to visit Paris, but if you did, the world-renowned Pitchfork Festival would be a pretty good one. Essentially, it’s three days of hopping around the Bastille neighborhood listening to an unrivaled lineup of international indie and folk bands — does it really get much better than that?
This year you’ll hear sets from The Nationals, Jungle, Cigarettes After Sex, This Is The Kit and many more who have yet to be announced. Pitchfork is one of the hottest festivals in Europe with a truly unique feel and experience. If you’re looking to check off a bucket-list-worthy festival this year, Pitchfork is probably it.
Progressive, contemporary and ever-changing, Bankito Festival surprises and amazes their festival-goers year after year. For three days you can expect to see fresh, up-and-coming bands across six stages as well as join talks about this years theme: Anti-Corruption. All you have to do is bring your fun, open, music-loving self to enjoy the beats and gorgeous countryside.
Once you finish listening to the lineup that includes Ufallo Steez, Bohemian Betyars, Zagar and more, you can head into the big city. Budapest, and all this stunning metropolis has to offer, is well within reach.
Located on a breathtaking Basque, Spanish, cliffside, the Mundaka Festival combines some of the best views this country has to offer alongside a great international lineup and cultural events.
Over the three days, you’ll dance and sing along to artists like Mando Diao, Dark DJ, and Ocean Colour Scene amongst others. Then, when you’re not weaving in and out between stages, you can eat like a foodie at their gastronomic tents which explore the region’s unique foods. You can’t really go wrong with good food and good music, and when you throw in a venue like this, the Mundaka Festival easily becomes a dream destination.
Scotland’s Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival is an international music festival nestled in the world-famous Highlands. Just imagine dancing to music by Franz Ferdinand, The Pretenders, KT Tunstall, Birdie and more with that incredible backdrop. This festival is truly a family affair, and definitely a great excuse to get everyone together for a vacation to Scotland.
On the stunning rugged cliffs of Britanny, you might feel like you’re at the edge of the earth. But when you attend the Bout du Monde, it’s like the world is at your fingertips.
This international festival brings together more than 60-thousand people who are there to relish in the beats and sounds of more than 35 artists from over 20 countries. The lineup includes artists like Alsarah And TheNubatones, BCUC, Bombino, Gregory Porter, New York Salsa Allstars and many more. If you’re into international music and you’re looking for a cultural adventure, Bout du Monde is for you.
Boomtown is one of the UK’s most innovative independent festivals with both massive stages and intimate street venues across the entire city. Boomtown is known for their attention to detail, year after year offering their 60-thousand festival-goers incredible lineups and impeccably designed stages.
At this year’s international festival you’ll sing along to over 120 artists ranging from folk to soul, funk, reggae and even dub and drum and bass. Amongst those you can catch sets from Cypress Hill, The Specials and MIA. Sick, right? If you’re looking for a diverse, international festival — Boomtown is for you.
Since 2004 Helsinki’s Flow Festival has blossomed from a ’boutique’ event to an internationally acclaimed festival. Last year the 3-day event was totally sold out — reaching its 75-thousand person capacity with a lineup of old-school legends and trendy newcomers.
This year you can expect to sing and dance to artists like Frank Ocean, Lana Del Ray, The XX, Aphex Twin, Ryan Adams and so many more. Are you drooling yet? If not, you should be. To make this festival even better they’ve added a gastronomic element, bringing in some incredible local and gourmet eats. When you’re finally all danced out and fattened up you can wander into Helsinki’s city center to walk it off and explore one of Europe’s greatest cities. Does it get much better than this? Probably not.
Le Guess Who is an international music festival celebrating, exploring and inducing collaboration between global artists. During this four-day festival in the picturesque Dutch city of Utrecht, you will sing and dance to artists on large stages, in theaters, churches, galleries and warehouses. As you take a global tour of the world music scene, you’ll also explore all this enchanting city has to offer.
2017’s Le Guess Who will feature artists ranging from jazz to drone composers. The lineup is aimed at introducing the thousands of guests to types of music, art and culture they might not already know, and includes a lineup of Pharoah Sanders, James Holden and the Animal Spirits, Perfume Genius, Moor Mother and so many more. If you’re in search of a truly global, unique experience and want to visit a city largely known as a best-kept-secret of Europe, Le Guess Who is for you.
Montenegro’s Southern Soul Festival is world-famous for its cosmopolitan spirit mixed with the planets finest Jazz, Funk, Soul, House and Afrobeat. And, as if these beats won’t already hypnotize you, their coastal venue will captivate and mesmerize you.
This year the wide-ranging lineup consists of iconic artists like Amp Fidler, John Gomez, Shuriken, Volcov and many more. This event is known to showcase artists who shine and define their scene — so, if this is your stuff, you don’t want to miss this festival. Plus, you get to explore the incredible country of Montenegro, and that’s not so bad either.
If Oslo was already on your travel bucketlist, well, this concert might just make you book that ticket sooner rather than later. This summer the city is once again hosting it’s famous Oslo Jazz Festival which will take place in venues across the city.
Just imagine listening to musicians like Joshua Redman, Zigitybop, Lill Lindfors, The Four Freshman and many others while exploring this incredible capital city. Over the course of the week, nearly 70 performers will grace the city’s 20 venues while festival goers sway to the beat. Each year the lineup seems to get better and better, so if you love travel and jazz, this might just be the best festival for you this year.
For more than a month, each of these German cities will celebrate the joy of live jazz with a different concert every night. The incredible, massive Enjoy Festival is world famous for their lineup and jaw-dropping performances. In fact, Ornette Coleman won the Pulitzer Prize for his live recording done at Enjoy Jazz Festival.
If you’re excited about listening to talented musicians like Gilad Hekselman Trio, Ephemerals, Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra, Hot 8 Brass Band and the Avishai Cohen Quartett — you better start looking at flights to Germany this fall. The festival produces incredible concerts and experiences that are sure to stay with you for a lifetime, so this one’s not to miss.
Founded by a small group of enthusiasts in 1997, 20 years later, the Sarajevo Jazz Festival is one of the most important and acclaimed festivals in the region. In the past, the famous festival has hosted artists like Dave Holland, Dhafer Joussef, Merchan Dede, Dianne Reeves, Gregory Porter — just to name a few.
This year’s lineup has yet to be released, but based on their track record of incredible performances, we think it’s safe to say this festival is a top contender for your own 2017 lineup. Plus, this gives you the chance to explore the capital city which is undergoing a beautiful rebirth after years of war. If you ask us, this is a no-brainer.
This one of a kind concert features today’s best US and European blues-rock artists with a truly unbelievable backdrop — the medieval Episcopal Castle ruins. The festival, which is running for 24 years this year, will feature 30 concerts across eight stages and has gotten so big it will even spill into the cities streets, open air cafes and acoustically unique rail station.
Plus, If there’s any time to head to Estonia, it’s in the summer. And we have to say, the Augustibluus Festival is the perfect excuse to go and explore this part of the world has to offer — especially when big names like Eric Gales, Nathan James, Duke Robillard, the Tanel Padar Blues Band and more are involved.
For more than 40 years Austria’s Schubertiade has bee one of the most famous and distinguished classical music festivals in the entire world. Revolving around the great Viennese composer Franz Schubert, this incredible festival focuses only on the top-class lieder recitals and chamber music concerts with today’s most renowned artists and Schubert contemporaries.
If you love classical music, this is a festival that should be on your bucket list (if it already isn’t). Besides featuring the talents of Christiane Karg and Andreas Staier, or Paul Lewis or Matthias Goerne and Markus Hinterhauser this year — the venue for this festival is truly spectacular. Just look at that western Austrian countryside — it’s like something out of a movie.
Would you believe us if we told you it was the Romans who first discovered Buxton’s life-giving waters? That’s how deep Buxton’s history goes. And now, the town commemorates its rich cultural history with a world-famous festival featuring exceedingly rare operas ranging from Beethoven to Bob Dylan. Oh yeah, you read that right!
This isn’t your typical Opera Festival at all. The Buxton Festival will continually amaze and surprise you with it’s range and theatrics. This year you can expect to see performances of A Deadly Destiny by Macbeth and A Tyrant Redeemed by Love by Lucio Silla — just to name a couple.
What began as a creative outlet for Finnish Chamber music students in 1970 has turned into an international sensation today. The Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival is held every July and thousands from around the world flock to the city to hear some of the genre’s leading artists perform.
Those who attend the festival say it’s a sort of paradise for chamber music lovers — with concerts running from morning until night. The Kuhmo Arts Centre, where the festival is held, is a masterpiece in itself as well — the design and acoustics being world-famous in their own rights. If you’re a chamber music fan, this is pretty much the place to be this year.
Every summer classical music buffs congregate in a town near the border where France, Germany and Luxemburg meet. They come to Musicalta Festival to listen to some of the best classical musicians in the world, but we have to say, the castle and vineyard sweep them off their feet, too.
The 20 day festival celebrates the music with enthusiasm — and somehow, all within an opulent yet casual setting. And, if you’ve ever wanted to go to a concert and talk to the artist but couldn’t afford VIP passes, this concert might grant you your ultimate wish. Musicalta creates an open environment that encourages discussion, let’s artists play in intimate settings where you can meet them, and they even puts on dozens of free concerts for the public.
For 65 years the Pablo Casals Festival has highlighted some of the world’s most talented up-in-coming young artists on its stages. Often students, the young performers join the stages with prestigious soloists and professors and perform before an international audience.
The concert’s namesake, Pablo Casals, was one of the world’s best cellists as well as composer and conductor. The festival is in his honor, as he was known for highlighting young talent during his own career. This year you can expect to listen to brilliant young musicians like Szymon Nehring, Mariona Camats, Pierre Fouchenneret, Tanguy de Williencourt, Clémence Barrabé, Romain Leleu, and the Arod Quartet. This is an exceptional festival for anyone who loves classical music, and especially those who want a great anecdote for a dinner party.
This two week, versatile city-wide event offers festival-goers large orchestral concerts, chamber music, recitals and jazz shows that everyone can enjoy. The Turku Festival is a national institution, captivating crowds since 1960 with incredible musicians and live cultural events.
If you’re lucky enough to attend this event in Finland you’ll get to hear legends like Jonas Kaufmann, Elīna Garanča, Sonya Yoncheva, Valery Gergiev, Rolando Villazón — amongst others. If you’ve been craving a visit to a spectacular Nordic country like Finland, this is an awesome time to go. What’s better than great weather, amazing culture and good music? We’ll tell you: not much.
Since 1845 the hometown of the world-famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven has held a festival in his name. The Beethoven Festival is mostly an ode to the renowned composer, and this year will center around his ‘An die ferne Geliebte’ (To the distant beloved) — the first song cycle in music history.
The festival is an extraordinary event work by Beethoven, but also contemporary dance, world premières of new material and popular works. This year festival-goers will get the chance to hear Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Igor Levit, Matthias Goerne, the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Isabelle Faust, Khatia Buniatishvili and Les Musiciens du Louvre amongst many others. Plus, the festival is situated in the heart of Bonn itself, an incredible Germany city to explore.
From steep Spanish cliffsides to the hills of Bohemia, France, Slovakia, Chezchia, England and beyond — these are the best concerts in Europe in 2017. Whether you’re into heavy metal, rock, smooth jazz, classical, or an international mix — there was at least one festival here that got added to your bucket list.
What makes each and every one of these concerts special goes beyond the music and the stunning locations. Yes, they all have stellar lineups and international fame, but they also have loyal followings. Behind each and every one of these festivals are music fans, lovers, buffs and aficionados who relish in the sound of live music. Without their continued support, none of these festivals would be what they are today.
So, are you going to be part of the story this year? Leave a comment and let us know!