4 Must-See Music Festivals (That Aren’t Coachella)

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Bucket List Worthy  

The news dropped: Beyoncé is headlining Coachella, and suddenly an already must-see event became an absolutely necessity in the hearts and minds of many. Unfortunately, not everyone can actually go—maybe you slept through your chance to book tickets, or have exams or work functions to attend those weekends (or maybe you just want to give this hotbed of cultural appropriation a wide berth). The good news is that for music-hungry young travellers, there are many other options to fulfill your festival-going needs in 2017. Here are four festivals—that aren’t Coachella—to consider this summer.

Sziget (August 9-16)

Sziget Festival Stage szigethalszem 2 by Peter Szanto is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

This week-long music festival takes place in Budapest, Hungary, on small island on the Danube that gets completely taken over by festival-goers (“Szitizens”) come festival time. It boasts not only a rockin’ program (over 1000 performances of astonishing variety; last year Rihanna headlined) but also an amazing collection of art installations and a host of daily activities to keep you entertained for the week. Stay in town, or camp on the island and meet new friends from all over the world; there are options for everyone, whether you want to party all night or a just want a quiet place to camp with your kids.

 

Electric Forest (June 22-25 & June 29-July 2)

Electric Forest Festival Rothbury II 034 by John VanderHaagen is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

For EDM (Electronic Dance Music) fans, Rothbury, Michigan’s Electric Forest Festival is a must-see. If artists like Odesza, Dillon Francis, Bassnectar and Flume headlining this year aren’t enough to entice you, check out the festivals instagram: there’s a reason they named it “Electric Forest.” Festival-goers camp out in Michigan’s Manistee National Forest, which is magical during the day and absolutely breathtaking lit up at night. Complete with hammock villages and hidden stages, this intimate festival is a perfect escape from reality. Take the festival shuttle in from the Chicago airport .

Montreux Jazz Festival (June 30-July 15)

Montreux Montreux Jazz Festival by Chris Schaer is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

This music festival, set against the stunning backdrop of Lake Geneva, Switzerland, has a long and prodigious history: when it began in 1967, it hosted the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, and Nina Simone, opening its doors to the likes Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin a few years later. (Trivia lovers and music aficionados will know that the fire that burned down the Montreux Casino in 1971, the festival’s original venue, is the inspiration for Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.”) Don’t be fooled by the “Jazz” in the title: though the festival still holds onto its jazz and blues roots, it has branched out along its 50-year history and now hosts a large variety of artists. Tickets go on sale on March 31st, but hurry to reserve your accommodation, as hotels book up fast!

 

Secret Garden Party (July 20-23)

Secret Garden Party Secret Garden Party 2014 by Angel Ganev is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“This isn’t a festival it’s a party,” states the official website of the Secret Garden Party, held in Cambridgeshire, U.K. Air, Milky Chance, and The Temper Trap all performed last year, but as much as you’ll want to attend for the music, you’ll also want to attend for the “serious fun.” Last year’s poster boasts of paint fights and “cosmic knitting”; in the works for this year are a massive dance-off, “guerilla science,” and much more. But moreover, if you’re looking for an alternative to the big music festival ethos, SGP may be the festival for you. The festival is dedicated to preserving the environment, as well as resisting the advertising and VIP ethos that has taken over so many festivals. Yes to ethical partying! 

About the Author: Matthew Greenspan

Matthew is a travel expert, writer, editor and digital marketer. He lives for seeing new places, learning new cultures and surfing new waves. He is based out of Toronto but travels the globe in search of the best travel stories and biggest waves.

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