Europe is the birthplace of modern dance music.
It’s no surprise that each year Europe is home to some of the best music festivals in the world. Not only do DJs break barriers with mesmerizing tracks, but also, the biggest mainstream names show up to lay down tracks for endless crowds of music lovers. And these festivals happen everywhere: in the idyllic farms of South France; a millennia-old Roman amphitheater in Croatia; along the shores of the Mediterranean and Adriatic; on absolutely stunning beaches, and luxurious boats; and in the hearts of major urban centers. The entire continent comes alive to turn that sound system up.
Here at FlightNetwork, the world’s leading travel agency, we send our writers across the globe each year to find the best music spectacles out there. And 2018 is already shaping up to be one of the biggest years for festivals yet. That’s why we’re excited to finally announce the 2018 edition of our quintessential guide to Europe’s best pop and electronic festivals. They span the continent, from the U.K. to Serbia; some are intimate, some are huge, and one is even held at a secret location somewhere outside of London. But they all have one thing in common: they’re guaranteed to be a good time.
Ready to drop the bass? We are, too.
The NASS Festival does something rare just outside of Bristol: it blends the world of extreme sports with music and street art into a four-day extravaganza, which sees some of the world’s best skaters and BMX bikers face off in the NASS Pro Park and Vert competitions, amidst the sounds of drum n’ bass, dance, hip-hop, and grime. It has virtually everything: silent disco, DJ and MC workshops, film screenings, and fairgrounds with rides. Oh, and we forgot to mention: it’s even home to Europe’s largest vert ramp.
The 2018 headliners include Run DMC and Damian Marley. The cost of a single day ticket is £39 day plus booking fees. For weekend camping, you’ll have to pay £135, plus booking fee. For more on where you can start shredding, click here.
Along the beautiful shores of Zrce Beach each year, some of the biggest names in hop-hop, grime, and R&B come to Croatia for a week full of open-air partying, by the pool or on the beach. Festival-goers can hit the Adriatic with intense boat rave lineups that take off from Pag Island, featuring a host of urban music crews, and DJs. Past years have seen acts like Snoop Dogg, Sean Paul, and Wiz Khalifa, but this year, don’t miss out on catching J Hus, Goldlink, Statik Selektah and Lil Pump.
Tickets can be bought for 149 euros, and Zero Day passes for 35 euros, with luxury accommodations available nearby. For more information and purchases, check out their site here.
2,500 people a day come to Labyrinth Open Croatia, better known to most as LABO. And for good reason: the brand-new four-day fest is set on the scenic Adriatic Sea as well, in the city of Omiš. It’s become a beachside beacon for internationally recognized DJs, with names like Amelie Lens and Fabio Florido playing this year’s show. The live performances are supplemented with boat parties, workshops, a music conference with speaker selections, and other daytime activities. But all that matters is that you’re here, on the beach.
The price for a single ticket varies: they are 49 euros for those visiting internationally, and 19 euros for residents. For four-day passes, it’s 129 euros for international visitors, and 59 euros for residents. Ready for LABO 2018? Find out more here.
The shores of Lake Tunisee have long been called a “beach republic,” where good vibes and great scenery reign supreme. So it’s the perfect setting for the Sea You Festival, which has become one of Germany‘s largest house and techno dance festivals. In recent years, popular DJs like Carl Cox, Robin Schulz, and Solomun have spun tracks long into the night, as partygoers enjoyed the annual escape into the German countryside. This year will take it to the next level with seven stages to choose from, as well as a number of water sports on the lake.
Day tickets can be purchased for 53 €, weekend tickets for 85 €, and camping tickets for 35 €. For more information, go to the festival’s website here.
Since 2010, Kolorz Festival has invited electronic music lovers all over to its venue in the courtyard of the idyllic Hôtel-Dieu of Carpentras, located in the South of France‘s Provence region. There, over 50 renowned producers and DJs from both local and international scenes have spun their tracks amidst mid-18th century architecture, and luxurious grandeur. Past acts have included legends like Marcel Dettman, Jeff Mills, and Rone. This year hopes to follow suit with generation-defining artists like Laurent Garnier, Boris Brejcha, and Leo Pol.
Single-day tickets can be purchased from €26 to €33. A full weekly ticket goes for €50 to €60. Sound like something you’re interested in? Then go ahead—put your name on the list for this year’s Kolorz here.
Since its inception in 1995, rave aficionados have flocked to this open-air festival in Grünefeld, about 50km outside of the unofficial capital of techno to many: Berlin. Its location is fitting for such a spectacle, as it takes place in a lakeside forest, and the small town of Grünefeld plays an active role; in fact, its female choir opens the festival, which has seen the likes of international stars like Tiga and Daniel Avery in the past. Different stages offers attendees opportunities to enjoy rock, in addition to house and techno.
Tickets start at 132 euros, and more information can be found on the Nation of Gondwana’s website here.
Just 45 minutes outside of Amsterdam lies the Liquicity Festival, a yearly celebration of drum & bass that sees visitors from over 40 different countries. It’s located in the Geestmerambacht recreational area, which is known amongst visitors for its scenic backdrop and positive atmosphere. Over the course of two days, a special line-up features the biggest names in drum & bass around; this year, check out Camo & Crooked, Calibre, Blue Marble, and much, much more. And it’s not only about music—visitors can enjoy amusement rides, outdoor activities, artisanal food, and endless entertainment.
Single day tickets can be grabbed for €93.99. Escape from reality here.
According to the organizers, Milkshake Festival lives off of a very simple mantra: “nothing should be a must, anything is possible.” Billed as the world’s largest open-minded festival, the festival welcomes visitors of all creeds and colours, encouraging no bias against those with different skin colours, religions, or sexual preferences. It is a testament to the Netherland’s diversity, and welcoming environment. And it’s also a celebration with nine live stages, featuring techno, R&B, hip-hop, and electro. The party rages on Saturday night, and transforms into something entirely different by Sunday. That’s part of the charm.
A single day ticket goes for €51,25, while €102,50 can be spent on the full weekend. To join in the movement, check out the festival’s site here.
In the music festival world, there are rarely two things that go together as seamlessly as electronic music and beautiful outdoor scenery. Love Family Park knows that well—it’s Germany’s oldest open-air techno festival, and for the last years, it’s been held as Messepark Mainz, a huge green space. But for its 22nd year in business, Love Family Park is moving its operations to the incredible shores of the river “Main” in Rüsselsheim for the first time. And the lineup fits the highly anticipated bill, with big names like Richie Hawtin, Nina Kraviz, and Seth Troxler. Electronic music fans of all shapes and sizes are invited to this outdoor musical mecca for a day of dance, and wonder.
Tickets go for €52.50, and more details can be found here.
It’s all in the name: Lovefest, organizers say, is “all about spreading love,” but not just for electronic music. The festival has an underlying message that we should care for our planet and each other more, and puts that love for humanitarian, social, environmental, and educational causes front and center. The resulting atmosphere is notably family-friendly, welcoming and relaxed, with visitors invited to experience established and up-and-coming talent from Serbia and beyond over the three days of the festival. This year’s headliners include Blawan, Andre Galuzzi, and Optimo.
Those interested can purchase a single ticket for 18 din, and three-day passes for 35 din. Want to spread the love, too? Find out more on the festival’s website here.
Imagine this for a second: take the wide-eyed wonders of Cirque Soleil, and mix them with a house and techno festival. The result: Cirque Magique. The mesmerizing trance of electronic music digs even deeper with themes of magic and mystery on display in this pop-up village inside the Belgian city of Ledegem. Alongside classic circus performances like stilt walkers and acrobats, come find out what the Imaginarium stage holds, explore the Circodrome, and peer into the Kaleidoscope of your dreams. And then lose yourself with music from the likes of Sven Väth, Ben Sims, and plenty of others.
The festival operates on a cashless payment system, and offers a wide selection of artisanal eats. Children between five and 12 are welcome to enjoy a specially designed free play area with workshops and other circus fun. Is it time to enter the Cirque? Single day tickets can be bought for €59, with full tickets going for €119. To see where all the wonder begins, check out the site here.
Eastern Electrics, located in London’s Morden Park, crams what would usually be a week-long festival into just two days. The first day is dedicated to house and techno, with headliner Jamie Jones leading six stages of top-notch sound systems, and world-class DJs from across the world. The second day is for lovers of drum & bass, garage, and reggae; that’s when headliner David Rodigan will take the stage. In addition to great production value and vibes, visitors can also explore noteworthy independent food and drink vendors from across the city. It’s a huge celebration of London culture, and underground music—what’s not to love about that?
Hit one day for £57, or both days for £114. Check out the site here for more info.
Electrisize Festival began in 2009, at a time when electronic music was taking over the globe. So it holds claim to some pretty famous “family” members, with past acts such as Avicii, Don Diablo, and Nicky Romero. Just 30 minutes outside of Cologne, more than 100 DJs throw down between fields and an old monastery—a bucolic setting for 2 days, 3 nights, and 6 stages. There’s a reason why Electrisize has become so prominent in the festival circuit: the stage design is famous for its creative eccentricity, and some of the biggest names in techno, hardstyle, and urban sounds are invited to come. Every year, 20,000 fans answer the call.
Single day tickets can be bought for 45€, and full weekend ticket holders get a deal for 69€. To see the entire lineup of this year’s “family,” check it out here.
In Finland‘s capital city, Flow Festival has been throwing one of the biggest parties in Europe since 2004, starting first as a small club event that has since grown into a massive live music experience. It takes place at the historical former power plant area downtown, which has been turned into a festival lover’s paradise, with unique lighting design, interior remodeling, and cutting-edge live music technology. Organizers call it “an inspired mixture of popular culture and experimental arts,” featuring advancements in the arts and film, as well as some of the biggest names in music. Who’s coming in 2018, you might ask? Let’s start with Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys, Patti Smith, Lykke Li, and so much more. And that’s just rock and rap—outside of that, there’s also an extensive electronic music lineup that is sure to delight dance lovers and music fans alike.
Come check out one of Europe’s biggest festivals for €99 (single day) and €195 (full). And see what’s in store here.
For the last 18 years, Appelsap has been Amsterdam’s most prominent hip-hop festival, featuring the biggest up-and-coming in street and rap culture. But for its 18th “coming of age” birthday, the festival organizers are doing something different, with new artists dedicating their acts to the pioneers and legends of hip-hop over the years. This year will see performances by names like Mad Lib and Famous Dex, and feature a host of fresh talent from Amsterdam, and elsewhere. But a major emphasis is placed on the stages, which are said to be equal to one another in displaying the best and brightest in street culture.
Tickets can be purchased for € 42.50, with a group of 6 at € 212.50. To see the entire lineup of this year’s special festival, click here.
Journey to the beautiful shores of Zeebrugge for this annual electronic beach festival in Belgium, where, according to organizers, four pillars of leisure reign supreme: food, fashion, art, and music. Each year, the festival adopts a new theme to go by, and 2018’s is already set in stone: “Acid Cowboys.” In other words, this one is designed to transport you to the Wild, Wild West. And what that means… well, you’ll have to find that one on your own, right?
Single-day tickets can be purchased for $68, or 58 euro, while full weekend passes go for $116, or 99 euro. To find out who’s laying down the tracks at this year’s WECANDANCE, check out the website here. And get your lasso ready.
We return to the idyllic island of Pag in Croata for the Sonus Festival, which is celebrating its sixth run this year. Over four days, Zrce Beach comes alive with boat and beach parties, open-air clubbing, and the scenic waves hitting the shores as dancing goes well into the night. The lineup this year is especially huge, featuring both renowned DJs and more underground names alike, including Adam Beyer, Maceo Plex, and Marco Carola. We’ve already established that Zrce Beach is practically made for partying, and Sonus Festival once again proves that cannot be more true.
Grab tickets for $210, and come see the island for yourself. For more information, check out the festival’s site here.
Field Maneuvers can often feel like a festival from a lost era. Each year, it takes place in a secret site, somewhere green and spacious outside of London, and the 700 visitors are only made aware of its location after they buy tickets. It’s run by a bunch of music lovers, entirely not for profit, and specifically designed for an intimate, care-free rave experience, with top-quality speakers from Sound Services and Funktion-One. Over the years, the festival has developed a loyal following of sorts, with many returning to take part in the yearly rave retreat.
This year, tickets go for 136€, and the lineup includes names like Auntie Flo, Shed, and Grooverider. Come experience one of Europe’s most unique electronic music experiences here.
What’s the right way to celebrate sound system culture? If you spoke with the folks behind the Outlook Festival in Croatia, they’d tell you that they have it down to a science: 15,000 fans from across the globe, partying in an abandoned fort, a 2000-year-old Roman amphitheater, over 40 boat parties, beach fests, and even raves taking place underground, in tunnels. What’s said to be Europe’s biggest celebration of sound system culture sees over 20,000 people dancing until dawn over the course of four days, in the idyllic city of Pula. So yeah, that could do the trick.
For single day tickets, visitors will spend 60€, and full weekend passages start at 100€. To learn more, check out the Outlook Festival website here.
Last year, the BPM Festival successfully made its European debut in Portugal, taking over the two incredible coastal towns of Portimão and Lagoa. In 2018, it plans to go above and beyond, offering over 150 internationally acclaimed house and techno acts, over 30 party brand showcases from across the globe, parties along the beach, and nightclubs that go until sunrise. It has already become a staple of the dance music festival circuit—and that was only in one year. So the next natural question: what will this year bring?
For the full four days and nights, tickets go for $316. Single day tickets will soon be made available on the BPM Festival: Portugal website. You can find that here.
All things aside, Thessaloniki is already a must-see destination, with exquisite landscapes and beaches that are some of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean. So it’s no wonder that the Reworks Festival calls this Greek escape home. Taking advantage of the perfect September summer temperatures, Reworks invites dance music lovers to enjoy a lineup featuring the likes of Mano Le Tough, Michael Mayer, and Daphini, as well as national acts like Ison, Tendts, and Sworr. More acts are slated to be announced soon. But until then, you can start Googling photos of Thessaloniki. We know we have.
A single day pass can be purchased from 25 to 30 euros, and a three-day pass goes for 70. When the rest of that lineup goes live, you can find it here.
In the heart of London, the biggest names in drum & bass play on eight stages for 12,000 fans, in a festival unlike any other in the UK. As the organizers say, “What’s not to love?” Although the genres blend, the focus here is drum & bass, with an immersive outdoor experience that invites ravers to a welcoming environment and unique design. Partnering with other major brands, Hospitality in the Park also serves up the other important part of festivals in 2018: food. With some of the best independent food and drink vendors in the UK, the organizers strive to offer an underground dance festival unlike any other.
The one-day pass goes for £42.50. And you can start preparing yourself here.
Düsseldorf is largely regarded by electronic music fans as the birthplace of modern dance music, home to such famous acts as Kraftwerk and Der Mussolini. It is this history that the Connect festival looks to tap into. The product of the Awakenings and Time Warp production brands, CONNECT is part music, and part experience. It is the capstone of the Electri_City Conference, and sees over 20,000 visitors each year. If you consider yourself an electronic music die-hard, then it’s almost impossible to miss CONNECT.
Tickets arrive in phases, and start at 59.50€. Hotel deals are also available online. To find out more about this epic event, click here.