Top 10 Destinations for Mind-Blowing Music Festivals


Bucket List Worthy  

Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the streets, but road rage being such as it is nowadays, the next best thing is to get yourself to a music festival. Luckily there are thousands of them around the world, and the summer months are prime time for cutting loose and enjoying live music under the sun and stars.

To help you get inspired, we have chosen 10 amazing destinations that host incredible outdoor music events every year. While cheap flights to Europe and last minute travel deals can be easy to book, festival tickets often sell out quickly so buy them as early as you can and go join in the revelry.

Photo by Michael Spencer

United States – America is home to many of the most recognizable and influential music festivals, such as Chicago’s Lollapalooza and SXSW in Austin, Texas that are known around the world. Among the hundreds that occur annually, popular festivals that haven’t yet achieved household name status include Coachella in California, Bonnaroo in Tennessee, and Burning Man in Nevada.

Croatia – Yes, Croatia. Seriously. A rising star in European tourism, this country has carved out a niche for itself playing host to music festivals such as INmusic in Zagreb, as well as Soundwave and Stop Making Sense, which are both held on the beautiful Adriatic coast near Tisno where boat parties are an added attraction. The concert venue is halfway between Split and Zadar, giving you several options for booking Croatia flights.

Music lovers in Croatia – Photo by Flickr user TOMi

United Kingdom – Along with America’s Lollapalooza, attending Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts is on many a music lover’s bucket list. And while Glasto is taking a hiatus in 2012 there are oodles of other terrific festivals in the UK to fill the void, such as Reading Festival, Isle of Wight, Download, T in the Park, Bloodstock, and many more that are worth a trip to the UK in their own right.

Spain – As if epic live music weren’t enough of a draw, add Mediterranean sun to the mix for an irresistible vacation combo. Spain has lots of music festivals devoted to many different genres. Prominent examples include Bilbao BBK Live, Ibiza Rocks, as well as Sonar and Primavera Sound in Barcelona.

Shambhala – Photo by Andrew Ferguson

Canada – Nickelback jokes aside, Canada has always had a wealth of musical talent and with that comes great music festivals to showcase it. Grab a ticket to Montreal for Osheaga, head down east to Antigonish for Evolve, visit Ontario for NXNE or Hillside, or go west to British Columbia for Shambhala, just to name a few.

Ireland – While there’s never a shortage of live music to enjoy in Ireland any day of the year, Electric Picnic and Oxegen are highlights of the annual festival calendar, which includes hundreds of events such as Sea Sessions and Life. If those don’t sufficiently impress you, hold out for tickets to one of the legendary concerts that are periodically held at Slane Castle. Yes, a castle.

Big Day Out – Photo by John Goodridge

Australia -The name alone gives the Big Day Out a sense of occasion, and with multiple venues hosting concerts in several cities simultaneously, this festival lives up to its name. To make your trip to Australia worthwhile, consider taking in other Aussie music fests as well, like Homebake, Meredith, Splendour in the Grass, and Parklife.

Denmark – Roskilde is the largest music festival in Northern Europe. While it’s known for its hard rock, punk, and heavy metal leanings, Roskilde always has a diverse lineup, and the 2012 ticket includes over 100 acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Bon Iver, The Cure, Wiz Khalifa, The Cult, and Santigold.

Radiohead at Roskilde – Photo by Ozgur Kurtoglu

Japan – Experience “They’re big in Japan” on a whole new level at Fuji Rocks, where a lineup of A-list acts, old favourites, and emerging talent from around the world take the stage over three days. The bill for 2012 includes performers such as Radiohead, Beady Eye, Jack White, Refused, The Stone Roses, and Los Lonely Boys. Fuji Rocks is held in Niigata Prefecture and the festival venue can be reached by taking a flight to Tokyo, then an hour’s ride on the bullet train to Echigo Yuzawa station.

Norway – Hove and Oya are Norway’s two most prominent festivals and both of them draw music lovers from across Europe. Hove takes place on an island near the city of Arendal over three days in June and onsite camping is included in the ticket price. This year’s bill features dozens of acts including Skrillex, Rise Against, Lana Del Ray, and the Dropkick Murphys. Oya is held at Medieval Park in Oslo where, as well as 11th Century ruins, you can enjoy acts like The Black Keys, Florence + The Machine, Feist, Karpe Diem, and Ane Brun.

Fuji Rocks festivalgoer – Photo by James Hadfield

About the Author: Steph Spencer

Formerly the Editor of Let's Roll, now you're more likely to find Steph prowling the halls of incredible museums, hunting for historic landmarks, discovering mind-blowing science and literary attractions, tracking down the world’s largest whatchamacallit or attending wacky festivals. She is a freelance travel writer who explores the geeky side of travel on her blog A Nerd At Large, and dispenses random quirkiness on Google+ and as @ANerdAtLarge on Twitter.

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