The music festival season is well under way but it’s not too late to get involved!
Aswell as the usual festival-going gear you need (hat,sunglasses,wellies – if you are going to one in the UK!)
you will need to wear something suitably bold and colourful to stand out from the crowd and so that you can
your shirt needs to reflect the party atmosphere going on around you. No matter what your taste in music may
be, there will be something for you being staged over the next few weeks somewhere. So, get your shirts
organised, get your festival tickets bought and get involved! Here is a selection of the world’s top festivals
happening this summer…
Wacken Open Air, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Dates: August 1-3
Last year it became a beast of a festival and smashed the record for the largest heavy metal event on earth. In their own words it’s “louder than hell.” A crowd of 800 metalheads has evolved into an army of harder and hairier death worshipers, 75,000 strong.
Extra curricular activities include dressing up as Vikings and throwing axes in the Wackinger Village.
Stop Making Sense, Tisno, Croatia
Dates: August 1-4
This is what the Sunset Strip in Ibiza used to be like. The Adriatic coastline still has that belly-flipping feeling as the sun goes down (or comes up), and this two-day dance event is a holiday within a festival.
Inventive jazz, Latin, dubstep and reggae beats play out while its endorsees relax at tiki bars on the beach or cruise by on boats.
Lollapalooza, Chicago, United States
Dates: August 2-4
It started out as a grungy event, set up 20 years ago by Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell; headliners back then included Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. The event became a traveling circus and popped up in different places across the United States. Since 2005, however, the festival has settled down in Chicago and hosts more than 130 acts from mainstream pop to indie.
Take your little nippers to this fest, there are usually tons of attractions to keep them busy — from comedy shows, to clown classes at the Kidzapalooza — then skip off and see The Cure, Phoenix and New Order on stage.
Standon Calling, Hertfordshire, England
Dates: August 2-4
This boutique fest, with a maximum of 5,000 people, is one of the youngest picks on our list and started back in 2001 with 25 people in the grounds of a small country house. “It’s turned a manicured garden into a life size ‘Button Moon’ set,” says Georgina Wilson Powell, former editor of Blowback magazine.“Along with a late-night rave that brings a sci-fi industrial edge to the field.”
The organizers have a canny knack of showcasing bands before they get massive. Previous acts include Florence and the Machine, Friendly Fires and Mumford and Sons.
This year you can get intimate with Digitalism, Band of Skulls and De La Soul.
Satchmo Summer Fest, New Orleans, United States
Dates: August 3–5
This lively, free street festival in the French Quarter was set up to honor Louis Armstrong. Over three days there’s an unforgettable atmosphere of raw soul, blues and jazz.“It somehow manages to be quaint, but huge,” says Bennie Pete the tuba player of the Hot 8 Brass Band. “The 24-meter tents are set up in the heart of New Orleans and offer the soul and essence of the city through music, for one weekend.”
Dance in the street during this family event, and fill your belly with the Creole tomato gazpacho with Louisiana crabmeat from The Thee Muses restaurant on site.
Sziget, Budapest, Hungary
Dates: August 5-12
The lineup here is monster. Somehow Sziget gets it right every year. The party train runs from the west of Europe onto the island in the Danube (while DJs play warm-up sets), then arrive at a lush forest lit up by fairy lights and flanked by golden sands, where you can pitch your tent.
People often turn up with their own turntables, while others relax on full sofas with covers, get sporadic tattoos and cook hog roast — and this is all just in the campsite.Mystery Jets, Blur, John Digweed, Dry the River and Peter Bjorn & John feature this year. Once you’re done with them, you can go bungee jumping.“A truly wonderful setting for a week-long festival,” says Phil Dudman, clubs and live music editor at Mixmag.
“My first year there was 2006,” he adds. “There was an incredible thunderstorm right in the middle of Radiohead’s ‘Paranoid Android,’ the only time it rained all week, which was just epic.”
Way Out West, Göteborg, Sweden
Dates: August 8-10
Throughout the festival, set in the pretty Slottskogen park, Göteborg holds gigs all around the city in its pubs and clubs, creating an explosive music-fueled city-break.
Outside Lands, San Francisco, United States
Dates: August 9-11
At this eco-affair bicycle valets greet new arrivals and Golden Gate Park turns into a cultural wonderland for one weekend of the year.
Here there’s an emphasis on decent food and wine from the region (there’s an awesome organic farmer’s market) and one stage is solar-powered.
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paul McCartney, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Nine Inch Nails feature in 2013.
Endorse it in Dorset, Dorset, England
Dates: August 9-10
Here you’ll find great music and lots of burly men wearing dresses. If you’ve got no inhibitions and like the idea of intimate tents filled with punks flinging themselves around to live reggae and rock, this place is for you. “It’s full of actual punks — not weekend warriors that go back to normal jobs and dress accordingly,” says music promoter Tomus Frog from GutRot. “These guys actually have Mohawks all year round,” he says, and the last day of the event is a shocker: “It’s an amazing spectacle — tattoos, makeup and fishnets with hair in all the wrong places. A very weird day.”
Summer Sonic Festival, Osaka and Chiba, Japan
Dates: August 10-11
This mega event is the poppier version of Reading and Leeds, with a Japanese twist.
Some 60,000 attendees congregate at stadium-sized indoor stages (plus the Marine outdoor stage), and the Japanese show their appreciation by pogoing in a wavy sea of raised hands, like some kind of well-organized riot.
Headlines this year are an eclectic but mighty mix including Muse, Pet Shop Boys, Beady Eyes, Metallica and Linkin Park.
World Electronic Music Festival, Ontario, Canada
Dates: August 16-18
Formerly the World Trance Festival, the World Electronic Music Festival is three days of non-stop shiver-inducing crescendos, loops and beats from 200 international artists. this giant rave-up is an off-the-chart clubbing experience. You’ll find thousands of sexy dubstep, jungle, electro, house and trance fans bonding to the baseline and grinding their teeth into the night.
Hip Hop Kemp, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
Dates: August 22-24
B-boys, break dancers and MCs from across the world congregate at this killer event dedicated to all things hip-hop.
The 500 cherry-picked performers during the three-day festival include DJs, graff artists, plus grime and dubstep DJs. The lineup this year includes Kendrick Lamar, EL-P and Souls of Mischief. “It’s the world’s biggest festival dedicated to every facet of hip-hop culture,” says hip-hop expert DJ Excalibah, former BBC 1Xtra presenter and journalist. “Expect to see classic golden era artists alongside newer acts from all across the globe.”
“Kemp is sick,” says Fallacy from Sleepin’ Giantz. “It has the biggest names in hip-hop and grime from all over the world, and they always get the hot artists before they blow up so you get a peek into the future.”
Shambala, Northamptonshire, England
Date: August 22-25
A festival based on the concept of “purposeful hedonism,” you can’t help but leave a bit of your soul at this festival that attracts lefties, environmentalist and dreamers. “It’s about the people and the party,” says Paul Jonas, managing director of Tru Thoughts Records. “Shambala is a return to basics with an eco attitude, a loving ethos and a variety of music booked for its musicianship, rather than its effectiveness selling tickets.”
We strongly recommend a break from the serious music to take part in the Shambolympics: jumping for a long time and the pent-up-aggression-athlon.
Creamfields, Cheshire, England
Dates: August 23-25
The daddy of European dance festivals is a hedonistic affair. It swaps bellbottoms, facepaint and falafel burgers for pyrotechnics, glow sticks and back massages.“Dance music festivals are entirely different beasts,” says Phil Dudman the clubs and live music editor of Mixmag magazine. “I was fortunate enough to fill in for the Brookes Brothers there last year in the Mixmag Silent Disco.
“I’d never deejayed to a crowd bigger than 300 people and here I was, stepping up at the last minute in front of 4,000 mad-for-it ravers. That was the best night of my life.”“The vibe is electric, the lineups are usually of the cutting edge of music and you can find a Creamfields festival on just about every continent on the globe,” adds Safe from Smokingroove.
Reading/Leeds Festival, Reading and Leeds, England
Dates: August 23-25
“In my book, this is the quintessential rock festival,” comments James McMahon from Kerrang. “For broad booking, genuine exclusives, no experiential nonsense clogging up your day, just out and out rock ‘n’ roll fun.”
In true Reading/Leeds style, the mosh pit will explode at some point in the weekend with rowdy head-banging teens occasionally lobbing toilet rolls and beer grenades at unpopular bands.The metal, punk and emo lineup is equally hard to ignore — countless bands play their best set of the year, or face the wrath of the crowd.
Tip: when nature calls, make sure there’s no toilet-tipping going on (it usually happens on the last day of the festival).
The Burning Man, Nevada, United States
Date: August 26-September 2
Set in the desert in 45-C heat, this lifeless patch of sand turns into a 50,000-strong city (affectionately named “Black Rock City”) come August.
The festival starts on the Monday before Labor Day, and on the Saturday night they set light to a 12-meter-tall effigy of “The Man” and a smaller wooden dog.There are no stages, showers, or food stalls here, visitors bring their own entertainment to this gathering filled with non-judgmental veterans, deep-rooted in radical self-expression through music and art.
Bumbershoot, Seattle, United States
Dates: August 31- September 2
The laid-back vibe of North America’s largest arts festival fits well in Seattle’s fresh mountain air.
It serves up flavors you probably won’t get elsewhere (Wanda Jackson and the Dusty 45s,The Vaselines, Jane’s Addiction and Passion Pit), and during the three-day event there’s countless art shows and performances to keep you occupied.
Bestival, Isle of Wight, England
Date: September 6-9
This year the likes of Elton John, Snoop Dogg and Franz Ferdinand will light up this 50,000-strong fancy dress party.
Not only does everyone turn up looking like a “Sesame Street” escapee, each year they rig up equally odd places to sleep: yurts, tepees, squrts and wooden beach-style huts.Beryl the Bespoke Bus can also be hired — she’s a three-bedroom Cornish cottage on wheels.
“Organiser Rob Da Bank puts his quirky touches on everything,” says Andy Buchan, Infusion Magazine’s Middle East editor.
“From the lineup to the non-music tents which make Glastonbury’s Lost Vagueness seem sedate in comparison, it’s a winner in my eyes.”
Berlin Festival, Berlin, Germany
Dates: September 6-7
Set in a former airfield, you have to walk through an arrivals hall to experience this one.
There are immigration booths, baggage conveyor belts and an old-school departure board where they put the indie, punk and electro lineup on display.Over the weekend there will be surprisingly decent art installations from local and international urban artists, plus music shows on runways and an open-air silent disco.
This year catch Björk, Boys Noize and John Talabot.