It’s true that Americans have plenty of exciting festival experiences to choose from right at home. But Europeans love to party, too, and will be celebrating music’s finest all summer, offering music lovers the perfect excuse to get far away for a weekend. Whether you want to visit Europe’s historic sites, discover new acts, or you just happen to be across the pond for the summer and need to party, you’ll find just what you’re looking for in Europe’s bustling festival scene anywhere from the United Kingdom to Finland. As festival season gets underway, we’ve taken a look at Europe’s biggest weekends and compiled a list of 10 must-visit events. So get out your calendar and your passport, and get planning.
Mad Cool Festival
Madrid, Spain (July 10-13)
Now in its fourth year, Madrid’s Mad Cool Festival is a relative newcomer to Spain’s festival schedule. The festival’s organizers have made a big splash quickly, however, hosting rock heavyweights like The Who, Green Day, Foo Fighters, and Arctic Monkeys. This year, Mad Cool promises to be a perfect destination for alternative rock fans with a lineup including The Cure, The Smashing Pumpkins, Bon Iver, Vampire Weekend, and The National. The festival is also adding a fourth day for the first time, featuring headliners Rosalía and Bring Me the Horizon. If you needed any other excuse, the tapas in Madrid are sure to be mouthwatering.
For tickets and more information, be sure to check out Mad Cool’s website here.
Roskilde, Denmark (June 29 – July 6)
The marriage of art, music, and activism is integral to Roskilde Festival’s mission. Since its inception in 1971, the Danish festival has donated all its profits to charity (€2.5 million last year alone). If partying for a good cause isn’t enough, however, the festival’s monster lineup features Bob Dylan, Cardi B, Travis Scott, Robert Plant, Chance the Rapper, The Cure, and Janelle Monáe. Also, if you’re not shy, the festival’s legendary annual naked run should be quite the adventure.
For tickets and more information, be sure to check out Roskilde Festival’s website here.
Budapest, Hungary (August 7-13)
Budapest’s Sziget Festival literally takes place on an island in the middle of the Danube River. So, if you’re looking for a unique destination festival, this may be the one. Sziget boasts one of Europe’s largest festival crowds, attracting 565,000 music fans last year. In addition to a diverse lineup including Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, and Florence + the Machine, Sziget organizes “multiple venues including a circus, theater, museum quarter and much more” to promote community and create an immersive party experience for their “Szitizens.”
For tickets and more information, be sure to check out Sziget Festival’s website here.
Werchter, Belgium (June 27-30)
A six-time Arthur award winner for best festival in the world, Belgium’s Rock Werchter should be a favorite for rock fans in 2019, featuring performances from Tool, Weezer, Mumford & Sons, The 1975, and Muse. The fan favorite will also feature must-see acts in hip-hop (Brockhampton, Denzel Curry), Pop (P!NK, Janelle Monáe), and opportunities to discover new favorites (Zeal & Ardor, Ibibio Sound Machine). Art lovers will also love Rock Werchter’s professionally curated street art festival, now in its sixth year, featuring artists from all over the world.
For tickets and more information, be sure to check out Rock Werchter’s website here.
Pilton, UK (June 26-30)
Since 1970, England’s Glastonbury has boasted one of the most consistently excellent festival experiences in the world. The Pilton festival has grown exponentially from its humble beginnings with headliner T. Rex playing to an audience of 1,500 into a behemoth in the 2010s with crowds of 135,000 and major acts like Radiohead, The Rolling Stones, Kanye West, and U2. This year, The Killers, The Cure, and Stormzy top the bill with other highlights including Janet Jackson, Kylie Minogue, Vampire Weekend, Wu-Tang Clan, and Liam Gallagher. If you love camping on site and want to find some good fish and chips, Glastonbury is a festival you want on your radar.
For tickets and more information, be sure to check out Glastonbury’s website here.
Daresbury, UK (August 23-25)
Set in Daresbury, England, the birthplace of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Creamfields has firmly established itself as the go-to electronic festival in the United Kingdom. Fans rave about Creamfields’ show production featuring pyrotechnics, light shows, and so much more on enormous stages. This year, Creamfields boasts one of the best lineups in electronic music with sets from deadmau5, Swedish House Mafia, The Chemical Brothers, Calvin Harris, Tiësto, and Martin Garrix.
For tickets and more information, be sure to check out Creamfields’ website here.
Boom, Belgium (July 19-21, July 26-28)
In 2019, Belgium’s Tomorrowland is celebrating its 15th anniversary in style. The festival, which features a specific theme each year, is revisiting a fan favorite theme this year titled “The Book of Wisdom, The Return”, which promises to build on the original 2012 experience with intricate set designs and electric sets. Though the festival typically sells out its 400,000 tickets in minutes, look out for resale opportunities if you don’t want to miss out on Tomorrowland’s larger-than-life production and shows from The Chainsmokers, Armin van Buuren, A$AP Rocky, Martin Garrix, and more.
For tickets and more information, be sure to check out Tomorrowland’s website here.
Barcelona, Spain (May 27 – June 1)
Though Primavera Sound’s 2019 iteration has already taken place, the Barcelona mainstay continues to impress with its diverse lineup, which this year featured seasoned favorites Erykah Badu, Nas, and Interpol as well as some of this decade’s best from Tame Impala to Solange. Primavera Sound’s setting on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea is ideal for lovers of summer vibes and picturesque beaches. If you missed out on Primavera Sound this year, you’ll want to make sure it’s on your radar next year as the festival celebrates its 20th anniversary.
For tickets and more information, be sure to check out Primavera Sound’s website here.
North Sea Jazz Festival
Rotterdam, Netherlands (July 12-14)
It may seem counterintuitive to travel to the Netherlands for a jazz festival. However, Rotterdam’s North Sea Jazz Festival is lauded as “the biggest indoor jazz festival in the world.” In its very first iteration in 1973, North Sea hosted jazz juggernauts like Miles Davis, Count Basie, and Dizzy Gillespie. Today, the festival hosts an expertly curated lineup of jazz artists like Kamasi Washington, as well as artists who have taken influence from jazz to innovate their own genre like Janelle Monáe and Ms. Lauryn Hill. Though the 2019 festival is sold out, there is a waiting list available.
For tickets and more information, be sure to check out North Sea Jazz Festival’s website here.
Helsinki, Finland (August 9-11)
Held in the remains of a now-defunct power plant, Helsinki’s Flow Festival offers a scenic experience you won’t find anywhere else. While the festival has a fantastic lineup featuring Cardi B, Tame Impala, Father John Misty, James Blake, as well as local gems, Flow is also passionate about protecting the Earth. They proudly claim to be one of the world’s first carbon-neutral festivals, utilizing green electricity and 100% reused materials throughout the festival grounds. With a keen focus on the avant-garde, Flow is sure to attract the more adventurous festivalgoers.
For tickets and more information, be sure to check out Flow Festival’s website here.