Top 10 music festivals around the world

Published on: Thursday, March 29, 2018
Top 10 music festivals around the world - Young people enjnoying themselves at a music festival


Whether you want to headbang to heavy metal, sway to reggae or enjoy folk music with your family, here is our rundown of the world’s top 10 music festivals

Best for value

Novi Sad, Serbia
12-15 July 2018

Occupying the grounds of an ancient citadel on the banks of the blue Danube, Exit enjoys one of the most engaging settings in Europe. Originally conceived as a tonic to the bleak Milošević years, its celebratory atmosphere reflects young Serbs’ new-found optimism and determination to have a good time.

Acts playing this year include David Guetta, Fever Ray and Ziggy Marley. Early bird tickets cost £89 – very reasonable for a four-day international festival of this calibre.

Best for families

Cambridge Folk Festival
Cherry Hinton, Cambridgeshire, UK
2-5 August 2018

A favourite on the British circuit, the Cambridge Folk Festival is known for its gentle vibe and eclectic line-up that stretches the bearded boundaries of folk to embrace reggae, world music and rock. This year’s guests include Patti Smith, First Aid Kit, John Prine and Janis Ian.

Families with young children will appreciate the atmosphere of good-natured intimacy that pervades the verdant grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall. There’s a crèche and musical activities for older kids.

Best for dance music

Barcelona, Spain
14-16 June 2018

Slicker than the sun-baked bodies on Barcelona’s beaches, Sónar is the most important showcase of digital music in Europe. Divided into the multimedia art-fest of Sonar by Day and the frenzied raving of Sonar by Night, it’s not for those lacking stamina.

This year’s line-up includes Thom Yorke, Modeselektor, Cornelius, GoldLink, Amp Fiddler & Tony Allen and many more.

Best for making a difference

30 June-7 July 2018

Scandinavia’s answer to Glastonbury, Roskilde’s a whopper. Just 35km (22 miles) from Copenhagen, it’s run by an independent, non-profit making organisation and all proceeds go directly to humanitarian causes. This year’s massive line-up includes Eminem, Bruno Mars, Gorillaz and Nine Inch Nails.

Best for delicate festival fans

Fuji Rock
Naeba Ski Resort, Japan
27-29 July 2018

Silvery streams, pine-scented forests and polite, well-behaved punters set Fuji Rock apart from many of its Western counterparts. The heavenly mountain setting, in a ski resort 75 minutes by bullet train from Tokyo, lends a spiritual air to proceedings that’s entirely Japanese.

One stage is only accessible by cable car and the campsite sits on the manicured fairways of the resort’s golf course. Clean loos, teams of recyclers and orderly queues contribute to a thoroughly refined but magical festival. There are even spa baths to alleviate dance-induced muscle problems.

This year’s line-up includes Kendrick Lamar, N.E.R.D, Vampire Weekend and Skrillex.

Best for dressing up

Lulworth Estate, Dorset, UK
2-5 September 2018

Much-loved ’boutique’ festival curated by BBC Radio 1 DJ, Rob Da Bank. A quirky alternative to behemoths like Glastonbury and more corporate events, Bestival is chic, kitsch and playful.

A good-humoured crowd, many in fancy dress, will enjoy acts from London Grammar, Silk City, M.I.A, Grace Jones, Plan B and Chaka Khan.

Best for seamless organisation

Indio, California, USA
13-15 and 20-22 April 2018

There’s nobody like the Americans to make a festival nice and civilised. There’s a noise curfew at the campsite and no amplifiers or large speakers are allowed. If this sounds a bit far from the spirit of free love, concentrate on the killer line-up.

Acts include The Weeknd, Beyoncé, Eminem, Jamiroquai, St. Vincent, Haim, Tyler, the Creator, Fleet Foxes and Cardi B. Festival guests can choose between two identical festival weekends with the same line-up.

Best for reggae

Rototom Sunsplash
Benicassim, Spain
16-22 August 2018

Rototom Sunsplash has become reggae’s spiritual European home. Join Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Alborosie & Shengen Clan, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Jimmy Cliff for skanking reggae and an exploration of Rastafarian and African culture. Dance lessons, debates and creative workshops round off a cultural celebration of Jamaica’s most sweet-sounding export.

Best for metal

Graspop Metal Meeting
Dessel, Belgium
21-24 June 2018

Graspop presents the finest in axe-wielding guitar heroes including UK metal veterans Iron Maiden as well as Guns ‘N Roses, Ozzy Osbourne and Volbeat. Leather-trousered, long-haired rockers descend on Dessel for three days of power chords and face-melting guitar solos.

Best for EDM

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
30 June-1 July 2018

The world’s largest outdoor techno festival, Awakenings, keeps growing. This year’s line-up features over 100 DJs including debutants such as Honey Dijon and Peggy Gou as well as techno pioneers Carl Cox, Adam Beyer, Nina Kraviz, Loco Dice, Ben Klock and Len Faki. You can’t buy tickets at the door, so make sure you buy your festival pass in advance.