The Best Music Festivals in the World
These days travel is not just limited to seeing a new place or checking out the tourist hotspots. Most travelers like to pack as much fun and excitement into their holidays as they possibly can. Some try to include international sporting events, others for certain national holidays specific to the particular country they plan on visiting. Then too, there is a breed of travelers who plan their vacations around to include some of the best music the world has to offer at various music festivals.
There are several factors that go into a great music festival. They cover things like location, the date, the performance and a whole lot more. There are literally thousands of music festivals around the world every year and some have become the “must go to” music festivals. To narrow down the endless list of music festivals that are staged every year, we’ve chosen 10 that we think should be on every music lover’s list of the best music festivals in the world.
1. Lollapalooza – Chicago, Illinois, USA
The Lollapalooza Music Festival is held in 7 countries around the world but if you can only ever go to one, Chicago in the first week of August is unbeatable. It started all the way back in 1991, long before many of today’s Lolla patrons were even born and it is still going strong. Lollapalooza boasts 8 stages and over 170 bands from all over the world. The lineup includes the musical talents of Bruno Mars, Artic Monkeys and Jack White, to name a few. Lolla keeps patrons entertained for four days of non-stop entertainment with something for everyone.
Of course, no one can party for days on end without sustenance. Lollapalooza’s answer to keeping patrons happy is Chow Town. No more boring, greasy festival food, celebrity chef Graham Elliot has pooled together some of the best local restaurants to offer Lolla patrons an exceptional variety of some of the best fresh foods Chicago has to offer. The food selections cater to varied tastes and dietary needs with choices for vegans, vegetarians and gluten-free diners.
2. Glastonbury Festival – Worthy Farm, UK
Nestled in the southwest of England is the location of the hugely popular Glastonbury Festival. This five-day musical event is usually held at the end of June and usually sells out incredibly fast with attendance reaching well over 100 000 party goers. This is a bit of a hippie-inspired event that attracts visitors from all over the world. The musical talents on offer feature the talents of Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters and dozens more. The entertainment doesn’t stop at music. There are many more acts like contemporary dance, comedy and other performing arts attractions. This festival goes late into the night so if you’re not sure of what you like, wander around until you find something you do like. Glastonbury Festival is one of the older music festivals of the world with its inception dating all the way back to 1914. The fact that it has evolved into such an amazing event is nothing short of spectacular.
3. Roskilde Festival – Denmark
The Danes really know how to put on a show and the Rosklide Festival held in the middle of summer is one of the biggest music festivals in Europe, and definitely the biggest in Northern Europe. The lineup includes legendary greats like The Cure, Tears for Fears and Scarlet Pleasure. The festival first began in 1971 and was the brainchild of Mogens Sandfær and Jesper Switzer Møller, who were high school students at the time. Today, people come from all over the world and camp out in the surrounding grounds making it possible to experience this festival on the cheap. There are over 80 food stalls so finding something local and delicious is guaranteed. The transport system is reliable so if you choose one of the local hostels or hotels you’ll still be able to get to the festival grounds with relative ease.
4. Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival – Empire Polo Club, Indio, California, USA
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival started back in 1993 with Pearl Jam staging a concert while boycotting a major ticket sales company. From then it was picked up by Goldenvoice in 1999 to become one of the most impressive music festivals in the world. From its humble beginnings with a few acts it has ballooned into a massive festival spanning two weekends a year. Music heavyweight such as Beyoncé and Eminem have featured at Coachella along with dozens of other highly talented artists covering a wide range of genres.
Getting the most out of Coachella takes planning and fortunately there are agencies that can help you plan every little detail from where to sleep, what to eat and which of the many stages will be hosting the various acts. In the Northern Hemisphere, this is the perfect festival to ring in the spring.
5. Ultra Music Festival – Miami, Florida, USA
Ultra Music Festival has spin-off events all over the world now but the original belongs to the great state of Florida. The festival was initially held on Miami Beach but its usual home is at Bayfront Park. The festival is held over two weekends and highlights the best in electronic music. The lineup of stars have included Carl Cox, The Chainsmokers and Crystal Castles. You can also enjoy dance acts as well from all over the world. Get in early as tickets sell out extremely fast and the hotels fill up quickly. Dozens of local vendors set up shop to keep visitors fed and watered. This festival has evolved from around 10 000 from its beginnings in 1999 to an average of 165 000 in recent years. If you’ve checked out any of the Ultra festivals worldwide, it’s time you experienced Ultra Miami.
6. Splendour In The Grass – Byron Bay, Australia
If you love a little bit of everything from hip-hop to indie rock then you can’t miss Splendour in the Grass in Australia. Splendour is a family friendly event in one of the best parts of New South Wales. This festival is one of the new kids on the block with its first show in 2001, but it has gained so much in popularity that it has a spin-off festival in Woodford, Queensland. The location for Splendour in the Grass makes it simple to turn your family vacation into something pretty spectacular with camping passes available. These passes cater to singles, groups and families and the location means you can also spend some of your time relaxing in iconic Byron Bay. Apart from enjoying great music, you can also get a glimpse at some of the other arts and science too. You can also get to sample some true blue Aussie street foods from dozens of vendors with aromatic coffee, hot and cold foods, and they cater to vegetarians and those with dietary issues. If you don’t feel like anything on offer from the vendors, the local stores are close enough for you to explore many other delights in this gorgeous coastal town.
7. Fuji Rock – Naeba, Japan
Three days of jam-packed entertainment is what you sign up for when you go to the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan. This festival has seen some awesome entertainers like N.E.R.D., Kendrick Lamar and many more. In excess of 100 000 people flock to this event every year at the end of July when much of the Northern Hemisphere is on vacation. Fuji Rock is Japan’s largest music festival and as it is located at Naeba Ski Resort. Accommodation caters to all budgets so you can camp out in this gorgeous part of Japan, or enjoy the comforts of the ski resort. There are also a whole lot of choices when it comes to food and drink. From traditional Japanese to western fast food there is something for everyone. This event is family friendly so it’s a perfect stopover if you are planning a holiday in this gorgeous part of the world.
8. Exit Music Festival – Novi Sad, Serbia
The Exit Music Festival in Serbia has a little bit of a WOW factor when it comes to location and when you get a glimpse at the Petrovaradin Fortress on the banks of the Danube River, you’ll see why. Since 2000 Exit has seen over two million visitors and artistic titans such as Lenny Kravitz and Guns N’ Roses. The festival is one of the best in Europe and has won the Best Overseas Festival Award at the UK Festival Awards and is touted as one of the top ten festivals in Europe. The music is above par and with 25 stages you can also be entertained by dancers and other entertainers. The food stalls feature the usual fast food options as well as some local choices. The coffee is thick and strong and if you’re really game, sample the local shot called “rakija”. Enjoy the fun of the great outdoors and camp, or if you find the summer a little too hot, the local hotels may be a nice cool way to end an action-packed day.
9. Rock al Parque – Bogota, Colombia
If anyone knows how to throw a party it’s the Latina Americans and the locals in Bogota Colombia have the perfect setting with Rock al Parque. The festival started back in 1995 as Youth Music meetings and has grown into a festival that attracts 400 000 visitors every year. It started with rock music and over the years has accumulated acts from all the major genres such as reggae, heavy metal and punk rock. The musicians come from all over the world to keep the crowds jumping to the beat. This is the largest music festival in Colombia and one that you will remember long after everyone has packed up and gone home.
10. Rock In Roma – Rome, Italy
As if Rome wasn’t already one of the most fascinating cities in the world, they went and added a fantastic music festival as another attraction. Rock in Roma attracts almost 400 000 people annually and has featured legends such as Mark Knofler, Smashing Pumpkins and Bruce Springsteen. The main genre of music on offer is rock music, and the talent on offer is guaranteed to please. In addition to great music you can also enjoy a variety of dances and other performers from different cultures and genres. This is the ultimate summer festival held at the Capannelle Racecourse, with the event starting late June or early July. You’re almost in the middle of Rome so accommodation will not be difficult to arrange and foodies can very easily combine their love of music with their love of exceptional food with classic Italian dishes as well as the usual fast food fare. The festival itself features a vast array of acts and apart from the official festival dates, you can enjoy the entertainment over the course of a month or so. When you’re not attending the various concerts and performances at Rock in Roma, stroll around the city and take in all that Rome has to offer.
These music festivals attract enormous crowds so get in early with your bookings. Quite often they sell out within days of tickets being released. Don’t forget you also need accommodation so when you decide which festival you want to attend, look at local hotels and camping sites. Take the stress out of planning your festival holiday and get package deals that include both tickets to your chosen event and accommodation. Once you’re at the festival, stroll around the grounds, see as much as you can, try different street foods and dance until you wear out the soles of your shoes.
There is no better way to see the world than at one of the many music festivals held annually all over the world. Some of these festivals are held at places that would normally be overlooked as a holiday destination which is a real shame, as some of these locations are great places to visit. Once the festival is over, explore the local area and mingle with the locals.