My favourite music festivals in the world
Music Festivals: I love a good music festival, the sun is out, you’re with your mates, watching your favourite bands. There are hundreds if not thousands of festivals across the globe – Here are my favourite music festivals from around the world- some classic choices, some you may have never heard of.
THE BIG ONES
A no brainer, having spent my teenage years peering at the pages of import issues of NME (usually a month old). Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020 Glastonbury (now delayed until 2021) for me is the ultimate music festival on the planet.
Yes, it pisses it down with rain, and the toilets are terrible BUT the music you watch/ hear, the art you see, and the people you meet over 5 days will stay with you for life. At Glastonbury you can truly lose yourself in the music unashamedly, and it’s nothing short of wonderful.
When: Late June
Location: Glastonbury, UK
Info/ tickets: www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk
NOTE: This sells out quickly every year and all 140,000 tickets tend to be snapped within the first 45 mins, so you have to ready to go when they go on sale.
TOP TIPS: If the weather is warm, the nights in a tent are always colder than you anticipate – bring your layers….or whisky….or both! Head to Shangri La after the main stages wrap up for some night-time madness, then watch the sunrise at the stone circle.
You can read more about Glastonbury with my Glastonbury guide of first timers
Coachella is as pretty as Instagram suggests. It’s basically the American version of Glastonbury but with warm weather, no rain, and clean toilets!
Traditionally, Coachellla is the first major music festival on the global festival calendar, and extends over two weekends in spring. The line ups are always legendary, the pavilions and art installations are incredible – you need to go to Coachella at least once (if not multiple times) in your life.
When: mid April, over two weekends.
Location: Indio, California
Info/ tickets: www.coachella.com/
TOP TIP: Get a hotel, its far too hot to camp – treat yourself. When I was last there we stayed at the JW Marriot (It has flamingos!) there is nothing like a restorative swim and breakfast gin, the morning after the night before. Also, Coachella is dusty – you’ll want a shower at the end of the day just to rid yourself of all the dust.
North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
North Sea Jazz festival in Rotterdam, is not just a jazz festival. Of course, some of the world’s greatest jazz musicans converge on the Ahoy! in Rotterdam but there is so much more, in fact this festival has a little of what you might fancy: Funk, soul, hip hop, be bop, rock n roll, and every sub genre in between.
This festival has everything you could need in a festival, and some surprises that you may not have realised you wanted…in short, it’s an epic 3 days!
Read all about my experience of my first North Sea Jazz Festival
When: Mid July
Location: Ahoy! Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Info / Tickets: https://www.northseajazz.com/en/
THE LITTLE ONES
Meredith Music Festival, Australia
As the saying goes “ Great things come in small packages”. This is my favourite festival on the planet, hands down. With a strict “No Dickheads” policy, and, excellent line-ups, and no major sponsors. Meredith feels like a massive party on your mate’s farm in the bush. If you find yourself in Australia – get to this one.
When: Second weekend of December
Location: Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre
Info/ tickets: www.mmf.com.au
- Don’t miss Sunset at Inspiration Point.
- Particpate (or watch) the Meredith Gift (a naked footrace around the ampitheatre on Sunday afternoon)
- Raise your boot (yes, literally) to your favourite act of the festival – the traditional method of showing your appreciation for a band that just nailed their set!
- Sample a Pink Flamingo, the festivals signature cocktail – it’s delicious!
- The Tai Chi class on Sunday Morning – your sore muscles will need it after all the dancing on Friday and Saturday,
- Leave no trace
- Don’t be a dickhead – an offical festival rule.
Bloodstock Open Air, UK
There are bigger metal festivals on the planet – but Bloodstock is all about bringing the community together, it’s smaller, there are somehow fewer assholes (technical term) than Download, this one is all about the music (oh, and the metal Karaoke). The line ups are impeccable – and you can spend a weekend in the English countryside listening to the finest metal on the planet.
Location: Catton Park, Derbyshire
Info / Tickets: www.bloodstock.uk.com
THE INDUSTRY ONES
Yes, the behemoth that is SXSW, if you want seriouslyimmerse yourself in some of the best artists on the planet for a whole 5 days this is the place to be. SXSW is not for the faint of heart, weak of liver, or the disorganised.
SXSW in Austin, Texas, celebrates film, music, and interactive over a fortnight. This festival / conference takes over the entire city, there is not a bar, tattoo shop or pizza place that doesn’t seem to have a gig on during the music portion of the event.
Get a conference pass, this will obviously give you access to the conference sessions (which if you work in the industry are great!), your pass will also give you priority entry to most gigs, and most of the day parties, amongst other things. The pass is around $600 USD.
If coughing up $600 doesn’t appeal, you are able to get a wristband, this does not have the same benefits – prepare queue a LOT.
Location: Austin, Texas
Passes and Info: www.sxsw.com
TOP TIP: Keep an eye on twitter, secret gigs are always cropping up in the oddest of places.
The Great Escape, UK
Great Britain’s answer to SXSW, in the seaside town, Brighton. The Great Escape is all about celebrating new music. This is smaller than SXSW (and a hell of a lot cheaper) but is still a hell of a lot of fun!
With a distinctly British flavour, showcases the UK best up and coming talent and well as the hottest new acts from abroad.
When: mid May
Location: Brighton, England
Passes and Info: www.greatescapefestival.com/
What are your favourite music festivals? leave a comment below