Lifestyle & Culture

Dispatches’ list of Europe’s best music festivals in June 2018 (updated)

The music festival scene in Europe is massive, to say the least.

From New Year’s Day through New Year’s Eve, there’s at least a handful of festivals happening somewhere on the continent. Whether you’re banging your head to Ministry and Slayer; losing yourself in the wubs of Mall Grab and Steve Aoki; dancing in the moonlight with London After Midnight and Blutengel; or bouncing around to the sounds of Greta Van Fleet and David Byrne, there’s a festival for you.

There are so many festivals to see and experience in the summer of 2018 that we’ve decided to break up the calendar into a month-by-month rundown between May and August, continuing with June 2018; September through December will be covered in its own volume, continuing the original plan for coverage in 2018.

And if there’s a music festival you want us at Dispatches Europe to know about, please email us at:

  • cameron@dispatcheseurope.com
  • terry@dispatcheseurope.com


Aarhus – NorthSide: Every June, the city centre of Aarhus, Denmark comes to life with one of the largest events in all of Scandinavia, NorthSide.

Since the first NorthSide in 2010, the urban festival has grown to attract fans from all over Scandinavia and beyond to see the best Danish and international acts hit the stage, including Radiohead, Mø, Phlake, Tina Dickow, Bastille and James Blake.

Hit the north in early June with this big lineup:

Liam Gallagher; The National; Mike D; Queens of the Stone Age; Tyler, The Creator; Björk; A Perfect Circle; N.E.R.D.; Body Count; Greta Van Fleet; Aurora; and many more

A three-day pass to NorthSide is DKK 1,595 (€215), DKK 2,495 (€336) for access to the VIP area. Day tickets are DKK 995 (€134) for Thursday’s programme, Friday and Saturday already sold-out.

Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Rotterdam – The Flying Dutch: This day of music scheduled for 2 June is absolutely something only the Dutch could dream up, then actually pull off.

Every year for The Flying Dutch, the 12 top Dutch DJs fly back and forth between The Flying Dutch Park in Amsterdam, E3-Strand in Eersel near Eindhoven and Ahoy Outdoor in Rotterdam, playing simultaneous concerts in three different cities on a 300-kilometre circuit.

These Flying Dutchmen are ready to come ashore to offload their yearly bounty of wubs:

Afrojack; Armin van Buure; Brennan Heart; Don Diablo; Fedde Le Grand; Jebroer & friends; Lucas & Steve; R3hab; Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano; Tiësto; and W & W.

Tickets to this mega-festival start at €49, climbing to around €70 on the high end. The Flying Dutch shows draw a total of about 100,000 people, so if you want to be among them, then don’t sleep on this!

Barcelona – Sónar: Get ready to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the festival all about “music, creativity and technology,” Sónar, when it returns to its Spanish home of Barcelona 14 through 16 June.

The three-day electronic and advanced music festival has pulled in heavy hitters like Orbital, Kraftwerk, LCD Soundsystem, and A$AP Rocky over its quarter-century of life, and there’s no sign of stopping now.

Sónar is ready for its silver future among the stars:

LCD Soundsystem; Gorillaz; Thom Yorke; Diplo Presents DJ Kampire, Distruction Boyz, and Mr. Eazi; Black Coffee; Yung Lean; Clip & Cora; Dre Skull; Bonobo; Charlotte de Witte; and many more

And for those interested in the business side of music, the concurrent Sónar+D—held 13 through 16 June—offers workshops, conferences, and networking events to help gain better footing in the industry, plus a few exhibitions to entertain and educate.

A full pass to Sónar is €180, €280 for the VIP package. Delegate passes to Sónar+D are €270 until the week of the festival, when the price climbs to €350.

Belfast – AVA Festival: The AVA Festival in Belfast, Northern Ireland enters its fourth year with its most diverse offering yet, bringing global heavyweights to the city while championing emerging and established artists from all over Ireland.

From 1 through 2 June, the music festival and conference hosts an all-star line-up of local and global talent, a lineup so massive the festival’s three stages will be gaining a fourth this year.

Acts scheduled to appear at the AVA Festival this year include:

Floorplan; BICEP; DVS1; KiNK; Rødhåd; Helena Hauff; Hunee; Denis Sulta; Mall Grab; Saoirse; and Or:La

There are competitions for emerging electronic music producer, as well as for emerging electronic DJ producer. Plus, Ireland-based underground music online broadcaster Boiler Room will host its first-ever AVA two-day broadcast.

With more artists, stages and a conference packed with panels, talks and workshops still to be announced, you do not want sleep on weekend tickets: admission to AVA is €75 for the final tier of tickets.

PS – Just got this last-minute email from AVA organizers:

Marking itd fourth year in a brand new rave-ready warehouse location between 1st and 2nd of June, AVA 2018 is set to be an absolute BELTER! AVA are excited to host a special keynote and debut NI show from Larry Heard aka Mr Fingers, plus don’t miss the likes of Floorplan, Bicep, DVS1, Helena Hauff, Denis Sulta and Midland.Plus, catch native stars including Or:la, Saoirse, Sunil Sharpe, Timmy Stewart, Jordan, Swoose& Cromby and Sally C playing at AVA’s new abandoned B&Q warehouse home. Check out the full programme with Thursday’s opening film and gig, and Sunday’s official closing party with Rush Hour don,Antal here. Final tier weekend tickets are £75, and with flights still available from most major UK cities for less than £40, it’s the last chance to get down with the Belfast craic without breaking the bank .

Beuningen – Down the Rabbit Hole: Looking for something different this year? Why not go down the rabbit hole in in the green hills of Beuningen, Netherlands 29 June through 1 July for the fifth anniversary of Down the Rabbit Hole!

Organized by the same people behind one of the Netherlands’ biggest festivals, Lowlands, Down the Rabbit Hole isn’t one of your typical music festivals: you are really Alice ready to jump into the rabbit hole. The three stages are named after rabbit breeds, and the lineup is an uncompromising mix of current and retro.

Take the red pill with this lineup to see how far down the rabbit hole goes:

Queens of the Stone Age; Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds; First Aid Kit; Franz Ferdinand; David Byrne; The Breeders; De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig; and many more

Tickets to the fifth anniversary of Down the Rabbit Hole are €149, good for all three days of the festival. You can also pay for the ticket in three installments.

Biddinghuizen – Defqon.1 Need a 21-bass cannon salute in your life? Then Biddinghuizen is where you need to be 22 through 24 June when Defqon.1 returns to begin its 2018 world tour.

Founded in 2003 by organizer Q-dance, Defqon.1 is all about electronic music, from hardstyle and hard techno, to terrorcore and psychtrance. The Dutch event has drawn over 65,000 in recent years, with tickets sometimes selling-out as soon as they go on sale.

You’re only 30 seconds to midnight with this lineup at Defqon.1:

Warface; Code Black; Atmozfears; Jason Payne; Korsakoff; Angerfist; Luna; Act Of Rage; Miss K8; Ransomnia & Friends; Project One; Delete VIP; Noize Suppressor; Anime; Nosferatu; and a lot more

If you’re ready for the Maximum Force of this year’s Defqon.1, then you better hurry, as the only tickets available are for Sunday at €69 for regular admission, €119 for the VIP treatment.


Birmingham and Bristol – Skyline Series: Birmingham and Bristol, England are ready to rock your summer with a new concert series held in the two cities from 22 June through 9 September: the Skyline Series.

Reach out to the English sky with this inaugural lineup:

Echo and the Bunnymen; Peter Hook & The Light; The Jesus and Mary Chain; The The; Garbage; Texas; Imelda May; Future Islands; UB40; Brian Wilson; The Vamps; Bananarama; and many more

General admission to the Skyline Series ranges from £27.50 to £45 (€31 – €51). The Skyline Series VIP Experience will set you back £125 to £150 (€141 – €169).

Clisson – Hellfest: Germany and England aren’t the only places to experience the heaviest, hardest, most brutal of sounds this summer. If you happen to be in western France 22 through 24 June, and you’re in need of a metal injection, then head over to Clisson for the 2018 edition of Hellfest.

Born from the ashes of the French metal festival Furyfest in 2006, Hellfest turns the French village of 6,000 to a glorious celebration of all things hard rock and metal. Over 160 bands perform upon six genre-themed stages before an audience of over 150,000 over the three days of the festival, including this year’s unholy trinity of headliners, Avenged Sevenfold, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.

Have a look at the molten steel pouring out of the Hellfest foundry this year:

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts; Europe; Jonathan Davis; Rose Tattoo;
Body Count; Limp Bizkit; Knocked Loose; Corrosion of Conformity; Neurosis; Enslaved; Accept, and a lot more

Alas, tickets are sold-out already. However, you may be able to buy a ticket through the official resale channel; just enter your email to be notified when a ticket or two goes on the market. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until next year.

Hilvarenbeek – The Best Kept Secret Festival: Just outside the college town of Tilburg in Hilvarenbeek is an annual festival “all about giving you and your friends the opportunity to shape your own festival experience”: The Best Kept Secret Festival.

The festival is massive, with four stages of music and more than 100 artists to experience, whether on the beach or in the woods. Interpol, Arctic Monkeys, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Beck and Radiohead are among the many to have performed at BKS over the previous five editions.

This year’s lineup may be the bestest best-kept secret ever:

Arctic Monkeys; LCD Soundsystem; CHVRCHES; Slowdive; The Internet; Tyler, The Creator; Cocaine Piss; Let’s Eat Grandma; Umfang; and many more

Weekend tickets to sixth annual The Best Kept Secret Festival—set for 8 through 10—are €175 with camping, €147.50 without camping. Day tickets are €84.


Hulst – Vestrock: There are lots of festivals in the Netherlands, but how many brew their own beer? Only Vestrock in Hulst can make that claim with Vestrock Blond, which you can drink to your heart’s content 1 through 3 June.

The intimate three-day festival boasts four stages and 65 acts performing for a crowd of 10,000 a day, all set on “a beautiful island in the fortified medieval city of Hulst.”

Raise your cup of Vestrock Blond to this lineup:

Mylene & Rosanne; Fource; Lil Kleine; Goe Vur In Den Otto; Lydmor; Equal Idiots; Blaudzun; Millionaire; and many more

A combiticket to Vestrock is €66.50, a collector’s ticket brings the price to €71.45. Day and camping tickets are also available.

Isle of Wight – Isle of Wight Festival: From 1968 to 1970, the Isle of Wight Festival was one of the biggest counterculture festivals around. Alas, the British Parliament passed legislation in 1971 specific to the island, preventing overnight open-air festivals of 5,000+ without special permission from the island council.

Thus, things were quiet until the Isle of Wight Festival was revived in 2002 at Seaclose Park. Since then, The Rolling Stones, R.E.M., The Police, Queen, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and more have all performed at the annual open-air music festival, which will be held 21 through 24 June.

And this year is special, for it’s the 50th anniversary of the long-running festival off the south coast of England. Ringing in the golden milestone are headliners Kasabian, Depeche Mode, Liam Gallagher and The Killers.

There’s plenty more where that came from, too:

Nile Rodgers & Chic; Jessie J; Soul II Soul; Manic Street Preachers; Sheryl Crow; Van Morrison; Tokio Myers; Walking On Cars; Rita Ora; James Bay; and many more

Tickets to the golden edition of the Isle of Wight Festival are £209 (€234) for a full weekend pass; island residents can get theirs for £145. Day, student, teen and child tickets are also available.

Landgraaf – Pinkpop: Usually held annually on the Pentecost weekend (Pinksteren in Nederlands; thus, the festival’s name) in Landgraaf, Netherlands, Pinkpop is one of the country’s biggest music festivals around, born in Gellen in 1970.

The three-day festival attracts 60,000 per day to its four stages, all gathered to see Rush, Muse, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen, and more at the oldest and longest running rock and pop music festival in the world. This year’s lineup continues the legacy with headliners Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters and Bruno Mars.

Only the most righteous shall perform with the headliners on the Pentecost:

Snow Patrol; Editors; Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds; The Offspring; Triggerfinger; Jessie J; Lil Kleine; Ronnie Flex & Deuxperience; The Overslept; and many more

Tickets are €100 per day, €220 for a three-day pass. You can also obtain a collector’s ticket for an additional €4.95, the perfect keepsake for the fun you will have at Pinkpop 15 through 17 June!

London – Meltdown: Celebrating its silver anniversary this year, the artist-curated Meltdown in London’s Southbank Centre will be curated by none other than Robert Smith, whose band, The Cure, is celebrating its ruby anniversary with a sold-out one-off show in Hyde Park this July.

Smith’s curated lineup for the silver anniversary includes:

The Psychedelic Furs; Placebo; Alcest; Manic Street Preachers; Deftones; My Bloody Valentine; Nine Inch Nails; and also the trees; Tropic of Cancer; Kælan Mikla; Moon Duo; The Soft Moon; The KVB; and a few more

Tickets to the 25th edition of Meltdown—set for 15 through 23 June—can be purchased via Southbank Centre’s shop; some performances are already sold-out, however.

London – Southport Weekender Festival: Need something new on your festival calendar? The second edition of the Southport Weekender Festival in London’s Finsbury Park 9 June might be what you need.

Known as “the world’s friendliest party,” SWF brings together disco, soul, funk, house, R&B and garage for one day of raising the roof. Nine stages representing “a wealth of music history” spanning three decades will present the best of the past, present and future of the scene.

Get in the groove at the world’s friendliest party:

Sister Sledge feat. Kathy Sledge; DJ Jazzy Jeff; Louie Vega; Soul II Soul; Groove Assassin; Shaq D; Karizma; The Journey Men; and many more

Fifth and final release standard tickets to Southport are £49.50 and £55 (€56 – €62). VIP and VVIP passes are £77 and £110 (€87 – €124), respectively.

Manchester – Parklife: Spend your early June living a parklife when Parklife lands in Manchester, England’s Heaton Park 9 and 10 June.

Known as “a festival that truly embodies the impassioned spirit of manchester,” Parklife features a big lineup spread over 16 arenas upon one of the largest municipal parks in Europe, including a VIP arena with exclusive attractions and special guest DJs.

All the people, so many people, go hand-in-hand to this Parklife:

The xx; Liam Gallagher; A$AP Rockey; N.E.R.D.; Justice; Annie Mac; The Black Madonna; CHVRCHES; Goldie; Lorde; Nina Kraviz; Soul II Soul; Earl Sweatshirt; NGHTWRK; and many more

Final tickets to Parklife start at £119.50 (€138) for a two-day general admission pass, £65 (€75) for a single-day general admission pass. Don’t sleep on this, though; Parklife sells out every year, and this year is expected to be no exception.

Nürburg and Nuremburg – Rock am Ring and Rock im Park: Nearly three weeks after the roar of the Nürburgring 24 comes two of Germany’s biggest music festivals ready to ring your ears: Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, 1 through 3 June 2018.

The am Ring returned to the Nürburgring in 2017 after a two-year absence, while the concurrent im Park rocks the free world at nearby Zeppelinfeld in Nuremberg. Together, am Ring and im Park pull over 150,000 fans together annually to watch around 80 performers bring the noise.

No matter where you rock, this lineup can do no wrong:

A Perfect Circle; Body Count; Babymetal; Foo Fighters; Gorillaz; Mavi Phoenix; Meshuggah; Muse; Snow Patrol; Thirty Second To Mars; Walking On Cars; Bad Religion; Andrew W.K.; and many more

Tickets start from €189 for a weekend festival ticket at am Ring, €239 for a weekend camping ticket at im Park.

Ouddorp – Concert at SEA: The Netherlands owes its current physical existence to the number of dams and land reclamation projects over the past centuries. So, why not have a music festival on one of those dams: Concert at SEA on Ouddorp’s Brouwersdam, scheduled for 28 through 30 June.

The Concert at SEA is a dream for music lovers, due in part to “the cozy and relaxed atmosphere at the festival site.” National and international acts are showcased at the festival, which includes a lot of street performers, lots of food and drink to go around, and camping.

Hold back the water with this seaworthy lineup:

Sting; Alanis Morissette; Ronnie Flex & Deuxperience; Wulf; Traudes; Danny Vera; Miss Montreal; and many more

Nearly all tickets to Concert at SEA are sold-out, with only Thursday tickets still available for €43.50. That said, there is a waiting list available, should tickets become available.

Porto – NOS Primavera Sound: Like its older sister in Barcelona, NOS Primavera Sound in Porto, Portugal presents a wide variety of sounds for your enjoyment.

The previous six years of NOS has seen a similar lineup of artists perform within the confines of Porto’s Parque la Cidade, including Justice, PJ Harvey, Thurston Moore, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The seventh edition, set for 7 through 9 June, continues the tradition with headliners A$AP Rocky, Lorde, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Enhance your Spotify account with this Primavera lineup:

Jamie xx; Tyler, The Creator; Or:La; Starcrawler; Fogo Fogo; Solar Corona; Thundercat; The Breeders; The War On Drugs; Wolf Parade; Public Service Broadcasting; and many more

A full festival pass to NOS Primavera Sound will set you back €125. A day voucher is €55, and must be exchanged for a ticket at any FNAC store in Portugal before arriving at NOS.

Reykjavík – Secret Solstice: Welcome the midnight sun in Iceland with the 2018 edition of Secret Solstice in Reykjavík 21 through 24 June.

Over the four days of the festival—which is themed upon Norse relgion and mythology—Secret Solstice presents established artists and the future of music while the sun grazes the horizon, only to climb back into the sky once more.

And this one’s a big one: Slayer (who are hanging it up after nearly four decades of reigning in blood) will be playing Iceland for the first-and-final time as one of the headliners of the festival.

This solstice shall reign in blood with one of the Big Four of Thrash in Iceland:

Gucci Mane; Bonnie Tyler; Steve Aoki; Charlotte de Witte; Death From Above; Rythmatik; Vio; We Made God; Holmar; Grúska Babúska; Between Mountains; Ása; and many more

Tickets to the 96 hours of Secret Solstice start at €151 for an early-bird standard admission pass; once those run out, €175 will net you a regular festival pass. And while you can get a VIP experience for €318, only 150 will spend €1,519 for the Óðinn experience, while only three sets of two will experience the Package of the Gods after dropping €12,050.

Roskilde – Roskilde Festival: The long-running Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark is the country’s opportunity to prove they’re more than just exceptional crime drama exporters by bringing some of the world’s best rock, pop, hip-hop and dance acts to Scandinavia.

Originally created for Denmark’s hippies in 1971, Roskilde has grown to welcome all who have the pulse of the youth over the decades. Over 130,000 come to see the likes of U2, Pearl Jam, Leonard Cohen, Metallica, Marilyn Manson, Trentemøller, and The Weeknd perform at the festival’s many stages.

Eight stages, 175 acts, a week to remember:

Eminem; Bruno Mars; Nine Inch Nails; David Byrne; My Bloody Valentine; Clutch; Boris & Merzbow; Peter Somner; CV Jørgensen; First Aid Kit; The Minds of 99; Clarissa Connelly; Iris Gold; Tight Cherry; and many more

The 2018 edition of Roskilde is set for 30 June through 7 July 2018. A full eight-day pass goes for DKK 2,100 (€283). Single-day tickets are DKK 1,050 (€141); Wednesday is already sold-out.

Sopron – VOLT Festival: Get ready to electrify your late June with the 2018 edition of the VOLT Festival in Sopron, Hungary 26 through 30 June.

One of Hungary’s biggest pop festivals, VOLT brings together rock, pop, hip hop, electronic, world music, and more under its umbrella. The festival attracts an audience mostly composed of fans from countries outside of Hungary in Eastern and Western Europe.

Electrocute your mind with this high-voltage lineup:

Depeche Mode; Iron Maiden; Avenged Sevenfold; Limp Bizkit; Hurts; Steve Aoki; The Kills; X Ambassadors; Redfoo and the Party Rock Crew; Eifel 65; and many more

A five-day pass to the VOLT Festival is €173, €220 for a VIP pass.

Tilburg – Festival Mundial: For 30 editions, Festival Mundial has brought the best of different worlds together to the heart of Tilburg, growing from a small, free gathering to the international city music and culture festival it is now.

Been around the world and I-I-I, found this lineup:

Armartey; Ebo Taylor; Nubiyan Twist; Secret Rendezvous; The Cool Quest; and more to come

Early-bird weekend tickets to Festival Mundial — scheduled for 23 and 24 June — are €52.50. Day tickets are €47.50.

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