Lifestyle & Culture

Europe and beyond: Dispatches’ 2019 list of the best Spring Break, summer destinations

(Editor’s note: If you want your event listed, send the details to: terry@dispatcheseurope.com or cameron@dispatcheseurope.com. Also, see our list of EDM events/parties here.)

Spring break began (semi-officially) with the Easter Break. With schools out from the United Kingdom to Italy, our correspondents are telling they festivals they’ve been to in the Netherlands and Spain have met, or exceeded, expectations.

As we’ve said before, there are way more festivals and parties than talent. So in 2019, finding your Spring Break/summer fun destination comes down to deciding which acts/DJs you want to see playing the genres you like in the locations you’re willing to spend time and money to reach.

The good news is,  the mega-festivals that sold out instantly last year don’t seem to be selling out quite as quickly this year … with the exception of Wildeburg. Also, Roskilde sold out before we could post. Is it over-saturation? Is it Brexit? Don’t ask … just plan.

Also, in 2019, boutique festivals are becoming more popular, with almost half the people responding to a recent poll saying they want events that are more intimate. So, we’re adding more to our list.

• JULY

Tisno, Croatia – SuncéBeat Festival Croatia 2019: Is your life missing something? Is EDM really enough?

If not, here’s a festival in the sun  (as the name suggests) from 24 thru 21 July offering more musically. Not just underground House, Disco, and Techno, but Soul, R&B and Funk. All we can say is, “Turn that Beat Around.” Not many ticket levels are left, and they start at 175 pounds. You can get tickets here.

SuncéBeat just announced more acts …check out the website for that info and new info about camping for 2019.

Also, there are multiple accommodation options including tents, a hostel and Airstream trailers on the beach.

If SuncéBeach is sold out, try Hospitality. Their Croatian beach event runs from 12 July thru 16 July at The Garden in Tisno.

• AUGUST

Portimao, The Algarve, Portugal – Afro Nation Festival: Portugal seems to be taking on Croatia this year in the battle to have the most music festivals. Afro Nation Festival, scheduled for 1 August thru 4 August, is the latest entree. This time it’s the “biggest urban beach party in Europe.” This debut event celebrates afrobeats, hip-hop, UK rap, reggae and dancehall.  If you’re into these genres, you need to know BBC Sound of 2019 winner Octavian is on the bill, as are Busy Signal and other reggae and dancehall stars. Check it out … for next year. It looks like it’s already sold out, but you can see if there’s second ticket issue here.

Castelbuono, Sicily – Ypsigrock Festival 2019: This is an intimate, boutique festival in a medieval Sicilian mountain village. Which sounds sooo cool right off the bat. From 8 thru 11 August, Castelbuono becomes a multi-stage destination for music and art lovers. The lineup was just released and includes The National from our unofficial hometown of Cincinnati. You can see the full lineup here.

Tickets are on sale now here starting at 89 euros.

Helsinki – Flow Festival: If you’re bored on the beach, this could be just the ticket. Flow Festival is a celebration of music and all the performing arts from street art to light installations. Oh, and there’s an opera. Contemporary dance, electronic music and audiovisual art take over the Finnish National Opera’s Almi Hall Wednesday, 7 August and Thursday, 8 August preceding Flow Festival, which runs from the 9th thru the 11th.

On the music side, this is another Names festival, with Cardi B, Neneh Cherry and Erykah Badu as well as a bunch of Resident Advisor and Reaktor Backyard talent.

Tickets start at 105 euros for one day, and you can get them here.

There are also travel and hotel packages starting at 276.50 euros.

Amsterdam – Loveland Festival: Big Names at a Big Festival in Amsterdam, the new capital of House and Techno. Carl Cox and Solomun will be joined by Jamie Jones, Maceo Plex, Maya, Stephan Bodzin, Marco Carola, Âme and many more. This summer, the festival will be a full weekend event on 11 & 12 August.

Tickets start at 35 euros and you can get them here. We wouldn’t dilly-dally.

An island in the Danube outside Budapest, Hungary – Sziget: We checked with our Hungarian connection and Sziget is the festival they rate as the top festival in Hungary, Romania and the whole of Eastern Europe.

We looked at the lineup and you know what? They’re right.

For 2019, Sziget runs from 7 thru 13 August. During that week, expect to hear the Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, Florence and the Machine, Post Malone, Martin Garrix, The 1975 (who, by the way, were trapped in that plexiglas cube way before Billie Eilish and Khalid), Franz Ferdinand, James Blake, The Blaze and just about everyone who ever recorded a song.

There are also lots of others stuff to do as festivals figure out that concert goers expect an experience.  The funny thing is, this festival is in Hungary, which is now under an authoritarian regime. So we have to salute organizers for a theme that’s diametrically opposed to the regime – “The power of diversity is a unifying force that can help create change around us.”
Go support them ….

Tickets start at 75 euros for the day, and 219 euros for a 3-day pass. You can get them here. And thanks Ime and Malinda for giving us the scoop on Sziget.

Various venues across Malta – Summer Daze Malta: Is it just us, or does it seem like Malta is where the action is? This is the third or fourth event there we’ve posted for 2019.

Summer Daze Malta – which includes both pop and EDM – runs from 11 thru 17 August, a couple of days longer than last year’s inaugural event with Martin Garrix and Rita Oro. (See vid above.)

The Martinez Brothers open the 2019 festival on 11 August with a performance in partnership with Malta-based clubbing brand GRINGOS, according to the news release we got from Listen Up.

On the 16th,  Summer Daze goes pop with David Guetta X-Factor winner James Arthur and Tyga the headliners at the Ta Qali National Park. Underground legends Paul Kalkbrenner, Loco Dice, Green Velvet, BBC Radio 1’s Monki and local favorite Carl Bee are all scheduled to play on the 14th and 15th.

Here’s the full schedule and a map of the various venues.

Tickets start at 16.20 euros and you can get them here.

Crato, Portugal – Waking Life: This festival 14 thru 19 August in the wilds of Portugal is one of the most popular with people who like the more intimate settings, camping and outdoor activities.

This is a little New Agey for us, but we see the charm. To get a feel for the Waking Life philosophy, check out this post on Apuro, which is part of the overall approach to self and consciousness. So this is probably not the festival for you if your idea of fun is taking X and drinking beer.

There are at least 150 performers lined up, you can get tickets here starting at 125 euros.

Waregem, Belgium – W-festival 2019 : W-Festival runs from 15 thru 18 August in Waregem, deep in rural Belgium and close to … nothing. All the better to have four days of New Wave bands and ’80ties Synth pop, along with DJs, on multiple stages. Oh, there’s also a Woodstock 50th anniversary event marking a half-century since we were starlight and golden. (We were there! No, we weren’t. But about 10 million people claim to have attended that most iconic festival, which actually drew 500,000.) Tickets are about half-way sold out, and you can get them here.

Paris – Rock in Seine: Rock in Seine (get it? “Rock Insane”) brings an eclectic (that’s code for “bizarre”) lineup to Paris from 23 thu 25 August. That lineup includes The Cure and Johnny Marr (who’s been hanging out with Noel Gallagher lately) from back in the day (way back in the day), Bring Me the Horizon and Major Lazer, plus a whole bunch more bands with absolutely nothing in common. Which makes it that much cooler. You can get tickets here.

Fort Punta Christo, Croatia – Dimensions Festival: Another big week in Croatia. Dimensions Festival is 28 August to 1 September at Fort Punta Christo. We just got the final list of artists and they include Nina Kraviz (the woman who plays every festival), Jeff Mills/Tony Allen and Objekt. In February, they added U.S singer and rapper Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals as 2019’s headliner.

This is an interesting festival in that it covers multiple genres from house, electro and techno to acid, DnB, ambient and jazz. The full list runs more than 100 acts. And organizers say this is the last year for the festival at the fortress overlooking the Aegean so they’re blowing it out with boat parties, etc.

You can get tickets here.

Fort Punta Christo, Croatia – Outlook Festival  2019: One of the final summer mega-parties in Croatia … 10 stages, 300 acts. You get the idea. Outlook runs for a week, from 4 thru 9 September at Fort Punta Christo. Acts include Chase & Status, Bugzy Malone, Goldie (live) and Ghetts, Tickets start at 120 pounds and you can get them here. Outlook is the sister festival with Dimensions above, and this will be the final year for both at the fort.

Marrakesh, Morocco – Oasis Festival: The desert spring, not the band. As we always say, this isn’t Europe, but you can get there easily from here. The tagline for Oasis Festival – in Marrakesh from 13 through 15 September – is, “Dance Somewhere Different.” We’re down with that.

This year, acts include Horse Meat Disco, Mall Grab and a ton of French DJs including Ciel and Apollonia.

Weekend passes start at 181 euros and you can get them here.

Għajn Tuffieħa, Malta – The Bubble: Do NGOs know how to party? This one does. The Bubble is a “celebration of contemporary music and arts,” according to the website. It’s also a gathering in Malta from 16 thru 22 September of people interested in awareness of worthy causes and issues such as climate change. And 100 percent of the money goes to humanitarian and environmental causes. This is a loooong way from those boat parties in Croatia.

Tickets start at 35 euros and you can get yours here.

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