Lifestyle & Culture

Real music, real people, real parties: Finally, Dispatches’ first live events list for 2021

(Editor’s note: This post listing the first live events announced for 2021 will be updated as we move into spring. Always double-check to make certain events are actually going to happen.)

Because our expats like traveling and a good party, Dispatches has always compiled multiple lists of live events …. everything from the best spring break destinations to startup summits in Finland to EDM festivals on the ski slopes in France and Switzerland, or on the bays and beaches of Croatia, Ibiza and Malta.

We were all so spoiled.

Then, in March 2021, COVID-19 and the global pandemic stopped us from even seeing our friends, much partying with new ones. We listed virtual events, but even those seem to have declined as people need a little of that human touch.

Finally, with millions of doses of multiple coronavirus vaccines poised to be distributed during the next weeks and months, we can at least start thinking about restarting real fun with real humans. We think this will happen sooner rather than later because EDM festivals and all giant music events provide big economic boosts, generating hundreds of millions of euros from Portugal to Poland.

In fact, the Netherlands (shocker, right?), that small country that has produced pretty much every EDM DJ worth talking about including Afrojack, Hardwell, Tiësto, Martin Garrix and Armin van Buuren, is working on a series of safe live events this year that allow in only people who can prove they’ve been vaccinated, or can show a recent COVID-19 negative test.

To get here, Dutch government officials and Fieldlab Events, experimented with pilot events on the way to full-capacity events.

On 18 March, the Dutch government announced that big events can restart effective 1 July. And to sweeten the pot, they created a 300 million euro fund to cover up to 80 percent of costs if they can’t get everyone vaccinated and organizers have to cancel.

See more here on We Rave You.

We’re starting to receive emails about live events at least planned for 2021, so we’re posting our first list since last March, 2020. Finally!

UNUM Festival (updated)

3 June thru 7 June, Shengjin, Albania

UNUM Festival returns to the beaches and pine forests of Shenghin on the Albanian Riviera in what we’ve taken to calling New South Croatia. (Yes, we know it’s Albania, but it’s the same Adriatic coast, only sunnier and hotter.) We have to give UNUM Festival organizers credit for taking a big risk, but they say they have the backing of Albania’s Tourism and Environment officials, as well as of Ministry of Health people, and can pull off this fairly ambitious EDM concert – 50 scheduled acts over five days and four nights – safely. Organizers note that Albania is first country in the world to approve of testing for social and cultural events. 

From the news release:

The advancing technology and accuracy of rapid tests currently allows for results within 10-15 minutes, which is all that would be required to ensure you can enjoy the festival in the way it should be enjoyed

It’s also likely by June that vaccinations will have reached most of the populations of Western Europe and the United Kingdom.

Two thousand nineteen was the first year for this event on Rana e Hedhun, “the last untapped corner of Europe in the town of Shengjin, on the idyllic Albanian coastline,” according to a news release.

Believe it or not, the first ticket release is sold out. Second-release tickets are 139 euros and you can get them here.

Update: We just got info on the final lineup from Stephen Flynn:

Albania’s Unum Festival, which has announced its final headliners for its 2021 edition, with Sven Vath and Ben Klock headlining alongside other new additions such as Mathew Jonson, Dana Ruh, Tobi Neumann, Manu Gonzalez, Jamie Roy, Andy Luff, Colin Chiddle and 15 local DJs. What’s more, Unum is also partnering with a host of other well-known electronic music collectives such as Sunwaves, Modernity, Club Der Visionaere, Nordsten and sCs.

Also, see the updated 2021 video at top for the full list of acts.

Glastonbury 2021 (main event cancelled)

This was on the books for 23 June to 27 June, but organizers cancelled it. However, on 20 March, organizers announced there will be other events later this year including a two-night weekend concert, according to the BBC. Watch the official website here for an official announcement.

Labyrinth Open Air

Multiple events, Sharnbrook, UK

The first of three Labyrinth Open Air EDM events is scheduled for 10 July in Sharnbrook, about 45 minutes north of London. The location is Tofte Manor, a 17th century manor house which has – appropriately – a labyrinth on-site. Once you navigate that, you’ll want to settle in for the acts, which include Âme and Dixon.

More events are scheduled at Tofte Manor for  7 August and 18 September. Each event is limited to 3,500 attendees, so it will likely be a tough ticket to get. Tickets are priced from 40 pounds to 65 pounds and you can see details here.

• On 7 August, DJ Koze will open the year at Tofte Manor with Swedish solo act José González. Here’s the full lineup:

DJ Koze

José González (live) 

Elder Island (live)


Josey RebelleMCDE / Daniel Plessow 

Nabihah Iqbal

 Nick Castle 

Sedef Adasi

Suze Ijó

We do know there are buses to Tofte Manor from London for 20 pounds.

Loveland Festival 25 Year Celebration

7 & 8 August, Sloterpark, Amsterdam

This is really the first Name event of the year, with Adriatique, Chris Liebing, Richie Hawtin, Solomun, Jeff Mills, Dixon and 70 other established and emerging acts, all in Amsterdam.

This will sell out, so don’t wait. You can (try to) get tickets here, which start at 83 euros.

Lowlands Festival

20 thru 22 August in Biddinghuizen, Netherlands

Like all the big Dutch events, Lowlands (not to be confused with Loveland, above) skipped a year. But this multi-genre camping party is back this year with some seriously serious acts including Liam Gallagher, Stormz, Chemical Brothers and the Opposites along with a ton of acts from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

Weekend tickets start at 220 euros and you can get yours here.

Reading Festival 2021

27 thru 29 August, Richfield Avenue

This multi-genre hip hop/house/EDM/rock festival started as a rock music festival back in the 1970s. Since then, everyone who’s anyone has played Reading Festival from the Foo Fighters to the Rolling Stones.

The 2021 post-pandemic line up is incredibly eclectic and includes Stormzy, Post Malone, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Jack Harlow, Disclosure and Queens of the Stone Age along with Doja Cat, Liam Gallagher, Lewis Capaldi, Two Door Cinema Club, DaBaby, Neck Deep, Sofi Tukker and AJ Tracey.

There are multiple stages because this is a two-city simultaneous event (see below), so check out the website to see who plays where and when. Thought it’s a bit confusing at this point. They’ll work it all out by August, we’re thinkin’ …..

There’s already a waiting list, and you can get on it here.

Leeds Festival 2021

27 thru 29 August, Bramham Park, Leeds

This is the twin to the Reading event, though Leeds Festival only dates back to the 1990s. And since Liam Gallagher can’t be two places at the same time (or at least we don’t think he can) he and all the acts listed above for Reading have to not just scramble between stages, but between cities.

So be sure to check out who will play where and when.

And just like the Reading event above, tickets are sold out, but you can get get on the waiting list here.

I Want to Dance Again

TBD at Lotto Arena in Antwerp

Ah, hope spring eternal. This event will happen as soon as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but who knows when that will be. You can see the featured act, The Subs, dancing through Antwerp’s famous Chinatown above.

You can buy tickets here for 35 euros.

You can read more info on this proposed event here on

Decibel Open Air

11 September and 12 September, Cascine Park in Florence, Italy

Decibel Open Air alive and kicking for 2021, with a lineup that includes Richie Hawtin, Kölsch, Ben Klock, Italy’s own Marco Carola, Nina Kraviz, Peggy Gou and many more. This is a two-stage event in a large green space amid one of Europe’s fabled cities … with Italian food. How bad could it be?

Tickets start at 65 euros and you can get them here.


19 September 2021 in London

Printworks, the underground club in a giant former newsprint shop, is reopening with three 2021 events, two of which are sold out. But there are still tickets for the September show. Low End Theories is a bit of a pig-in-a-poke proposition because the acts will be revealed the night of. It looks like this will be a drum-and-bass event. And that’s all we know.

Tickets start at 22.50 pounds and you can get yours here.

Amsterdam Dance Event

13 October to 17 October

ADE is back and live for its 25th anniversary. Dutch officials are pushing organizers to restart the EDM industry, guaranteeing they’ll cover 80-percent of events that get cancelled, they’re so confident they can get everyone vaccinated.

This is a multi-venue event, so check out the website here. And stay tuned as more details become available.

You can register here for tickets.

Club Amnesia

23 October, Closing Party 2021 on Ibiza

Ibiza’s most famous club is having an “inverted season,” announcing its closing party as its first event. And if you miss all the ice cannons, sound systems and decadence, you’ll want to put this event on your “tentative” calendar.

Most of the details are still TBD including acts and how many tickets will be available in a social-distancing setup. Stay tuned.

Terminal V Festival

30 October and 31 October. Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh

This is for you planners … but with its Halloween date, it’s likely to actually happen. Terminal V is a biannual (twice each year) underground house/techno festival in Edinburgh. To meet all the pent-up pandemic demand, Terminal V will run over two days for the first time in its history. During those two days, there are scheduled (by our count) 55 acts in an actual hangar near Edinburgh airport.

Those acts include a lot of established acts including the ubiquitous Nina Kraviz, Maceo Plex, Eats Everything, Honey Dijon, I Hate Models and Sven Vath and a lot of new acts.

You can get final release tickets here starting at 78.69 pounds.

Amaarae’s 10-date tour

Miss hearing acts in person? Basically, fantasizing about seeing Black Pumas or Michael Kiwanuka live is all that’s kept us going. Now, Ghanaian-American singer Amaarae has announced a 10-date Europe tour promoting her new album, “The Angel You Don’t know.” The tour starts 1 November and goes through 27 November. The tour starts in Manchester and goes to Stockholm.

You can see all the dates here and get tickets in advance.

Read more about Amaarae here in the Guardian.

Back in 2020

• Primavera Sound in Barcelona

Best Kept Secret, Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands

Send us the details of your upcoming event: [email protected]

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