Lifestyle & Culture

Spring Break Europe: Dispatches’ 2020 list of best destinations for snow/sand, sun and sin

APRIL

Chamonix – Chamonix Unlimited Festival: In a fabled ski resort in the shadow of Europe’s tallest mountain, Chamonix Unlimited Festival – 31 March thru 5 April – is about more than views. It typically has one of the better lineups of underground house and techno celebrity artists.

For TwentyTwenty, names include Âme, Ben Klock, Chris Liebing, Maceo Plex, Nina Kraviz, Richie Hawtin and Tale of Us. But there are a lot of new-on-the-scenes including Carlota from Ibiza and kids from France and Italy.

Ticket prices are based on whether you want to ski, with “pedestrian tickets” starting at 38 euros. Then, it gets really complicated, with five categories and multiple access choices for access to the music, all of which you can see here.

Grandvalira, Andorra – Festival Hibernation: We heard about Hibernation a couple of years ago, then we missed it last year. This year, Hibernation is back on our list. Techno, house, and skiing in the Pyrenees of Andorra.

For 2020, Hibernation is 3 to 5 April.

This festival is at Grandvalira, a resort 2000 meters in the mountains (and the largest in Pyrenees), so there should be plenty of snow. And because this is in the Pyrenees, not Switzerland, this is a lot more affordable experience.

Weirdly, at this late date (January 2020) they still haven’t posted the 2020 lineup. Last year featured Berlin regulars including Âme and Len Faki as well as Arman from Toronto and Ukraine’s Nastia. So we’re expecting Names.

Tickets start at 25 euros and you can get yours here.

Amsterdam – Spring Break Amsterdam 2020: We’ve been in Amsterdam over Spring Break and we can say this without fear of contradiction … it’s crowded and crazy. If crowded and crazy is your schizzle dizzle, this is the place.

Spring Break bundles all of Amsterdam’s best party experiences including entrance to five clubs. And not the crappy clubs, but the famous clubs such as Melkweg.

That’s at night … during the day, there are boat parties and pub crawls in case, you know, your lab tests came back showing an alcohol deficiency.

You can get 1-price tickets that include accommodations and even tram tickets. Of course, all the extras cost you and this ain’t Croatia. So Spring Break Amsterdam has a quote function on its website so you can see your costs including add-ons. Seriously … when did everything get soooo expensive?

Or you could go to Zermatt Unplugged.

Zermatt – Zermatt Unplugged: Acoustic music in the Alps. Sort of like a contemporary “The Sound of Music” without the lederhosen. Zermatt Unplugged is 14 to 18 April for 2020 … prime Spring Break time.

This year, Zermatt Unplugged has Dido from the day, James Morrison (“Nothing Ever Hurt Me Like You”), Glenn Hansard (“Once”) and – thank goodness – Âme Live for those who’ve moved on to the 21st century.

Finally, you’ll be chillin’ in Switzerland.

Unplugged passes start at 60 euros per night, though there’s a premium for the big acts, which cost about 85 Swiss francs. You can get yours here. And by the way, acts play more than one time during the five days so you can see all your favorites.

The full 2020 schedule is here.

Crans-Montana, Switzerland– Caprice Presents Modernity: A festival so fine it takes up two bookend weekends. (Which is a trend, now.) Anyway, Caprice Presents Modernity is booked in this Swiss ski resort for 17 thru 19 April, then picks up again the following weekend, 24 thru 26 April.

The infrastructure is also changing, according to an email we got from JukeboxPR in London:

Three new stages will be in place this year — firstly a new daytime stage at Cry D’Er to complement Modernity, plus the Moon stage from previous years will give way to two brand new stages, The Forest Stage and The Chalet Stage.

This is all done in coordination with club partners including Esto Es Tulum from Mexico, Epizode from Vietnam, Pyramid from Ibiza, Gypsyland from Italy, Aum from Paris and Slapfunk Records from Amsterdam. So these are essentially clubbing weekends transported to the Swiss Alps.

“Names” this year include Marco Carola, Sven Väth and Adriatique. But most of the acts are from clubs across Europe.

Tickets start at 35 Swiss francs and you can get yours here.

MAY

Antiguo Aquapark, Calvia –Mallorca Live Festival: Three days (14 thru 16 May) and so many Names including that forever young duo Pet Shop Boys, Michael Kiwanuka (did we mention he’s one of our favs?) and the quirky but fascinating Crystal Fighters.

This is one of the first big summer 2020 events at the Antiguo Aquapark venue, which is close to – but quite not on – the beach on this Spanish party island in the Med.

New this year – the fifth for Mallorca Live – is the Tropic Stage, with an area of 2,000 m² (about half an acre) dedicated to electronic music.

Two-day passes start at 82.50 euros and you can get yours here.

Lyon, France – Nuits Sonores: France’s No. 3 city is most famous as a foodie town, with the best in cuisine and wine. But from 19 thru 24 May, Lyon becomes France’s Party Central.

Get ready for a non-stop pace of events, tours, workshops and, of course, music. This year, there a political themes as well, with a focus on sustainability.

This year, a raft of Names will be playing all-night raves including Laurant Garnier, Caribou, Honey Dijon, DJ Harvey, Jeff Mills, and Nina Kraviz. You can see the full lineup here.

Tickets start at 40 euros and you can get yours here … though by the time you’re reading this, there likely will be a wait list.

Pag Island, Croatia – Zrce Spring Break Europe 2020: This is the first big spring/summer event in Croatia, this year running from 29 May to 1 June. Zrce Spring Break offers two clubs – Aquarius and Kalypso. And of course, this being Croatia, there’s the party boat.

Tickets are 99 euros, and throw in another 49 euros for the party boat. So this is turning into an expensive event. You can get your tickets here. Expensive enough they have a pay-as-you-go plan.

By the way, Erasmus Spring Break 2020 for students runs on the same dates at Noa Beach Club and is 49 euros.

Or you could go to Zermatt Unplugged.

JUNE

St. Paul’s Bay, Malta – Annie Mac’s Lost & Found Festival: Even though Annie Mac is not that old, this is a Maltese Spring Break tradition that goes back years. Who knows … your Phoenecian ancestors might have been at the first one way back in 2015.

This year, from 30 April to 3 May, some of the BBC Radio1 lineup from days of yore is back including CamelPhat, Denis Sulta and Annie Mac herself. Fresh acts include Michael Bibi and the suddenly notorious rapper Slowthai. We count about 60 acts.

Oh, and there are day/night parties and pool parties. Tickets start at 130 pounds and you can get yours here.

The reveal video from the 2018 event is still one of our favorites because it’s clever and AM clearly doesn’t take herself as seriously as some of the overblow egos in the biz. So we included it above. Enjoy.

Polkovnik Serafimovo, Bulgaria – Meadows in the Mountains: This is on both our Spring Break list and summer destinations list. And up at the top where we were ruminating about less commercial events, this what we had in mind.

Running 4 thru 7 June this year, Meadows in the Mountain offers a sampling of both Burning Man debauchery and quiet moments in mountain meadows in remote Bulgaria. Which is why MitM is sort of a cult favorite, marking its 10th year in 2020.

This will sell out, so don’t delay. Tickets are 149 euros for the four days. At that price, you get music, but you won’t get David Guetta. You will get to experience what Wonderland Magazine terms “the only festival that has managed to create that promised snippet of utopia, where so many others have fallen short.”

You can get your tickets here.

Donington Park, London – Download Festival: Last year, the Paris version of Download was an event we’re still talking about. Wolf Alice one night, then a Lynrd Skynrd cover band the next, with Foo Fighters and Marilyn Manson thrown in for good measure … one of the most, ah, interesting lineups we’d ever seen.

This year, Download is back in London and headliners are a little more consistent and include Kiss, Korn and Iron Maiden. Not our cup of tea. But you headbangers looking for a memorable Spring Break … this might be it.

Tickets start at 250 pounds for adults and include camping. Children’s tickets start at 113 pounds … and we have a huge vision of 4-year-olds grooving to “”I wanna’ rock and roll all night, and party every daaaaaay.”

Whatever.

You can get tickets here.

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