Our lists of the best music festivals across Europe got so unwieldy that we had to start breaking them up because they literally wouldn’t fit on the Dispatches CMS!
In the course of trying to figure out how to cope with all the events, we realized there are two types of fans: The Action Fan who just goes, and the Planner, who, well, plans.
The spontaneous thing gets more difficult because nearly every festival sells out. Add to that the fact that Kendrick Lamar just received a Pulitzer Prize, and there’s way more demand than tickets as the summer goes on.
So, this one’s for the planners. We have 24 events in August – far enough out to get tickets – literally from Amougies, Belgium (W Festival) to Zurich’s Street Parade and covering every genre from EDM to thrash metal.
And if there’s a music festival you want us at Dispatches Europe to know about, please email us at:
Amougies – W Festival: New Romantics! Goths! New Wavers and Rivetheads! Lend us your ears, for W Festival in Amougies, Belgium is set to go 15 through 19 August.
The biggest news thus far for this year’s gathering is the stand-alone celebration of the 40th anniversary of Bauhaus 15 August. Vocalist Peter Murphy and bassist David J will play songs from the legendary group’s back catalog that night to mark the occasion.
You won’t need a DeLorean or roads where you’re going, just this mixtape:
Midge Ure; A Flock of Seagulls; Front Line Assembly; Clan of Xymox; Men Without Hats; Kim Wilde; Suicide Commando; Project Pitchfork; A Split Second; ABC; and many more
A full four-day ticket to the W Festival is €120.
Biddinghuizen – Lowlands: Proclaimed by the Dutch as “the event of the summer,” A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise—Lowlands, for short—returns 17 through 19 August to rock the village of Biddinghuizen, around 55 kilometres to the east of Amsterdam.
Lowlands is a successor to one of the first Dutch pop music festivals, A Flight to Lowlands Paradise, which was held in November 1967 and December 1968. The revival—under its current full name—began in 1993, and has since drawn an annual audience of 55,000 to its many stages (each stage—other than main sponsor Grolsch’s stage—named after the NATO phonetic alphabet).
Lowlands can’t be “the event of the summer” without this lineup:
Gorillaz; Kendrick Lamar; N.E.R.D.; The War On Drugs; Dropkick Murphys; Gogol Bordello; De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig; Patti Smith; Leafs; Zeal & Ardor; and many more
A full festival pass to Lowlands is €195. Cancellation insurance brings the price to €197.95, a collector’s pass comes to €199.95. And that’s before the camping and glamping add-ons.
Budapest – Sziget Festival: In 1993, a small music festival was established in Budapest, Hungary on the island of Óbudai-sziget, meant to be a low-cost affair for local students.
Twenty-five years later, Sziget Festival has grown to be one of the biggest music festivals in Eastern Europe, if not the entire continent; it has won the Best Major European Festival category twice during the European Festival Awards in 2011 and 2014.
More than half a million guests – spread out over several days – attend the multi-day festival annually, all coming from the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and, of course, Hungary to see the likes of Prince, Iron Maiden, R.E.M., Fatboy Slim, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and so many more major artists rock the stages.
The island festival is ready to rock the August summer with this lineup:
Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys, Goo Goo Dolls, Liam Gallagher, Ummet Ozcan, Perturbator; Lana Del Rey; Gorillaz; Desiigner; Jewish Monkeys; Ifriqiyya Electrique; Electric Fields; and many more
There are several ways to enjoy the Sziget Festival—set for 8 through 15 August—from a day ticket for €75, to a full seven-day pass for €310; the five-day pass is sold-out, though. You can also pay to set up camp early, and upgrade your five-day pass to a full seven-day pass. Those prices don’t include the camping packages available, the accessories you’ll need, add-ons, and boat parties, of course.
Castelbuono – Ypsigrock Festival: In 1997, one of Europe’s most unique music festivals first took place in Castelbuono, Sicily, the Ypsigrock Fesitval.
Twenty-two editions later, Ypsigrock continues its mission of bringing together “indie lovers from all over the country and abroad to the medieval hill town of Castelbuono to see amazing international bands for exclusive live shows.” The festival has a unique approach to its annual lineup: no artist has ever been invited back; thus, every Ypsigrock is one-of-a-kind, and a can’t-miss affair.
You won’t see any of this lineup again after this year’s Ypsigrock:
The Jesus and Mary Chain; The Horrors; Aurora; The Radio Dept.; …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead; Youngr; Her; Blue Hawaii; Girls Name; Shame; and many more
A three-day pass to the 22nd edition of Ypsigrock Festival—set for 9 through 12 August—is €75 through 17 April, then €80 until all passes are sold-out.
Copenhagen – HAVEN Festival: Looking for a safe haven to experience aural pleasures and the finest brews? Then head to Copenhagen 10 and 11 August for the second edition of the HAVEN Festival, held against the backdrop of the Refshaleøen.
The two-day festival is a music festival, beer festival, food festival and art festival all in one setting, where guests are pushed beyond mere passive observance into working in various crossover collaboration with musicians, chefs, artists and brewers alike. We don’t know what this means, but we like it.
Wrap yourself in the safe haven of this lineup:
Arcade Fire; Ariel Pink; Cancer; Einstürzende Neubauten; Kraftwerk; Unknown Mortal Orchestra; and many more
Tickets to the second annual HAVEN Festival are DKK 1,435 (€193) for a two-day pass, DKK 935 (€126) for a single-day ticket.
Daresbury, Cheshire – Creamfields: A mega-outdoor festival held between Liverpool and Manchester, Creamfields is the biggest long music weekend of the year in the UK. We have no idea why they call it “Creamfields.” But the bill has always included the cream of the crop of EDM DJs and live dance acts.
That hasn’t changed for 2018:
Armin Van Burrin; Kölsch; The Chainsmokers; Vini Vici; Martin Garrix; Alesso; Annie Mac; The Black Madonna; Diplo; Tiësto, Carl Cox, Hardwell, Hot Since 82, Idris Elba (yes, the movie star) and Fat Boy Slim
We count at least 60 acts for 2018, and most could be headliners on their own.
Creamfields runs from 23 to 26 August and there’s camping.
Tickets start at 85 pounds for a day ticket and you can get yours here.
Devon – Beautiful Days: Looking for a “five-star weekend” in Brexitland? Head up to Devon, England’s Escot Park 17 through 19 August for the 2018 edition of Beautiful Days.
Born in 2003, the weekend-long camping music festival “is a family-friendly weekend camping event attended by people of all ages,” with music and entertainment spread across six stages and a children’s area. Art installations, walkabout theatre, food and craft stalls, and plenty of camping contribute to the welcoming atmosphere of Beautiful Days.
And the days are truly beautiful with a gorgeous soundtrack:
Manic Street Preachers; Gogol Bordello; British Sea Power; The Wildhearts; My Baby; Suzanne Vega; Calexico; Levellers; and many more, including a headliner to be revealed in June
Tickets to Beautiful Days are £142.50 (€164) for an adult camping ticket. Children’s tickets are also available.
Haarlemmermeer – Mysteryland: Near Amsterdam in Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands is one of capital city’s biggest music festivals, Mysteryland. And this year is a special year for the long-running extravaganza “renowned for its creativity and jaw-dropping production.”
From 24 through 27 August, Mysteryland will celebrate its 25th anniversary among “the beautiful fields, forests and lakes of the Floriade Terrain” with tonnes of big names and rising superstars!
The Spartans have nothing on this 300-plus lineup:
Hardwell; Paul Van Dyk; Ronnie Flex & Deuxperience; Fatboy Slim; Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike; and many more
Weekend tickets for the 25th anniversary of Mysteryland are €119, €284.50 for the VIP treatment. Camping and single-day tickets are also available.
Helsinki – Flow Festival: This is one of the biggest “all things to all people” festivals in Europe. Flow Festival, which runs from 10 to 12 August, has everything from Kendrick Lamar to Nordic poke bowls.
Part art festival, part foodie event and all all-stars all the time, Flow Festival is kind of its own unique animal.
On the music side are some of the biggest acts on Planet Earth:
Kendrick Lamar; Arctic Moneys; Patti Smith; Fleet Foxes; Lykki Li and Grizzly Bear
And there are tons and tons of lesser-knowns from around the world, as well as Scandinavian bands.
Tickets start at 99 euros per day, and you can get yours here.
Hildesheim – M’era Luna: If you’re in Hildesheim, Germany in early August, why not join the wave of goths, headbangers, and rivetheads descending upon the Drispenstedt airfield (formerly occupied by the British Army) for one of the biggest dark music festivals in Europe, M’era Luna!
The moon will shine bright upon the 25,000 shadows in Hildesheim:
The Prodigy; Front 242; Ministry; Clan of Xymox; London After Midnight; Atari Teenage Riot; Eisbrecher; Merciful Nuns; and many more
Tickets to the 2018 edition of M’era Luna—set for 11 and 12 August—range €105 for a combitcket without camping, to €445 for a place among three other friends at the Gothic Garden Ganymed. You can also pre-order 24 rounds of Beck’s beer to be picked up upon arrival on the campgrounds of M’era Luna.
Jaroměř – Brutal Assault: What’s more metal than a European hard rock and metal festival? A European hard rock and metal festival inside a fortress! If this is your jam, then head over to Jaroměř, Czechia for the 23rd edition of Brutal Assault 8 through 11 August.
Unlike most other extreme music festivals, Brutal Assault takes place inside Pevnost Josefov, an 18th-century fortress designed by French architect Louis Querlonde de Hamel, and constructed between 1780 and 1790. Alongside Pevnost Terezín, Josefov was built to defend the Holy Roman Empire against invasion from the Kingdom of Prussia.
Today, though, the only invaders are the metal gods and goddesses… and their followers:
Ministry; Behemoth; Saint Vitus; Testament; Armored Saint; Exhorder; Suicidal Tendencies; Perturbator; Danzig; Cannibal Corpse; Gojira; The Black Dhalia Murder; Mortiis; and many more
Tickets to the 2018 edition of Brutal Assault are €84 for a full four-day pass.
Kiewit – Pukkelpop: For over three decades, the “progressive and contemporary” four-day music festival known as Pukkelpop has welcomed the likes of The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Sonic Youth, Eminem and more to its home of Kiewit, Belgium, 7 kilometres north of Hasselt.
Pukkelpop is the second largest music festival in Belgium, only behind Rock Werchter, drawing over 200,000 annually to the fields and woodlands surrounding the many stages.
Get lost in the woods, find yourself in the music:
Kendrick Lamar; Charlotte de Witte; Aurora; Bonobo; Horse Meat Disco; N.E.R.D.; Slushii; Sons of Kemet; Incubus; Imagine Dragons; Hockey Dad; Ronnie Flex & Deuxperience; and many more
Tickets to this year’s Pukkelpop—set for 15 through 18 August—are €205 for a full festival pass, €100 for day tickets.
London – Field Maneuvers: Somewhere an hour away from London, around 700 people will gather upon one field over three nights between 31 August and 2 September “for the UK’s most mischievous little rave,” Field Maneuvers.
Begun six years ago, Field Maneuvers is “stronger than ever” in 2018, “with an all-star line-up of the underground’s elite.”
Get lost under the stars with the underground elite of Field Maneuvers:
K-Hand; Dr Rubinstein; Powder; Rroxymore; Eris Drew; Gideön; Shanti Celeste; Elena Colombi; Iona; Local Group; Cornerstone Soundsystem; and many more
Tickets to Fields Maneuvers are currently £119 (€137), with final-release tickets set to be sold for £129 (€148) when the current tier is sold-out.
London – South West Four Festival: London’s Clapham Common will be ready send off August with a bang when the 15th-anniversary edition of the South West Four Festival rocks the house 25 through 28 August.
SW4 will be celebrating its milestone anniversary with the biggest names in electronic music, including:
Marshmello; Armin Van Buuren; Dizzee Rascal; MK; Wire; Wilkinson; Bugzy Malone; Craig David; and Basement Jaxx
Weekend tickets to the 15th anniversary of South West Four start at £99, but don’t wait to get them, as they’re 50 percent sold out already. Single-day and group tickets are also available.
Novalja – Sonus Festival: At this time of the year, the big festivals usually have more guitars than laptops and decks, but the party never stops with Europe’s electronic music scene. Simply head over to Zrće Beach in Novalja, Croatia 19 through 23 August for the 2018 edition of Sonus Festival.
After celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2017, Sonus is ready for the next five years with four days and nights of non-stop wubs, subsonic bass hooks, and soul-crushing drops like never before.
Whether it’s the beaches, the boats or the clubs, Sonus will take you higher:
Adam Breyer, Pan-Pot, Charlotte de Witte, Jackmaster, Sonja Moonear, Tale Of Us and many more
Tickets to the 2018 edition of Outlook Festival are £110 (€126) for a weekend pass, £175 (€200) for the weekend and camping pass. The prices are set to rise to £151 and £200 (€173 and €229) respectively in the near future, so don’t sleep on this.
Pervolia – Fengaros: Spending some time in the Mediterranean? Why not head over to Pervolia, Cyprus 2 through 4 August for the eighth edition of Fengaros.
The festival will be held in a new location for the first time in 2018: the Journalists’ Village in Pervolia. The Mediterranean will be the backdrop for over 20 artists and DJs from Cyprus, Greece and beyond, some of whom will be including the island in their European tours for the first time.
Dance the nights away along the Mediterranean in Pervolia with this lineup:
Joan As Police Woman, Deerhoof, Σtella, Negros tou Moria, Bazooka, Alice Phoebe Lou, TootArd, Soccer96, Duru Duru, Black Anis, Avgi, Belua, Blue Lagoon, Black Athena and many more
Tickets to Fengaros are €37.50 for a three-day pass, €21.50 for a single-day ticket. If any tickets are still available by the time of the festival, they will be sold at the door for €45 for a three-day pass, €25 for a single-day ticket. Children 12 and under get in free.
Reading and Leeds – Reading Music Festival and Leeds Music Festival: Any plans to visit Brexitland in late August 2018? Why not add the Reading Music Festival and Leeds Music Festival in Reading and Leeds, England to your calendar!
Both festivals occur at the same time with the same bill during the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the August bank holiday weekend, which will be 24 through 26 August 2018.
Together, Reading and Leeds pull in around 90,000 guests annually at Richfield Avenue and Bramham Park, with big names like The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and Metallica gracing the stages over the years.
The 2018 lineup — shared between both festivals — has just been announced as of this writing… and not too many fans are happy with it.
But perhaps, you will be:
Kendrick Lamar; Panic! At The Disco; Kings Of Leon; Fall Out Boy; Annie Mac; Papa Roach; Diplo; Playboi Carti; Ski Mask The Slump God; and many more
If this lineup has your ear, you can buy festival passes to Reading and Leeds right now for £205 (€230). Tickets to Reading can be had here, those for Leeds right here.
Roermond – Solar Weekend Festival: Since 2005, Roermond’s Solar Weekend Festival has always brought the wubs and dubs together with pop sounds over four days under the early August summer sun, this year from 2 through 5 August.
What began as “a progressive initiative,” Solar Weekend has grown to become “a multi-day festival full of creativity, color and love!” This year’s theme, Imagine: Defining Creativity, brings Solar Weekend back to its base as a festival “where—in creative fields—everything is possible, and everything is allowed.”
Make your weekend Solar-powered with this growing lineup:
Kriss Kross Amsterdam; Geza; Raywell; Sanka Soundsystem; Kevin D; Bobby Fresh; Aux Tha Masterfader; Girlpower; Amelie Lens; Latifah; and more
More areas and lineups will be announced in the coming weeks. In the meantime, 3- and 4-day passes are available for €115 and €135. Weekend and day tickets are also available. Prices will go up on the passes as soon as the current phase sells out, which is close to happening as of this writing.
Scheveningen – Schollenpop: The second largest free open-air festival in The Hague area, the beaches of Scheveningen, Netherlands will come to life with sound and vision 25 August for the 2018 edition of Schollenpop.
What once was a beach party for a few friends in 1997, Schollenpop has grown to a big beach party, drawing several national and international acts to the shores of the North Sea, including: Killing Joke; Bettie Serveert; Danny Vera; Sepultura; and Playground Zero.
This year’s lineup has not been announced as of this writing, but your wallet will remain fat for concessions and band merch at Schollenpop, as admission is free.
Skanderborg – Smukfest: Nearly four decades ago in Skanderborg, “Denmark’s most beautiful festival,” Smukfest was born on a small stage with seven bands, 600 fans, and a tarpaulin to keep the rain at bay.
Today, the beautiful festival draws over 50,000 to the beech forest near Skanderborg to spend a week with the best in rock, metal, hip-hop, pop, folk and electronic, including Britney Spears, Ozzy Osbourne, Prince, Tom Jones and Eric Clapton.
Behold the beautiful sounds that await your ears at Denmark’s most beautiful festival:
Britney Spears; Kendrick Lamar; deadmau5; Infernal; Lil’ Kleine; Jethro Tull; Mew; Bananarama; Go Go Berlin; The Minds of 99; Afrojack; Aura; and many more
Tickets to the 2018 edition of Smukfest—scheduled for 8 through 12 August—are already sold-out, and have been since February. However, you can sign-up on a waiting list to buy a ticket on the official resale channel for DKK 2,695 (€362).
Tønder – Tønder Festival: A drive across the Danish-German border will bring you to the town of Tønder, where you can bid farewell to the Danish summer 23 through 26 August during the 2018 edition of the Tønder Festival.
Beginning in June 1974 as a summer music festival on the Vidå River, followed by a repeat in August of that year before officially establishing itself in August 1975, the Tønder Festival has grown over the four decades to become “a unique festival with a well-defined profile and a powerful identity… something money can’t buy.”
Money can’t buy a lineup like this, but it helps:
3Hattrio; Anne Linnet; B.B. King Tribute feat. Mike Andersen, Shaka & James Loveless, Otis Grand and others; Cóig; Dusty Heart; Jeffrey Foucault; Melissa Horn; Oysterband; The Mavericks; and many more
Tickets to the 2018 edition of the Tønder Festival are DKK 1,490 (€201) for a full festival pass, DKK 600 to DKK 800 (€81 – €108) for single-day tickets, depending on which day you attend. Camping tickets and discounts are also available.
Târgu Mureș – Awake Festival: Looking for a new festival to attend? Then head into the heart of Transylvania to Târgu Mureș, Romania for the second annual Awake Festival 17 through 19 August.
Held on the grounds of Château Teleki in nearby Gornești, Awake Festival is a three-day boutique gathering of 10,000 each day, featuring not only great music, but also art on the castle grounds, plenty of food and drink, even coffee with the organizers of the festival and tours of Château Teleki by a real Transylvanian Count who calls the castle home.
Stake your place in the heart of history at the second edition of Awake:
Wilkinson; Milky Chance; The Subways; The Parlotones; Fink; Mihail; DJ Sauce; and many more
Tickets to the second-ever Awake Festival are RON 159 (€35) for a three-day pass, RON 185 (€40) for the pass with camping. These prices are good until 16 May.
Wacken – Wacken Open Air: The metal festival of all metal festivals, Wacken Open Air always rocks the village of Wacken, Germany like a hurricane every August since the first gathering in 1990.
And if you’re ready to bang your head like never before, then now is the time to make your early August 2018 weekend metal, blacker than the blackest black, times infinity, as tickets to the hardest, heaviest, most brutal festival in all of Deutschland — if not the world — are on sale. The three-day, all-in pass is €221, and includes the festival’s new W.O.A. Card, which is your actual ticket; the cardboard one is a souvenir.
Get rocked like a hurricane with this bone-melting lineup:
Amorphis; Behemoth; Cannibal Corpse; Eskimo Callboy; Ghost; Judas Priest; Nazareth; Samael; Steel Panther; Watain; 2 Cellos; Fozzy; Helmet; and many more
Do not wait, for W.O.A. always sells-out months before the walls of death are erected from 2 to 5 August, a trend which began in 2007, and will not stop in 2018.
Vlieland – Into The Great Wide Open: Bid farewell to the Dutch summer holiday season on the island and city of Vlieland 30 August through 2 September when Into The Great Wide Open returns to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
The annual festival’s core is music, and is augmented by cutting-edge programming, visual arts, cinema, challenging activities and more, all cradled under the summer sky by the trees and sand of the Netherlands’ finest tourist spots.
Into the great wide open, these performers will play under them skies of blue:
Big Thief; Damien Jurado, Destroyer; Hauschka; Jeff Tweedy; Protomartyr; Rico & Sticks; The Posies; Wende; William Fitzsimmons; and more to come
Alas, tickets to Into The Great Wide Open sold-out 30 minutes after going on sale in early February. Thus, you’ll have to mark this one on your calendar for January 2019.
Zürich – Street Parade Zürich: There are some big events across Europe such as the Love Parade, Ultra Europe and Primavera, which draw tens of thousands. But as far as we know, there’s only one that draws 1 million partiers … Street Parade Zürich. Think techno Woodstock on Zürichzee.
The 27th Street Parade is scheduled for 11 August. There will be at least 125 acts including 50 international stars and 50 Swiss stars.
The first announced acts include:
Paul Kalkbrenner, Tale Of Us, Joseph Capriati, Nicole Moudaber, Dubfire, Loco Dice, Pan-Pot, Seth Troxler and Joris Voorn.
But, that’s just the beginning because there are nine stages and more than 25 “Love Mobiles” circulating with music, totaling 11 hours of non-stop entertainment.
That’s some weekend … and it’s all free! Who knew the Swiss are such party animals?
Lifestyle journalist. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.