Architecture and art, Europe, Things to do

Let the Music guide your trips – Europe’s Best Summer Festivals

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There’s no better way of understanding the feeling of a festival and channeling its energy than by being there – you simply can’t understand it if you’re not in the crowd.

Now that it’s summertime, it’s time to forget about your jobs and social responsibilities for a couple of days and dare to accept this major challenge that is: having fun! Ultimately, that’s what this articole is about – summer, festivals, music, and fun! So there are the must-see festivals that are going to take place in Europe this summer.

Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, Somerset (UK)

If you’re in search for a bohemian place, then this is definitely the thing for you. It’s one of the most disputed and controversial artistic festivals around the world, and it’s also one of the most popular.  It’s a home for all you artistic spirits, and a place where anyone and everyone has a good time – whether you’re with your friends blasting it off, or having a vacation with your family.

On of the peculiarities that makes this festival easily differentiate from the crowd is that what you’ll hear here presented as artistic singing behavior is beyond anything you could’ve ever imagined. If it’s said that creativity means stepping out of the box, most of the people here are clearly already far away from it.


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Also, among the headliners, if you’re a fan of Dolly Parton and you’ve been singing Jolene ever since you were a child, this is something you shouldn’t afford to miss. Arcade Fire and Disclosure are among the headliners, as well as Metallica, Jack White, Robert Plant, Kasabian, Skrillex, and many, many others, which will be playing on a million scenes or something – so hurry up and book your plane.

Date: 25-29 June 2014

How do I get there? From every single airport or larger city in UK it should be easy to head to the festival. The UK has an excellent network of trains and buses, just be prepared for a big crowd.

Roskilde Festival, Zealand (Denmark)

I’m not going to lie to you. Aside from this event, most of the tourists who visit Zealand (which is the largest of Denmark’s 406 islands) during the year are interested solely in the Viking heritage and the cultural landmarks of the region. Since 1971 any festival-lover remembers the history drawn a little bit differently. The biggest cultural and musical festival is going to host the Rolling Stones as a headline this year, just like they did during the first editions back in ‘70s.

Kronbog castle, one of the main attractions on the Zealand island.

Actually, it’s this legendary band that stood behind the reason of arranging such an outstanding scene in the first place. And since we started this top with social visions that unify the most different people with completely distinct tastes, this one’s no different than what’s happening in Serbia at the Exit Festival (more on that in just a bit). The money is going to be collected during the festival by the non-profit organizers and their association, is going to be donated to charity. So here’s another humanitarian cause to make you book a ticket.

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Date: 29 June – 6 July

How do I get there? Speaking of tickets, Roskilde is just 35 kilometers away from Copenhagen, where you can get by plane. A ride with the train is highly recommended, not just because the great traveling conditions, but because it would be impossible to get lost: the festival has its own train station so you don’t have to be good at subtle hints to know where to get off.

Exit Festival (Serbia) and Sea Dance Festival (Montenegro)

Exit was voted the best Major European Festival of 2014 and no more than a glance at the program would immediately explain why. The story of this event is pretty amazing as it has pretty strong social roots, it started as a  student movement fighting for democracy and peace in Serbia and the Balkans. But since activism and hedonism aren’t mutually exclusive, over 200,000 people gather annually to party nd drink to the principles they stand by. The diversity of the headliners proves – once more – that the taste in music still varies even among the most united social critical mass. Among the singers, the most popular are Skrillex, Gloria Gaynor and Damond Albarn. The four-day music festival held in Novi Sad is going to be moved in Montenegro for a three-day after-party festival, Sea Dance. Definitely not something you want to miss out on!

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Date: 10-13 July (Exit) and 15-17 (Sea Dance)

How do I get there? Belgrade (1,5 hours) and Budapest (5 hours) are the closest airports to take you to Novi Sad.

Festival Internacional de Benicassim (Spain)

Since early during the 19th century, the upper-class locals started building summer residences along the 6 kilometers of sea coast of Benicassim. As the festival is one of the most popular in Europe, the main activities and concerts are oriented toward the mainstream, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Since most of the headliners are widely appreciated and acclaimed, it’s in the natural course of things for their concerts to start late at night, sometimes after 2 a.m.; and this only means one thing – there’s plenty of time for anyone to have fun here. Lily Allen, Paolo Nutini and Kasabian are just of the popular singers that are going to render the atmosphere this year.

During the day you can always relax on the beach that’s less than half an hour away from the festival. But since the weather’s hot and nasty since the early hours, it would be recommended to try and get some sleep during the night, especially if you’re accommodating in a tent. Otherwise, if you’re not traveling on a budget, we’d advise you to opt for a decent room with air conditioning – or a tent with lots of cold beers.

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Date: 17-20 July 2014

How do I get there? Valencia – Manises is the closest airport to your destination, and from here you can always take a train ride to Benicassim; if you fear this isn’t quite a Spanish landmark, don’t worry! The number of trains during the festival doubles so that anyone has the chance to party hard!

Tomorrowland Festival, Boom (Belgium)

Ok, this electronic festival may really not be among the most popular in Europe, we admit. But it doesn’t need to have too much reputation, because it has a very specific target. But its concept is pretty amazing. And unlike the rest of the events, I’ll start with the concept here: we’re supposed to be among the most creative, responsible and informed people to belong here. One living proof is The Bridge of Tomorrow where any music addict can leave a message for a better world.

Dreamville Opening Party happens on 17th of July, but only the ones who book a place at least a month before can have acces to it – it’s popular as being more of a private ceremony for the friends of the event.

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Date: 25-26-27 July (there’s another session of the event, happening on the weekend before this, but all the tickets are sold out).

How do I get there? 32 kilometers North of Brussels, Boom can be reached to easily, either by train or bus. Since the festival is being organized since 2005 annually, the locals will know how to direct you towards the fun in case you’ll be having any problem.

Sziget Festival, Lake Balaton (Hungary)

It’s true, a festival that’s not among the titans of European music has made it to this list. Even if this event’s been organized for the first time in 1993, it has slowly and steadily grown into a well-respected cultural festival. Innitially meant for hardcore folk lovers, now it’s more of a liberal festival under the aspect of musical styles. It does cover pretty much of the important music names or genres.

This year, ProdigyQueen of the Stone Age, Placebo, Lily Allen and even Macklemore are going to perform on the stage of this festival. But the city isn’t only alive during the time when the music on the scene covers all the whispers and white-noise conversations. On the contrary, you should really check the local famous ‘ruin pubs’ – they’re quite an experience for the travelers who are open-minded and willing to have fun until the morning lets you know another day of unceasing partying has begun.

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Date: 11-18 August 2014

How do I get there? Ferenc Lizst Airport, Budapest, is where you should get to by plane. From there, a shuttle bus is going to bring you to Sziget. And if you’re traveling by train, Deli or Keleti stations in Budapest are the ones who have routes towards here.

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