The Best European Music Festivals Taking Place In 2020

The great British festival: often waterlogged, always muddy. If you’re looking to combine a weekend watching the best music acts with a few days in the sun, hop over to one of Europe’s most popular festivals. From Spain to Slovakia, here are some of our favourites…

Primavera Sound, Spain

In the 20 years since the first edition, Primavera Sound has elevated itself to become one of the world's best-known and best-loved music festivals. Taking place each summer in Barcelona, the festival showcases a peerless line-up that spans musical styles and showcases the finest alternative and underground talent from across the globe. This year, we’re most excited about Lana Del Rey, Tyler, The Creator, Kacey Musgaves and Beck. Look out for its Porto version the following weekend, which features much of the same line-up.

Line-up highlights: Massive Attack, The Strokes, The National

Barcelona, Spain; 3rd-7th June

Visit PrimeveraSound.com

Secret Solstice, Iceland

This scenic festival is held just outside Reykjavik. And while the line-up is a wonderful mix of 90s icons (Cypress Hill, TLC, Primal Scream) and up-and-coming Icelandic stars (Frid, Birnir), the real pull of Secret Solstice is the location. Away from the music, guests can swim in a geo-thermal pool, explore a lava tunnel and party within Langjökull, Europe’s second largest glacier.

Line-up highlights: TLC, Alma, Primal Scream

Reykjavík, Iceland; 26th-28th June

Visit SecretSolstice.is

Roskilde, Denmark

More than just a weekender, 50-year-old Roskilde is an eight-day extravaganza. With eight stages and 180 bands booked to play, there really is something for everyone – from Taylor Swift and Haim to Kendrick Lamar, The Strokes and FKA Twigs. Its arts and activism programme is impressive too, the line-up features more female acts than ever, and it prides itself on being a sustainable, waste-free festival and it’s also a not-for-profit endeavour – 100% of all money made goes to charity.

Line-up highlights: Kendrick Lamar, Charlie XCX, Taylor Swift

Roskilde, Denmark; 27th June-4th July

Visit Roskilde-Festival.dk

Nos Alive, Portugal

Nos Alive is a Portuguese rock, indie and alternative music festival, held on the Oeiras coast, close to Lisbon. One of Europe's most respected music festivals, its line-up has featured Arctic Monkeys, The Cure, Bon Iver, Pearl Jam and Queens of the Stone Age in recent years – this year it’s the turn of The Strokes, Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift. Its setting means festival-goers spend their days in the sun or in the water, before the main stage acts kick off for a full-night of music. 

Line-up highlights: Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, The Strokes, Kendrick Lamar

Lisbon, Portugal; 8th-11th July

Visit NosAlive.com

Exit Festival, Serbia

The most high-profile festival in Serbia, the award-winning Exit Festival focuses on the best of dance, electronic and hip hop. Located in the beautiful Petrovaradin fortress, the site is right next to the banks of the Danube, making it the ideal spot for relaxing and swimming during the daytime. When it comes to the line-up, you’ll find us at the front for David Guetta, Metronomy and Fat Boy Slim. The festival will be celebrating 20 years in 2020, so look out for plenty of celebrations across the weekend.

Line-up highlights: Fat Boy Slim, David Guetta, Tyga

Petrovaradin, Serbia; 9th-12th July

Visit ExitFest.org

Bilbao BBK Live, Spain

This Spanish festival has one of the best line-ups of the year: think The Killers, Pet Shop Boys, Supergrass, Perfume Genius and Fontaines DC. Located right in the city, it’s the perfect excuse to spend some time exploring Bilbao, the Guggenheim, nearby beaches, vineyards and Game of Thrones locations in between the evening sets. Located on top of Kobetamendi mountain (don’t worry, there are buses) the views are pretty spectacular too.

Line-up highlights: Four Tet, Caribou, Blood Orange

Bilbao, Spain; 9th-11th July

Visit BilbaoBBKLive.com

Sziget Festival
Roskilde

Pohoda Festival, Slovakia

Now in its 24th year, Slovakia’s Pohoda is a music and arts festival where alternative, indie, electronica and punk meet world and classical music. You’ll also find an impressive array of literature, dance, film and theatre across the weekend that takes place at a former military airfield almost equidistance to Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, and Vienna. A three-day ticket, including camping, costs £95. 

Line-up highlights: Stormzy, Libertines, Thom York 

Trenčín, Slovakia; 9th-11th July

Visit PohodaFestival.sk

Electric Castle, Romania

Set in an actual Transylvanian castle worthy of Dracula himself, Electric Castle is a relatively unknown gem in the festival calendar. Bringing together huge acts in a stunning (if a little spooky) setting, 2020’s event is set to be better than ever – and is one of Europe’s truly 24-hour festivals. Expect round-the-clock entertainment, artistic performances, immersive installations, stand-up comedy, a fashion and fair area and a variety of daytime activities.

Line-up highlights: Twenty One Pilots, Foals, Floating Points

Transylvania, Romania, 15th-19th July

Visit ElectricCastle.ro

Melt! Festival, Germany

Melt! Festival is one of the biggest open-air electronic music festivals in Germany. The festival takes place in Ferropolis open-air museum, near Gräfenhainichen. Formerly a coal pit, the location is atmospheric: with its five gigantic excavators, arena and the picturesque forest at Gremmin Lake, there’s a real blend of the natural and the industrial. When it comes to the line-up, we’re most looking forward to Blood Orange, Bicep and Little Simz.

Line-up highlights: Michael Kiwanuka, Charlie XCX, FKA Twigs

Gräfenhainichen, Germany; 17th-19th July

Visit MeltFestival.de

Positivus, Latvia

Positivus Festival is the largest music and arts festival in the Baltic states that has taken place in the middle of July every year since 2007. The two-day event, located on the coast, combines a variety of genres, including indie, pop, folk and electronic. Only a handful of acts have been announced so far, but based on the current line-up we’re excited. Look out for Londoners Black Midi.

Line-up highlights: A$AP Rocky, James Blake, Of Monsters And Men

Salacgrīva, Latvia; 17th-18th July

Visit PositivusFestival.com

Sziget, Hungary

Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa, Stormzy, Foals, Lewis Capaldi… many of the top-billed bands at this year’s Sziget almost reads as a ‘Best of British’ listing. This Hungarian mainstay announced a ‘Love Revolution’ in 2018 which continues into 2020, whereby it encourages festival goers to “embrace diversity, respect human dignity and look out for each other.” Activities across the weekend include yoga, film screenings, ceramic making and comedy. Keep an eye out for the party cruises, which sail down the Danube.

Line-up highlights: Kings of Leon, Khalid, Diplo

Budapest, Hungary; 5th-12th August

Visit SzigetFestival.com

Øya, Norway

Even if you skimmed the headliners off this festival billing, you’ve got yourself a terrific set of acts: Stormzy, Aurora and Bright Eyes are all headliners in their own right in our eyes. With ambitions of being one of the greenest festivals in the world, all food and drink at Øya is organic (and a lot of it is meat-free), guests are encouraged to arrive by bike and visitors can cash in on recycling.

Line-up highlights: Bon Iver, Solange, The Strokes

Oslo, Norway; 11th-15th August

Visit OyaFestivalen.no

Flow Festival, Finland

Taking place in downtown Helsinki, this urban festival is one of the coolest of the summer. Away from the music (which features the likes of FKA Twigs and Bikini Kill) food is very much a focus at Flow. This year will see 40 varied vendors pitch up – from healthy smoothies to Michelin-starred feasts – plus there’s no campsite, so festival-goers will have the chance to explore all that the Finnish capital has to offer. We’ve got our eye on the natural swimming pools and public saunas – what a perfect hangover cure.

Line-up highlights: The Strokes, Stormzy, Bon Iver

Helsinki, Finland; 14th-16th August

Visit FlowFestival.com

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