The Best European Music Festivals Taking Place This Summer

The great British festival: often waterlogged, always muddy. So if you’re looking to combine a weekend watching the best bands on the planet with a few days in the sun, a hop over to one of Europe’s popular festivals could be the way to go. From Spain to Slovakia, here are nine of our favourites…

Summer Solstice, Iceland

One to book pronto (it takes place at the end of the month), this scenic festival is held just outside Reykjavik. And while the line-up is a wonderful mix of 80s icons (Bonnie Tyler, Slayer) and the best of rap and hip hop (Stormzy, Gucci Mane), the real pull of Summer 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: Slayer, Stormzy, Bonnie Tyler, Clean Bandit

Reykjavík, Iceland; 21st-24th June


Roskilde, Denmark

More than just a weekender, Roskilde is an eight-day extravaganza. With eight stages and 175 bands booked to play, there really is something for everyone. Its arts and activism programme is impressive too: Chelsea Manning is booked to talk about activism, Savages’ Jenny Hval will be doing a reading and concert and an installation featuring President Donald Trump’s ‘border walls’ will be displayed ten metres in the air.

Line-up highlights: Eminem, Bruno Mars, Gorillaz, Massive Attack

Roskilde, Denmark; 30th June-7th July


Pohoda Festival, Slovakia

Now in its 22nd 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 £87. Bargain.

Line-up highlights: Chemical Brothers, Jamie Cullum, St Vincent, Little Dragon

Trenčín, Slovakia; 5th-7th July


Bilbao BBK Live, Spain

This Spanish festival has one of the best line-ups of the year. 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: Florence & The Machine, Gorillaz, The XX, Alt-J, Childish Gambino, 

Bilbao, Spain; 12th-14th July


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 HRH Grace Jones.

Line-up highlights: Grace Jones, David Guetta, Fever Ray, Migos

Petrovaradin, Serbia; 12th-15th July


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 three-day event, located on the coast, combines a variety of genres, including indie, pop, folk and electronic: we’re most looking forward to Nick Cave.

Line-up highlights: The Prodigy, Years & Years, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Tove Lo

Salacgrīva, Latvia; 20th-22nd July


Øya, Norway

Even if you skimmed the headliners off this festival billing, you’ve got yourself a terrific set of acts: Patti Smith, Fever Ray, St Vincent, Wolf Alice and Grizzly Bear 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), festival-goers are encouraged to arrive by bike and visitors can cash in on recycling.

Line-up highlights: Arctic Monkeys, Kendrick Lamar, Lykke Li, Arcade Fire

Oslo, Norway; 7th-11th August


Sziget, Hungary

Arctic Monkeys, Dua Lipa, Mumford & Sons… the top-billed bands at this year’s Sziget almost read as a ‘Best of British’ listing. Created 25 years ago, this Hungarian mainstay has announced a ‘Love Revolution’ for 2018, whereby it’s encouraging 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.

Line-up highlights: Arctic Monkeys, Dua Lipa, Mumford & Sons, Lana Del Rey

Budapest, Hungary; 8th-15th August


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 Fever Ray and St Vincent), 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: Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkey, Lauren Hill, Patti Smith

Helsinki, Finland; 10th-12th August


Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily