Primavera Sound, Spain
In the 18 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 spring 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 Solange, Jarvis Cocker, Primal Scream and Tame Impala.
Line-up highlights: Carly Rae Jepsen, Cardi B, Janelle Monae, Robyn
Barcelona, Spain; 30th May-1st June
Secret Solstice, Iceland
This scenic festival is held just outside Reykjavik. And while the line-up is a wonderful mix of 80s icons (Robert Plant, The Sugarhill Gang) and up-and-coming Icelandic stars (Asa, 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: Patti Smith, Black Eyed Peas, Rita Ora
Reykjavík, Iceland; 21st-23rd June
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 – from Bob Dylan and The Cure to Cardi B, Christine & The Queens and Robyn. Its arts and activism programme is impressive too (last year Chelsea Manning took to the stage), 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: Bob Dylan, Robyn, The Cure
Roskilde, Denmark; 29th June-6th 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 one of The Cure’s many festival headline sets this summer.
Line-up highlights: The Cure, Skepta, Carl Cox
Petrovaradin, Serbia; 4th-7th July
Pohoda Festival, Slovakia
Now in its 23rd 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 £85. Bargain.
Line-up highlights: Liam Gallagher, The 1975, Skepta, Lykke Li
Trenčín, Slovakia; 11th-13th July
Bilbao BBK Live, Spain
This Spanish festival has one of the best British line-ups of the year: think Liam Gallagher, Thom Yorke, Idles, Slaves, Sleaford Mods, The Good, The Bad & The Queen and Hot Chip. 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: Vince Staples, Weezer, The Strokes, Hot Chip
Bilbao, Spain; 11th-13th July
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, Pearl Jam and Queens of the Stone Age in recent years – this year it’s the turn of Bon Iver, The Cure and Vampire Weekend. 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: Bon Iver, The Cure, Vampire Weekend, The Chemical Brothers
Lisbon, Portugal; 11th-13th July
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 Jorja Smith and the chance to see fashion designer Virgil Abloh take to the decks.
Line-up highlights: Bon Iver, A$AP Rocky, Skepta, Four Tet
Gräfenhainichen, Germany; 19th-20th July
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. Only three acts have been announced so far, but based on the current line-up we’re excited.
Line-up highlights: Underworld, The 1975, Cut Copy
Salacgrīva, Latvia; 20th-22nd July
Even if you skimmed the headliners off this festival billing, you’ve got yourself a terrific set of acts: Blood Orange, Christine & The Queens and James Blake 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: The Cure, Tame Impala, Robyn
Oslo, Norway; 6th-10th August
Ed Sheeran, Florence & The Machine, The 1975, Franz Ferdinand… the top-billed bands at this year’s Sziget almost reads as a ‘Best of British’ listing. This Hungarian mainstay announced a ‘Love Revolution’ last year which continues in 2019, 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: Foo Fighters, Years & Years, The National
Budapest, Hungary; 7th-13th 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 Blood Orange and Erykah Badu, plus a new-for-2019 opera stage), 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: Cardi B, The Cure, Tame Impala, Robyn
Helsinki, Finland; 9th-11th August