It may be a while off yet, but trust us when we say that this summer could be your greatest yet.
Why? Because there are more festivals than ever before in the history of mankind – and no matter what your tastes, there’s one out there for you.
Whether you like it big, small, loud, quiet, crazy or chilled, there’s an under-the-radar festival ready to make your summer rule.
Sure, Glasto, V and Reading are still great, but it’s time to grab the season by the balls and try something different. And who knows? You might come back with some awesome stories. Or a new tattoo. Or a new wife…
You require: A huge but unheard-of dance party
Go to: We Are FSTVL
What it lacks in vowels it makes up for in a blinding, dance-heavy line-up. Disclosure, Knife Party, Jamie Jones, Richie Hawtin and pretty much every other DJ you could care to mention will be there, and because it’s only in its second year, you’ll look like a right trendsetter to your pals.
24-25 May, from £77 for a one-day pass, wearefstvl.com
You require: Hip-hop mavericks on the Emerald Isle
Go to: Electric Picnic
Set in 600 acres of prime Irish countryside, this is a festival goer’s festival. As well as more pretty Irish girls than you can shake a muddy stick at, there’s also an impressive line-up this year, including Brighton’s finest Fatboy Slim, Sheffield’s finest Arctic Monkeys, Staten Island’s finest Wu-Tang Clan and, erm, Reigate’s finest Disclosure. If you fancy going a bit more posh, there’s even a vintage trailer park to lay your weary head.
29-31 August, electricpicnic.ie
You require: An inner-city pop blowout
Go to: Parklife
Run by the people behind the UK’s most rave-tastic night out, the Warehouse Project, London’s Parklife this year boasts sets from Snoop Dogg, Rudimental, Soul II Soul, Foals and Kendrick Lamar. DJs include Carl Cox, Julio Bashmore, Maya Jane Coles and Maceo Plex. A whopper if ever we saw one, and a bargain at under fifty notes.
7-8 June, from £49.50, parklife.uk.com
You require: A punk rock fracas on the beach
Go to: Punk Rock Holiday
If you like your festivals with a touch of headbanging – and featuring two privately owned beaches – then give this ‘gathering of punk rock bastards’ (their words, not ours) a whirl. It’s pretty self-explanatory: set near the beautiful town of Tolmin, Slovenia, there’s angry rawk action from Architects, Ignite, August Burns Red, 21 Stories and pop-punk legends NOFX.
5-9 August, from €89, punkrockholiday.com
You require: Chaos in the countryside
Go to: Kendal Calling
If you like Glasto but can’t be bothered with the hassle of getting a ticket, Kendal Calling is for you. Tucked away in a deer park in the insanely picturesque Lake District, it’s small enough to find your mates again when you inevitably get pissed and lose them all. This year’s line-up is yet to be announced, but previous events have featured Mumford & Sons, Dizzee Rascal, Public Enemy and Primal Scream, so chances are it’ll be decent.
1-3 August, from £115, kendalcalling.co.uk
You require: Nothing short of everything
Go to: Pinkpop
The most misleadingly named festival on the circuit, Holland’s stately Pinkpop has been going since the ’70s, but pop is the least likely genre on display. This year Metallica, Mastodon and Avenged Sevenfold are confirmed for the bill. No Katy Perry, then. But there is Ed Sheeran, so variety is very much the name of the game.
7-9 June, pinkpop.nl
You require: Siesta-free Spanish shape throwing
Go to: Sonar
Electronic music and art in one of the finest, most exciting cities in Europe. What more could you want? A beach? Oh, well there’s one of those too. This year, Barcelona’s ace day-and-night festival celebrates its 21st birthday with the likes of Rudimental, Massive Attack and Four Tet helping blow out the candles.
12-14 June, from €125, sonar.es
You require: Risk-free fun on an American scale
Go to: Free Press Summer Festival
If y’all fancy a trip to the mighty US of A, make sure you visit FPSF in Houston, Texas. So confident is it of its own brilliance, the ‘blind presale’ tickets have already sold out without even a sniff of a line-up. Last year, Iggy Pop rubbed up against the Arctic Monkeys, with The Flaming Lips and Willie Nelson the year before. It’s beltingly hot, so pack a case of deodorant, but it’s all part of the experience.
31 May-1 June, fpsf.com
You require: A channel-hopping island knees-up
Go to: Eurockéennes
French festivals don’t tend to get much love from the UK’s travelling partygoers, but this one deserves your full and undivided attention. Setting up shop on a breathtakingly beautiful site not far from the Swiss border, this year Franz Ferdinand, Pixies and Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant will all be playing on an island next to a bloody big lake.
4-6 July, from €81, eurockeennes.fr
You require: Scorching-hot Scandinavian sexiness
Go to: Hove
No, not the place next door to Brighton. We’re on about this Norwegian festival that combines nature, beaches, a totally idyllic setting and some incredible music from the likes of MIA, Azealia Banks, Foals, Bastille andJohn Newman. If you think you’ve found a better-looking festival crowd anywhere else, you’re just very, very drunk.
28 June-3 July, from £242, hovefestivalen.no
Words by Chris Sayer.