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The Ultimate Guide to European Music Festivals: A Month-by-Month Breakdown

Get ready for the ultimate Eurotrip! Get your fill of culture while experiencing true European music gems and going to some of the most epic festivals in the world. With something great going on every month of the year, you may never want to come home. Here are a few festivals that give us major wanderlust.

 

January

If your New Year’s resolution is to get in shape, start off the year with two days of dancing at what BigCityBeats promises to be “the largest winter club in the world.” WORLD CLUB DOME Winter Edition, will heat up Frankfurt, Germany from January 5-6, 2024, with an expected 30,000 world clubbers vibing out to over a hundred artists across six stages. Find out more here.



Want to impress your friends with your knowledge of new European and Dutch pop music? Every January, impressive non-profit organization and independent platform Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) hosts a four-day showcase and music conference to promote emerging acts. Next year’s festivities will take place in Groningen, the Netherlands, from January 17-20, 2024. Spend time with music executives from all over the world while participating in over 150 music industry events, including panel discussions, interviews, and keynotes. Spend the festival's nights watching over 300 emerging artists performing in 40 locations throughout Groningen and in concert venue De Oosterpoort. Among other superstars discovered at ESNS are Arlo Parks, Dua Lipa, July Jones, or Wet Leg. See if you can scout the next big artist here.



 

February

Photo courtesy of Rampage Amsterdam

February may be the shortest month of the year, but you can still catch some great shows. Rampage Weekend happens in Antwerp, Belgium on February 23-24, 2024, bringing out lasers, lights and fire for what the event promises to be “the biggest drum & bass and dubstep party in the universe.” Check out the lineup for next year’s event, which will take place at the Sportpaleis Arena.


However, you will have a difficult decision to make: to bass or not to bass? Trance music festival A State of Trance occurs simultaneously on February 23-24, 2024. Armin van Buuren recently announced plans for an expanded immersive experience with daytime activities, as well as two nights of music by over 70 artists spread out across five stages in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Should you choose this path, prepare to set sail on a mind-altering musical odyssey held at Ahoy Rotterdam. If this festival floats your boat, get your tickets here.


 

March

March is the start of Spring, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, and a sonic superbloom around the world. For adventurous genre explorers, Paaspop covers over 175 artists performing pop, rock, hip-hop, house, and more on 12 different stages. The three-day festival also features amusement rides and attractions for a truly multi-sensory experience. Just looking at the website is a sensory thrill that leaves the viewer wanting more. Join the Paaspop madness from March 29-31, 2024, in Schijndel, the Netherlands.



Metalheads, prepare to heat things up at Norway’s largest metal festival, Inferno Metal Festival. Headbanging begins on March 28th and ends on the 31st in Oslo. In addition to blazing live sets, the Inferno Music Conference is a melting pot of metal music professionals and media to conduct panels, interviews, and network with one another. Get fired up for Inferno Metal Festival by checking out its website, which indicates that there will be "a hell of a lot of bands", as well as a potential tattoo fair and art exhibition at 2024's event.


 

April

Cool down after your March metal fix with a week of world-class snow sports, apres-ski fun and games, igloo raves, yoga sessions, street parties, chairlift speed-dating, and 100+ international artists. Pack your parka and glide over to Tyrol, Austria for the Snowbombing Festival (April 8-13, 2024). This event combines luxury winter sport vacationing with endless dancing and off-the-wall activities.


Photos courtesy of Snowbombing Festival


With more than 15 venues, including nightly concerts in an enchanted forest and a 3000-capacity raver’s paradise complete with CO2 cannons, demand for popular emerging and established performing artists is higher than ever. Past lineups featured headliners like Fatboy Slim, Madness, Grandmaster Flash, Foals, Myles, Dusky, and Skrillex, just to name a few. Start planning your dream festival vacation here.


 

May

Not quite summer, late-spring festivals give off an aura of excitement for new beginnings. For over twenty years, the sustainable Papillons de Nuit Festival has set the stage for summer with an eclectic lineup of headliners and emerging artists from near and far. The tiny village of Saint-Laurent-de-Cuves in Normandy, France, breaks out of its cocoon on May 17-19, 2024 and undergoes a dramatic metamorphosis, where music lovers in amounts 200 times the amount of the city's population swarm the village for three days of music and good times. In addition to great music, the festival, promises great food, wine, and cider.




 

June

Summer weather may be heating up, but the music festivals in Europe stay cool. Barcelona comes to life May 30 through June 1, 2024, with one of the largest and most famous festivals in Europe: Primavera Sound. The festival is known for their diverse lineups, which cover nearly every genre–pop, indie, alternative, electronic, jazz, rap, hip-hop, and even folk. Past lineups have included Arcade Fire, The Cure, Motörhead, Blur, The Beach Boys, and Interpol, with artists ranging from ages seven to ninety. Gender-balanced lineups and the inclusive slogan "Nobody is Normal" are intended as a counterpoint to hate speech. "Nobody is Normal" is an “action plan against sexual aggression and harassment, transphobia, homophobia, lesbophobia and any other attempt to condition your experience at the festival, a space that is especially conducive to breaking down prejudices and standards.” This attitude is an example of everything good about music, creating a space for everyone to enjoy themselves freely and to unite people throughout the world. Don't wait to get your tickets, as first-release early bird tickets have already sold out.



Thousands of dance music lovers will take over the streets of Copenhagen on May 29th. Copenhagen Distortion is the ultimate progressive street party, as it starts in one neighborhood and moves to another the next night, ending at the harbor for two nights of new dance music. In another unique twist, the independent festival is put on by a non-profit foundation that supports arts, culture, and social projects in the public space. Explore here to party while contributing to a good cause.


 

July

Jump into summer this July with some of the biggest festivals in Europe. No matter where you go, there seems to be an epic festival within striking distance. Belgium’s biggest music festival, Rock Werchter, spans four days and four stages with a lineup built up across all genres. Past artists have included The 1975, Arctic Monkeys, Machine Gun Kelly, Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iggy Pop, Tamino, and Froukje. Each year, a select group of visual artists are invited to decorate the North West Walls, recognizing the intersection of art and music. The festivities take place July 4-7 in the village of Werchter, Belgium. Find out more here.


Photo by Jokko for Rock Werchter

The aptly named Mad Cool Festival is both mad and cool. This Madrid favorite gives Coachella vibes, with palm trees, great weather, and pool parties. You won’t be mad about the quality of the music if the past is any indication–acts have included Lizzo, Queens of The Stone Age, The Offspring, Twenty One Pilots, Ms. Lauren Hill, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, and many more. Even booking a flight is simple; check out the Mad Cool collaboration with Iberia Express.


The prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival takes place in Montreux, Switzerland from July 5th to 20th, 2024. Nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva with the alps as a backdrop, the gorgeous scenery has attracted and inspired numerous artists throughout the years. Visitors can tour Queen's former studio in the city, where the band recorded seven studio albums, and pay homage to Freddie Mercury's statue. Deep Purple’s "Smoke on the Water" was famously inspired by their front row view of a fire that broke out in a Casino during a Frank Zappa gig (“They burned down the gambling house”), causing, “smoke on the water... a fire in the sky”. For two weeks, catch world-class jazz at the Festival. That being said, there is much more to experience sonically, as the Festival has expanded to encompass a wide variety of musical genres. Past lineups have featured artists such as Prince, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Herbie Hancock, Portugal the Man, Lil Nas X, and Janelle Monae. There is never a dull moment; from noon to 5am, there are pool parties, silent discos, jam sessions, workshops, and all-night electronic sets. I can tell you from personal experience that this Festival is truly one of the best in the world. Check for updates on the Montreux Jazz Festival website.


 

August

Join hundreds of thousands of fellow Szitizens from all over the world for Sziget Festival on the Island of Freedom in Budapest, Hungary (August 7-12, 2024). Based on last year's aftervideo, this island takeover is sure to be an eclectic experience with headliners including the likes of Billie Eilish, Rihanna, Muse, and Gorillaz. Sziget Festival extends beyond sound experiences, with castle and boat parties, dance classes, circus shows, theater, museums, yoga, and much more to enjoy. Want your voice heard on the lineup? Send in your vote via the Sziget 2024 Wish Machine.


Not feeling the crowds but still want a unique sonic setting? Check out Ypsigrock Festival in Castelbuono, Sicily (exact dates to be announced). This enchanting indie festival takes place on four stages throughout a medieval town and includes stages at a castle, a piazza, a pine forest, and a deconsecrated baroque church. You'll never get bored at these shows, no matter how many times you visit; the festival's "Ypsi Once Rule" ensures that an act can only play at Ypsigrock once in a lifetime. While this means that you won’t be able to see Cigarettes After Sex, AURORA, Bell & Sebastian, or Dinosaur Jr. there, rest assured that the festival's promoters continue to scout and spotlight quality international and Italian talent.


Photos 1 and 2 by Elisabetta Brian, Photo 3 by Roberto Panucci


Paris is always a good idea... especially when you can catch a festival in a park located on the site of Chateau de Saint-Cloud, the former residence of royal families. For the past 20 years, Rock En Seine has lit up the Paris suburbs with solid pop and rock lineups featuring The Stokes, Cypress Hill, and the Chemical Brothers... all just a stone’s throw away from Marie Antoinette’s famous rose garden. This festival is proof that you can have your cake and eat it too. Festival dates are August 21-25, 2024, and you can find more information here.


 

September

Don’t let seasonal allergies keep you away from Superbloom, which will take place in Munich’s Olympia from September 7th to 8th in 2024. This is a multi-dimensional experience has hosted some of your favorite artists, such as Imagine Dragons, Martin Garrix, Lost Frequencies, Ava Max and Jason Derulo, and it includes fashion performances, panels, and conferences on socially relevant topics: vaudeville to dramatic arts, modern circuses to contemporary dance, innovation, research, science and technology. Too much excitement? Find one of the Awareness Team members, ask them, “Which Way to Panama?” and they'll help you find a quiet place. Presale has already started for 2024, so pick your tickets now online.


Are you ready for a beach vacation? Spend the week of September 4th on the Albanian Riviera dancing to cutting-edge music while working on your tan at Ion Festival. Tickets include your hotel; early bird sales begin on November 24, 2023, so don’t wait.


 

October

Although not technically focused on music, we can't fail to mention Oktoberfest. The celebration really mostly takes place in late September, but extends to October 6th, so we'll let it slide... Don your dirndls and lederhosen for the 189th iteration of the world's largest folk festival (held at Munich's Theresienwiese) filled with beer tents and traditional Bavarian music.


Photos courtesy of Amsterdam Dance Event


October 16th through 20th, 2024, brings you to Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE). The five day conference and festival is organized by more than 200 clubs and cultural institutions, and is a crossover between a wide variety of electronic subgenres. Last year’s event featured over 2,900 artists at more than 1,000 events spread out across almost 200 venues throughout Amsterdam. Whether you're an industry professional, an upcoming artist, or just a fan of electronic music, check out pre-registration for ADE 2024 here.


 

November

Head to Reykjavik, Iceland on November 7th, 2024, for Iceland Airwaves. This multi-genre festival showcases both established international talent and some of the country’s latest rising stars. Held in numerous venues throughout the country’s capital during Northern Lights season, the event promises to be a feast for your eyes and ears. Additionally, the French installment of Pitchfork Festival brings Indie music to Paris in November. Catch great artists in historic venues while you see the sights in the City of Lights.


 

December

For over 50 years, Les Trans Musicales has taken place in Rennes, France. This year’s festival is scheduled from December 6th to 10th, 2023. Since its origin, its focus has been promoting up-and-coming and independent artists. Past early artist discoveries include Bjork, Ben Harper, Lenny Kravitz, Daft Punk, The Fugees, Nirvana, and many others. Find your next favorite act in this year’s lineup, which can be found here. Once you've had your fill of holiday tunes, head over to Valhalla, which takes place on December 16, 2023. 'Tis the season for Amsterdam's massive indoor rave, which boasts five arenas each bumping different electronic genres, such as house and techno.



 

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