The Top 5 Music Festivals Worth Travelling To
Summertime is festival time. Worldwide annual music festivals attract thousands of visitors willing to brave often testing conditions to hang with like minded adventurous fans. To some, a weekend music festival has shades of a refuge camp but most regular festivals goers know that there is always a high pain pleasure ratio at a music festival. The sunburn, overcrowding, searing sun and portable toilets can provide some of the lows, provoking sentiments of never again. But it is the music, the camaraderie, the sheer thrill of it all which keep people coming back. We look at a few of the classic festivals which are definitely worth the air miles in our “Top 5 Festivals Worth Travelling To” list:
Glastonbury in Pilton, Somerset England, running this year 22 June to 26 June, has genuine hippy roots. It has been around since the 1970s running continuously give or take a few ‘fallow’ years for decades. Glasto is the largest greenfield festival globally drawing over 175,000 visitors annually. But this is England after all, so the weather is changeable with flooding sometimes a feature. Kate Moss in wellys and cut offs could in fact be their unofficial poster girl. Camping on site is standard but there are local BNB’s for those wanting a few home comforts. The acts that have played here are legendary including Dylan and the Cure. Glasto also showcases the best in comedy, dance, theatre and cabaret. And 2014 saw Metallica, Kasabian, Arcade Fire, headlining with appearances from Dolly Parton, Jack White and many others.
2. SunandBass Festival
At the other end of the festival spectrum is the SunandBass Festival in San Teodoro on the Italian island of Sardinia Italy, mecca to the world’s junglists. Here during an Italian summer the weather is almost always perfect. This intimate festival has been pumping out the music to drum and bass fans for over ten years. The keynote of the week long festival is stress free relaxation with individual bars and clubs around the picturesque fishing village hosting parties.
The location is a huge factor in the festival’s success, surrounded by the Tavolara Marine Preserve with stunning white sand bays and offshore islands. Here, the beauty of Sardinia is virtually untouched unlike many of the other prime beach locations on the island. So this is the festival to really kick back with some friends, swim, drink some vino rosso while dining on the fabulous local cuisine. This year SunandBass runs from 3rd of September to the 10th.
3. Montreux Jazz Festival
A sophisticated festival for someone with a few euros to spare, the Montreux Jazz Festival is a definite bucket list item. The festival generally runs in July each year. Montreux, on the shores of Lake Geneva, may seem a little formal and high rent for your average rocker but it is one of the most dramatic settings for any festival. There are two main stages with a multitude of other venues on and off the lake, and even on trains. The festival has over 100,000 visitors and two week passes can run from 1300 to 1600 euros with not a tent in sight. Last year Pharrel, Outkast, Massive Attack were headlining but there was some jazz on the menu including the Manu Katche Quartet.
For lovers of the big city experience, Chicago has been hosting the shape shifting Lollapalooza for the past few years and is set to do so until 2018. Grant Park is the venue so there are city vistas all around. This festival does tend to fall into Survivor: the festival territory with acres of parched grass, few trees and 160,000 plus attendees. This gritty setting does fit the festival’s grunge roots well and for the exceptional, out of the box Lollapalooza experience, this year running from 28th-31st of July.
But for the ultimate take on the contemporary festival there is no other like Coachella. This festival is held in Indio in the Colorado desert. In the catchment area of LA this festival is home to the bold and the beautiful. From its limited edition Emek posters, brand sponsored celebrity attendees to the hordes of girls rocking the ‘denim underwear’ it is all about being there. 90,000 people crowd into the desert to listen to a huge line up on 6 stages. Prices start at $85 for a camping spot but for $800 it is possible to get VIP exclusive lounge access with canopied shade with space and a good view of the action. If you want the deluxe version there’s a Safari Tents at $6500 for couples and with a chance of a few celeb neighbours. The festival is also famous for its spectacular light installations and sculptures, tremendous healthy food selection and the Sahara Tent experience. It runs on the second and third weekends of April each year.