Far-flung and far out
Doyouwant atan togowith your tunes?Are tentsin the rain not really your jam? Séamas O’Reilly picks out seven overseas festivalsto put the summer in your sesh
With so many music festivals competing for your attention, choosing a getaway can be a daunting task. It’s nice to escape this fair island’s bracing summer chill, but begin scanning the listings for sunny musical getaways and their fiddly fields of text can resemble little more than eye charts made by opticians who really like Jamie XX and Run The Jewels.
We’ve narrowed the field down to just seven that, between them, should offer a great summer soujourn to any music fan, whether hardened festival addict or discerning debutant. Name: Field Day Date: Saturday June 3rd Location: Victoria Park, London
Music: A fairly staggering collection of heavy-hitters is descending on East London for this year’s Field Day, chief among them Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus and Run The Jewels, as well as iconic rockers Slowdive and Arab Strap. These names alone merit this one-dayer’s inclusion alongside the week-long odysseys below.
Go if: You’re there about the music and don’t care about boat parties, jewellery crafting, or having a 10-hour roster of software lectures to choose from in-between circus acts. Although there are other attractions being laid on by the organisers, Field Day is among the most music-focused events in Europe this year.
Avoid if: You’re in it for a sun tan. Although not quite as bad as Irish weather, London in June might not be factor-40 stuff. And, while we would never claim there’s no chance of good weather, do bear in mind that Victoria Park’s verdant environs may become slightly less comfortable in the event of a mud slick. If queuing is not your bag, you may also want to put any thought of seeing Aphex Twin out of your mind, as this will be a rare London gig for one
of the most obsessively followed live acts on Earth. Ticket price and availability: Last general-release tickets are available for £64.50 (¤76) Name: Sonár
Date: Thursday June 15th-Saturday June 17th
Location: Barcelona, Spain. Across multiple venues.
Music: Headliners this year range from DJ Shadow and Justice to Anderson Paak, Vitalic and Little Dragon, across eight stages and venues.
Go if: You like the variety of a truly multimedia festival. Sonár splits its time along its famed “By Day” and “By Night” offerings, while also incorporating non-concert offerings such as technology seminars, educational events within the remit of its Sonar+D enterprise. This year, Sonár’s roster will also be incorporating the critically acclaimed V&A exhibition David Bowie Is, which has been transplanted to
Barcelona for the duration of the event.
Avoid if: You reject the sun and all its empty promises, and would prefer not to suffer the skin-puckering machinations of Catalonia in mid-June. Ticket price and availability: Full-pass tickets for all By Day and By Night events start at ¤180, with additional admission to select Sonar+D events included. Full accreditation to Sonar+D will cost ¤250 for the full run, or ¤160 per day. Name: EXIT
Date: Wednesday July 5thSunday July 9th (including pre-festival concert)
Location: Novi Sad, Serbia, specifically in a fortress on Petrovaradin island on the Danube river.
Music: This year, the headline slots see rockers The Killers and Liam Gallagher rubbing their leather-clad shoulders with DJs such as Solomun, Dixon and Hardwell.
Go if: You don’t mind mixing your music fandom with a passion for broad and non-specific activism. Having grown from student protests in 2000, much of the political thrust of the festival is now vestigial, but the event still proudly promotes and supports many humanitarian efforts and educational initiatives. This year has been denoted Exit’s “Summer of Love”, so why not stow away your cynicism, paint some flowers on your face and rock out to Rag’n’Bone Man or Years & Years?
Avoid if: You want a little more pop in your diet, as the line-up skews toward the rock/dance axis, with only a smattering of poppier offerings downschedule. Ticket price and availability: Four-day tickets start at the eminently reasonable ¤115, although an extra ¤30 will get you access to the pre-festival Killers concert, which takes place the night before things kick off proper. Name: NOS Alive
Date: Thursday July 6th-Sunday July 9th
Location: Lisbon, Portugal Music: A fairly Catholic swipe through the rolodex of current pop and rock, with big hitters this year being The Weeknd, Phoenix, Foo Fighters and Depeche Mode.
Go if: You want to check out some big names in what is fast becoming Europe’s most desirable small capital. Nos also comes with nice little camping huts on-site, as well as cheap-as-chips deals with hotels and hostels in the city itself, all in 25-30 degree temperatures, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Avoid if: You’re looking for obscure music on the bleeding edge. NOS Alive’s stock-in-trade leans toward the crowdpleasing chartbusters, so if you’re hellbent on hearing Gambian tone poetry or discovering your three new favourite Cambodian death metal MCs, look elsewhere. Ticket price and availability: Three-day tickets are all now sold out, but day tickets can be
picked up for a near absurdly cheap ¤59, perfect for hopping in from a city break. Name: Sziget
Date: Wednesday August 9thWednesday August 16th
Location: The Island of Freedom in Budapest, Hungary.
Music: A rollicking line-up of rock and pop favourites from Alt-J, Bad Religion and Mac DeMarco to EDM heavyweights such as Steve Aoki and Like Mike.
Go if: You want a little bit of everything, and a whole load of time to explore it. With a week on offer for the Sziget attendee, you’re free to hop-scotch from concerts to more esoteric circus and art events, or make use of the organisers’ bespoke “ruin pubs”. Few festivals of this size are also located smack-dab in the middle of such a bustling, cosmopolitan capital, so its city-break attractions are a rare bonus. Avoid if: A festival that attracts both Bad Religion and Steve Aoki fans seems too vague for your no-doubt highly bespoke and original tastes. Ticket price and availability: Seven-day camping tickets are available for ¤299, with a host of additional add-ons for glamping and its own signature festival-adjacent boat parties. Name: Farrago Date: Friday August 18thSaturday August 19th
Location: The ruins of Schweppermannsburg Castle, near Pfaffenholen bei Kastl in Bavaria, southern Germany.
Music: With headliners including DJ Tennis, John Talabot and Optimo, as well as Wicklow natives Mano le Tough and The Drifter, this is a destination for electronic music that sizzles, slinks and soars.
Go if: You like your dance music in spectacular surroundings. The entirety of the festival takes place within or beside Schweppermannsburg, a 12 th-century Bavarian castle that will be playing host to some of dance music’s classiest names. In its first year, the festival’s beauteous location will host just 700
people, giving it an edge for those who prefer a smaller, more exclusive experience, rather than the sometimes maddening sprawl of larger festivals.
Avoid if: You are already getting palpitations at the thought of having to say “Schweppermannsburg in Pfaffenhofen bei Kastl” out loud without biting your tongue. Ticket price and availability: Early-bird tickets have now sold out but you can get a two-day weekend pass for ¤95, plus fee, and shuttle buses available to the site. Name: Dimensions Date: Wednesday August 30th-Sunday September 3rd (including pre-festival opening concert)
Location: Forta Punta Christo, in the city of Pula, Croatia
Music: A diverse group of headliners this year include funk and disco acts Cymande and Shuggie Otis alongside house and techno stalwarts Floating Points, Jeff Mills and Marcel Dettman
Go if: You like to take things nice and slow. Dimensions gives you the morning and afternoon off before kicking off each evening, which gives you some time to enjoy the sunny surroundings and take in the lovely port city of Pula, as well as the 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheatre that hosts its opening concert. This year ti features live performances by Grace Jones, Yussef Kamaal and Moderat.
Avoid if: You get seasick, as you’ll miss out on the festival’s now famous boat parties. Each of these is run by promoters, record labels and venues, allowing for a more intimate vibe with some of your favourite DJs and artists for a few hours of seaborne sounds on the glittering Adriatic. Ticket price and availability: Four-day tickets start at ¤188.50, but this doesn’t include the cost of camping or the amphitheatre concert. The latter, which opens the festival, is an extra ¤42.50.
Clockwise from far left: the main stage on day one of last year’s Sonar; Years & Years; the Luminarium at Sziget in Budapest; Brandon Flowers of The Killers; Exit festival in Serbia; Run the Jewels; selfies in Sziget; chilling at Sonar Planta in Barcelona.