A music festival is a festival oriented towards music that is sometimes presented with a theme such as musical genre, nationality or locality of musicians, or holiday. They are commonly held outdoors, and are often inclusive of other attractions such as food and merchandise vending, performance art, rides and social activities. The Pythian Games at Delphi included musical performances, and may be one of the earliest festivals known. During the Middle Ages festivals were often held as competitions.Tagged for Music Festivals...
Air Guitar Worlds, Finland
Rock and Roll Fantasy
The Annual Air Guitar World Championship Contest, held at the Oulu Music Video Festival in Finland, invites the most animated and talented air strumming, finger tapping, pelvis thrusting air guitarists from around the world to show off their skills.
It's 4 a.m. You've been to five cool clubs, seen ten great bands, made fifteen new friends and fallen in love twenty times. You're tired. You're wired. You're ready to find a bed. You're ready to find the after-party. This is Airwaves.
Arcata Bay Oyster Fest (USA)
Festival on a Half-Shell
The Arcata Bay Oyster Festival brings upwards of 18,000 “oysterheads” to this quaint northern California town as visitors and locals alike harvest, cook, and delight in the taste of these delectable mollusks.
Austin City Limits, TX (USA)
3 Days of Music to the Limit
Over a hundred bands gather in Austin’s Ziker Park each year to rock out in the Texas heat and be part of Austin City Limits (ACL) music festival. ACL attracts over 70,000 music lovers each day catching as much rock, indie, pop, dance, folk, and country music as possible spread over the 8+ concert stages. 2011 marks the 10th anniversary of this much loved music festival in one of the most vibrant and upcoming cities in the U.S.
Party in a Volcano!
We have personally visited this rip roaring festival located inside a volcano at the ends of the earth. All we can say is despite the “warnings” of our Icelandic friends of excessive country music and Viking like behavior, we had a great time. Come prepared for the weather, it can get really wet. Unfortunately the festival has a bad reputation of sexual assault, so best to not drink too much.
Bali Spirit Festival, Indonesia
Yoga, Dance, Music, Bliss
Annually since 2008, the idyllic Indonesian island of Bali has played host to the Bali Spirit Festival combining dance, yoga, and music►. Ubud is a quiet, artsy town set back from the beach among picturesque rice paddies and ancient monkey forests.
Fancy Dress Fest
This boutique festival is bit more trendy and indie than the Isle of Wright festival. The Bestival won the UK festival awards for “best major festival” of 2010, so they must be on to something.
Big Day Out, Australia
Let’s Take this Show on the Road
Heavy Metal's take on Woodstock. A weekend in early August is the UK's largest metal gathering. Bloodstock throws both indoor and outdoor events. The roots come from the first Bloodstock held indoors in 2001.
Bluesfest, Chicago (USA)
I’ve Got the Windy City Blues
Each year, the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office of Special Events hosts the Chicago’s Bluesfest in Grant Park. Featuring some of the biggest and hottest blues artists, this free summer festival near the shores of Lake Michigan demonstrates why Chicago has been referred to as the “Blues Capital of the World”.
Bob Marley's Birthday, Jamaica
Every February 6th, in the midst of Jamaica’s February Reggae month, the town of Nine Mile, Bob Marley’s birthplace, celebrates the life and work of the iconic singer. This celebration attracts music fans and Marley lovers to the small town to enjoy Reggae music and a laid-back party vibe.
Bonnaroo, Tennessee (USA)
Make Rock and Roll History
For four days in early June, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival brings together the best musical performers from a multitude of genres to a picturesque Manchester, Tennessee farm. Rolling Stone magazine named the festival one of the “50 Moments That Changed The History Of Rock ‘N’ Roll” and the best U.S. festival overall. To see why, make the journey to what may be the best popular music festival America has to offer.
Boom Festival, Portugal
Things That Go Boom in the Night
The Boom Festival in Portugal blends music and other arts into one great festival. The Boom Festival only takes place every two years; so keep checking the website for details on the 2012 festival.
BPM Festival, Mexico
Beach Beats in the Mayan Rivera
Playa de Carmen is an epic place to ring in the new year. Combine that with the BPM festival, a growing electronic music festival set on the beaches of Playa de Carmen and the Mayan Rivera and it's a very good time.
Burning Man, Nevada (USA)
Burn Baby Burn!
For just over a week each year, nearly 50,000 people gather in the Black Rock Desert, 127 miles outside of Reno, Nevada to live in a Mad Max-style community encouraging radical expression and self-reliance. Participants freely express themselves in every conceivable way including art projects, gifts, performances, themed camps, informational workshops, and music that attracts top DJs from around the world.
Camp Bisco, New York (USA)
The Disco Biscuits Present: Camp Bisco
Jam band The Disco Biscuits hosts the annual Camp Bisco festival in the small town of Mariaville, featuring a diverse musical lineup and an infamous party raging into the wee hours.
Cannabis Cup, Amsterdam
Puff Puff, Give Give
Each November, marijuana enthusiasts from worldwide gather in Amsterdam to vote on the best strain of grass at the High Times Cannabis Cup. Started in 1987, the competition has grown beyond the primary event to include music, entertainment, and categories including best new product, best glass, and best hash. The consumption of marijuana, be it smoked, eaten, or vaporized, is legal in Amsterdam and allows the Cup to exist.
Coachella, California (USA)
The Biggest Names in Music Under the California Sun
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival brings nearly 75,000 people to California’s Inland Empire desert to see some of the biggest names in music perform under the sun and stars. Each year the festival takes place for 3 days in April and has drawn mega-artists including Jay-Z, Pearl Jam, Beck, Paul McCartney, Rage Against the Machine, Prince, and Radiohead.
Creators Project, Worldwide
Art and Technology Unite
The organizers of "The Creators Project" which include an unlikely union of VICE magazine and computer giants INTEL value both art and technology. It's a touring festival that brings technological art pieces and cutting edge music to the masses.
Download Festival, UK
For Those About to Rock!
The Download Festival started in 2003 as a successor to the Monsters of Rock Festival and may take the crown as England’s best hard rock festival. This festival brings over 100,000 rockers to the town of Leicestershire. Like its predecessor, music industry giant Live Nation organizes the festival and holds it at Donington Park, a former Formula One race site and steeped in WWII history.
Edinburgh Fringe, Scotland
The Fringe Festival Goes Mainstream
Electric Daisy Carnival, (USA)
A Festival to Rave About
Electric Daisy Carnival is America’s answer to European electronic music festivals. Since 1997, this music festival has been giving thousands a chance to dance into the night during the last weekend in June.
Electric Forest (USA)
Lightning in a Forest
The Electric Forest is held in an enchanted woodland near Rothbury, Michigan filled with lights, spirits and electric beats by some of the most talented electronic wizards of the wooden realm.
Exit Festival, Serbia
Enter the Petrovaradin Fortress and Exit into a Dream
The Exit Festival of Novi Sad, Serbia has grown from tumultuous beginnings to being recognized as the “Best Festival in Europe” by the UK Festival Awards in 2007. It is one of the best 4-day parties you can find anywhere in the world.
Festival Filmmaking, Budapest
Make a movie at Sziget
Sziget, considered Europe's best festival is celebrating it's 20th anniversary and has teamed up with the Budapest Film Academy.
Festival in the Desert, Mali
African Dunes, Traditional Tunes
Fuji Rock, Japan
Rock Out Slopeside
The first festival was held on Mt. Fuji...during a typhoon! Many people under estimated the power of the storm and ended up with hypothermia. Miraculously, that didn’t stop the Red Hot Chili Peppers from performing through the peak of the storm.
Fusion Festival, Germany
An Abandoned Airfield Comes to Life with Art for All
In the northeast of Germany, the Fusion Festival brings the former Russian military airfield of Rechlin-Lärz back to life with a celebration of art and music.
Glastonbury Festival, England
Rich in Music, Art, and History
The 4-day Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts is one of the largest music and art festivals in the world drawing tens of thousands of festival-goers to the Vale of Avalon outside of Glastonbury, England. The sleepy area is rich in English history and mythology. The town transforms into a vibrant community filled with friendly individuals, music, and mind-blowing art.
Global Gatherings, UK
Gnaoua Festival, Morocco
Get Lost in a Trance at Gnaoua
This June will mark the 14th anniversary of Gnaoua World Music Festival in the coastal town of Essaouira, Morocco.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (USA)
Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park
Every October, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival takes place in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. A Bay Area native, philanthropist, and music lover Warren Hellman funds the festival as a gift to the city. The concert is free, held in the largest urban park in the US, with 3 days of performances across 5 concert stages by the best acts in rock, folk, bluegrass and pop. The title can be misleading as there’s an impossibly diverse range of genres on display at the festival.
High Sierra Festival (USA)
4th of July Mountain Jam
High Voltage Festival, UK
High Voltage Rock n Beer
Where else can you find electrified rock, metal, beer gardens and a Evel Knievel museum in downtown London?
Isle of Wight Festival, England
The English Channel Classic
The Isle of Wight Festival, named for the southern England island it takes place on, is a legendary international music festival. This year, it will take place from June 10th-12th and features headliners, Kings of Leon.
Festival at Sea
Jam Cruise combines the luxury of a cruise line with a roving music festival. The festival sets sail the beginning of January from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and takes festival-goers to beautiful locations in the Bahamas, Central America, and Mexico.
Jazzfest, New Orleans (USA)
Celebrate the Birthplace of Jazz
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, or Jazz Fest, has been celebrating the musical styles of New Orleans with a culturally rich music festival for over 40 years!
Joshua Tree Music Fest (USA)
Joshua Tree is a national park not far outside of Los Angeles off the desert route near Palm Springs. It is a magical place worthy of a visit where for the ninth year in a row, the Joshua Tree Music Festival will be providing an intimate desert festival experience where you can dance under the sun and the stars.
Welcome to the Party Republic
This is the biggest electronic music festival in Eastern Europe. This festival started as a big air competition and party for kitesurfers who enjoy the good wind and long, sandy beaches of the Black Sea.
Lightning in a Bottle (USA)
Southern California Lightning Storm
Lightning in a Bottle Arts and Music Festival is a 4-day electronic dance party set in beautiful Southern California over Memorial Day weekend in May.
The Godfather of American Festivals
Perry Farrell founded the first Lollapalooza in 1991 as a farewell tour for Jane's Addiction. It was also envisioned as a traveling roadshow featuring big names, while showcasing the up and coming. It even featured Shaolin monks and a freakshow.
A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise
How could we do it? Impossible to miss Lowlands some readers asked. Well here it is...
Lucidity Festival, USA
You Must Be Dreaming
This April, the second incarnation of Lucidity will fill the mountains of Santa Barbara, California with art and music as part of an “open-source” festival calling on the participants to help shape the experience.
Midi Modern Festival, China
Rock out in China
Each year in May, Beijing holds the biggest rock festival of the year in China featuring international talent and a variety of musical genres. The 4-day Midi Modern Festival is one of the most affordable festivals around (4-day passes start at about $36) and a great addition to a China trip for any festival enthusiast.
Montreal Jazz Festival
Jazz Record Breaker
The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (English: Montreal International Jazz Festival) is an annual jazz festival held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Montreal Jazz Fest holds the 2004 Guinness World Record as the world's largest jazz festival. Every year it features roughly 3,000 artists from 30-odd countries, more than 650 concerts (including 450 free outdoor performances), and welcomes close to 2.5 million visitors (34% of whom are tourists) as well as 400 accredited journalists. The festival takes place at 10 free outdoor stages and 10 indoor concert halls.
Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland
Smooth Jazz Fest
The Montreux Jazz Festival was founded in 1967 by Claude Nobs, Géo Voumard and René Langel with considerable help from Ahmet Ertegün and Nesuhi Ertegün of Atlantic Records. The festival was first held at Montreux Casino. It lasted for three days and featured almost exclusively jazz artists. The highlights of this era were Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Evans, Soft Machine, Weather Report, The Fourth Way, Nina Simone, Jan Garbarek, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Everybody Moog to the Music!
Each October, around Halloween weekend, the streets of Asheville, North Carolina are filled with music lovers catching acts by some of the hottest names in electronic music as part of Moogfest.
Nature One, Germany
Go Wild – Freak Out
Germany’s Nature One festival is an epic open-aired electronic music festival where you can dance from sundown to sunrise the first weekend of August. The festival grounds are located at a decommissioned US missile base and have party areas such as the Century Circus, Open Air Floor and the Groovalistic Garden. A secondary “festival” takes place at the campgrounds where everyone seems to be a DJ.
Notting Hill Carnival, UK
London Gone Wild
The Notting Hill Carnival is an annual event that since 1965 has taken place on the streets of Notting Hill, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, UK each August, over three days (the August bank holiday Monday and the two days beforehand). It is led by members of the West Indian community. The carnival has attracted around one million people in the past years, making it one of the largest street festivals in the world
Find Yourself in the Middle of Nowhere
Each summer since 2004, the small Nowhere Festival has brought the principles of Burning Man to Northeastern Spain. The location is kept a secret until just before the event, so keep checking the website www.goingnowhere.org to see where in the Spanish desert it will be this year.
Open`er Festival, Poland
Opening it up!
The Heineken Open'er Festival is a music festival which takes place on the North coast of Poland, in Gdynia. The first edition of the festival was organized in Warsaw in 2002 as Open Air Festival. The main organizer of the festival is the concert agency Alter Art, but the performance took its name from its principal sponsor, Heineken International. 2011 edition of Open'er will be held from 30 June to 3 July. Open’er Festival was given the Best Major Festival prize on European Festival Awards awards ceremony in 2009 and 2010.
Oppikoppi, South Africa
Oppikoppi is the name of a music festival held in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, near the mining town of Northam. The festival started off focusing mostly on rock music, but gradually added more genres and now plays host to a complete mixed bag of genres. Anything from jazz, world music, house music, acoustic, comedy and all else in between can be heard on one of the multiple stages. Each year in August thousands of people flock to the farm to camp out in the bush and enjoy the music. The festival features mostly South African bands, although international acts are included in the lineup.
Outside Lands, (USA)
Golden Gate Festival!
Outside lands is a new San Francisco music festival bringing an eclectic mix of music and good times to our favorite hometown park- Golden Gate Park!
Oxegen Festival, Ireland
An Emerald Green Festival
The Oxegen Festival boasts a lineup featuring the top names in rock, indie, and pop music at an incredible carbon-neutral festival held at Punchestown Racecourse in County Kildare, Ireland each July. The festival has enjoyed much success since being formed in 2004, attracting big names to the stage.
Paraty Mud Carnival, Brazil
The “Bloco de Lama”, A Mudslinging Carnival
Get your mud on at the Paraty Mud Carnival in Brazil! Officially named Bloco de Lama, this is part of the annual Paraty Carnival. Partiers adorn themselves with thick mud and chant “Uga uga uga! Ra ra ahhh!” along Jabaquara Beach and march into the historic district of town, where the rest of the carnival takes place. It’s quite a sight to see hundreds of mud people rocking out in this colonial beach town.
Pinkpop Festival, Netherlands
Over 40 Years of Rocking the Netherlands
Every year since 1970, the Pop at Pinksteren or Pinkpop Festival, has brought world-famous musical act to the Netherlands. The official website for this crown jewel of Dutch festivals claims that it’s Europe’s “longest-running uninterrupted outdoor pop festival.” Get one of 60,000 tickets for this festival and go pink this June.
Pitchfork Music Festival, (USA)
Why are Hipsters like Farmers?
Prague Spring Music Festival
Springtime in Prague
Every May 12th, the Prague Spring International Music Festival kicks off a music festival featuring up-and-coming and established classical musicians ►in this beautiful Czech town. Concerts take place in spectacular venues including the Rudolfinum Concert Hall, Municipal House, and the Church of St. Lawrence.
Primavera Sound, Spain
An Indy Spring
This spring music festival draws an eclectic mix of tunes in an absolutely stunning setting directly on the warm Mediterranean coast. It’s grown in popularity, now attracting in excess of 100,000 attendees over the 3 day festival.
An International Mix of Talent
The Provinssirock brings together local and international musical talents at the biggest rock festival in Finland attracting tens of thousands enthusiastic fans!
Pop Until You Drop
Pukklepop is quickly becoming one of Europe's largest open air alternative music festivals. 2011 sold out quickly, so don't get caught on the waiting list!
Rainbow Gatherings, Worldwide
Hippies Worldwide Rejoice
This year “someplace in the state of Washington” a Rainbow Gathering will form a temporary open and free community built on consensus in the early part of July. Upwards of 30,000 “non-members” are expected to participate in this year’s gathering. Though no official rules, structure, or leaders exist, participants arrive as early as a month beforehand to set up “Seed Camp” and prepare for the Forest Service permitted gathering.
Rainbow Serpent, Australia
Shake, Rattle, and Slither
Rainbow Serpent Festival is a famous electronic music festival held in Beaufort, Victoria over the long Australia Day Weekend. The music is primarily psych-trance and minimalist techno, though dub, trance, and house music sneak into the lineup. There are over 100 acts to choose from to keep you dancing late into the night.
Rainforest Music Festival
World Music and Culture Unite
This rainforest rock-out attracts over 30,000 attendees to the jungles of Sarawak, Borneo Malaysia. In addition to music there are daytime workshops on traditional crafts and culture.
Reggae on the River, (USA)
Roots Rock Reggae
In it's 27th year Reggae on the River is back in it's great location in Northern California. It's always been set on the banks of the gorgeous Eel River in Garberville California. However there is a new location at the Benbow Lake Recreational Area which is beautiful too.
Rock am Ring (im Park), Germany
Two Festivals, One Weekend
The Rock am Ring (Rock at the Ring) and Rock im Park (Rock in the Park) music festivals will give two German cities the chance to host the world’s top rock, metal, punk, and indie music artists. These legendary festivals share musical acts and attract upwards of 150,000 music lovers combined.
Rock Werchter, Belgium
Rock out with your Chocolate out!
This Rock Fest has been going on in different forms since 1974. Things really blew up in 1982 and have been going strong ever since. It used to be a mostly local festival but now draws an international crowd and lineup.
40 Years of Rock and Going Strong!
Sasquatch Music Festival (USA)
The Legend of Bigfoot
The Sasquatch Music Festival brings the hottest names in music and newest up-and-coming rockers to one of the most beautiful venues on earth over Memorial Day Weekend.
Secret Garden Party, UK
Find Some Magic in a Secret Garden Party
The Secret Garden Party outside of Huntingdon, England brings an intimate arts festival to life in the East Anglia countryside. The festival experience builds on a combination of themed camps promising you’ll be “edified, enlightened, and enthralled” by camps including Flirt Factory, Dance Off, and Kissing Den.
Shambhala Music Festival brings together the most exciting names in electronic music at this naturally blessed Canadian festival. Tucked into the gorgeous West Kootenany Mountain Range, festival-goers can look forward to five days and four nights packed with music.
Sonar Electronic Festival, Spain
Cutting Edge Music By Day and Night
Barcelona, Spain will host the Sonar International Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art featuring cutting edge music and a conference showcasing the newest breakthroughs in the industry. You may need a siesta to keep up with Barcelona’s party pace. Whether you are a party thrower or a party goer you will find some ear candy and inspiration.
Splashy Fen, South Africa
South African Musical Safari
Splendour in the Grass, Australia
Splendid Winter Festival
The Splendour in the Grass music festival takes place late July/ early August in Woodford, Australia in the state of Queensland. The event is championed as the best winter music festival in the country (yes, the seasons are backwards down there), and attracts talent from around the world.
St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland
The Luck of the Irish
Visit Dublin, Ireland for the 4 days of its St. Patrick’s Day celebration and enjoy a lively display of Irish culture, tradition and partying. This national holiday recognizes the life of Saint Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland, and has celebrated national pride for over 1000 years.
Summer Sonic, Tokyo, Japan
Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Strokes are headlining 2011’s festival which takes place in Tokyo and Osaka at the same time. They split the lineup into two groupings then switch venues for the next day’s show.
The World’s Largest Music Festival
For 11 days in summer, the shores of Lake Michigan at Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Henry Maier Festival Park transform into the self proclaimed “ World’s Largest Music Festival” attracting nearly a million music fans! With over 700 bands playing at 11 stages on a 75-acre venue, Summerfest is sure to entertain you.
Sunburn, Goa, India
Sunburnt and Happy
Sunburn Festival is trying to bring back Goa’s beach party vibe with an electronic music festival that brings the region back to the days that made it famous.
SXSW, Austin, Texas (USA)
Yeeha! South by South West
South By Southwest Music and Film Interactive (SXSW) brings countless musical performers, tons of films, compelling presentations, and networking opportunities to Austin, Texas for a music industry extravaganza.
Get Sziggy with it
The Sziget Music Festival has become one of the premiere summer music festivals in Europe. Sziget means “island” in Hungarian and over 100,000 eager festival-goers travel to Óbudai-sziget in the Danube to rock out and dance to some great music. Sziget has been described as "an electronically amplified, warped amusement park that has nothing to do with reality" or Europe’s answer to Burning Man.
Dance Party of Tomorrow
"Yesterday is History, Today is a Gift, Tomorrow is a Mystery"
Treasure Island Festival (USA)
Arrrrrrr Youuuu Scurvy Dog
This alternative rock, indy and electronic music festival features hip, upcoming artists on an island framed by the stunning San Francisco Bay.The gorgeous views towards the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Skyline are best enjoyed from the ferris wheel.
Ultra Music Festival, (USA)
The New Heavyweight of American Electronic Music Festivals
The lineup for the 2011 Ultra Music Festival was stellar. Headlining this urban, outdoor electronic music festival in downtown Miami were Deadmau5, Moby, the Chemical Brothers and Duran Duran. The roots in the UMF lie in the Winter Music Conference which attracts over 300,000 music professionals to the area.
Voodoo, New Orleans (USA)
Vood-you Like to Go to Voodoo?
Voodoo Experience, or simply Voodoo, is a 3-day music extravaganza held on the weekend nearest Halloween (October 31st) in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Wacken Open Air, Germany
Pedal to the Metal
Quite simply, WOA is the largest open air metal festival in the world. It's been going for 23 years strong in the small town of Wacken, which is only 50 kilometers from Hamburg. It sells out very early so plan ahead.
Mulberry Mountain Hop
Eclectic music mix in this down home rock out near Ozark, Arkansas. It's been growing every year now with sell-out crowds exceeding 60,000.
Music and Mats
Wanderlust is a one-of-a-kind festival bringing together the world's leading yoga teachers, top musical acts and DJs, renowned speakers, top chefs and winemakers, and much, much more -- all in a setting of breathtaking natural beauty.
White Nights, Russia
Three Months of Sunlight and Fine Arts
Visit beautiful St. Petersburg, Russia between May and July and you can witness some of the finest classical art performances the world has to offer as part of the White Nights Festival. Russian and international stars perform great works of opera, ballet, and music in this cultural event.
Wickerman Festival, UK
It's better than it needs to be!
The Wickerman Festival is an annual music festival held near to Dundrennan in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. Dubbed 'Scotland's Alternative Music festival', the festival celebrated its 10th Birthday in 2011.