12 Must See Music Festivals Around the World

person_outline Sophie Grove
Jul 2, 2018

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The psychedelic 60’s will forever be remembered as the era of Woodstock - the first model of a major music festival. But we’ve come a long way since then, with a festival for just about everyone.

Beyond the traditional festivals, there are fantastic events all around the world from California's Insta-heaven Coachella to Japan's Fuji Rock.

It’s time to round up your party friends and take your skilful dance moves international, here’s 12 must-see music festivals around the world…

1. COACHELLA

📍 Indio, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

📅 Mid April - tickets usually go on sale June the previous year and you’ll have to click at lightning speed to get your hands on one

🎶 Electronic - Hip Hop - Multi-Genre - Rock

Honestly, is there anything we could tell you about one of the biggest and best in the US that you didn’t already know? No festival in the world is quite as symbolic. Known just as much for its celeb sightings as the bands that play here every year, this two weekend-long party held in the heart of the Coachella Valley, in the Colorado Desert is an event not to be missed.

Festival heaven for: A-list celebrities, fashion bloggers and anyone who is partial to flower crowns.

Headliners are along the lines of... Kanye, Beyonce, Eminem, AC/DC, Drake, Red Hot Chili Peppers & a resurrected Tupac… the list never ends.

Bet you didn’t know... The party started in 1999 when tickets went for only $50 a pop. However, event organisers reportedly lost more than $850,000. Nowadays, general admission passes go for $429 and upwards of 200,000 people flock to the Empire Polo Club each and every year.

2. FLOW FESTIVAL

📍Helsinki, FINLAND

📅 Around mid August - full swing summer so the sun stays out to party until midnight!

🎶 Electronic - Hip Hop - Indie

Those Fins are an innovative bunch. Flow Fest is one of the world’s first carbon neutral festivals aiming to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible, by keeping their energy production needs covered using renewable biodiesel. Held in a disused power station, it has turned into an annual celebration brought to life with light design, modern art and up and coming artists.

Festival heaven for: Hipsters, artsy youngsters and environmentally conscious music lovers.

Headliners are along the lines of... Major Lazer, Diplo, Metronomy, Alt-J, Jose Gonzalez, Alicia Keys, Kendrick Lamar, Outkast and a tonne of Finnish side acts that are very into their urban sounds and jazzy tunes.

Bet you didn’t know... Those who enjoy recycling exchanges to keep the earth green can score a few drink rewards with their cider can deposits - all bottled and canned drinks sold at the festival area include a 1€ deposit refund when returned!

3. GLASTONBURY

📍 Glastonbury, UNITED KINGDOM

📅 Last weekend of June - four massive days and even bigger nights!

🎶 Multi-Genre

You will most likely need a few weeks to recover from this one. Glastonbury is the largest open-air music and performing arts festival in the world. Celebrating it’s 48th year, it embraces each and every genre across the spectrum. From rock and pop to house, techno and full-throttle drum 'n' bass, soundtracked by the music's finest names!

Festival heaven for: Nostalgic hippies, newbies and party veterans flock from all over the globe to the spiritual fields in Somerset to get a taste of this famous festival.

Headliners are along the lines of... The Who, David Bowie, Jeff Buckley, Blur, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Jay-Z, Coldplay and a truckload of legendary British bands.

Bet you didn’t know… The first ever Glastonbury festival took place in 1970. Tickets cost £1 and included free milk from the farm for every reveller. Around 1,500 people turned up and the event was headlined by T-Rex, they stepped in for The Kinks when they failed to show up!

4. SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS

📍 Byron Bay, AUSTRALIA

📅 July - it can be a little on the rainy side of things which becomes Splendour In The Mud pretty quickly. Gumboots are always in fashion at this festival so bring your best pair!

🎶 Multi-Genre

Splendour in the Grass is Australia's answer to Glastonbury. It’s a world-famous music festival that has been held annually in Australia since 2001. Thousands regularly make the trip to the North Byron Bay highlands for three days of fine music - showcasing the best of indie rock, hip hop, electronic and alternative genres. Beyond the music, Splendour also lays out workshops, art installations, craft areas, speakers and a kids' zone.

Festival heaven for: Party-starting intellectuals & hipsters who probably raided 10 or more charity stores to find the perfect one of a kind festie outfit but will end up blending in with the crowd of other hipsters attending, lots of relaxed locals, partygoers and foodies.

Headliners are along the lines of... Lorde, Khalid, Flume, The Cure, The Strokes, Florence and the Machine, Mumford & Sons, Coldplay, The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and a bunch of talented up and coming artists.

Bet you didn’t know… Just like arts and crafts marquees, science now has a home at Splendour. After a popular debut last year, The University of Sydney and it’s very own tent will return again this year, along with a bunch of other science hosts talking weird and wonderful topics from zombie outbreaks to the science of music and the role of chemistry in rock ‘n’ roll.

5. PRIMAVERA SOUND

📍 Barcelona, SPAIN

📅 This festival lands in the month of June which is perfect for the start of summer especially, with its waterfront location!

🎶 Alternative - Electronic - Indie

One of the most revered and respected music festivals in Europe. Year after year Primavera pulls together an incredible lineup, with headliners often standing out from the festival crowd with exciting new acts sitting comfortably alongside all the music legends of styles and genres. Did we mention the epic beachside Parc del Fòrum?

Festival heaven for: Electronic music fans & sun loving señors and señoritas

Headliners are along the lines of... The Black Keys, Pixies, The Juan Maclean, Julian Casablancas, SBTRKT, Pixies, The Postal Service and plenty more variety.

Bet you didn’t know… In recent years the festival has been hosting secret performances taking place at pop-up stages during the festival. Festival goers receive notifications from the official app just hours before the show takes place and are directed on where to go!

6. LOLLAPALOOZA

📍 Chicago, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

📅 Start of August

🎶 Pop - Rock

Lolla is in a prime location in the middle of an already awesome city! Head to Chicago's historic Grant Park for a three-day, ultimate jam out. This festival is another multi-genre delight playing host to enormous lineups that span rock, pop, rap, EDM and more. What started as one of the most popular music festivals in America, Lollapalooza has also expanded to several locations around the world!

Festival heaven for: Costume introverts - you will see more people here wearing their normal clothes than specific festival outfits making it refreshingly chilled.

Headliners are along the lines of... Paul McCartney, Alabama Shakes, Cold War Kids, Arctic Monkeys, Eminem, , Vampire Weekend and more delightful artists from the states and abroad.

Bet you didn’t know… Lollapalooza was founded by Jane’s Addiction vocalist (Perry Ferrell), after hearing the word in a Three Stooges movie. One trademark later and it’s become an event not to be missed!

7. TOMORROWLAND

📍 Boom, BELGIUM

📅 Mid July - Well over 2 million fans try to buy tickets each year, with all of the 60,000 available per day sometimes selling out within just 2 minutes!

🎶 EDM - Electronic - Hardstyle - House - Techno

Tomorrowland is one of the biggest and most recognized music festivals in the world for electronic dance music, which has been sweeping the globe in the last decade getting bigger and bigger. Other than each year's huge artfully built stages, the lineups consistently feature almost every DJ you've ever heard of!

Festival heaven for: Rave heads, house music party goers, shirts off trance-lovers, double fist-pumping electro followers & festival fiends. Wear your fluoro, glow sticks and bum bags.

Headliners are along the lines of... David Guetta, Armin van Buuren, Alesso, Tiësto, Fedde Le Grand, The Chainsmokers, Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, Steve Aoki, Skrillex, and just so much epic doof doof that your ears will be ringing for a week after.

Bet you didn’t know… Inside the enormous Tomorrowland mainstage, there is a Michelin star restaurant. Boasting some of the finest chefs in the world, a plate might set you back $1,000 - but the proceeds all go to charity.

8. FUJI ROCK

📍Niigata, JAPAN

📅 Last weekend of July

🎶 Pop - Rock

Every summer tens of thousands of Japan’s youngsters head to the mountains where stages are dotted throughout the forest for a 3-day non-stop party, a world away from the everyday grind in the cities. Featuring more than 200 Japanese and international musicians, you’ve never seen anything quite like it. It's the largest festival in Japan, requires a cable car trip up a mountain to get to and aims to be the ‘cleanest festival in the world’.

Festival heaven for: Mountain-climbing music lovers. Even if your taste is less mainstream, they cater for everything from folk music to punk rock and J-pop!

Headliners are along the lines of... Local Japanese musos, Major Lazer, Muse, Foo Fighters, Jack Johnson, OutKast, The Flaming Lips, Björk,  Sonic Youth, Ben Folds Five. Let's just say Fuji Rock can pick a sweet line up.

Bet you didn’t know… The first year of the festival was held at the base of Mt Fuji (hence the name) and was a total disaster. By sheer bad luck, the first day of the event was struck by a typhoon, The Red Hot Chili Peppers' famously played through a storm, while frontman Anthony Kiedis had a broken arm. Many festival-goers needed medical attention for hypothermia thus, the organisers decided to cancel the second day... which ended up being sunny and beautiful.

9. BESTIVAL

📍 Dorset, UNITED KINGDOM

📅 Start of August

🎶 Multi-Genre

Arguably the UK’s most left field festival - get ready to see people dressed head to toe in elaborate costumes. Yes, it's got great music artists, but the real Bestival lies in all the other quirks: art installations, theatre performances, comedy, circus and general surrealism. Trust us, it's one of those you just need to experience.

Festival heaven for: Fashion fiends

Headliners are along the lines of... Stevie Wonder, Passion Pit, Röyksopp, Hot Chip, De La Soul and your famous UK artists like Lily Allen, Dizzee Rascal and legendary Elton John.

Bet you didn’t know… They LOVE breaking records. In 2005, they set a Guinness World Record for having the biggest dress-up event in the world. They’ve since had the world's biggest disco ball and this year decided to attempt the worlds biggest confetti cannon.

10. ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL

ultra-music-festival
[📸 Ultra Music Festival]

📍 Miami, UNITED STATES

📅 March

🎶 EDM - Electronic - House - Techno

Each year 165,000 people pack into Bayfront Park for Ultra Music Festival (UMF) to transform the heart of Miami into a dancefloor for three days of house, underground techno and bass. This festival is known for two things: a stacked lineup and an all-out party atmosphere. One of the biggest festivals in North America and probably the biggest electronic festival anywhere on the planet, UMF sets the dance world alight year after year.

Festival heaven for: The professional raver

Headliners are along the lines of... Ice Cube, Major Lazer, David Guetta, Steve Aoki, Afrojack, Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Axwell V Ingrosso… also known as the holy grail for EDM and hip hop fans.

Bet you didn’t know… You might have guessed the name was related to electronic music. Wrong, it is named after the 1997 Depeche Mode album, Ultra.

11. READING FESTIVAL / LEEDS FESTIVAL

leeds-music-festival
[📸 Sarah Koury / Entirety Labs]

📍 Reading / Leeds, UNITED KINGDOM

📅 August

🎶 Multi-Genre

Truly the most legendary UK festival duo’s of all time, these two festivals have become a rite of passage for UK music fans, with nearly all seasoned festival-goers having been to either at least once. Reading Festival rightly sits among the world's genuine rock elite - it began in 1961 but was then a national jazz and blues festival. Along with Leeds Festival – its northern English little brother – an iconic British music festival, has been making the August bank holiday its own.

Festival heaven for: The cultured artist

Headliners are along the lines of... The Rolling Stones, Iron Maiden, The Police, The Cure, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Metallica, Guns n' Roses, Eminem, Nirvana, Blink-182, The Strokes, Green Day, Fall Out Boy & Kings of Leon. 

Bet you didn’t know… They’re the perfect place to sink a few pints - 2 million pints of lager are drunk over the weekend.

12. OSHEAGA FESTIVAL

osheaga-music-festival
[📷 Osheaga]

📍 Montreal, CANADA

📅 August

🎶 Alternative - Indie - Rock

Osheaga is staged in the breathtaking landscape of Montreal’s Parc Jean-Drapeau. It’s already become one of the biggest players on the Canadian festival circuit, considered one of the best music events in the world, with it frequently being mentioned alongside Coachella and Lollapalooza as one of the must-attend musical destinations of the year. It’s not hard to see why 135,000 hipsters, rockers and party kids descend every year from across North America and Europe.

Festival heaven for: The Newbs

Headliners are along the lines of... The Weeknd, Muse, Lorde, The Killers, Coldplay, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, The Black Keys, Beck, The Cure, Mumford & Sons, Arctic Monkeys, Lana Del Rey, Radiohead

Bet you didn’t know… On the day that organisers announced that Montreal’s Arcade Fire would be headlining, the festival went straight to No. 1 on Twitter, overtaking US news of the heated health care debate, a.k.a Obama Care, at the time... You know you’ve create a damn good show when it manages to overshadow American politics!


So there you go - call your party friends and start making your way around to these unforgettable music festivals! If you want to add even more to your itinerary, and want some fun, refreshing travel ideas we have a tonne of other trips waiting for you to feel inspired by today! Just click the link below. (Prepare yourself for unexpected urge to get on a plane straight away!).

Inspire me today!

Sophie Grove

Sophie Grove

Sophie is the Social Media Coordinator & Content Marketer for The Global Work & Travel Co. and a travel lover at heart. When she’s not busy double tapping and sharing all your amazing travel inspiration on our social pages, she’s busy planning her next escape! Her next big bucket list items include skydiving over Dubai and camping on the Great Wall of China.