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

Where: Indio, USA 📍

When: 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! 

Music genre: Electronic, Hip Hop  & Rock 🎶

 
 
 
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Stay gold 📷: @richfury

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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.

Best way to experience: Get yourself to North America on a Working Holiday or Au Pair trip in Canada or the USA, fund your travels with work and spend your time off at this epic world-famous festival! 

2. FLOW FESTIVAL

Where: Helsinki, Finland 📍

When: Around mid-August - in full swing summer, so the sun stays out to party until midnight!

Music genre: 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 upcoming 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 ton 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!

Best way to experience: With Europe only a very small plane or train ride away from the UK, experience a working holiday in the UK, so you can spend your weekend exploring Europe's top spots and festivals! 

3. GLASTONBURY

Where: Glastonbury, United kingdom 📍

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

Music genre: 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 its 48th year, it embraces each and every genre across the spectrum. From rock and pop to house, techno and full-throttle drum 'n' bass, it is soundtracked by 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!

Best way to experience: You don't even need to leave the country for this festival when you do a Working Holiday or Au Pair trip in the UK! 

4. SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS

Where: Byron Bay, Australia 📍

When: 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!

Music genre: 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 festive outfit (but will end up blending in with the crowd of other hipsters attending), 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 rising stars.

Best way to experience: While Australia barely has a winter at all, this festival is smack bang in the middle of their cold season. Australia still has temperatures of mid 20's! Get yourself on a working holiday in Australia and make sure you clear this weekend for Splendour! 

5. PRIMAVERA SOUND

Where: Barcelona, Spain 📍

When: June - the perfect start to summer because of its waterfront location!

Music genre: 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!

Best way to experience: Experience life as a local and get paid to teach English in Spain, not only is it super rewarding but you'll get to spend your time off partying at Europe's hottest festivals! 

 

6. LOLLAPALOOZA

Where: Chicago, USA 📍

When: Start of August

Music genre: 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'll see more way people here wearing their normal clothes rather 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!

Best way to experience: On a Working Holiday or Au Pair trip in the USA or Canada - because you can't see all the festivals on a short holiday! 

7. TOMORROWLAND

Where: Boom, Belgium 📍

When: 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!

Music genre: EDM, Electronic, Hardstyle, House & Techno 🎶 

Tomorrowland is one of the biggest and most recognised music festivals in the world for electronic dance music, which has been sweeping the globe in the last decade. Other than each year's huge and artistic 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.

Best way to experience: Work and live the European lifestyle on an Au Pair trip in Europe or teach English in Spain so you'll have the freedom to head to the festival in your time off!

8. FUJI ROCK

Where: Niigata, Japan📍

When: Last weekend of July

Music genre: 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.

Best way to experience: With so many work and travel opportunities to choose from in Europe, we recommend teaching English in South Korea with Japan as your next door neighbour! 

9. BESTIVAL

Where: Dorset, United Kingdom📍

When: Start of August

Music genre: 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 the 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.

Best way to experience: It's a no brainer, a working holiday in the UK gives you all the time in the world to discover some of the UK's best festivals! 

10. ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL

Where: Miami, USA📍

When: March

Music genre: EDM, Electronic, House & Techno 🎶 

 
 
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what a weekend!

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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

Where: Reading / Leeds, United Kingdom📍

When: August

Music genre: Multi-Genre 🎶 

 

Truly the most legendary UK festival duos 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

Where: Montreal, Canada📍

When: August

Music genre: 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 and 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 trending on Twitter, overtaking US news of the heated health care debate, a.k.a Obama Care, at the time... You know you’ve created a damn good show when it manages to overshadow American politics!

Best way to experience: A Working Holiday or Au Pair trip in Canada lets you discover the best festivals across the country, from coastal towns to mountain ranges! 

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 or need some fun and refreshing travel ideas, we have a ton 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 was a Social Media Coordinator & Content Marketer for Global Work & Travel 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.