The festivals have begun revealing their line-ups and it’s time to start thinking about summer. Foo Fighters are confirmed to headline Glastonbury, Duran Duran will take Bestival back to the 80s and The Libertines will close the main stage at Reading. There’s plenty to consider; with the rush of securing tickets and getting a good gang together, getting the best out of this period requires some planning! And there is no reason to limit yourself to the UK! Why not combine summer travel plans with one of these alternative European festivals for something a little bit different?
While Norway may not strike you as a typical festival destination, Oyafestivalen is a boutique gathering which delivers! It has also set its sights on being among the world’s greenest festivals. Taking place in the capital Oslo, this festival gives you the chance to experience something a little more out of the ordinary, all while promising a class-act line up. Bigger names for 2015 include Beck, Belle and Sebastian, and Florence and the Machine, but the festival also attracts a quality selection of more alternative acts for the music buff in you. Spanning the 12th – 15th of August, individual day passes cost £76 (€103), but you can pick up the full 5-day pass for £215 (€293).
The one thing you can’t always count on in the UK is the weather; picture yourself at a UK festival and you can easily imagine both ‘lying outside your tent topping up your tan’ and ‘watching your tent slide away in the mud’ as a likely scenario. Bilbao BBK is taking place from the 9th – 11th July and the sunshine is almost guaranteed, with average temperatures of 25°. Bilbao BBK is held on a site created especially for the event atop a stunning Spanish mountain southwest of Bilbao. This year the festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary and the line-up includes Muse, Alt J and The Cat Empire, all at an incredibly reasonable £103 (€140) for a 3-day ticket, including camping.
Sziget Festival, a.k.a ‘The Island of Freedom’, recently won the Best Major European Festival award. Taking place over seven days in August on Obudai-sziget (Old Buda Island) in northern Budapest, this week-long party has been described as an ‘electronically amplified, warped amusement park that has nothing to do with reality’. Sziget offers a variety of genres including Blues, Jazz and World Music alongside a more mainstream line up and this year, the festival is promising Gogol Bordello, Passenger, Robbie Williams and Florence and the Machine. It sounds amazing and a 7-day ticket is available for £168 (€229), including camping.
Set in the beautiful location of Split in Croatia, this epic festival attracts some of the world’s best DJs. Only in its third year, Ultra Europe is now the largest electronic festival in Croatia’s history. Taking place from the 10-12th of July, Ultra Europe will not only welcome you into the heat of its party, but also the heat of Croatia’s temperatures, which average 25° in July. In 2014, they also hosted an additional beach party on the nearby island of Hvar. So far, Ultra Europe have only announced phase one of their line up, but acts already include The Chemical Brothers, David Guetta and Afrojack. A limited availability of 3-day tickets are available now at only £124 (€169).
September arrives, summer is not quite over, and if you are looking for something to extend that summer feeling, Ireland’s Electric Picnic is the answer. From the 4th- 6th September, the Stradbally Estate in County Laois hosts a rich program of music, comedy, theatre and circus performances. This year, Róisín Murphy, Hot Chip and The Manic Street Preachers are already confirmed with more announcements to be made soon. And there’s plenty else on offer for more ‘eclectic’ tastes such as the area called ‘Trenchtown’, woods transformed into a Jamaican Village coming alive with Caribbean culture. Trenchtown has become synonymous with Reggae and promotes the strong historical links between the two islands of Jamaica and Ireland! Each year it hosts the hottest home-grown and international Reggae, Dub, Ska and Dancehall artists. Tickets are now on sale at £141 (€194.50) if you have never attended an Electric Picnic before and at a discounted price if you are a loyal Electric Picnic-er and can prove you have been to at least one festival before.
Although you can of course book tickets directly through festival websites and arrange your own flights/transport it’s worth looking at the packages provided by travel specialists like Contiki who offer specialist tours for festivals like Sziget. By combining festival tickets and accommodation with a tour, you could enjoy stops in cities like Berlin, Prague and Vienna ahead of the festival itself.
Contiki who run tours round Europe for 18-35s. They run tours that stop off at festivals throughout Europe.