The best European summer festivals for 2015

Music festivals
Reading Time: 5 minutes

If the sunshine is making your thoughts turn to live music, sleeping under canvas and chilling with friends in fields, check out our festivals guide.

Get wrapped up in the atmosphere & colour

Get wrapped up in the atmosphere & colour

Primavera Sound (28-30 May) Barcelona, Spain

With great Spanish energy and a venue with a feeling of space, Primavera Sound at the waterside Parc del Fòrum is a musical feast with two main stages and plenty of smaller sites to discover new sounds. This year’s headliners include Belle & Sebastian, Damien Rice and The Black Keys.

Berlin Festival (29-31 May) Berlin, Germany

Held in the city’s Arena Park, the Berlin Festival is an avent garde mixture of music, arts, film and culture including an ‘Art Village’, ‘Art Market’ and ‘Silent Arena’. This year’s headliners include Underworld, Rudimental and James Blake.

For Festival (23-25 June) Hvar, Croatia

One of the most beautiful settings for a festival this year is Croatia’s ultra chic Hvar island which plays host to the upmarket For Festival. This may explain the presence of the Klaxons and this year’s hot property Mark Ronson on the line up at this 2,500-strong festival. A great festival for beaches, sunshine and dancing under the stars.

Meadow in the mountains (12-14 June) Rhodopes Mountains, Bulgaria

Another stunning setting for a festival are the mountains of Bulgaria on the Greek border. Meadow in the Mountains may be a dance music festival but its vibe is laidback bohemian in a truly stunning location. Acts include Kele Le Roc, The Turbans and Wyles & Simpson.

SunSplash (21-28 June) Bodrum, Turkey

Hit the beach at Bodrum, Turkey for a festival with a grown-up dance vibe and artists including Gilles Peterson, Andrew Ashong and Phil Asher. One for serious musos who like dancing in the sunshine.

Glastonbury Festival (24-28 June) Somerset, UK

The biggest and arguably still the best (if you’re looking for a festival with the size and population of a small city!). Headliners this year include Pharrell Williams and Kanye West, this really is as big as it gets.

Which music festivals have caught your eye?

Which music festivals have caught your eye?

Lucca Music Festival (Throughout July) Tuscany, Italy

You can’t argue with a line up, which includes acts as diverse as Lauryn Hill, Lenny Kravitz, Bob Dylan, John Legend, Elton John, Robbie Williams and Snoop Dog alongside Alabama Shakes and Clark Clark Jr. If you need more persuasion throw in the picturesque Tuscany town of Lucca and this becomes a must visit festival this summer.

Blissfields Festival (3-4 July) Winchester, UK

A smaller, family-friendly festival for those who want to enjoy a bit of communal outdoor living in the sunshine, think summer fete rather than rave. There are plenty of music stages featuring acts including Karen Harding and Public Service Broadcasting as well as craft areas, chill out zones, a cinema tent and even an outdoor spa.

Nos Alive (9-11 July) Lisbon, Portugal

From Sam Smith and Mumford & Sons to The Prodigy, this festival in Lisbon boasts a formidable line up. Party on the coast in the vibrant city of Lisbon and combine your festival going with a little culture and sun.

Larmer Tree Festival (14-19 July) Dorset, UK

This is another great festival for all the family with plenty of children-friendly areas. You can also take the opportunity to educate your offspring in classic music with a line up including legends Tom Jones, Jimmy Cliff, Levellers and The Beat.

Fib Benicàssim (16-19 July) Costa Azahar, Spain

Serious music fans should head to the Costa Azahar for the Fib Benicàssim with a line up including Florence + The Machine, The Prodigy, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Blur, Kaiser Chiefs, Public Enemy, Mark Ronson, Portishead, Bastille… Do we need to go on?

Latitude (16-19 July) Suffolk, UK

With its laidback, chill out vibe of music, arts and culture set in the beautiful countryside of Suffolk’s Henham Park this is a must for festival-goers looking for a more grown-up experience. Headline acts are as likely to feature comedians (Jason Manford, Alan Davies, Jon Richardson) as musicians (Manic Street Preachers, Seasick Steve, Neomi Shelton) at this culturally diverse festival.

Amazing light & stage displays

Amazing light & stage displays

Somersault Festival (23-27 July) Devon, UK

If you want to roll your sleeves up and get active and involved, Somersault Festival in Castle Hill, Devon is the festival for you. Activities include surfing, coasteering, mountain biking, falconry, flying trapeze classes and even a ‘Summer Garden Party’ hosted by Jo Whiley. In fact, there’s so much to do it might be a struggle to find time to listen to acts including Laura Marling, Bombay Bicycle Club and Jimmy Cliff.

Wilderness Festival (6-9 August) Oxfordshire, UK

Wilderness Festival is more than just a music festival, with banquets, spoken-word events and art activities alongside a slightly folky music vibe it has an interesting and diverse cultural appeal. Listen to the sounds of Björk, Ben Howard and George Clinton while you take part in Sweaty Betty Mass Yoga sessions or hip hop karaoke.

Way Out West Festival (13-15 August) Gothenburg, Sweden

A seriously impressive musical line-up including Pet Shop Boys, Beck, Patti Smith, Florence + the Machine, Ellie Goulding and Belle and Sebastian is the major draw for this year’s Way Out West Festival taking place in venues across Gothenburg.

The Helsinki Festival (14-30 August) Helsinki, Finland

A great city festival with it’s own children’s festival running alongside, this is a cultural treat featuring everything from classical music, dance, theatre and circus to loads of free events taking place across the city. Don’t miss the night of the Giants when 8-meter high wicker giants parade through the city at night.

Green Man Festival (20-23 August) Wales, UK

Set in the stunning Welsh Brecon Beacons, the Green Man Festival is all about campfires and the magic of hanging out and making friends. Based over ten areas with everything from spoken-word to film and music, this festival not only has a child area but a teen-zone complete with circus skills, filmmaking and football tournaments.

Festival No. 6 (3-6 September) Wales, UK

Named after the cult TV show The Prisoner (famously filmed in Portmeirion), this festival set in and around the brightly coloured Welsh town offers a range of cultural delights. Music acts including Belle & Sebastian, Grace Jones, Mark Ronson and Brythoniaid Welsh Male Voice Choir will sit alongside talks by Irvine Welsh, Dom Joly and Edith Bowman and theatre events including a live production of Under Milk Wood and DJs across the extensive grounds.

The Good Life Experience (18-20 September) Wales, UK

Set up by Cerys Matthews, this is a celebration of ‘fun and discovery with music, books, food and the great outdoors’. What this translates as is great music, delicious food including Fabulous Baker Brothers, cookery classes, outdoor butchery displays and a range of activities from yoga and vintage fairgrounds to axe throwing and bushcraft.


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