10 European Festivals To Try If You Didn’t Get Glastonbury TicketsArticle by: Marcus Barnes|@mgoldenbarnes
Fri March 31, 2017 | 12:15 PM
Obtaining Glastonbury tickets is not easy. In fact it’s probably one of the most difficult festivals to gain entry to, mainly because it's just so damn popular. (One look at this year's lineup alone and it's easy to see why.) Glasto’s capacity is over 200,000 but as many as ten times that number attempt to get tickets the day they’re released. For those who did, congratulations! However, for those who missed out, have no fear! There’s a plethora of festivals in the UK and across mainland Europe that are on a par with the mighty Glastonbury.
Have a look at the options below – you never know, one of these amazing events could become your new numero uno…
Mysteryland, Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands (August 26-27, 2017)
Specializing in the world’s best dance music, Mysteryland competes with Glastonbury in size and stature. The attention to detail is remarkable, with that special "Dutch touch" applied to all aspects of the festival, meaning everything is done in a professional manner – no shortcuts, no slacking. From waste disposal to security, it’s all high tech. And then there’s the colossal stage design, which blows thousands of minds every summer. Finally, though it may not be as musically diverse as Glasto, Mysteryland delivers a lineup full of dance music superstars, who work across a wide spectrum of electronic sounds. In short, it’s a very special place.
Sziget, Budapest, Hungary (August 9-16, 2017)
Hungary’s pride and joy is 25 years old this year, which is a huge milestone. The "Island Of Freedom" offers exactly what it says, operating on an island in the middle of Budapest, Hungary’s picturesque capital. There’s an inspiring, life-affirming atmosphere at Sziget, which seems to give people a license to be silly, but also trusting in their ability to take care of one another means the crowd is full of positivity, and rarely oversteps the mark. Groups interact with smiles and pranks, hugs and laughter – there’s an abundance of costumes, face paint, glitter and bright colours. The site is huge, with a capacity of 495,000 across its five-day run – attendees came from 95 countries in 2016. The booking policy takes in pop’s biggest stars (Kasabian, Wiz Khalifa, P!nk and Major Lazer are among 2017’s headliners), alongside underground acts, alternative bands and a multitude of other performers.
Wilderness, Cornbury Park, Oxford, UK (August 3-6, 2017)
The appeal of Wilderness lies in its high-end, luxurious nature – this is an event where families and a more mature crowd revel in the delights on offer. Gourmet food, yoga classes, high-brow acts, bookshops… it’s all very grown-up, but still imbued with a deep sense of community and, most importantly, FUN. Wilderness is held in the beautiful Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire and takes full advantage of the wonders of the English countryside location. It’s a lush oasis with a lake for wild (naked) swimming. The lineup curation is second to none with Grace Jones, Two Door Cinema Club and Bonobo among the many incredible artists to take to the festival’s stages in 2017.
Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, Denmark (June 24-July 1, 2017)
Roskilde is one of Europe’s biggest festivals with over 40 years of service to the world’s festival industry. It started in 1971 and you can really sense the experience of its organisers in all aspects of the event, from the slick roster of graffiti artists who paint all over the site, to the world-class acts who grace its stages every single year. Roskilde is big, professional and a proprietor of seriously fun times. It is undoubtedly one of Glastonbury’s closest peers, with 180 acts across its stages and a staunch eco-friendly policy, rewarding its patrons for contributing to its recycling ventures, for example. Look out for their annual Naked Run, which rewards the female and male winners with a ticket for the following year’s festivals, as well as a whole host of other silly games and activities with which to get involved. it's a true gem in Europe’s festival crown.
Exit Festival, Novi Sad, Serbia (July 6-9, 2017)
If you want variety, Exit has it. There are very few festivals that offer such a wide range of music spread out across so many stages. From death metal to reggae, Latin music and alternative electronica, Exit has it all – and we haven’t even mentioned the Main Stage and the legendary Dance Arena yet. These are Exit’s two biggest stages, and they offer up pop royalty, drum n' bass luminaries and dance music superstars every day. The Dance Arena is one of the best rave spaces on Earth . The fortress location also makes this a special one, on top of a hill overlooking the Danube river. Besides all of that, the crowd is diverse, the vibes are high, and the weather always on point. Plus it’s ridiculously cheap for such a mammoth festival.
Primavera Sound, Barcelona, Spain (May 31-June 4, 2017)
One of Barcelona’s key music festivals, Primavera Sound, brings in the big guns to set the city’s party scene alight with lesser-known, underground heroes side by side with a lineup of the world’s most famous musical faces and voices. Frank Ocean, Flying Lotus, Run The Jewels and The XX are just a small percentage of the countless acts who’ll bring the heat to Barcelona this summer. Special gigs, such as Mick Harvey playing the songs of Serge Gainsbourg, are also hosted at this festival which has a healthy portion of serious musos in its audiences every year. But it’s also a big party and lots of fun, putting it shoulder to shoulder with Glastonbury.
Øya Festival, Oslo, Norway (August 8-12, 2017)
Spread over four days, Øya draws on an international roster of talent to tantalise its audiences, while also showcasing its own local artists. Smaller in size than some of the bigger festivals on this list, it still holds its own with a beautiful location in Oslo’s east side, close to the city's centre. The green surroundings give it a fresh feeling, with nature supplying plenty of chilled-out vibes as people perch on the grass to soak up the sounds emanating from numerous stages. At night, the city’s clubs and concert halls host gigs from the festival’s lineup, giving it another dimension. At Øya you will experience the very best Norwegian hospitality, combined with smooth operation and superb music.
Isle Of Wight Festival, Isle Of Wight, UK (June 8-11, 2017)
Just off the south coast of the UK is the Isle Of Wight, a tiny island where this brilliant festival takes place. Its focus is simple; good quality music from some of the world’s greatest bands and performers. This means that every year features an amazing lineup, thanks in part to the hard work of the festival’s owner John Giddings (an established music promoter and agent). 2017 sees David Guetta, Run DMC, Rod Stewart, Arcade Fire and Razorlight, among many others. The festival site offers patrons the chance to relax if they wish, or get stuck in the music with a good solid dance. There are circus tents, a kids' area and a hot tub area, too. It’s been around since the late '60s, when it was a renowned countercultural event. Since then, John Giddings has made into one of the UK’s premier festivals.
Balaton Sound, Zamárdi, Hungary (July 5-9, 2017)
Sziget’s organisers lent their remarkable talent to this events, which is another huge festival based in Hungary . Set on the beautiful Lake Balaton (the biggest lake in Central Europe), it’s been around since 2007 and has a huge following across Europe thanks to an all-encompassing ethos celebrating excellent music and excellent people. Partying next to a giant lake means boat parties, swimming and the serenity offered by the positive ions that surround water. Expect to catch dance music titans like Kygo, Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto and Hardwell alongside Jason Derulo, Erick Morillo, Galantis, Krewella, Nicole Moudaber, Sasha, and more. All of this is, of course, presented on huge stages run by teams of professionals who have years of experience in hosting large-scale music events, meaning it’s a well-oiled machine and one that will leave a lasting impression on all of its attendees.
Bestival, Lulworth Estate, Dorset, UK (September 7-10, 2017)
Bestival opts for a whimsical outlay with lots of child-like features to keep it firmly rooted in the jolly japes and silly fun zone. Every year it seems to get better and better, with exemplary lineup curation, lots of awe-inspiring stages and areas to get lost in, plus hidden areas, games, parades, fancy dress themes and famous party brands hosting their own stages and events. LGBT specialists Sink The Pink will be in attendance this year, for example, along with HMS Bestival (a naval themed stage) and silly additions like the "world’s biggest confetti canon." Catch the Pet Shop Boys, Wiley, A Tribe Called Quest, Jamie T, Dizzee Rascal, Justice, Laura Mvula and Soul II Soul, plus many more UK and international acts and DJs bringing their very best to the wonderful Lulworth Estate in Dorset (where its sister event Camp Bestival also takes place). It had previously been held on the Isle Of Wight but moves to Dorset for the first time in 2017. All in all, it exudes excellence.