So picture this. You’ve just been given a one year all-access pass to any and every festival on the planet (omg wouldn’t that be a-maaaazing!?!)… Where would you go? Europe? Asia? America? Hell, what a round-the-world-trip that would be!! Sorry to disappoint, this isn’t a competition and we’re not giving away round-the-world festival tickets (sad times). But whether you can squeeze just enough dollars out of your piggy bank to do one major festival this year, or whether you decide “f@#k-it” and book yourself a RTW ticket on your American Express card, here’s our bucket list guide to the most unmissable festivals of the year to get you fired up for an impulse visit to ticketek:
BURNING MAN (USA)
Right this very second, you can head online and check out the live feed on the playa at Burning Man 2016 to get yourself in the mood for next year. What could possibly be cooler than partying in a desert dressed like an extra from a Mad Max Film?! Ever wondered what a music and arts festival would be like post-apocalypse? We reckon it would look like this post-modern, cyberpunk pop-up in north Nevada, complete with a makeshift city of tents and RV’s (aka Black Rock City), desert heat and dusty sandstorms to boot. Burning Man is more of a living art installation akin to a Lady Gaga video clip rather than your standard music festival. The line-up of DJ’s is always a last minute surprise, but has included some absolute gems (take Deadmau5 for example!) over the many many years the festival has been going. A total must do (at least) once in a lifetime!!
This is the era of boutique music festivals and Bestival, an award winning 4 day boutique festival set in the heart of the Isle of Wight, is up there amoung the best of them! Always boasting an eclectic line-up, last year’s acts included The Chemical Brothers, Duran Duran, Underworld and Tame Impala, and this year’s line-up flaunts The Cure, Major Lazer, Hot Chip, Diplo, Fatboy Slim and Sean Paul to name a few. From the original boutique campsite experience, to the Bollywood Tent, a Cosmic Commune, fancy dress en-masse and even the UK’s first ever Spaceport, it’s this uniqueness that makes Bestival a wondrous world of discovery and adventure, and will keep you dancing not only in September but all year round.
THIS / THAT (AUSTRALIA)
Continuing the boutique festival trend, the Australian festival on our bucket list this year is This / That festival, set on the foreshore of Nobby’s Beach in Newcastle, a leisurely road trip north of Sydney. Following it’s successful debut in 2015, this year the festival promises to go even bigger and better, announcing a delicious line-up including headlining acts Peking Duk and Hermitude. In addition to two main stages, This Stage and That Stage, punters will also be treated to another world full of spectacle over at The Other stage. Enter the portal and be pampered on a daybed like a gypsy prince or princess at the Love-Sik Bay, or transform into your wildest dreams with a stylised photo shoot. The Other is the ultimate bohemian chill zone, with a fairy light enclave and a La La Land for the legendary. You’ll find a killer local lineup there too, dropping the latest and greatest from underground and across the globe.
MAGNETIC FIELDS (INDIA)
Magnetic Fields Festival is a musical carnival set within the historical and decadent walls of the Alsisar Mahal, Rajasthan. Boasting a three day bonanza filled with hunting for buried treasure, secret parties around the Palace-like grounds, dancing on the rooftop, flying kites at sunrise and watching the desert come to life in a dazzling haze of mist and sunlight, Magnetic Fields is a diverse (and pretty damn cool) creative take on the worldwide festival scene.
The annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, aka Coachella, is held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, which is located in the Colorado Desert’s Coachella Valley. Across the grounds, several stages continuously host live music and the site is also peppered with large-scale art installations and sculptures. And of course there’s that large ferris wheel which, beyond the palm trees and in front of the desert horizon, has become synonymous amoungst travel and fashion bloggers alike craving that famous Coachella-at-sunset snap to feed to their masses of instagram followers! With an annual line-up pretty much guaranteed to be mega, Coachella is one of the largest, most famous, and most profitable music festivals in the United States.
Chances are you are unfamiliar with the little English townships of Kindlington, Houghton Regis or Kendal, right!? But with less population than the three I just mentioned, you definitely know of this one… Probably one of the most famous, if not the most famous, small town in the UK; Glastonbury has become a household name thanks to the epic five-day festival that takes place near Pilton in Somerset. In addition to contemporary music, the festival hosts dance, comedy, theatre, circus, caberet, and other arts to keep the punters entertained from dawn til dusk. Last years major headliners included heavyweights like Muse, Adele, Coldplay, Disclosure, New Order and LCD Soundystem, to name but a very small few of the bazillion stages and sets Glasto puts on every year, so you know that – whoever plays Glastonbury next year – you are going to be in for a treat if you make it through the registration process and are lucky enough to get a ticket!
FIB: Festival Internacional de Benicàssim is one of the biggest rock and alternative festivals in the world. Over the last twenty years it has worked its way onto the bucket list of every music fan on the planet, with every edition showing exactly what makes it so good. The festival’s stunning coastal location is lit up by true greats past and present, with the likes of Blur, Florence and the Machine, Bob Dylan, Arctic Monkeys and Arcade Fire having led the line in the last few years alone. Expect cult heroes, left-field pioneers and tomorrow’s up-and-comers, all within sight of the Mediterranean.¹
EXIT FESTIVAL (SERBIA)
Located in the stunning Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad, Serbia, EXIT Festival has long been established as a world class event, with its lineups bringing in the biggest stars of rock, pop and EDM year after year. With a recent alumni that includes Guns N’ Roses, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Hardwell, Avicii, Martin Garrix and a whole load more, it’s easy to see how EXIT’s reputation continues to dominate the festival scene.² Founded in 2000 as a student movement, fighting for democracy and freedom in Serbia and the Balkans, EXIT goes from strength to strength, having been awarded countless prestigious festival awards from all over the world, and continuously being billed in the top ten festivals on the planet by international media everywhere. That’s got to be bucket list material, right?
FUJI ROCK (JAPAN)
In a festival fan’s own words, “Fuji Rock offers a veritable cornucopia of musical delights”. Named after the location of it’s inaugral event in 1997, which was held at the base of Mount Fiji, the annual rock festival has been held in Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata Prefecture since 1999. The three-day event features more than 200 Japanese and international musicians, making it the largest outdoor music event in Japan. This year, acts like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Beck, Ben Harper and Sigur Ros played to the 100,000-strong crowd across, like Glastonbury, a crazy number of stages and tents and boutique chill zones etc. Catering to all tastes, you are sure to find a little something you’re into here at Fuji Rock.
Likely the world’s biggest and best dance party, Tomorrowland offers a surreal fantastical world of EDM to stimulate all of your senses. Step into another realm with jaw-dropping mechanical stage designs, a world-class sound system, and a no-expense-spared production – from the use of lighting, lasers, fire and decor all over the enormous grounds. At the right pace, you will only have time to visit a handful of the 20-plus stages, so choose wisely and plan ahead. Pulling an international crowd from over 85 countries, promoters claim that Tomorrowland is one of the most multinational gatherings of all time with more countries represented than at the Olympics! Don’t forget to buy or book a tent in advance… it’s going to be one hell of a weekend!
¹ Blurb extracted from Festicket.com
² Blurb extracted from Festicket.com