Get those sunglasses and flower chains out, because festival season is well and truly upon us. If you’re growing tired of partying the summer away in your hometown, there are more and more ways every year to travel abroad and see your favorite acts in a different part of the world.
While music fests may traditionally be held in muddy fields where rainboots are an absolute must, there are thankfully a lot more non-muddy options on offer today. So whether you’re looking for a mountainous backdrop, sun-kissed beaches, rolling fields or a festival where the sun never sets, here are six music festivals actually worth traveling to this year.
Secret Solstice, Iceland
Set in the dreamy Icelandic countryside just outside of Reykjavik, Secret Solstice takes place over Iceland’s famous summer solstice, which means 72 hours of non-stop sunlight. Partying at 1am in broad daylight has got to be pretty surreal, but at least there'll be no stumbling around with a torch in hand looking for your tent at the end of the night. With afterparties in secret lagoons, raves inside glaciers and midnight sun boat parties, the festival has firmly established itself on the bucket list of every music festival fan. This year’s big acts include the Foo Fighters and the Prodigy, as well as a great line-up of DJs and electronica bands.
Queen Bey may not be headlining, but don’t be dismayed - Coachella will still be setting the bar for the rest of festival season. The XX, Radiohead, Bon Iver, Lady Gaga and Skepta are just a few of the acts to grace the stage this year in the sprawling Indio desert. The springtime hedonistic hub where style is just as important as music attracts thousands of flower crown-clad, SoCal fashionistas eager to rub elbows with celebs and fashion bloggers. Just remember that you’re partying in a scorching hot desert, so keep hydrated and wear a bandana if you’re sensitive to dust. For a much-needed sanctuary from the sun, head to the DoLab or Yuma Tent for their air conditioned rooms. The festival is spread over two weekends, giving you more than enough time to explore (and Instagram) the rest of sunny California - as well as recover for round two.
Fuji Rock Festival, Japan
If you’re looking for a truly unique festival setting, Fuji Rock Fest is it. Set in a ski resort nestled between the leafy Japanese mountains and trickling streams, this is the only music event which where festival-goers have to take a cable car between stages. The woodland wonderland aims to be the world’s cleanest festival (legend has it the toilets are spotless) but this does come with several eco-friendly restrictions - including a more or less ban on smoking. This does mean you can revel in the area’s natural goodness - from taking a dip in a nearby stream or chilling under a tree listening to Japanese jazz-fusion. If the zen scenery is not enough of a selling point, Japan’s largest festival has got a pretty kickass lineup too - including Lorde, Sampha, The XX, Björk and the Gorillaz.
Oasis Fest, Morocco
A far cry from the likes of Glastonbury and EDC, Oasis Fest is a musical retreat featuring house legends in a rather exotic backdrop. Held in a plush hotel at the tip of Africa’s Sahara Desert in Marrakech, the poolside tech festival is the perfect location for winding down at the end of the summer. The September festival’s wellness refuge includes swimming, yoga, henna art and a souq in the afternoon before Morocco’s best electronica talent and European DJs hit the decks – just as dusk sets in. Expect everything from deep French house legend Jeremy Underground to the soulful Afro-American beats of Moodymann.
Bonnaroo, Manchester, Tennessee
Up there with the festival heavyweights, Bonnaroo’s positive vibes, eclectic music and community feel makes it the ultimate festival for true music lovers and hippie pure breeds. Although this year’s lineup has attracted some big names - including the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Weeknd, and The XX - music geeks will still get a chance to discover breakout acts and new talent. With plans for a new, open-air stage dedicated to electronic dance music and hip-hop, the sprawling farm festival hopes to attract a new crowd beyond its usual following of loyal Bonnaroovians this year.
With stunning beaches on Croatia’s Adriatic coast providing a dreamy backdrop, it’s no surprise Hideout has become a firm favourite among festival-goers. With oceanside stages, poolside chilling, beach raves and boat parties, as well as a star-studded line-up, the electronic and dance music festival is the ultimate summer destination. Make sure you book your party boat ticket before heading out to the waters – otherwise you’ll have to hang around the harbour touting for spare tickets. While you’re there, you should definitely check out the rest of the gorgeous Croatian coast and the nation's world-famous national parks.