Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, Denmark
- When: 24 June 2023 – 01 July 2023.
- How to get there: By train from Copenhagen railway station (København H in Danish) to Roskilde Station. Travel time is 26 minutes and costs DKK 71 (≈€10). Then you’ll have to walk for about 18 minutes.
- Line-up: Burna Boy, Denzel Curry, Hudson Mohawke, Lorna Shore, Lous and the Yakuza, Karpe: Omar Sheriff, Kesi and others.
- Ticket: A full festival ticket for all eight days of experiences, including the campsite, costs DKK 2,400 (≈ €323) plus tax.
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Over 100,000 music fans gather in the Danish city of Roskilde every summer to immerse themselves in the world of music for eight days. Roskilde Festival is the most famous north-European festival and provides the audience with a choice of eight stages. The main stage, called orange, is for headliners, while the others are for less known performers.
Since it was first launched back in 1971 the festival has hosted famous musicians and groups including Bob Marley, U2, Metallica, Nirvana and Radiohead among others.
Money raised from ticket sales is donated to charitable causes, supporting all types of art and NGOs such as the WWF and Doctors Without Borders.
Since 1999 the festival organizers have also put on a naked run (yes, it’s just what you are imagining!): if you cross the finishing line first you get not only a body-positive boost, but also a free ticket for the following year. There are always two winners – a male and a female.
NOS Alive, Oeiras, Portugal
- When: 6-8 July 2023.
- How to get there: take bus 750 from Lisbon Portela Airport (Pç. Aeroporto bus stop) to Algés. The ride costs €9.50 and takes 25 minutes. Then you have to walk 8 minutes to the festival.
- Line-up: Will be announced soon. Recent NOS Alive lineups have featured Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, The Chemical Brothers, Bon Iver and Grace Jones, who all wowed festival goers.
- Ticket: Daily tickets cost €74, and there are also two-day passes, which cost €148, and three-day passes, cost €179.
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One of the coolest European rock and indie music festivals has been held near Lisbon every year since 2007. Within this period, NOS Alive organizers have been able to attract such stars as Beastie Boys, Linkin Park and The White Stripes, Bob Dylan, Gogol Bordello, Tiga, MGMT, Metallica, Does it Offend You, Yeah? and other leaders of the music charts.
Music lovers can stay at Lisboa Camping and Bungalows, a tent campsite just five minutes’ walk from the event. Entry plus a spot for your tent costs very little compared with other festivals (€19 for three nights). You also get a pleasant bonus: if you buy a spot then you get free transfer to the campsite.
Tomorrowland, Boom, Belgium
- When: The festival takes place across two weekends – July 21-23 and July 28-30.
- How to get there: From Antwerp’s main railway station Antwerpen-Centraal to the town of Boom on train S32. A train ticket costs €6.50 and the journey takes 30 minutes. You then need to walk for around half an hour more. As the event draws nearer, the Tomorrowland website promises to provide information about shuttles.
- Line-up: It hasn’t yet been announced for 2023, but you can be sure that it will be fantastic! The Chainsmokers, Carl Cox, Armin van Buuren, Martin Garrix, DV&LM and many others have performed here in the past.
- Ticket: A weekend pass costs €261. To spend both weekends at the festival you will have to pay twice. A day pass goes for €111.
Tomorrowland is not only the event of the year for all fans of electronic music. It’s a magical country for any ticket holder. The festival organizers try to create a truly fairytale atmosphere: laser shows and thematic decorations everywhere. And, of course, the world’s top DJs: Paul van Dyk, David Guetta, Otto Knows and dozens of others. The full list is here.
Relax and sleep well
Once you get too tired to dance anymore, go and catch some sleep in Dreamville, a modest town built by the organizers specially for the event’s guests. It has all sorts of tent options, of which the cheapest (a place for your own tent) costs €335 for three nights.
It also has amenities: food stalls (≈ €7–10 per portion) and a shower (€1.50 for one use). It’s almost impossible to find accommodation in Boom itself during Tomorrowland unless you book a hotel a long time in advance. You can also rent accommodation in Antwerp.
Sziget Festival, Budapest, Hungary
- When: 9–14 August 2023.
- How to get there: Enter bus 100Е from Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport to downtown (get out at Deák Ferenc tér M subway station, a ticket costs around HUF 900) then take the subway (M2 line) to Batthyány tér station. After that, get the HÉV train (H5) to Filatorigát station, and from there follow the crowd to get to the festival entrance. The whole journey will take 60-90 minutes.
- Line-up: Headliners: Billie Eilish, David Guetta, Florence + the Machine, Imagine Dragons. Other confirmations include Sam Fender, Foals, Niall Horan, Yungblud, Jamie xx and Nothing But Thieves.
- Ticket: A full festival pass (six-day) is available for €325. The ticket gives access to basic camping at the festival grounds. Attendees can order a tent on the site or bring their own.
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The Sziget Festival has been delighting music fans for 25 years. It has won over hearts with its powerful line-ups. David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lily Allen, Kool and the Gang, Boney M, The Prodigy, Snow Patrol, Placebo, Offspring and others have all performed here various times.
To make room for a huge number of performers, the organizers run the festival over a whole week. You can stay in your own tents (free for ticket holders), or in thematic campsites which you have to pay for: Siesta, Park, Caravan and others. Daily tickets start at €65 per person for six days.
Primavera Sound, Barcelona, Spain
- When: 1–3 June 2023.
- How to get there: A shuttle from Catalonia Square to Parc del Fòrum (Forum Park) will cost you €2. You can also get to the festival on any of the following buses: H16, H14, 7, 136, V31 and 143, or by tram (T4 Line). A ticket for 10 bus trips costs €11.35.
- Line-up: Blur, Kendrick Lamar, Depeche Mode, Rosalía, Halsey, and Calvin Harris are the main headliners.
- Ticket: A full ticket (for four days) costs from €260.
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Primavera Sound is a famous music festival in Barcelona. Every year, the organizers run a series of innovative and influential events with diverse musical genres, including Lo-fi Indie, glam pop, Latin trap, or underground techno.
RockFest, Tampere, Finland
- When: 8–10 June 2023.
- How to get there: You can get from Helsinki to Tampere in an hour and a half at a cost of €21. You may walk from Tampereen Rautatieasema railway station to the Särkänniemi peninsula – it’s just 3 km.
- Line-up: Pantera, Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe and others, including Rancid, Testament, VV, Monster Magnet and Von Hertzen Brothers.
- Ticket: Daily tickets cost €129, and there are also two-day passes, which cost €185, and three-day passes, cost €209.
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RockFest is the biggest festival in Finland. Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, Marilyn Manson, Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet for my Valentine, Stone Sour, Slipknot, Kiss and other cult musicians have all performed here.
The rock festival takes place on the Särkänniemi peninsula in the Finnish city of Tampere. Next to it you will find a famous theme park with loads of attractions, a dolphinarium, a planetarium and a mini-zoo. So if you want, you can add to or continue your music program. A ticket to the attractions starts from €49.
Lollapalooza, Chicago, USA
- When: 3–6 August 2023.
- How to get there: Take the subway or bus from O’Hare International Airport to Grant Park. A one-day travel pass costs $10.
- Line-up: It hasn’t yet been announced for 2023, but you can subscribe to news on the official website and be the first to find out which musicians will be performing.
- Ticket: A one-day pass costs $125, or from $365 for four days.
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Lollapalooza is an alternative music festival that has been held in Chicago since 1991. It was invented by American singer and Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell as a farewell tour. Eventually, though, it transformed into an annual event in which heavy metal, hip-hop and punk rock groups all take part.
The festival is organized in Grant Park in Chicago. This is the biggest park in the city, and it encompasses the many kilometers-long Lake Michigan beaches, an aquarium, planetarium, an arts institute, the Museum of Science and Industry and other sites.
In the 1990s, Lollapalooza traveled around American cities, and later even moved overseas. These days it is held in various countries. In Europe, you may visit Lolla in Berlin, Paris and Stockholm.
Rock am Ring, Nürburg, Germany
- When: 2–4 June 2023.
- How to get there: you may take a free bus from the nearby cities of Koblenz or Ahrbrück, which have their own railway stations. The buses will take you right to the festival.
- Line-up: Pantera, Turnstile, Tenacious D, Evanescence, and Machine Gun Kelly.
- Ticket: A three-day ticket costs from $229.
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Rock am Ring is one of the world’s biggest rock festivals, and the main one in Germany.
Traditionally, the headliners consist of elite stars: from titans of metal Metallica and Iron Maiden to alternative groups Rage Against The Machine, Linkin Park and Smashing Pumpkins; from hard rockers Kiss and System of a Down to Britpop musicians including Radiohead and MUSE. Thanks to these big names, a great number of people – 150,000 – visit Rock am Ring annually!
If you have not encountered before the local festival meme “Helga”, then you definitely haven’t visited this open-air event! There is a tradition of shouting out “HELGAAAA” at Rock am Ring. The story is that several years ago, a festival-goer lost his girlfriend (called Helga) in the crowd and started looking for her by screaming her name. The poor guy spent all night running around the Rock Am Ring grounds shouting out her name, thereby waking up several hundred people who were sleeping peacefully at the campsite. Since then, the tradition of shouting “Helga” at the top of your voice has persisted at Rock am Ring.
Slam Dunk Festival, Hatfield, UK
- When: 27–28 May 2023.
- How to get there: Slam Dunk Festival South is held at Hatfield Park, which is situated across the road from Hatfield Train Station. Trains run from central London (Kings Cross) to Hatfield very regularly and only take 20 minutes.
- Line-up: The Offspring, Enter Shikari, Billy Talent, Bowling for Soup, Less than Jake.
- Ticket: A ticket for one day costs £89. The festival runs for two days, and if you want to go for both days then you’ll have to pay twice.
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Slam Dunk started out in the early 2000s as a pop-punk club night at The Cockpit, Leeds. After the success of Slam Dunk club night, international tours started for artists such as Fallout Boy, Paramore and Panic! at The Disco, after which the Slam Dunk festival was launched. Today, Slam Dunk is the UK’s number one festival for pop-punk, rock and alternative music. It attracts over 50,000 rock fans.
Pleasant bonus: after the main program, the famous Slam Dunk Afterparty awaits you every day; this is a party with DJs and special festival guests.
Colours of Ostrava, Ostrava, Czech Republic
- When: 19–22 July 2023.
- How to get there: The best way to get there is by train — the closest train stop to the festival is Ostrava-střed, which is located approximately 500 meters from the festival grounds.
- Line-up: One Republic, Tom Grennan, Hania Rani, Labrassbanda, Lubomyr Melnyk, Son Rompe Pera, Imed Alibi & Khalil Epi, Garden City Movement.
- Ticket: Visiting the festival for four days will set you back €152, while a ticket with a place on the campsite costs €209.
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Colours of Ostrava is the biggest festival in Eastern Europe. An advantage of the festival is that it is less hyped than Sziget and Open’er, which means that the atmosphere is cozier and friendlier. Here’s an idea: take a detour to Prague on the way or on the way back.
By the way, you’ll be amazed at the festival’s location. Ostrava was a coal and metal industry center for over 150 years and was considered one of the dirtiest parts of Europe. In 1998, the government closed all loss-making mines and the outdated Vítkovice factory, after which the city experienced a second life. Decades later, this is where an exciting concert life sprang up. It became a platform where world stars and 50,000 fans could meet.
Famous names such as Björk, Kasabian, Robert Plant, The National, ZAZ, Bastille, Sigur Rós, Underworld, Devendra Banhart, Cranberries, Sinéad O´Connor, Bobby McFerrin and Bonobo have all performed on Colours of Ostrava’s 19 covered and outside stages.
The concert program of this mixed-genre festival also comes with hundreds of programme items on dozens of open and covered stages – drama performances, discussions, creative masterclasses, films, art shows and much more.
Events bringing crowds of music fans together are held just about all summer weekends throughout the world. If you are one of them then it’s already worth booking a ticket, buying a tent, and finding kindred spirits to share your enjoyment of a festival voyage.