(Photo by Aaron Toth)
Join the crowd and have a blast at a European music festival!
5 European Music Festivals Worth Traveling For
We Americans may have invented rock and roll, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find music fans more rabid than European music fans. Europeans love their music, and they go ballistic at music festivals. Europe hosts some of the biggest and wildest music festivals in the world annually, and musicians flock to Europe to play in them. More people from all over the world attend European music festivals than festivals on any other continent, and why not? You can seriously let your hair down at most European music festivals. There’s plenty of drink a-flowing and plenty of people losing their inhibitions. Toss in some fantastic live music and you’ve just put the cherry on top!
I don’t need a music festival as an excuse to travel to Europe, but it sure gives me a good reason to tack an extra week or two onto my trip. Music festivals in Europe last for days, so plan on spending some serious time partying at the festival, and then head back to your hotel in the host city and relax for another week or two. It’s hard to pick the top five European music festivals because there are so many, but these are definitely a “must-go-to” at least once!
The Isle of Wight Festival: Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
The U.K.’s 2014 Isle of Wight Festival kicks off June 12 and runs through June 15. Isle of Wight is one of Europe’s oldest and most famous music festivals, dating back to 1968. Bob Dylan performed at the original Isle of Wight, which drew 200,000 music fans. If you’re thinking that 200,000 fans is a mighty large crowd, that pales in comparison to the half-million-plus crowds that show up each year today. Performers at this year’s festival include numerous DJs, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and ’80s sensations Boy George and Samantha Fox. For more information, visit The Isle of Wight Music Festival official website.
Pukkelpop: Kiewit, Belgium
The woodland village of Kiewit is home to the annual Pukkelpop music festival in Belgium. That’s right – you’ll be heading out to the woods for three days of music and mayhem. Pukkelpop is Belgium’s second-largest music festival, so why am I mentioning it? Because it offers a unique approach to music festivals. Pukkelpop doesn’t look to book the most famous acts in the world for its annual gathering; it lets the fans vote on the acts they want to see perform each year! How cool is that? This year’s Pukkelpop runs from August 14 to 16, and scheduled acts include Outkast, Neneh Cherry, Queens of the Stone Age, and Snoop Dogg. What to learn more? Visit the Pukkelpop website.
Rock am Ring: Nürburgring, Germany
Metal fans unite! Head over to Germany for one of the world’s largest and most famous heavy metal music festivals. Attracting an annual crowd of more than 150,000 fans, this festival has no shortage of heavy metal or alternative music and partying. Be warned: People SERIOUSLY party at this festival, so be prepared for a wild, wild time. This year’s German metal madness event takes place June 5 through 8, so get on the plane now! The granddaddy of all metal bands, Metallica, headlines Rock am Ring this year alongside other major metal and alternative acts including the iconic Iron Maiden, Nine Inch Nails, Linkin Park, and The Offspring. Check out the Rock am Ring website for more information on heavy metal’s best music festival.
Roskilde Festival: Roskilde, Denmark
The Rolling Stones. I don’t need to say any more. Yep. The Stones are headlining 2014′s Roskilde Festival. How did one music festival secure such a renowned headlining act? It’s one of the largest European music festivals, and it’s been rocking Denmark since 1971. It’s also a nonprofit festival. That’s right! The money Roskilde earns goes toward developing culture and music in Denmark’s Roskilde area. This music festival attracts attendees from all over Europe, and it gets pretty crazy – just Google some pictures and you’ll see! Playing alongside arguably the greatest band in rock and roll will be the Arctic Monkeys, Major Lazer, and another music great, Stevie Wonder. For more information, check out the Roskilde Festival website.
Sziget Festival: Budapest, Hungary
Hey, I’ve walked you through Budapest before! Now, head on back and go crazy with 350,000 other music fans at the Sziget Festival. This is Hungary’s top installment in the European music festival scene, and it never disappoints. In fact, the Sziget Festival won Europe’s Best Major Festival award in 2011. You get your money’s worth at Sziget because the festival lasts seven days and books nearly 1,000 acts. Oh yeah, it’s BIG! If you can’t picture yourself listening to live music for seven days straight, however, don’t worry. There are tons of activities throughout the festival, including indoor rowing and a movie theater. Musically, however, this year’s attractions include Blink 182, Queens of the Stone Age, The Prodigy, and Outkast. There is also a stage dedicated to Blues and Irish music. Sziget runs from August 11 to 18, and you’ll find more information on the Sziget Festival website.