The days are finally getting longer, warmer and brighter. The warmer seasons are on their way, and for some people that means one thing – festival, festival, festival! Europe is flourishing at the moment; expensive tickets and overcrowded fields have eventually led to a festival renaissance which has revolutionised the music scene. Venues are no longer just a muddy quagmire in a farmer’s field – think lush forests strung with fairy lights, beaches and river-side stages! And it’s no longer just the big-time names that are getting stage time either. There’s a festival for every genre you could imagine: psychedelic rock, trance, shoegaze and space rock – it’s an endless list.
There’s still time to grab tickets to some amazing festivals, so don’t waste it trying to decide! I’ve picked out some of my absolute favourites – both home and abroad!
6 alternative music festivals for you to try!
Sea Sessions | Indiependence | Wilderness Festival | Berlin Festival | Øya Festival | Boom Festival
Sea Sessions – Bundoran, Donegal
A festival next to the beach? Sounds perfect! Located on Bundoran Beach, this thriving music festival doesn’t just bring in hard-hitting acts such as Primal Scream and Tinie Tempah, it’s also all about the surf! Bundoran boasts great surfing conditions with big waves, so there’s always a surfing event on at the same time – if you ever need a break from all the dancing you can always chill on the beach and watch people ride the waves! You’ll have some amazing views from the beach as well, and it’s what makes this festival so magical! Local Irish bands also have an opportunity to play as well, so be sure to go and see which local stars made it on the big stage!
Indiependence may be small, but it’s got plenty of character to make up for it! The Irish music scene features heavily in the line-up, with past acts such as Hozier and Damien Dempsey, and the compact size of the venue means that you can nip from stage to stage in no time! There’s also a Spoken Word stage where poets put their wordsmithing talents to the test, and there’s also a great programme of comedy as well if you’re looking for a laugh. It’s definitely one to keep you eye on though, as I reckon this festival is set to grow and grow. Check it out!
England has plenty of alternative festivals hidden away in the picturesque countryside that offer a relaxed and secluded atmosphere. One that caught my attention recently is the Wilderness Festival. Set within acres of woodland this festival is simply magical. Imagine the trees lit up with fairy lights and strung up with bunting as the music plays and the sunset slowly brings the day to a close! There’s even a lake to jump in if you need to cool down. The festival attracts the more alternative acts such as Björk, but there’s also Late Night Parties should you want to keep partying and Evenings With… means you can get an intimate session with selected artists and tone things down a little. Add to that some vibrant and colourful dance performances and you’ve got the perfect summer-time festival.
Berlin is famous for being so…Berlin. That laid-back, easy-going attitude is what sets it out from a lot of other European capitals, and it also means that there’s space for rich and diverse cultural scene. Things culminate at the Berlin Festival, which takes place along the banks of the River Spree in the East End. There are several stages which cater to different genres, and there’s even a ‘Love Boat’ docked up next to the Berlin Arena. But it’s not just about music here – the Artists’ Village (Kunstlerdorf) is a space for budding street artists to practice their craft, and there’s plenty of dance, films, buskers and street food to keep you busy. The German capital at its best.
In the trendy city of Oslo is a festival that’s just as shiny and cool as you’d think. Located in the cool and relaxed East End, the Øya Festival stretches out across Tøyenparken across to the Botanic Gardens. There are guaranteed to be some killer names here – this year there’s Massive Attack, Jamie XX and Eagles of Death Metal to name just a few. The park may close at 11pm, but that’s no problem! The festival also has an Øya Night that’s arranged in collaboration with some of the biggest and best clubs across Oslo. Expect a chilled and warm atmosphere!
One for the proper hippies amongst you! Boom Festival is an incredible thing to see – the venue is almost like it’s own little world and sustainability and eco-friendly values are at its core. Different music genres are spread across five stages such as the colossal Dance Temple or the laid-back Chill Out Gardens. There’s a comprehensive programme filled with art installations and performances and there’s even an area that’s dedicated to meditation and relaxation. If you want that proper hippy feeling and forget about the world for a few days, this is the one for you.
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