UK festivals are good, but sometimes getting away to a far flung destination enhances the experience and gives you the chance to explore different cultures and explore the country. We've selected some of the best festivals outside of the UK.
Electric Castle Transylvania - July 17-21
What could be better than a line up like this and to top it off it's in a bloody great castle in Transylvania! Banffy Castle sits on the outskirts of Romania's cultural capital of Cluj-Napoca. While you're there you can visit UNESCO site Sighișoara. https://electriccastle.ro
Exit Serbia - July 4-7
For four days every summer, the 17th century Petrovaradin Fortress opens its gates for EXIT – the award-winning music festival in Serbia’s second city, Novi Sad. EXIT began in 2000 as a student protest fighting for political change, and over the years it’s grown into one of Europe’s biggest festivals, with [thousands] partying in the stunning citadel perched high on a cliff overlooking the River Danube. The positive activism remains in the air, and each year has a specific theme (it was ‘Freedom’ in 2018). EXIT has possibly the most diverse line-up of any European festival, with 20 outdoor stages that feature everything from death metal to pop, indie, reggae and techno – among cobbled paths, courtyards, grass verges, ramparts and underground tunnels. The Dance Arena is the festival’s energetic hub, with 20,000 raving in the fortress moat waiting for the awe-inspiring moment when the sun rises above the ancient walls. Many DJs say the Dance Arena is the greatest place in the world to play, and after Nina Kraviz closed EXIT 2018 with an extended set until 9am, she called it “one of the most special places on Earth”.
A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise is the Netherlands’ most prestigious music festival that’s been a rite of passage for the Dutch since 1993. It takes place in rural Biddinghuizen – only an hour away from Amsterdam, so there’s even a chance to add in a city break either side. It’s a true music, arts and culture weekender, featuring the world’s biggest headliners on the circuit, as well as installations, theatre, comedy, film, debates and even science workshops. Each of the uniquely designed stages are covered so you can party rain or shine, and the iconic ‘Armadillo’ area is the festival’s power station, quirky bars, DJ booths and artisan restaurant areas that surpass regular festival food stalls. The Dutch are world-renowned as expert festival organisers, and Lowlands is a perfect smooth operator, from the intuitive layout to the lack of queues for bars, food and bathrooms – with the best campsite facilities of all the big European festivals. It’s a proper lost weekend too – Lowlands doesn’t do day tickets, so once you arrive on the Thursday you’re on a journey with your fellow happy campers until Sunday. This vibe was picked up by 2018 headliner Nile Rodgers, who posted: “Lowlands was fire! This was an amazing f-ing crowd! Truly insane, and that’s how we like it!”
Sea Dance in Montenegro is an extension of the EXIT family – a gold standard guarantee in the festival world. Like EXIT, Sea Dance is also an award-winner, and was voted Best Medium Sized Festival at the European Festival Awards after its first edition in 2014. The festival bottles some of the magic of EXIT’s dance stages and transports it to the alluring golden sand beach of Budva on the Adriatic coast, with narrow medieval streets just a short walk away. EXIT’s famous No Sleep Novi Sad stage is repackaged for Sea Dance, with over 100 performers shared around numerous other stages. Evan as a relatively new addition to the festival scene, Sea Dance already has reputation for securing the biggest names in electronic music. Montenegro was recently listed by Skyscanner as the number one cheap holiday destination, with mountain biking, hiking and watersports available for those with energy left after dancing all night to the world’s biggest DJs.
Wasteland Weekend California USA - 25 Sept - 29th Sept
Now for something totally different! The post-apocalyptic music & arts festival known as Wasteland Weekend has been growing every year since it was founded in 2010. The 2018 event saw 4,000 attendees make the journey to the Mojave Desert in Edwards, CA (2 hours North of Los Angeles).
Unlike most other desert parties, car shows, or music concerts (and Wasteland is all three), this one requires ALL attendees to be in costume (even staff members and journalists). The idea is to create a full-immersion effect, making festival goers feel like they’re inside a Mad Max-style movie for 5 days. Hopefully it's not as violent...