by Jamie Monteath
European Music Festivals are now big business. There is no betterillustration of this than Glastonbury. From humble beginnings in the 1970s, to Beyonce and Jay-Z in 2011, this farm-based festival has become part of the global music scene. If you are a regular festival goer in the UK, then you know the usual places to go to. However, if you are willing to look continent-wide, then you will be able to find yourself a lesser-known gem.
In contrast to festivals in the UK, European festivals broadly guarantee sunshine, which makes your life a lot easier (no mud and no washouts, for example). In addition, some of the European festivals are set in truly spectacular locations, giving you the chance to pretend that you’re being cultural. So grab yourself a phrasebook, have a look at the bands performing, and head across to Europe.
Exit festival is becoming one of the most famous music festivals on the continent, and for good reason. Exit festival is located in the Serbian town of Novi Sad, in the shadows of the beautiful castle there. The festival has grown since its inception in 2000, and is attracting bigger names each year.
This is a sure sign that a festival is about to hit the mainstream, and 2012 may be one of the best years to hit Exit – before it becomes too big that everyone goes, but whilst it is big enough to attract decent names. Although the line-up is yet to be announced for 2012, in 2011 there were big names such as Jacques Lu Cont, Felix da Housecat and Laurent Garnier. The music is not too electro-heavy, with bands such as Duran Duran and Jamiroquai having performed in recent years.
Sonar is a festival unlike any other. If you are looking for an all-round incredible experience, then Sonar is the festival for you. Sonar is officially a Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art. If this sounds too esoteric, know that, in reality, this means it is a music festival that focuses on modern technology and modern art ( in order to give more than just music to its visitors).
With two festivals – Sonar by Day, and Sonar by Night – there is something for everyone. From the science displays during the day to the world class (usually electro) line-up at night, Sonar is one of Europe’s best festivals in one of its best cities.
Other festivals seem to spring up all the time, and if you are planning on traveling to Europe to enjoy some music, then look into the different options. If you want something themed around a particular genre of music, or a particular experience, then search for it – it probably exists. Alternatively, simply look for cheap flights and go with the flow. Enjoying your summer holidays listening to your favourite artists in the warm European sunshine is something not to be missed.