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Going Continental: Stereoboard's European Festival Guide

Monday, 01 July 2013 Written by Josh Adams

One of the biggest weekends in music is done and dusted for another year. Glastonbury closed to the strains of Mumford and Sons on Sunday night, 24 hours after the Rolling Stones had entertained an estimated 100,000 fans following a day of rare sunshine in the English countryside.

Many music connoisseurs have eyes for a little more sun to go with their fun in 2013, though. While Glasto escaped this year, the risk of mudslides are a constant worry for the UK festival goer, and many are looking to Europe’s burgeoning scene for their fix. Here we’ve whittled down some of the finest bills and best weekends Europe has to offer - festival season isn’t over, it’s just getting started.

The Berlin Festival, September 6-7

Set in a decommissioned airport, the Berlin Festival provides the latest and greatest music acts and a passport to explore one of Europe’s most fascinating cities. Two day tickets to the event come with access to club shows and events in Berlin itself and on-site camping will be made available for the first time this year. An eccentric line up, including appearances from Blur, My Bloody Valentine, MIA, Björk, Klaxons and the Pet Shop Boys, promises plenty.

Potential Deal Breaker: Tempelhof Airport provides a more concrete festival than the greener pastures of most British shindigs. Despite the festival taking place in September, it provides a perfect place to avoid knee deep pools of excrement and rain. Eat your heart out Glasto ‘07.

Benicàssim, July 18-21

Perhaps the most famous festival in Europe, where the sun is cordially invited every year. For a tidy €125 you’ll be treated to four days of heat (hopefully), hedonism and habitual partying. Usually a Brit-fest, Benicàssim is a festival that you’ll most definitely feel at home in, with beaches to laze off your hangovers, and enough under 25s to sink a ship. But - a little but - sleeping in packed tents under a blazing sun doesn’t make for comfortable downtime, so some may opt for a fully-fledged stay at a ‘proper’ hotel. This doesn’t mean less fun of course, but it does mean a higher price tag.

Potential Deal Breaker: The bill - featuring Arctic Monkeys, the Killers, Beady Eye, Johnny Marr and Queens of the Stone Age - will mean a serious dose of rock ‘n’ roll. Meanwhile, Dizzee Rascal, La Roux and Rudimental will mean that you can have your euphoria in many different forms. The great and good of pop music in a sunny setting.

Electric Picnic, August 30 - September 1

Electric Picnic’s hefty price tag comes with plenty of promise, with the event described as Ireland’s answer to Glastonbury. The Picnic, held in Stradbally, County Laois, is just as esoteric, awkward and crazy, but with a higher concentration of indie dreamers. Bjork, Johnny Marr, Arctic Monkeys, Fatboy Slim, Ocean Colour Scene, Wu-Tang Clan, Ellie Goulding, Warpaint, Hurts and Disclosure all feature this year, and as well as the music, there are plenty of gastronomic delights. The Theatre of Food will feature demos from some of Ireland’s top chefs, an abundance of yummies and more chances to cook than you can shake a cumberland sausage at.

Potential Deal Breaker:  Electric Picnic seems guaranteed to attract clusters of like minded indie-pop worshippers - fancy reliving the  summer of ‘69 (or living it for the first time)?

Melt!, July 18-22

Often called the ultimate ‘electronic meets rock’ Festival, Melt! has a post-industrial museum setting and can make for an unforgettable and dumbfounding experience. Spread across six floors and featuring 80 live acts, it’s got you covered whatever your poison. Held in Ferropolis, Grafenhainichen, Germany, this year acts like Azealia Banks, Atoms For Peace, Alt-J, Julio Bashmore, Chvrches, Django Django, Disclosure, the Knife and Everything Everything make for a 21st Century experience weighted in experimental, ultra-cool and elevated vibes. The music doesn’t start until 5pm but carries on throughout the night.

Potential Deal Breaker: Set against an open-air museum of machinery from the 20th Century, if you want bold and bright clashes of past and future, Ferropolis (a futuristic name if there ever was one) is your place to be.

Soundwave Festival Croatia, July 18-22

Soundwave is a dance orientated event that offers decency (they give you the festival programme free with your ticket, shock horror) and an abundance of choice in terms of fun. Five days of side parties and an ‘on site nightclub’ accompany the music if the traditional festival rituals weren’t enough. Described by some as the best festival in the world, Soundwave takes advantage of Croatia’s Adriatic coast and the nearby woodland that is described as ‘magical’ at night. Much like Benicàssim, Soundwave is marketed as a festival-holiday hybrid with a beach and access to terraced bars for intermittent drinking sessions, but is sold as family friendly too. The line up includes  Robert Glasper Experiment, DJ Shadow, Alice Russell, Ghostpoet, Riot Jazz, Craig Charles, Channel One Sound System, Mr Thing & Yungun, Submotion Orchestra, Phoria and Com Truise.

Potential Deal Breaker: For a limited time fans could buy four tickets to the the summer’s ‘most beautiful site’ and get the fifth free. Perfect for large groups and under 25s.


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