With festivals like Electric Picnic and All Together Now sold out, there’s never a better time to explore the option of a music festival outside of Ireland.
Whether you’re looking for a tan, want to rock out or dance the night away – here’s a list of our favourite festivals.
Photo credit – Eric Pamies (Primavera Sound)
Primavera Sound – Barcelona, Spain
About the festival: Primavera is another long running festival; this year will be its nineteenth edition. It’s held at Parc del Forum, a harbour-like space that makes up part of Barcelona’s coastline. Every year Primavera boasts huge attendance, with a very impressive lineup. The metropolitan showcase has been described as Europe’s answer to Coachella. Primavera is ideal in tying in the usual festival experience with exploring a culture-rich city.
When is it on? 30th May – 1st June
Who’s playing? Miley Cyrus, Robyn, Primal Scream, Future, Jungle and Mac DeMarco.
Where do I stay? Festival goers can avail of accommodation around Barcelona.
How much is a ticket? Tickets start at €215 for the weekend.
Flow Festival – Helsinki, Finland
About the festival: While Helsinki might not be your typical city break, it’s worth considering Flow Festival if you’re looking for something different. The festival is set in an area of Helsinki known as ‘Suvilahti’ – an outdated power plant site that gives off an industrial feel. Highs during the summer in Helsinki reach 20 degrees, so it won’t have that clammy feel like most festivals. While attracting some of the world’s biggest acts to Scandinavia, Flow Festival compliments the unique landscapes, architecture and museums, that Helsinki has to offer.
When is it on? 9th – 11th August
Who’s playing? The Cure, Cardi B, Tame Impala, Robyn, Earl Sweatshirt and Father John Misty.
Where do I stay? The festival is easily accessible from the centre of Helsinki by public transport.
How much is a ticket? A 3-day ticket starts at €205.
Photo Credit – fiberfib.com (Benicássim)
Benicássim – Benicássim, Spain
About the festival: The beach town of Benicássim is nestled between the cities of Barcelona and Valencia on the Spanish western coastline. The festival has been running for 24 years now, so they’ve got the organisation and operation of it down to a tee. If it’s sun you’re after, you’ll get plenty of it here. Regular buses run from the festival site to the beach throughout the day. If you want some quiet time during the day, the town itself is a nice getaway with cobbled streets and lots of cafeterías.
When is it on? 18th – 21st July
Who’s playing? Kings of Leon, Lana Del Rey, Fatboy Slim, the 1975, George Ezra and Jess Glynne.
Where do I stay? Accommodation options are limited in the town itself, but there are plenty of camping and glamping alternatives.
How much is a ticket? Weekend tickets (which includes camping) start at €155.
As with any trip, travel insurance is hugely important when going to festivals abroad. If you’re going on more than one trip this year, it would be worth getting AA Annual Travel Insurance which can cost as little as €16.99 for the year.*
Photo Credit – Maxime Chermat (We Love Green)
We Love Green – Paris
About the festival: If you’re not a fan of the eco-footprint left by most festival goers, We Love Green aims to do things differently. The festival is located on the outskirts of central Paris in the Bois de Vincennes. Most of the structures and furnishings found around the site are made from reusable and recyclable materials. On top of this, they aim to educate and promote environmentalist issues in their own unique way – through screenings, idea labs and panels. If you want to be more eco-friendly, this festival is definitely for you.
When is it on? 1st – 2nd June
Who’s playing? Tame Impala, Christine and the Queens, Future, Metronomy, Rosalía and Courtney Barnett.
Where do I stay? There’s a multitude of Air B&Bs, hostels and hotels not far away.
How much is a ticket? A pass for the two-day festival starts at €119.50.
Sziget – Hungary
About the festival: If ‘go hard or go home’ is your life motto, Sziget might be one of few festivals that satisfy your needs. The name derives from the stunning island location north of Budapest – on ‘Óbudai-sziget’ (also known as Old Buda Island). It attracts festival goers from all over Europe, but despite that, Sziget has failed to relinquish the community vibe that culminated in its early years. When you’re not watching the musical performers, expect to enjoy offerings of theatre, dance, team sports, bungee jumping and cinema.
When is it on? 7th – 13th August
Who’s playing? Ed Sheeran, Post Malone, Twenty One Pilots, Foo Fighters, the 1975 and the National.
Where do I stay? There are a lot of camping options on-site, including wooden houses and tipis.
How much is a ticket? 7-day passes start at €329.
Oasis Festival – Marrakech, Morocco
About the festival: Oasis Festival is set in The Source, a luxury resort on the outskirts of the city of Marrakech. It focuses on showcasing the best in house and techno music around the globe. Oasis blurs the lines of what might be regarded as a traditional festival. Instead of the portaloos and wellies, expect to bring your swimsuit and enjoy a backdrop of palm trees and sunsets. Definitely for those looking for a premium festival experience, or something different.
When is it on? 13th – 15th September
Who’s playing? Horse Meat Disco, Four Tet, Mall Grab, Amelie Lens and Nicolas Lutz.
Where do I stay? There are no camping options, but the festival offers hotel packages to suit your needs.
How much is a ticket? Weekend passes start at €181.50.
Photo Credit – wheresmollie.com (Kala)
Kala – Albania
About the festival: This is going into complete hipster territory, but not to worry. You can be that friend that tried it before it became cool. Kala is a relatively new festival set in an upmarket resort town in Albania called Dhermi. The festival is week-long, taking place over five hotel beach bars scattered around the area. During the day Kala offers pure relaxation in the form of yoga, meditation and tranquil sea views. You could take your first ‘gong bath’ – a form of meditation through vibrations and movements. Kala sounds like the ultimate beach party.
When is it on? Wed 12th – Wed 19th June
Who’s playing? Inner City, Hunee, Theo Parrish, Honey Dijon and Jordan Rakei.
Where do I stay? Tickets are booked with accommodation (given its remote location). You can stay in the resort itself with the option for the VIP treatment.
How much is a ticket? A week pass/accommodation bundle starts at €385.
Photo Credit – nosalive.com (NOS Alive)
NOS Alive – Lisbon, Portugal
About the festival: If you listen to indie rock non-stop, NOS Alive captures the new and old of a generation of indie music. The festival is located on the coastal outskirts of Lisbon in an area known as ‘Oeiras’. It’s set around a main stage area – urban views take up one side while coastal views make up the other. NOS Alive is a partner festival to NOS Primavera Sound in Porto, and Primavera Sound in Barcelona, therefore it carries a stellar reputation.
When is it on? 11th – 13th July
Who’s playing? The Cure, Weezer, Vampire Weekend, Smashing Pumpkins, Bon Iver and Thom Yorke.
Where do I stay? NOS Alive offers camping nearby with a free park and ride to the festival.
How much is a ticket? A ticket for 3 days is €139.77.
Ultra Europe – Split, Croatia
About the festival: Ultra Europe has one of the best (if not the best) lineup for those looking for EDM, techno and house music artists. Celebrating its seventh year, Ultra has built itself a dance empire around the globe with festivals worldwide. Ultra Europe takes place in Split, Croatia every year. The main area of the festival takes place in Poljud Stadium which is dressed up to impress with visuals. Elsewhere, a number of smaller parties and stages are scattered around Split under the banner of ‘Destination Ultra’.
When is it on? 12th – 14th July
Who’s playing? Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta, The Chainsmokers, Armin Van Buuren, Carl Cox and DJ Snake.
Where do I stay? Camping is available at Ultra’s ‘Beachville Campsite’, but if it’s not for you there is the option of renting an apartment in Split or staying in a hotel/hostel.
How much is a ticket? A 3-day ticket starts at €169.
*€16.99 is based on annual Value cover for one adult under 50 to Europe, travelling with private medical insurance. Price excludes €1.50 handling charge.