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13 Best Europe Music Festivals To Plan Your Future Travels Around!

13 Best Europe Music Festivals To Plan Your Future Travels Around!

Europe has produced some of the biggest musicians in the world. So it should come as no surprise that the best Europe Music Festivals are among the world’s best. Some of the events have taken place for decades, while others are bringing a fresh perspective on what’s possible for live performances.

If you’ve ever attended a music festival, you are all too familiar with the thrill of arriving on the first day with a rucksack, tent or bumbag in tow – and enough bio-degradable glitter to be seen twinkling from space. What is it about music festivals that evokes that exuberant, unfettered happiness? It’s difficult to put into words – but we think it is escapism and a shared experience united by music that does it for us.

Music festivals offer the freedom to show your actual personality and experiment with your identity because you are surrounded by strangers who are all there to share an experience with you. You can cover yourself in glitter, paint, or costume jewelry; everything goes.

Regardless of why you attend, there are plenty to choose from, so we whittled down a list of the 13 best Europe music festivals. Each event has its own unique story and qualities, but we guarantee you’ll have an incredible time at any one of these shows.

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europe music festivals - best festivals in europe - best music festivals in europe
europe music festivals - best festivals in europe - best music festivals in europe

Glastonbury Festival, UK

The Glastonbury Festival has been around since 1970 (when it was still considered a Blues festival) in a town of the same name in Southwest England. The first event was hosted the day after Jimi Hendrix died and brought in just 1,500 people. As the decades rolled on, top names graced the Glastonbury Festival stages, like Midnight Oil, Rage Against the Machine, Van Morrison, Kings of Leon, and Jay-Z.

The festival takes place in June every four out of five years. Since it takes place on a working farm, the fifth year allows the land to recover from the massive wear and tear that hundreds of thousands of people cause. With such a reputation and long history, it doesn’t take much convincing to book top musicians from around the world.

Just to give you an idea of the huge names Glastonbury pulls in, here are a few from the 2022 lineup: Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar, and Lord. For music festival lovers, it’s a musical and cultural experience that never disappoints.

Flow Festival, Finland

In addition to all of these delights, a significant reason to visit Helsinki has been quietly growing since 2004. The reason? Flow Festival, a music and arts festival that takes place over three days in early August at a former Suvilahti power plant and its surroundings.

This industrial backdrop is perfect for the diverse line-up at Flow, which has grown from being a soul and jazz event to featuring a huge range of musical styles and artists. The first year had a mere 2000 people; 2019 saw 83,000 attendees. It might not fit the (unfair) stereotype, but Finns love music festivals.

They approach them with the same mixture of dedication and levity that they approach so much else, and Flow Festival is a great example of that. The three days of Flow Festival Helsinki have a chilled and creative atmosphere, all to the soundtrack of some great music and with lots of great food options. Plus, you get the chance to explore this exciting city and Finland in general.

Mad Cool Festival, Spain

The Mad Cool Festival in Spain is, well, mad cool! The summer event brings massive rock, indie, and pop festivals to its stages in Madrid. It’s hands down one of Europe’s most exciting festivals with its own distinct atmosphere.

The best part about the Mad Cool Festival is that it’s five days long–oh yeah! From Wednesday to Sunday, giant names jam out for visitors to dance and sing. When we say giant names play at the event, we mean seriously giant names. How would you like to rock out to Metallica, The Killers, Muse, Incubus, and Florence and The Machine, all at the same festival? Yeah, us too. Well, all of those names we just listed were headlining the 2022 festival, along with many others. Since it’s located in Spain, it’s a great way to get exposed to Spanish artists you may have never heard about otherwise.

You may be surprised to read that the Mad Cool Festival didn’t get its start until 2016. In six years, it quickly caught the attention of artists and music lovers, and it now hosts more than 100,000 attendees every year. So, head on over to Spain for a once-in-a-lifetime event!

Afro Nation, Portugal

Just next door to the Mad Cool Festival is Afro Nation, which takes place on Praia da Rocha Beach in Portugal. It boasts the reputation of being the largest afrobeat festival in the world, and the crowds are only expected to grow.

The festival first got started in 2019, but the next two events were postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In 2022, everything got back on track, and the festival didn’t skip a beat! The headliners consisted of Burna Boy, Chris Brown, Megan Thee Stallion, and other top artists. If you’re into afrobeat, hip-hop, R&B, and other afro-inspired genres, you’ll feel right at home at the Afro Nation festival.

In 2022, the event partnered up with C Free as a part of a tree-planting initiative. For each ticket sold, a native tree was planted in Madagascar and Kenya in an attempt to help the local environments flourish once again. It’s expected that the festival will continue to assist in environmental missions in the coming festivals.

So, not only will buying a ticket for the Afro Nation 2023 festival get you excited to experience great live music, but you can also feel good about having a positive impact on the environment.

Milkshake Festival, The Netherlands

A fabulous celebration of love and queerdom takes place the weekend before Pride every year in Amsterdam. Basically, with Milkshake Festival, you never know what to expect, even if you’ve been every year – you only know it’s going to be awesome. It switches up the structure, décor, stages and collaborations for each new outing, always maximizing creativity and inspiration.

As well as the music, you’ll find art, performance art, drag acts and plenty of activities festival-goers can get involved with. The huge variety of collaborations really helps bring the creativity to Milkshake, with previous partners including London’s WUT?CLUB, Less Drama More Techno and Transformers. International partners add something new and special to that classic Amsterdam freedom each year.

While Milkshake might have an LGBT focus, it’s really more about acceptance than any single community. The overriding message here is that love, in whatever form it takes, is love – and no one can make that untrue.

Another amazing thing about this festival is that while Milkshake is affordable, it takes its social and environmental responsibilities quite seriously and isn’t afraid to let you know how – or do better in the future if they are called out. For example, they separate their waste front and backstage after the event, they use hard cups instead of disposable plastics, there are no straws or trays and all the food partners at Milkshake use bio-degradable disposables.

All Points East, UK

Every summer, Victoria Park in London hosts the All Points East music festival. It’s one of London’s premiere events that brings in indie, alternative, and rock musicians. The festival has grown into a two-weekend event. 2022 saw huge names like Tame Impala, Disclosure, Gorillaz, and The National.

All Points East is another one of those festivals that seem to have popped up overnight with great success. It got its start in 2018 and has made serious waves in the UK music festival scene. The event is also known for bringing in some top food and drink vendors that fluctuate each year. 

London has become one of the most sustainable cities in the world, and this festival works hard to live up to those expectations. The company behind the event puts immense focus on sustainability by using all recyclable products (the event boasts that it achieves zero waste to landfill). All the build sets are even made from sustainable sources, and the electricity is powered by a renewable diesel fuel called HVO Biofuel.

Throughout the event, you’ll see some great features to help promote a green festival, and you’ll feel inclined to leave as small of a footprint as possible.

Mighty Hoopla, UK

In its fifth year, the sparkly day festival Mighty Hoopla in London is fast becoming one of our favorite Europe music festivals / ways to spend a weekend in June. After all, what more do you want from a Saturday than to chill in a park with fun pop music playing, glitter-clad people partying and a glass of Pimm’s in hand?

While it’s not technically a gay festival, it’s definitely got fabulous LGBT-friendly vibes and rainbow colors galore, which is why we think it’s the ideal starting point for planning your gay summer holiday. Not a festival fan? Need more convincing?

Look, we can all get a bit sick of festivals that are just indie band after rock band after edgy singer-songwriter (no disrespect meant!). That’s what makes Mighty Hoopla such a joy – it’s unashamedly all about pop music, and any other music that makes your heart soar and encourages you to throw your hands in the air!

Acts from yesteryear and now make up some truly pop-tastic line-ups – previous acts include Mel C, Lily Allen, TLC and Belinda Carlisle, among many others. It’s a fabulous way to celebrate LGBT culture in the best possible way, with dancing, singing along to the tunes and soaking up the sparkle.

Primavera Sound, Spain

No one wants to go to a music festival with bad sound quality, right? Well, Primavera Sound is a music festival hosted in Barcelona, Spain, that’s known to have some of the best sound quality of any event. It first started back in the 90s but really started to gain momentum at the turn of the century.

Today the primary weekend event is held at the Parc del Fòrum and brings in hundreds of thousands of people each year who want to get down to some pop, rock, hip-hop, electric, and alternative music. 2022 was the biggest crowd yet, with an overall audience of around 500,000 music lovers.

The Primavera Sound event now takes place in international locations. In 2022 alone, there will be festivals in the United States, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. Of course, the show in Barcelona is where the festival made its name and continues to be Primavera’s top event.

However, whichever event you choose to go to, you’ll notice many green features of the event to minimize waste and harmful environmental impacts. The primary event even received a certificate from A Greener Festival Awards.

Sziget Festival, Hungary

The Sziget Festival takes place in Budapest, Hungary, and it’s easily one of Europe’s best music events. Since 1993, it has brought in some of the biggest rock artists in the world. In fact, the 1994 event was considered the Eurowoodstock because the festival brought in headliners from the original Woodstock festival. With nearly 30 years of experience, it’s no surprise that the Sziget Festival has won multiple awards and draws in gigantic crowds each year.

Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic forced the festival to cancel its 2020 and 2021 events. But in 2022, it came back with a vengeance and pulled in a total crowd of over 450,000 visitors. Top names like the Arctic Monkeys, Rufus Du Sol, and Milky Chance put on legendary performances. However, there’s more to the festival than just music. You can also catch comedy shows, film screenings, talks, and performance art shows.

All in all, it’s an epic event that does a great job of highlighting top performers and up-and-coming artists alike. We recommend you put it on your bucket list if you’re a musical festival junky!

Isle of Wight Festival, UK

The Isle of Wight Festival is one of the most historic events in the world. Since 1968, huge names like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Bon Jovi, and Red Hot Chili Peppers have headlined the show.

It’s held on the Isle of Wight, which is a small island off England’s south coast. Once the festival brought in such a large crowd, estimated at 700,000 people, that the UK Parliament passed a law banning the event. In 2002, it finally made its return and picked up right where it left off!

The festival has been nominated and won an impressive number of awards, and for good reasons. When you’re on the island, a whole world of activities opens up to its attendees. There are other theatre and comedy performances, film screenings, and fun activities to explore.

In fact, you can make a whole trip out of the event by staying on the island and doing things like horse riding, kayaking, and sailing–pretty cool, huh?

Super Bock Super Rock, Portugal

The Super Bock Super Rock, as its name suggests, is a music festival that rocks! However, the event doesn’t restrict itself to only the rock genre. It’s a well-established festival in Portugal that started in 1995 and bounced around to a few different outdoor and indoor venues. Today, the event is located in Meco, just south of Lisbon

Originally, Super Bock Super Rock was, in fact, a rock show. But times they are a-changing, and various artists from various genres jam out on its stages. To give you an example of the wide range of music, in 2022, A$AP Rocky, Foals, DaBaby, and Leon Bridges all headlined the festival. The variety of genres makes for an exciting weekend, where you’ll be able to explore different stages and get exposed to a ton of great music you might not normally listen to.

Like many other European festivals, Super Bock Super Rock is turning its attention towards a sustainable future. So you can rock out and recycle all your beer cans–a win-win situation, right?

Reading & Leeds Festivals, UK

Reading and Leeds Festivals are two separate events that take place, unsurprisingly, in Reading and Leeds, England. The two shows are grouped together because it’s virtually the same festival in two different locations that happen simultaneously. So, the Friday bands at Reading might play on Sunday at Leeds–see how this works?

The festival was originally called the National Jazz Festival, and the first event happened all the way back in 1961. It wasn’t until the 70s that the festival moved to Reading and began booking rock bands to fill the lineup. As the years rolled on, the festival grew bigger, a new location (Leeds) was added, and the events achieved a big-time reputation in the music world, but not without a few issues.

Since the early 2000s, the Reading and Leeds festivals have been known to get a bit rowdy, and the latest shows, in 2022, lived up to the wild reputation. The people behind the project are working hard to ensure everyone stays safe, and with a little mindfulness, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Although the lineups focus on rock bands, artists from other genres, like Kendrick Lamar and the Glass Animals, have graced its stages.

Exit, Serbia

The Exit music festival takes place in Serbia and has been given the Best Major Festival award at the European Festivals Awards twice–that’s a pretty big deal! The festival is known for having one of the best atmospheres you can hope for from an event, and it has a wide range of performers. You can expect to find rock bands, rappers, and DJs putting on memorable shows for 200,000 enthusiastic fans.

The event takes place at the Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad, and it claims that there are over 1,000 artists and 40 stages and festival zones. So don’t worry about there not being many opportunities to watch performances. The festival books ultra-famous musicians and groups such as The Killers, Snoop Dogg, Billy Idol, Guns N’ Roses, and many more.

Europe has great taste in music and knows how to have a good time. The result of that is top-notch Europe musical festivals that bring in crowds from around the world. Any one of these festivals is the perfect excuse to pack your bags and head over to Europe.

If you do plan on attending a popular festival, just make sure you are ready to buy a ticket as soon as they go on sale because it will sell out!