Top 10 Bucketlist Music Festivals
The following is a list of festivals that have almost certainly appeared on numerous bucket lists of the yearly influx of school leavers looking for adventure in far off lands. This is most definitely not a conclusive list by any means. To truly put forward a list of the greatest festival on the planet the humble length of this article is wholly inadequate.
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
On consecutive weekends in April almost everyone’s varying social media pages explode with images originating from the Empire Polo Club in California. We are bombarded with images of celebrities in attendance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. For the next few weeks almost every glossy fashion magazine will have lists of their top dressed A-list celebrities and essential survival guides on how to survive future festivals.
Added to all the inherent red carpet, VIP, Hollywood style the festival brings as part of its brand, it generally boasts the best artisan crafted food stalls and has some forward thinking ideas on sustainability. The festival also offers artist’s a platform to design installations that are amorphous and react to nature. Coachella looks to provide a holistic festival experience to be enjoyed on multiple levels. This year’s line-up includes Radiohead, Lady Gaga, Mac Miller and Bon Iver to name a tiny selection of performing artists.
Burning Man Festival
The original festival that occurs in the Black Rock Dessert in Nevada has spawned many other festivals like it across the globe. Every iteration of the festival has the same ten guiding principles which includes radical self-expression, self-reliance, community cooperation, civic responsibility, and leaving no trace that the festival was there in the first place.
Often going to Burning Man is seen as a life changing experience were money doesn’t buy you the experience rather it is what talents you have or what you can bring to the community. The festival has become synonymous with the ritual burning of the Burning Man Effigy at the end of the festival. There are entire installations and camps to explore filled with spectacular artwork and varying styles of music spanning for electronic to folk. Last year saw Jan Blomqvist, Morgan Paige, The Funk Hunters, Tyco, and Major Laser playing at last year’s festival. A true mind blowing experience just make sure you have all the supplies you need to give and be received. Please don’t forget water.
Often run in conjunction with its sister festival in Leeds, the Reading and Leeds festivals have become known primarily for targeting the rock and alternative music lovers. The festival has its roots in 1950 with the National Jazz Festival held outside Reading. Today’s festival is somewhat different you could say. The 1991 festival is held in high esteem due to Kurt Cobain been wheeled onto stage in a wheelchair dressed as a nurse in mockery of the rumours around his mental health. This became one of rock histories defining moments.
The festival almost guarantees acts of world renown. The line-up this year includes Muse, Kasabian, Korn and At the Drive In. This festival definitely features on any fan of rock, alternative or metal.
If you find yourself in Victoria, Australia over Old Year’s Eve you could do a lot worse than bringing in the New Year at the Falls Festival. Due to the original success of the festival held at Lorne in Victoria, the brand has spread to hold festivals in Byron Bay, Marion Bay, and Fremantle as well. The festival is a multi-arts festival were festival goers can see comedy performances, cabaret, theatre, and circus performances. With all the festivals generally been situated in walking distance from the beach you can greet the new year to a sunrise on the beach.
The festival and its organisers have been awarded numerous awards relating to been eco-friendly and sustainable. Overall a spectacular festival geared to you sounding the year off on a high note with music genres as diverse as electronic to blues and hip hop. Besides the praiseworthy attitude to nature conservation the festival brings some amazing artists out. Franz Ferdinand, Moby, The Black Eyed Peas, Chuck Silverchair and the Black Keys have all played past events.
This modern day behemoth of a music festival is setting its sights on world domination. Audience figures have topped 160,000 people with festival been held all over the world including Chile and France. Historically the main festival has been held in Chicago since 1991 and coined the term alternative rock. This year the festival will be held in six different locations and the festival will be broadcast live on Red Bull TV.
Although the festival has been seen as an alternative rock festival it has seen a diverse group of headliners over the years. Artists like Radiohead, Kayne West, Beastie Boys, Queens of the Stone Age, Tool and Rage Against the Machine all gracing main stage slots. No announcements have been made yet as to the line-up but you can be assured to be entertained if you can brave the masses.
In its relatively short history as a festival, 2003 being its first year, compared to some of the festivals on this list, Download has become like Mecca to metalheads the world over. Donnington Park where the festival is traditionally held has become a place of pilgrimage for all those who want their guitar tones massively distorted, screams and bass drums punching you in the chest. Download has also developed a reputation of exposing younger audiences to greats from yesteryear with Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Aerosmith gracing the main stage.
If you are brave enough to slog through the mud this year you will be able to see Slayer, Biffy Clyro, Opeth, Coheed and Cambria and The Dillinger Escape Plan. Time to start looking at investing in a pair of wellies and practise circle banging to prevent head banging related injuries.
Held in the Petrovaradin Fortress on the Danube River in Serbia, the event was started in 2000 as part of a student movement fighting for Serbian independence. Since then the theme of social responsibility has been a key aspect of future festivals. The fortress itself was originally built by the Romans as part of the Danube’s defensive line. With this year’s edition been titled “The Summer of Love”, the fortress’s military function is part of the past with the historical site now been used to bring excellent music to the masses.
The festival has won numerous awards including “Best Foreign Festival” awarded at the UK Festival Awards. This year Faithless, Black Coffee and the irreverent darlings of death metal The Black Dahlia Murder are confirmed acts. From electronic music to reggae and death metal are all genres you will be able to hear in the truly unique surroundings.
This purely electronic music festival held in Boom, Belgium is often sold out in minutes after tickets become available. The festival itself is as much a visual feast as an auditory one. The stages are elaborate creations that seem to come out the pages of a fairy tale and are awe inspiring. The festival regularly attracts the likes of David Guetta, Steve Aoki with Armin van Buuren hosting more times than not.
Belgium has developed the unfair stereotype of being Europe’s most boring nation. Tomorrowland looks to correct that with its own version of an electronic fairy tale.
Rock Am Ring
The German’s have developed a reputation of doing nothing by half. The two concurrent festivals Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park prove this. Rock Am Ring being held at Mendig Air Base and its sister festival have seen crowds as large as 150,000 in attendance. The festival since its inception in 1985 has catered primarily for those worshippers of rock. The festival has seen some historic performances by Motorhead and Metallica, but has included many hip hop and dance acts in its recent history. This year Beartooth, Clutch, Code Orange, Gojira and super group Prophets of Rage have been confirmed. I would definitely invest in some earplugs before attending.
This is the only winter festival to make it onto this list. It is held annually in Reykjavik in Iceland and is seen as promoting and showcasing new music. Acts like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Bravery and The Rapture have played the festival before their careers took off. The event has seen Sparta, Fatboy Slim, Kaiser Chiefs and Sigur Ros play. This year will see Fleet Foxes, Arab Strap and Mummut play. The event has become known for its intimacy and party spirit with journalists calling it possibly the hippest festival on the planet.