Foreign fields: The best music festivals in Europe and beyond

Glastonbury is back and there are a host of other overseas festivals offering impressive line-up, writes Ed Power.

Primavera Sound

Barcelona, May 30 – June 1

Interpol, Cardi B, Erykah Badu, Solange, Future, Robyn, James Blake and Janelle Monáe are among the major hitters at the long-running Catalonia festival. The weather is sure to be lovely too – the big giveaway you’re not in Ireland.

Tickets: €195 (full festival), €100 (day)

Governor’s Ball

Randall’s Island Park, New York, May 31 – June 2

Tyler the Creator, Florence and the Machine, Lil’ Wayne, Brockhampton, The 1975, The Strokes, NAS, Lily Allen are among the headliners at the three-dayer. The site is sprawling with 21 different performance areas. Some of New York’s trendiest restaurants offer pop-up catering and the festival boasts a range of craft brews. Randall’s Island sits just off Manhattan bang in the middle of the Hudson, with the New York skyline as backdrop.

Tickets: €270 (three day), €103 (one day)

Fuji Rock

Naebi Ski Resort, Japan, July 26 – 28

The Chemical Brothers, SIA, Death Cab For Cutie, Thom Yorke, The Cure and James Blake travel to the Far East for Japan’s answer to Glastonbury. It’s an impressive line-up with stunning Mount Fuji dominating the skyline. Plus, Japan’s world-famous commitment to efficiency means a festival that goes off without a hitch.

Tickets: €360 (weekend), €120 (day)


Worthy Farm, Somerset, June 26 – June 30

Some 175,000 will descend on rural Somerset for the ever-green festival. The line-up is rather generic, featuring Stormzy, Janet Jackson, Kylie Minogue, Miley Cyrus, Liam Gallagher and The Cure (by law required to headline every festival staged on Earth and the other inner planets in 2019). But Glastonbury is bigger than any of its performers and there are multitude of smaller stages and areas. It had a fallow year in 2018 to let the ground recover — so demand for tickets in 2019 has been incredible.

Tickets: sold out

Rock Werchter

Werchter Belgium, June 27 – 30

Something for everyone at this venerable Belgium fest. New Order, Damon Albarn’s The Good, The Bad and the Queen, Kylie, Muse, Mumford and Sons and — who’d have thought it — The Cure are among the attractions. A respectable alternative if you really wanted to go Glastonbury but couldn’t bag a ticket.

Tickets: €105 (day), €243 (weekend).


Roskilde, Denmark, June 29 – July 7

One of the Continent’s original rock festivals, the full Roskilde experience is an eight-day marathon (don’t worry day tickets are available too). The bill includes: Travis Scott, Robyn, Christine and the Queens, Parquet Courts, Cardi B and — well knock us sideways — The Cure. Roskilde, the ancient Viking capital of Denmark, is just 30 minutes from Copenhagen by train so getting there won’t be an issue.

Tickets: €280 (all eight days), €140

Kappa FuturFestival

Turin, July 6–7

The stunning Parco Dora reclaimed industrial space is the setting for this banging techno event that features Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Jamie Jones, Boyz Noize, Vitalic, Peggy Gou, Charlotte de Witte. You bring the sun-cream I’ll bring the whistle and glo-sticks.

Tickets: €65 (two days), €45 (one day).

NOS Alive

Passeio Marítimo de Algés, Portugal. Jul 11-13

Spain has long been a magnet for festival-goers. Now Portugal is emerging as a rival. Located on a beach west of Lisbon, NOS Alive boasts Vampire Weekend, Smashing Pumpkins, Bon Iver, Thom Yorke and the Chemical Brothers And, since you’re asking, yes The Cure too. They in particular will make for a singular sight: Eighties goths in regulation make-up performing on a beach in Portugal in July.

Tickets: €139.77 (weekend), €60.98 (day).

North Sea Jazz Festival

Rotterdam, July 12 – 14

Jazz with a difference as the line-up includes Burt Bacharach, Janelle Monáe, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, The Internet, Jamie Cullum, Toto, Chance the Rapper, Kamasi Washington and Lauryn Hill. That’s stretching the definition of the genre a tad — but with a selection that eclectic, who is objecting?


Melt Festival

Wittenberg, Germany, Jul 19– 21

A huge stomper of a festival, with steam-punk exhibitions and a fantastically diverse line-up that includes Bon Iver, A$AP Rocky, Jorja Smith, Skepta, Four Tet, Modeselektor and Slowthai. No Cure, crushingly.

Tickets: €139 (weekend), €69 (day)


Tisno, Croatia, July 24 – 31

Even without the music a weekend on the Dalmatian coast is of course hugely tempting. But the tunes are sure to be top-notch too, supplied as they are by Kerri Chandler, David Morales, The Black Madonna, Kenny Dope, Gilles Peterson and Mr Scruff.

Tickets: €215, €200


Old Buda, Hungary, August 7 – 13

Taking place an island in the middle of the Danube, the line-up is glittering and includes Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, Florence and The Machine , Idles, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Post Malone, and Franz


Tickets, €329 (week), €289 (five days), €209 (three days), €75 (day)

Flow Festival

Helsinki, August 9 – 11

Finland’s biggest festival boasts a cinema (with bar), a vinyl market and nine music stages — plus it has zero carbon footprint. Headliners include Cardi B, Earl Sweatshirt, Tame Impala, Robyn, Father John Misty… and The Cure.

Tickets: €205 (three days), €165 (two days), €105 (one day)

Rock en Seine

Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Paris, August 23 – 25

Set in a sixteenth century park just outside Paris, France’s biggest festival welcomes Major Lazer, Aphex Twin, Royal Blood, Johnny Marr and Jorja Smith. No Cure though (only joking – of course they are playing).

Tickets: €159 (three day), €115 (two day), €69 (day).

Burning Man

Black Rock Desert, Nevada, August 25 – September 2

Carl Cox is among the artists to regularly DJ at this cult festival deep in the Nevada Desert. But music is really just an adjunct to an event taking place in a pop-up steam-punk city

that rises from the sands and then packs itself away once Burning Man is over. Some 70,000 attend the celebration of living outside the mainstream which features a prominent steam-punk element (and is popular among the Silicon Valley one-per- cent).

Tickets: €380 plus €90 vehicle pass.

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