The best music festivals taking place outside Ireland

From Glasto to Spain, there are a flock of festivals that could tempt you overseas in the coming months, writes Ed Power

The best music festivals taking place outside Ireland

PRIMAVERA SOUND - Barcelona, Spain, 31-June 4

Ahead of their visit to Dublin, Arcade Fire will headline this popular Catalan festival. “Eclectic” is Primavera’s middle name and this year the bill also includes eerie folkie Bon Iver (coming to Forbidden Fruit in June too), R’n’B moocher Frank Ocean, right, (aka Brad Pitt’s favourite new artist) and Electric Picnic headliners The xx. Ensuring all bases are covered Van Morrison is appearing too. But it’s the laid-back ambience that is Primavera’s secret sauce — and which leads Irish people to attend in ever increasing numbers. primaverasound.com Tickets: Sold out.

ROCK AM RING - Mendig, Germany, June 2-4

Heavy rock is the Rhineland fest’s stock in trade, though it has lately expanded into pop too. The curious can pop along to see Liam Gallagher try to restart his career after the sad fading away of Beady Eye (our prediction: At least one rant from the stage about Noel). Chart-topping newcomer Rag ’n’ Bone Man — think Adele trapped inside the body of a hairy provincial biker — plays too, alongside gobby punks Slaves, emo veterans Sum 41, and Coldplay clones Bastille. Headbangers, meanwhile, will have a ball as the bill includes Gojira and Rammstein.

rock-am-ring.com

Tickets: €210 for weekend camping.

SONAR - Barcelona Spain, June 15-17

It’s back to Barcelona for this more underground younger sibling of Primavera. Dance fans are info a treat, with a set that includes 1990s icon DJ Shadow, French banger purveyors Justice, electro ensemble Little Dragon, and melancholic DJ Nicholas Jaar. The definitive highlight, however, is a four-hour DJ set from pop maverick Bjork — expect lashings of weird and wonderful (she is also hosting a “virtual reality exhibition” and will participate in a public talk). Plus, all that hazy Catalan sunshine in which to bask. www.sonar.es Tickets: Weekend ticket €180

GLASTONBURY Somerset, UK, June 21-25

The big daddy of UK festivals has a controversial bill again this year, with pop stars Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran alongside epic doomsayers Radiohead, The National, and heritage rockers The Foo Fighters. But Lorde is there too, alongside Solange (who we really shouldn’t need to continue to refer to as Beyoncé’s sister) so that gives us hope at least. The overall consensus is that it’s a ho-hum bill, more meat and two veg than the transcendental escapism Glasto veterans were raised on. Yet, as with Electric Picnic, the real star is the festival itself, with its singular hippy ambience.

glastonburyfestivals.co.uk

Tickets: Sold out.

ROSKILDE - Roskilde, Denmark, June 24-July 1

The Continent’s most venerable rock festival has a sturdy 2017 line-up, with pop misanthrope The Weeknd visiting Denmark alongside — yes them again — Justice, The xx, Arcade Fire, Lorde and Foo Fighters. Further down the bill, there are turns by Father John Misty, The Avalanches, and Future Islands. The weather probably won’t be tremendous but this is one of the most efficiently organised festivals in Europe so don’t be put off by the lack of blinding sunshine. roskilde-festival.dk

Tickets: €270 for weekend camping pass.

BRITISH SUMMER TIME - Hyde Park, London, June 30-July 9

It’s back to Hyde Park for 10 days of old-school open air concerts by artists such as Phil Collins (playing the Aviva Stadium the previous week), Green Day, Justin Bieber (likewise Dublin-bound) and — in a rare European appearance — Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. There’s the bonus of the festival taking place in one of the UK capital’s most scenic green spaces.

bst-hydepark.com

Tickets: Prices vary, from £92 for Phil Collins, while The Killers is sold out.

EXIT FESTIVAL - Novi Sad, Serbia, July 5-9

With 18th century Petrovaradin Fortress and the curving Danube as backdrop, the Balkan festival has an unabashed pop line-up, featuring The Killers, Years and Years, Roisín Murphy, and Jason DeRulo.

Plus ticket prices are, by Irish standards, very reasonable.

exitfest.org

Tickets: €140 includes accommodation on site and transfer from airport.

Vieilles Charrues Festival - Carhaix, France, July 13-16

The biggest French festival has a lineup to match, with bubblegum rappers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis appearing alongside MIA and Phoenix while, for venerable festival goers, Midnight Oil hit the comeback trail. The festival is hosted by Carhaix in Brittany (random fact; the town is twinned with Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan).

viellescharrues.asso.fr

Tickets: €149 for weekend pass.

SUNCEBEAT - Tisno, Croatia, July 19-26

The popular Adriatic festival goes from strength to strength. Louis Vega, Keri Chandler (always a favourite with Irish crowds) and David Morales are among those furnishing the beats and the summer-time vibes. As a bonus you get to spend the weekend on a gorgeous town on the Dalmation coast. The festival takes place in the “Garden”, constructed as a holiday complex for the Croatian military. The nearby fishing village is renowned for its Italian style architecture.

suncebeat.com

Tickets: From €140

PUKKELPOP - Hasselt, Belgium, August 16-19

The popular indie rock festival has something for all comers in 2017, with headliners including Mumford and Sons, The xx and Australian chanteuse Julia Jacklin. Ahead of their Electric Picnic performance, Interpol will perform their debut LP Turn On The Bright Lights in its entirety and r’n’b act of the hour Migos make a rare European performance. Nearby Hasselt is a working-class town renowned for its brewing scene, and is close to the Dutch border.

pukkelpop.be

Tickets: Weekend tickets €199

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