Summer's best music festivals
If you missed out on Glastonbury tickets and are covetous about Coachella, don’t panic yet. There are plenty of music festivals still to come this summer, from dance music in the thickets of Amsterdam Forest to forward-thinking pop on secret Venetian islands.
A Day at the Park
While electronica elitists can be found doting over sound system frequencies and discussing all matters musical at Amsterdam Dance Event, those after a utopian day of house, techno and disco shuffle over to Amsterdam Forest for A Day at the Park. Still relatively unknown beyond the borders of the Netherlands, this is boutique partying at its best with around 40 hedonistic heroes manning the decks and vintage fairground rides, immersive art, fashion stalls and second-hand chic hidden amongst the trees.
Best for: Electronica, Instagram photos, fine festival food. Type of music: House, techno, disco. Who’s playing? Paul Kalkbrenner, Derrick May, The Magician, Joey Beltram. Essential listening: Dust off Frankie Knuckles’ debut, Beyond The Mix, in memory of the house pioneer who passed away in March. Knuckles was due to spin at the festival, so expect tributes abound. Insider tip: The festival doesn’t just dish up decent DJs, the food is first class as well. Try Jamie Oliver's Fifteen stall as an alternative to burger and chips.
A Day at the Park 2014 will take place at Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest) on 12 July. Tickets start from €35.
Book a flight to Amsterdam to be there in 1 hour and 10 minutes.
The summer edition of the Worldwide Festival series will return to the pretty port of Sète, in the south of France, with an eclectic collective of international names and soon-to-be stars. Hosted by tastemaker and world music purveyor Gilles Peterson, sounds can range from African funk to zoot suit jazz as parties pound away in the lighthouse and out on the jetty. What’s more, the commune has 12km of beach to enjoy during those warm summer afternoons.
Best for: World music, beach bums, fresh seafood. Type of music: Psychedelic pop, hip hop, house, jazz, African funk and anything from the wildest musical racks of the world. Who’s playing? Seth Troxler, Jonwayne, Ebo Taylor, Karol Conka, Theo Parrish. Essential listening: Dip into the kaleidoscopic chaos of Connan Mockasin’s debut album, Forever Dolphin Love. Insider tip: Make the most of the freshly caught fish by booking a table at the excellent La Coquerie (Chemin du Cimetière Marin), where the waterfront views are as delectable as the food.
Worldwide Festival 2014 will take place in several venues around Sète, which is located around 125km from Avignon-Caumont Airport, from 30 June to 6 July. Tickets start from €209.
Book a flight to Avignon to be there in 1 hour and 55 minutes.
Montreux Jazz Festival
Europe’s largest jazz festival, down on the shores of Lake Geneva, is a musical institution. Where once the hallowed greats of jazz tinkled and trumpeted in the auditorium, now the finest musicians from across the record store spectrum perform. Running over a fortnight, some 200,000 ticket holders will mingle around Montreux as the city springs to life with music, workshops and exhibitions.
Best for: Jazz, culture and haute cuisine. Type of music: Jazz, hip hop, rock, electronica, blues and soul. Who’s playing? Outkast, Damon Albarn, Massive Attack, Babyshambles, Stephan Eicher. Essential listening: After the Britpop brilliance of Blur, collaborative efforts with Gorillaz, The Good, the Bad & the Queen and numerous African Express exploits, hear Damon Albarn bear all on his first solo album, Everyday Robots. Insider tip: Explore Lake Geneva on one of the jazz boats which depart daily with a band or DJ as on-board entertainment.
Montreux Jazz Festival 2014 will take place at Montreux in Switzerland from 4 to 19 July. The festival is about 90km from both Geneva and Bern Airports. Tickets are priced individually for each concert, or an All Music Pass will give you access to all the shows from 1,600 CHF.
Fly to Bern to be there in 1 hour.
Taking over one of the most iconic venues in the world, Melt! Festival sits among the dredgers and stackers of former coal mine Ferropolis in Germany. Organisers reclaim and redecorate the machines with bunting, oversized flowers and shimmering disco balls to make it one of the most stylish soirées on the Continent. Around 40 electronic stars and axe-slingers take care of the music as the parties run until dawn, and with cocktail bars, sleek food stalls and the whole of Lake Gremmin to cool off in, it is little wonder it won ‘Best Medium-Sized Festival’ at last year’s European Festival Awards.
Best for: Night owls, lazy afternoons and cocktails. Type of music: Indie, rock, pop and electronica. Who’s playing? Portishead, Bombay Bicycle Club, Haim, Skream, Little Dragon, Four Tet. Essential listening: The gnarling grooves of Portishead’s Third. Insider tip: In an attempt to trump the venue for originality, festival-goers can bed down in a train which rolls into Ferropolis just for the weekend. Book in advance.
Melt! Festival 2014 will take place at Ferropolis in Germany from 18 to 20 July with tickets now on sale starting at €135.90. The festival is around 190km from Dresden Airport.
Fly from London City Airport to Dresden in 2 hours.
Venezia MORE Festival
Following a successful debut last summer, the champagne and Spritz will cascade again at Venezia MORE Festival as underground DJs and offbeat pop acts play in some of the city’s secret spots, including an old mental asylum. This being Venice, the venues are only accessible by vaporetto, but chartered boats are included in the price of the ticket, as is entry to the Venice Biennale, which this year sees the return of the Biennale of Architecture.
Best for: Architecture, hidden Venice, art. Type of music: Forward-thinking pop and underground electronica. Who’s playing? Spiller, Shit Robot, Bottin, Pachanga Boys, Pional. Essential listening: Pull out and pump up the hypnotic offerings of We Are Really Sorry by Pachanga Boys. Insider tip: You may not beat the crowds by getting up early for the Venice Biennale, but the show is huge, so give yourself enough time to take it all in.
Venezia MORE Festival 2014 will take place across various venues throughout Venice from 5 to 8 June. Four-day tickets start from €278 with vaporettos to the concerts and entrance to the Venice Biennale included.
Fly to Venice from London City Airport to be there in 2 hours and 5 minutes.