July 25, 2024

IntecStudio

Buzz The Music

Forget Coachella: Here are the unmissable 2024 European music festivals

Forget Coachella: Here are the unmissable 2024 European music festivals

Coachella Shmoachella – you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to see the best acts in music right now. Here are the European music fests you don’t want to miss this year.

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Everyone might be buzzing over the recently announced Coachella 2024 line-up, but we’ve got some news for you: Europe does it better.

Granted, the Coachella programme is alluring, with Doja Cat, Lana Del Rey, Blur and the return of No Doubt for their first performance since 2015, but you’ll find many of those names showing up on line-ups of upcoming European music festivals.

OK, Gwen Stefani and her lot haven’t been announced yet, but will they be able to resist the call of the Old World for long? We think not.

Plus, let’s face facts. Anyone who’s ever been to Coachella can certainly attest to the fact it’s impressive; however, it’s stupidly expensive, and filled with apathetic crowds who are more won over by the social media clout of “being at Coachella” than actually being present in the moment. The festival coasts on an iconic status that is, charitably speaking, overhyped in the extreme, and has become more of a haven for influencers with cash to burn than people actually excited to catch some great live music.

With that in mind, Euronews Culture have curated your ideal 2024 European music schedule so that you don’t have to spend a fortune heading to California’s Colorado Desert – or dealing with vapid Instagram obsessives. 

We’ve selected one unmissable fest per country, and even proceeded chronologically.

Don’t say we don’t treat you.  

Spain – Primavera Sound Barcelona

(29 May – 2 June 2024)

One of the top music festivals in Europe (and probably the world), Primavera Sound has been ushering in the summer in style since 2001, and this year is no different.

With a predictably stellar lineup and its gorgeous outdoor beachside venue, it’s well worth the trip out to sunny Barcelona.

The lineup is stacked – Lana Del Rey is hot off her sixth headlining tour for ‘Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd‘, SZA is riding the massive success of her sophomore album ‘SOS’ and The National are kicking off their European tour for not one, but two new albums. Reunited British oddball rockers Pulp round out the top-billed headliners.

Get ready to dance to some club hits, too, with Charli XCX, Troye Sivan and Kim Petras performing music from their latest albums. AU

Netherlands – Best Kept Secret

(7–9 June 2024)

Tucked away inside the Safaripark Beekse Bergen, within the village of Hilvarenbeek, in the south of the Netherlands, the camping grounds of Best Kept Secret are in the middle of woods, making the three-day event a far more welcoming and snug experience compared to the madness of many festivals. Not that the rather sheltered atmosphere means that the big names are missing, as no festival has managed to bring top tier names to its stages whilst maintaining its cozy intimacy quite like BKS. Whether it’s Pixies, Radiohead, Run The Jewels, Kraftwerk, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds or Aphex Twin, Best Kept Secret has gone from strength to strength.

This year, the festival turns 10, after two years of Covid derailed their 2020 and 2021 plans. The full program has yet to be released, but the first names are already plenty to be getting on with, and more than enough to get you booking. 

French electro-dance outfit Justice, UK electro duo Disclosure, and the peerless PJ Harvey will grace the stages, as well as Fatoumata Diawara and her sensual Malaysian pop, shoegazers extraordinaire Slowdive, dream punkers Mannequin Pussy, French rockers La Femme, and the glorious 16-piece group Floating Points. Rumoured additions include Pulp, Mitski and Massive Attack. 

Whatever the extra acts will be, from the gorgeous setting of the waterfront stage to the diverse line-up and how cheap tickets are compared to its competitors, Best Kept Secret is not a festival you want to miss. 

Oh, and we forget to mention that on top of the gorgeous nature surroundings, BKS doubles up as a food festival with a frankly delightful selection of food trucks serving everything from the best pulled pork burgers you’ll have on this continent, local ciders to die for, and even yummy oysters – should you wish to treat yourself… Who said festivals can’t have some gastro flair? DM

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UK – Glastonbury

(26–30 June 2024)

Europe’s biggest festival will return to Worthy Farm in the west of England this June. 

For those unaware, Glastonbury is one of the longest-running music festivals since its first edition in 1973. With a capacity of over 200,000 people, the festival is the seventh biggest city in the south of England during its five day run every year. Set among the rolling mythical hills of Somerset, the music and arts extravaganza combines music acts with circus performers, comedians, film screenings, educational talks, mental and physical wellbeing care and workshops to create an atmosphere unlike any other festival.

The line-up for 2024’s festival is yet to be announced but as always it will be stellar. Top of the rumours pool this year are Madonna, Dua Lipa and Coldplay, with organiser Emily Eavis promising at least two female headliners after last year’s top billing went to Arctic Monkeys, Guns N’ Roses, and Elton John. Whoever the headliners are, the really impressive thing about Glastonbury will be the hundreds of other acts spread across countless stages. 

Tickets have officially already sold out. For those out of luck, there’s a resale opportunity on 23 April. JW

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Ireland – Longitude

(29–30 June 2024)

Technically, we should be recommending the Republic of Ireland’s bigger festival Electric Picnic. Held at the end of August every year at Stradbally Hall, an hour and a half from Dublin, Electric Picnic gets a wide array of top quality acts, including last year’s headliners Billie Eilish, Fred Again.., and The Killers.

However, as Electric Picnic is already sold out, we’ll recommend another festival set on the outskirts of Dublin itself in Marlay Park…

Longitude Festival has been going since 2013 and over the years has shifted from a rockier line-up to one that celebrates hip-hop. The two-day festival will be on 29-30 June and is yet to announce a line-up, but past headliners have included Calvin Harris; Travis Scott; Dave; Tyler, the Creator; and A$AP Rocky. JW

Belgium – Rock Werchter

(4-7 July 2024)

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If there’s one festival you absolutely can’t miss in Belgium this year, it’s Rock Werchter.

This annual music extravaganza, which has taken place in the cosy village of Werchter near Leuven since 1976, stands out not only as one of the largest festivals in Belgium but also as a major player on the European festival scene. 

The four-day lineup for this year is nothing short of spectacular, and there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy. Thursday and Friday jump-start the party with headliners like Lenny Kravitz, Eurovision winners Måneskin, Snow Patrol, and the enigmatic PJ Harvey. 

Not quite your cup of tea? Fear not. Saturday serves up the disco pop princess herself, Dua Lipa (blushes), as well as Khruangbin, Mercury-prize winner Arlo Parks, and the ever-rocking Avril Lavigne. 

And if your eardrums can handle it, the grand finale on Sunday includes the legendary Foo Fighters, Royal Blood, the soulful Michael Kiwanuka, and Jungle. 

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Sound good? We certainly think so. TF

Serbia – EXIT Festival

(10–14 July 2024)

If you’re considering attending a festival in Serbia this year, look no further than EXIT – a Balkan paradise for all things drum n’ bass, techno, and hip-hop. 

Euronews Culture had the privilege of attending the festival’s 2023 edition, a spectacular celebration marking 50 years of hip-hop. The highlight of the event was an electrifying performance by the legendary Wu Tang Clan, accompanied by stellar performances from dubstep phenom Skrillex, iconic electronic group The Prodigy, and the mesmerising Swedish punk band Viagra Boys. And we can confirm, the Serbians know a thing or two about partying. 

As anticipation builds for the upcoming 2024 edition, EXIT has unveiled an impressive lineup featuring headliners such as the Black Eyed Peas, the virtuoso guitarist of Rage Against the Machine Tom Morello, trap legend Gucci Mane, eminent English DJ Carl Cox, and the renowned producer-DJ Bonobo. 

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Nestled within the historic confines of the stunning Petrovaradin Fortress overlooking Novi Sad, Serbia’s second-largest city, the festival boasts a colossal scale. It artfully harnesses the unique space, creating distinct visuals and backdrops for each of its numerous stages. 

So save the dates from 10 to 14 July on your calendars, as this is an experience you don’t want to miss. TF

Portugal – NOS Alive Lisbon

(11-13 July 2024)

With the motto ‘beach by day, music by night,’ Lisbon’s NOS Alive promises killer tunes that will keep you grooving all the way to the early hours of the morning.

It’s hard not to dance to the festival’s top-billed headliner this year – British-Albanian pop princess Dua Lipa, who is expected to drop her hotly-anticipated third studio album at some point this year.

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Dua’s joined by fellow British pop icon Jessie Ware, whose latest record ‘That! Feels Good!’ was one of our favourite albums of 2023.

If pop isn’t your jam, no problem. US classic rockers Pearl Jam are also headlining, along with Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire. Chicago alt-rock legends The Smashing Pumpkins will be performing as part of the European leg of their “The World Is A Vampire” tour, and British singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka will grace your ears with his dulcet tones. AU

Germany – Parookaville

(19-21 July 2024)

Aside from Tomorrowland, Parookaville is THE festival for electro dance music fans, taking place over three days within an elaborately created fake city at Weeze Airport.

Having first begun in 2015, Parookaville has already made a name for itself as one of Germany’s biggest EDM festivals, with 225,000 people attending in 2023 and more than 300 DJs performing across the ten stages.

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The lineup this year features a whole host of incredible DJ sets, including Armin van Buuren, Timmy Trumpet, Andromedik, Neelix, W&W, Cristoph, Mariana BO, Coone, MARTEN HØRGER and more.

The impressively immersive design, big-love energy and vast array of performances – plus lots of good food – has the vibes just right at Parookaville, with the opportunity to lose your mind to thumping beats until 4am at the main stages or to experience lesser-known acts on smaller stages and mingle with fellow EDM fans. Coffee recommended. AB

Hungary – Sziget Festival

(7-12 August 2024)

One of the biggest festivals in Europe, The Sziget will once again transform the island of Óbuda, in the 3rd district of Budapest, into a euphoric escape for six party-hazed days this August.

Entering its 31st year, the festival first began as a small gathering before snowballing into one of the continent’s favourites; it was even voted Europe’s best festival by the European Festival Awards in 2012 and 2015.

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The 2024 lineup so far features exciting headliners Fred Again.., Sam Smith, Stormzy and Martin Garrix, with other acts such as Louis Tomlinson, Four Tet, AURORA, Fontaines D.C., Becky Hill, Big Thief and many, many more performing too. Keep an eye out for further announcements!

The beautiful isolated island of The Sziget Festival makes it truly unique; it’s like disappearing into another dimension, where the atmosphere is woozy with huge crowds of happy people and sonic elation.

Last year saw the event attended by roughly 420,000 people from around the world, and this year will undoubtedly be even bigger – and better. AB

France – Rock en Seine

(22–25 August 2024)

France has plenty to offer when it comes to music festivals. From Hellfest to Vieilles Charrues, Jazz a Vienne, Beauregard, to Eurockéennes, there’s something for everyone, and in some pretty damn charming settings.

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While we usually fly the flag for Les Nuits de Fourvière in Lyon, and its dramatic backdrop of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, ie: the stunning Roman amphitheatre built on the Fourvière hill, the line-up has yet to be unveiled… So we’re having to recommend a second favourite. A close second, mind you.

Rock en Seine is one of the biggest dates on the French music summer calendar and an unmissable European festival. The four-day rock music festival held at Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, west of Paris. Not quite as large as Glastonbury, this nevertheless feels like the French equivalent – minus the terrible, overpriced food and the frequently sanity-eroding crowds. 

Not all the names have been revealed, but considering how good last year’s 20th edition was (with Tove Lo, boygenius, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wet Leg, The Strokes and The Chemical Brothers having blown our socks off), there’s every reason to think that 2024 won’t disappoint. So far, we know that the five stages this year will host LCD Soundsystem, Fred Again.., The Smile, Massive Attack, PJ Harvey, Róisín Murphy, The Hives, Olivia Dean and Lana Del Rey. 

Yep, and that’s not even the full line-up.

Rock en Seine also has the distinction of taking place late August, after the main wave of festivals has been and gone. So, just before the second half of the working year kicks off, we recommend you treat yourself to this Gallic glory. You won’t regret it. DM

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