While crashing the beach will never go out of style, there is a more exciting way to spend your holiday: festival hopping. Once upon a time, festivals meant melting in the sun for hours or standing in the pouring rain, craning to get a glimpse of your favorite band. However, the world of large-scale gatherings has faced a bit of an evolution in recent years, and many festivals host some pretty slick lineups while putting on well-organized and fun events.
Quickly becoming the quintessential summer must-do, festivals exist for all types of music fans. And with theater, comedy, classes, fitness, and health offerings available at many of them, you certainly won’t be bored. If you want to explore some of the best festivals that summer 2018 has to offer, read on.
1. Lollapalooza, August 2-5, Chicago
Over the years, Lollapalooza has evolved from a farewell tour for Jane’s Addiction to a massive, multi-day event featuring a wide variety of alternative and rock artists. Held in Grant’s Park, Chicago, the 2018 lineup includes crowd-pleasers Vampire Weekend, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, and BØRNS, plus a varied range of other acts. Where else are you going to see Post Malone, Franz Ferdinand, and Rainbow Kitten Surprise at the same event?
2. Outside Lands, August 10-12, San Francisco
Speaking of intriguing lineups, I’m not sure which promoter created the concept of a Janet Jackson/Florence + the Machine/The Weeknd triple threat, but hey, we’re not complaining. Outside Lands, now in its tenth year, has a truly eclectic mix of artists performing at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Bounce along to Huey Lewis and the News before mellowing out to Bon Iver or Father John Misty, and you’ve got yourself a pretty satisfying festival experience. In between music acts, you can fuel up at Bacon Land, Beer Land, and Wine Land, or watch comedy and improv at the Barbary Coast stage.
3. Sziget; August 8-15; Budapest, Hungary
More interested in quantity? How does 1,000 different acts sound? Sziget, held in Budapest, offers an absolutely massive lineup, covering all musical genres and complemented by some unusual activities, including interpretive dance performances and a stage where you can learn to juggle. If you’d rather chill out, you can take in some Tibetan relaxation and yoga sessions before heading to Lana del Ray, or simply marvel at the fact that this festival even attracted the Goo Goo Dolls. Who knew they were still performing?
4. Outlook Festival; September 5-9; Pula, Croatia
Europe’s largest bass culture and dubstep festival, Outlook, has been running for just over ten years. Mainly held inside the fort of Punta Christo in Pula, the opening night features a pretty spectacular venue: a 2,000-year-old amphitheater where you can sweat it out among thousands of other drum-and-bass fans. The festival also features several smaller stages, as well as countless boat parties and beach parties to keep the energy going. The lineup also features dub and hip-hop artists. If you need a break from the music, you can easily explore the idyllic beaches surrounding the festival. Bliss!
5. Oya; August 7-11; Oslo, Norway
Held in Tøyenparken, Oslo, this festival draws up to 60,000 annual visitors who are attracted to its electric lineup, green location, and friendly atmosphere. If you need some time away from seeing the big international acts — this year features Lykke Li, Arcade Fire, Kendrick Lamar, and Patti Smith — you can shop for clothes or cartoons in the various stalls on site, or chill out at a designated quiet zone. In true Scandi style, this festival is also keen on being environmentally friendly and is proud to provide organic food for you to munch on.
6. Soundwave Croatia; July 26-30; Tisno, Croatia
Want to combine a resort holiday with a major electronica, hip-hop, and house festival? Book your ticket to Soundwave Croatia, held at the beautiful Garden Resort in Tisno. With guaranteed sun, blue seas, and skies, you can catch acts such as Romare and Mr. Scruff. You can also buy extra tickets to boat parties and after parties through the Soundwave site, so you’ll have even more ways to take advantage of the sunshine, fun, and stunning Adriatic Sea setting. If this sounds like your idea of a good time, get in quick — 2018 is the last year the festival will run.
7. Insomnia; August 31-September 2; São Gião, Portugal
Held in a camping ground in São Gião, about three hours from Lisbon, Insomnia is one of Europe’s biggest electronica festivals. Featuring over 25 artists, this smaller, niche festival presents some big names in electronic music and tends to support up and comers, too. The 2018 lineup includes Boom Shanker and Space Tribe, and it’s taking on a distinctly Eastern feel. When you feel like taking a break from the music, you can visit the famed mystic garden or indulge in some healing kundalini yoga.
8. Festival du Bout du Monde; August 3-5; Crozon, France
Bout du Monde means “end of the world.” This festival runs from France’s “land’s end” in the northwest corner of the country in Parc Naturel Régional d’Armorique, where you’ll be surrounded by gorgeous views of the wild Breton coastline. The festival itself is a mixed bag of (mainly) smaller world music acts, some of them French, but with international performers, too. Bout du Monde attracts a cosmopolitan crowd whose members are a little bit classier than your standard festival patrons — and you can expect to enjoy a finer class of food and drink than your typical water bottle and burger fare. It’s also a family-friendly event for those with little ones to take along.
9. Festival No. 6; September 6-9; Wales, UK
Festival No. 6 is described as a magical, whimsical, and small-sized festival held in Portmeirion, Wales. Due to the size of its venue, it will never host the massive crowds that seem to haunt many other events. Instead, it remains an eclectic, niche festival, which includes poetry readings, theater, comedy, and cultural talks. You can spend some time exploring the surrounding woodlands before rocking out to the likes of GoGo Penguin, Hollie Cook, The Lovely Eggs, and Willow.