Impact’s Guide to the Best European Festivals

Have a look at what European festivals our contributors recommend you venture to this summer.


Where? Novi Sad, Serbia

When? 7th-10th July

Who? 2011’s line-up boasts huge acts like Arcade Fire, Pulp, Portishead, Grinderman and Beirut as well as a host of domestic acts to check out.

Why? Set in a beautiful citadel overlooking the Danube, EXIT have the best location bar Benicassim. With tickets a bargain at £89 right now (to go up to £105), its the perfect opportunity to see some great music, explore the fascinating Balkans and celebrate life as the sun sets over the greatest river in Europe.



Where? Bremen/Bodensee, Germany

When? 17th– 19th June

Who? Foo Fighters, Blink 182, Arcade Fire, My Chemical Romance, Bright Eyes, Jimmy Eat World, Lykke Li, Eels, Band Of Horses, Klaxons, Elbow, Suede.

Why? You can see the kind of bands you’d expect to see at Reading & Leeds without being surrounded by teenagers.


Where? Gräfenhainichen, Germany

When? 15th-17th July

Who? Crystal Castles, Cut Copy, The Streets, Robyn, Pulp, Digitalism, Metronomy, The Drums, White Lies, Rusko, Jamie Woon, Crystal Fighters, Gold Panda, Les Savy Fav

Why? Takes place in an openair museum called Ferropolis (City Of Iron) and is thus surrounded by old huge industrial machines giving the festival a unique atmosphere.



Where? Benicàssim, Spain

When? 14th – 17th July

Who? Arcade Fire, Jack Beats,Friendly Fires, Elbow, Beirut, The Strokes, Portishead, The Go! Team, Arctic Monkeys, Mumford & Sons, Tame Impala, Tinie Tempah

Why? Because of the scorching weather, bands begin around 5pm and go right through to sunrise, allowing you to catch some rays before you catch Primal Sc-ray-m (sorry).


Where? Meco, Portugal

When? 14th-16th July

Who? Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, The Strokes (no less) with more acts to be confirmed.


Why? Forget the Algarve and Val De Lobo, SBSR will be playing host to some of the biggest names in Rock  n’ Roll beneath its clear blue skies. The problem of grotty festival showers is solved by the nearby beach which provides some of the best surf in Portugal, another reason to extend your stay beyond the festival dates.




Where? Pag, Croatia

When? 1st-3rd July

Who? All the big names in dance music from Annie Mac to Andy C, Chase & Status to Caspa.

Why? A perfect choice for those that want to combine a festival with their inter-railing or summer holiday. If you’ve bad experiences with muddy campsites in the past, then fear not as accommodation at Hideout is strictly apartment and hotel only meaning the party atmosphere continues long after the festival finishes.


Where? Budapest, Hungary

When? 10th-15th August

Who? The Chemical Brothers, The National, The Maccabees, Pulp, Rise Against, Gogol Bordello, Crystal Castles and loads more.

Why? If, like me, you’ve got to work throughout July, Sziget offers a perfect August alternative. Oh, and The National are playing too..’nuf said.


Where? Gdynia, Poland

When? 30th June – 3rd July

Who? Caribou, Pulp, Foals, The National, Simian Mobile Disco, Cut Copy, Big Boi, Two Door Cinema Club

Why? Taking place in a disused military airbase, Open’er offers a location rivalled only by the likes of Exit and Beni. Probably one of the cheapest festivals you’ll find too.


Where? Barcelona, Spain

When? 16th June – 18th June

Who?  Aphex Twin, James Murphy, Boys Noize, Four Tet, A-Track, James Holden, Yelle, Nicolas Jaar, Paul Kalkbrenner and loads more!

Why? If like me, you’re still in a state of mourning after LCD’s split, then the fact that Sonar plays host to one of James Murphy’s only outings this summer should be enough to convince you to go to this festival. Not only this, but man of the moment, Nicolas Jaar is also going to be putting in a rare summer appearnce there. Oh, and Sonar takes place in the coolest city EVER.

With thanks to Dan Adams, Jake Batty, Rosie Kynman, James Smyllie and Gabriel Szatan for helping compile this guide.

4 Comments on this post.
  • Tom Clements
    13 April 2011 at 17:08
    Leave a Reply

    Don’t forget Hip Hop Kemp (AKA Europe’s biggest and best Hip Hop festival).

  • Tom Clements
    13 April 2011 at 17:09
    Leave a Reply

    It’s held each year in Hradec Králové, Czech Republic.

  • Rosie Kynman – Music Editor
    19 April 2011 at 10:59
    Leave a Reply

    Aw you should have written us a preview of it Tom! It’s not too late…

  • TheoMartin
    23 May 2011 at 09:56
    Leave a Reply

    I made many European festivals and a road trip through Europe in 2009 took me in Hungary and to Sziget festival.

    It was crazy! The festival is in the heart of Budapest on an island on the middle of river Danube, creating a special atmosphere with the unique mixture of party, city and nature.

    It is the longest festival, 7 days of music, cultural programs and exhibitions. But it is also the largest with 400,000 persons from everywhere in the world and the most diverse line up, you will find what you like in every hour of the day on one of the 30 stages of the Island.

    You add a huge Party Arena and some parties places with several DJs 24h/7, cheap drinks and food.

    I finished this experience in one of the baths of the city on Monday afternoon.

    A week of madness, i didn’t believe what I was living!
    Live it, you will enjoy it!

    To have an idea of this amazing event, watch that!

  • Leave a Reply