There are music festivals and then there is Glastonbury. Photo: Emma Stonner
There are music festivals and then there is Glastonbury. Photo: Emma Stonner


Your guide to music festivals summer 2016

Once there was Woodstock, now there are hundreds upon hundreds of music festivals each year. Whether you’re after Advanced Music, Golden Oldies, or something in between, here are some choice pickings.

Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury is the world’s biggest annual music festival. Photo: Emma Stonner

There are music festivals and then there is Glastonbury. The world’s biggest annual music festival sees festival-goers descend on farmer Michael Eavis’ spread in Somerset, England, for five glorious days in June. At “Glasto” a musician’s career can be defined, rebranded, or come back from the dead. And an invitation to play at the festival is a mark of quality that is desired by even the biggest global superstars, with the enormous Pyramid Stage being the most sought-after festival stage in the music world.
This summer sees Glastonbury celebrate its 45th anniversary. 135,000 tickets were released last fall. They sold out in 25 minutes – before any of the performers had even been booked.
Confirmed at the time of writing are Foo Fighters, Lionel Richie, and Kanye West.

Glastonbury, UK
June 22–26 2016

Bonnaroo, Tennessee

The festival that always books a broad spectrum of artists. This year’s main acts include Billy Joel, Deadmau5, and Kendrick Lamar.

Manchester, Tennessee, USA
June 9–12 2016

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Sled Island, Calgary

Spread across 30+ venues in Calgary, with more than 250 bands, this is an eclectic music festival featuring acts such as Television, Daniel Lanois, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Calgary, Canada
June 22–26 2016

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The Governors Ball, New York

Govenors Ball Music Festival with Manhattan as a spectacular backdrop.

Nestled next to Manhattan on the Hudson River is Randall’s Island. Normally people come to this little island for a stroll or to play sports, but for three days in early summer Randall’s Island Park becomes the hottest venue in town for music lovers. This year the big draws include Drake, Lana Del Ray, The Black Keys, and Björk.

New York, US
June 3–5 2016

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Bråvalla, Norrköping

Sweden’s largest festival takes place at an old airfield and this year has attracted names such as Robbie Williams, Wu-Tang Clan, and Faith No More.

Norrköping, Sweden
June 30 – July 2 2016


The pride of Scandinavia is one of the world’s largest and most respected festivals. This year acts including Muse and Pharrell Williams will be performing on the Orange Stage.

Roskilde, Denmark
June 25 – July 2 2016

Sziget, Budapest

Sziget has been described as a twisted pleasure ground that is far removed from reality

Sziget has been described as a twisted pleasure ground that is far removed from reality. Over the past 20 years, the festival has grown into one of the largest music and cultural festivals in Europe, and for one week in August it’s home to international artists from the worlds of pop, hip-hop, and rock. This year’s lineup includes Robbie Williams, Florence and the Machine, and Gogol Bordello.

Budapest, Hungary
August 10–17 2016

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Open’er, Gdynia

Some of the biggest names in hip-hop and alternative rock, such as Kendrick Lamar and Mumford and Sons, play at an airfield in Gdynia.

Gdynia, Poland
June 29 – July 2 2016

ATP Iceland, Keflavik

What would you say to a three-day indie festival on an old Icelandic NATO base? This year Iggy Pop and Belle & Sebastian are just some of those who have said yes.

Keflavík, Iceland
July 1–3 2016

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Ultra Europe, Split

The Ultra Music Festival in March each year is a mecca for dance music lovers, who all head to downtown Miami for a weekend of shaking your booty. Now, for the third year in a row, Ultra is hitting Europe, and the Croatian coast is this summer’s chosen spot. Electronic dance music fans can enjoy some of the ­biggest international names in the genre, such as David Guetta, Afrojack, Axwell, and Ingrosso.

Split, Croatia
July 15–17 2016

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Pitchfork, Chicago

Cloud Nothings playing a last year's Pitchfork festival in Chicago. Photo: Ebru Yildiz

Pitchfork is perhaps the world’s most influential online magazine dedicated to alternative pop, hip-hop, and rock, and the webzine’s namesake festival reflects that. The Pitchfork Music Festival is held at Chicago’s Union Park, with the lineup including underground favorites such as Future Brown and Parquet Courts, along with a slew of indie giants such as Wilco and Sleater-Kinney.

Chicago, US
July 17–19 2016

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Forecastle, Louisville

Rock festival in Tennessee where the focus is as much on the music (My Morning Jacket, Sam Smith) as it is on great food, micro-brewed beer, and whiskey tasting.

Louisville, USA
July 15–17

Wacken Open Air

Every summer hard rock fans make a pilgrimage to the village outside Hamburg that is home to Europe’s biggest metal festival, this year featuring acts such as Judas Priest and Rob Zombie.

Wacken, Germany
August 4-6 2016

Way Out West, Gothenburg

A trendsetting and environmentally conscious festival that attracts global artists for three days. Patti Smith, Beck, and Galantis are some of the big names.

Gothenburg, Sweden
August 13–13

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Sónar Barcelona

Li Verde at Sonar, Barcelona.

For more than twenty years Sónar has been the place to be for all those who like their music experimental and electronic. The festival now tours the world, this year taking in both Reykjavík and Stockholm in addition to its hometown, Barcelona. 2015 sees Sónar BCN offer up a great mix of new and old, with emerging stars such as FKA twigs and A$AP Rocky joining veterans ­Duran Duran and Laurent Garnier.

Barcelona, Spain
June 16–18

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Rewind, Henley-on-Thames

Longing to party with eighties stars like OMD, Kim Wilde, and Billy Ocean? Then Rewind is the place for you.

Henley-on-Thames, England
August 19–21 2016

V Festival, Chelmsford & Staffordshire

Celebrates its 20th birthday this year with the usual mixture of rock (Kasabian, The Kooks) and pop (Ellie Goulding, Calvin Harris) at two venues over two days.

Chelmsford & Staffordshire, England
August 20–21 2016


Reading is a classic festival that is now also co-hosted by Leeds. This year’s headline acts are Metallica and Run the Jewels.

Leeds & Reading, England
August 26–28 2016

Creamfields, Daresbury

One of the biggest EDM parties in Europe is held in rural Cheshire. Top of the bill are Avicii, The Chemical Brothers, and Alesso.

Daresbury, England
August 26–28 2016

Text: Anders Dahlbom

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