Summer and music festivals are synonymous with one another across the globe. As the winter chill falls away to the burning summer sun we hear the sound of heavy bass lines, blazing guitar riffs or a soulful voice begin to ring out, signalling to all that the festival season is back in action.
Festivals have been a way of life since before the middle ages, and today some of the largest music festivals now see attendance of up to a flabbergasting one million people! They are a right of passage for every millennial and a religious tradition of sorts for many from the Gen Y’s through to the baby boomers of this world. Europe is said to host over 600 music festivals each summer, of which GoEuro has collated an Ultimate Guide for the European 2016 Season, while it is reported that approximately 32 million people frequent at least one music festival in the USA every year.
But what is it that we love so much about festivals? And what is the magic ingredient that sees some grow to such mind boggling numbers where festival seekers travel great miles to enjoy a moment of music and dance? Focusing on America and Europe we’ve found five diverse festivals that are enjoying great success. So much so that they’ve jumped the Atlantic to create sister festivals for their neighbouring populous to enjoy. See if you can spot one of your favourites, perhaps it’s time to take a trip and experience a festival on the neighbouring side of the world.
ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL
We start with the infamous Electric Daisy Carnival. Originating from Las Vegas, Nevada in the early 1990’s as an illegal rave this legendary electronic dance music (EDM) festival has reached heady numbers of attendance, now clocking over 400,000 across the three day festival. With this growth, the festival has since spread across multiple national and global locations, including the National Bowl in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. It’s not hard to see where the popularity stems from. Featured in a Netflix documentary “Under the Electric Sky”, the Electric Daisy Carnival is touted as the “American Ibiza” and is known as a fantastical, alternative world, vibrant with vivid colors, glittering costumes, state-of-the-art visuals, park rides and art installations. At any one time you’ll find at least seven world class DJs playing at once across four to five stages. The perfect formula to please any EDM festival goer.
2016 Festival Dates
Electric Daisy Carnival – Las Vegas (USA): June 17-19
Electric Daisy Carnival – Milton Keynes (UK): July 9
ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL
Keeping on the strain of electronic music, Ultra Music Festival is another huge festival of US origin that has expanded to multiple global locations, including its infamous Ultra partner festival in Split, Croatia. Established in 1999 in Downtown Miami, Ultra started out as a one day festival and now runs over an entire week, with around 165,000 people attending in 2016. The line-up in Miami has evolved to include more cross over acts and live bands, while Split still sticks to a line up of who’s who electronic DJs. With boat parties, a festival setting that’s located inside the Cold War vibes of Poljud Stadium and a closing party in a 5 star hotel on Hvar Island, it’s easy to see why attendance numbers burst to over 150,000 at the Croatian festival in 2015 and are expected to climb at the July festival in 2016.
Next up on the list is Awakenings festival in the Netherlands. Showcasing the best new and renowned techno music for nearly 20 years the Dutch know how to do justice to this revered music genre. As a techno like utopia, Awakenings serves up eight stages of unrelenting techno in the Spaarnwoude forest, just outside of Amsterdam. Awakenings has since expanded to host many more touring events throughout the year, one of which has gone Stateside and landed in New York City. With an unrivaled reputation of exceptional visuals and unique stage productions that attracts techno heads in the droves each year the first standalone Awakenings event in New York at Hammerstein Ballroom in February 2016 exceeded all expectations. Americans can eagerly await more to come in 2017 or consider making a trip to the Netherlands for the full festival experience.
If electronic music is not quite your flavor then of course the plethora of music festivals available have many other options for you to lend an ear to. One such festival is FOLD Festival (Freak Out Let’s Dance Festival). As a relatively new event that originated in New York in 2015, FOLD Festival is the work of legendary musical mastermind Nile Rogers. Serving up a medley of 20+ artists playing funk, disco, rock and pop across three days in a big open park, FOLD is described less as a music festival and more as a giant garden party where you’re all invited. With the success of the inaugural festival in New York Rogers, decided to bring the festival to Londoners at Fulham Palace in 2016. Showing promising success FOLD is sure to see another London edition come 2017.
2016 Festival Dates
FOLD Festival – New York City (USA): August 12-14
FOLD Festival – London (USA): June 24-26
Last but not least is the mighty Lollapalooza festival. With its home base in Chicago USA Lollapalooza started out in 1991 as an alternative music festival, conceived by Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell. Moving through its ups and downs the festival saw a revival in 2003 and to this day it has outcrops through South America and in recent years Lollapalooza has set up camp in Berlin, Germany. Traditionally located in urban locations the setting of Berlin has provided the perfect backdrop to the festival with Farrell citing “Berlin’s energy, vibrant art, fashion and music scenes are a mirror reflection of what Lollapalooza is all about.” Moving away from the alternative scene, Lollapalooza has seen dizzying success in recent years as it expanded to include a combination of rock, electronic, pop, hip hop and more to the bill. Think everyone from Lana Del Ray to Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Blake, Danny Brown and LCD Soundsystem, and with attendance reaching over 160,000 over the three day festival it’s easy to see this mix appeases the masses.
2016 Festival Dates
Lollapalooza – Chicago (USA): July 18-31
Lollapalooza – Berlin (DE): September 10-11
These festivals have given just a taste of what’s out there to enjoy. From electronic to rock, pop, disco, hip hop and more music transcends us all and brings life to our summer months. We thrive on them and yearn for them, as seen in the huge numbers of people that flock each year to enjoy their blissful sounds and human connection. If you’re in need of further inspiration for your festival bucket list in 2016 seek out our Ultimate Guide to European Festivals, just beware your list may substantially extend upon viewing.