Top 10 Festivals in Europe: Summer of Music
Festivals in Europe: Summer of Music

Festivals in Europe: Summer of Music

Any attempt to put together a list of the best festivals in Europe is bound to fail. What should we go by – attendance, line-up, location, history? Which festival you like best is ultimately a question of personal taste. Let’s take the ones that routinely draw the largest crowds of music lovers – the main suspects – and throw in a few special-interest events for good measure. Here we go! 


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Primavera Sound

Barcelona, Spain (29 May – 2 June, 2024)

Sometimes called the “Coachella of Europe”, Primavera Sound has been kicking off the European festival season since 2001. Originally held at the Poble Espanyol, the festival moved to the Parc del Fòrum on the seafront in 2005. Drawing a crowd of about 220,000, Primavera Sound is now one of the largest festivals in Europe and the biggest in the Mediterranean. In the beginning, indie rock was the main focus, but the festival has since opened up to other genres such as hip hop, EDM, and pop. The success of Primavera Sound led to spin-offs of the festival being held in other locations in Spain (Madrid, Benidorm) and even on other continents (Los Angeles, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, São Paulo).

Bands & Artists:

Phoenix, Pulp, Lana Del Rey, SZA, Vampire Weekend, The National, PJ Harvey, Justice, Disclosure, Mitski, Deftones, Charli XCX, Beth Gibbons, Stella Maris, Róisin Murphy, …

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Glastonbury Festival

Pilton, UK (26-30 June, 2024)

No list of the best festivals in Europe could be complete without Glastonbury. First held in 1970 and rooted in the counterculture of the 1960s, Glastonbury is a five-day celebration of performing arts. In addition to music, the festival features dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, and other forms of artistic expression. Getting tickets for Glastonbury can be a challenge, as the festival routinely sells out quicker than you can click “buy”. Some have likened the yearly ticket rush to a lottery. But that doesn’t seem to hurt Glastonbury’s popularity. If you’re lucky enough to have secured tickets for the 2024 edition, you can look forward to acts like Dua Lipa, Coldplay, and SZA.

Bands & Artists: 

Dua Lipa, Coldplay, SZA, Shania Twain, LCD Soundsystem, Little Simz, Burna Boy, PJ Harvey, Cyndi Lauper, Janelle Monae, Keane, Idles, Disclosure, The National, Bloc Party, …

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Rock am Ring & Rock im Park 

Nürburgring & Nuremberg, Germany (07-09 June, 2024)

Held at the Nürburgring race track in Germany, Rock am Ring has long since become a classic for fans of rock, alternative, and metal. Die Ärzte, Greenday, and Måneskin have been announced as headliners for 2024. In total, more than 70 acts will perform for a crowd of around 70,000 people. On the same weekend, the same bands will play the Rock im Park festival in Nuremberg, which takes place concurrently and draws as many as 75,000 visitors. The twin festivals are one of the first highlights of the German festival season each year.

Bands & Artists: 

Die Ärzte, Green Day, Måneskin, Avenged Sevenfold, Broilers, Parkway Drive, Queens of the Stone Age, Billy Talent, Kraftklub, Beartooth, Babymetal, Corey Taylor, Dropkick Murphys, Kreator, Machine Head, …

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Amsterdam Dance Event

Amsterdam, Netherlands (16-20 October, 2024)

The Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) turns the entire city into a pulsating playground for electronic music enthusiasts each October. Over five days and nights, ADE hosts more than 1,000 events across 200 venues, attracting around 500,000 visitors from around the globe. It’s not just about the parties; during the day, ADE offers a range of conferences, workshops, and panels, providing a platform for industry professionals to network and share insights. Expect a mix of house, techno, drum and bass, and experimental genres, with both legendary names and rising stars on the line-up for 2024.

Bands & Artists: 

Martin Garrix, Tiësto, Carl Cox, Timbaland, Laurent Garnier, Oliver Heldens, Caribou, Nils Frahm, Skream b2b Benga, Dave Clarke, Len Faki, Paula Temple, Markus Schulz, Paul van Dyk, Peggy Gou, David Guetta, Afrojack, Solomun, Black Coffee, Seth Troxler​, …

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Roma Summer Fest

Rome, Italy (3 June – 15 Septemeber, 2024)

The Roma Summer Fest returns with its new edition, bringing tours and concerts to the Auditorium Parco della Musica. The Fondazione Musica per Roma has curated an impressive selection of musical stars who will set the stage ablaze with their spectacular performances. As tradition holds, the festival will kick off in June and conclude in mid-September. This year the line-up sees a mix of pop/rock, rap and electronic music.

Bands & Artists: 

The National, The Smile, Nayt, big time Rush, Colapesce Dimartino. AIR, Super Taranta, Aries, …

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Roskilde Festival

Roskilde, Denmark (29 June – 6 July, 2024)

Held for the first time in 1971, Roskilde Festival in Denmark has long been a highlight of the European festival season. Like Glastonbury, the festival was inspired by hippie and counterculture gatherings such as Woodstock. While it mainly featured folk and rock bands in the beginning, it has since diversified to include electronic music, hip hop, and other styles, as well. In addition to major international acts, Roskilde Festival always features local Danish bands, one of which traditionally gets the honour of opening on the main stage on the first day. Hosting about 130,000 attendees, the quaint town of Roskilde becomes Denmark’s fourth-largest city during the festival.

Bands & Artists: 

21 Savage, Doja Cat, Foo Fighters, Skrillex, SZA, Aurora, Charli XCX, Gilli, Heilung, Ice Spice, J Hus, Jane’s Addiction, Jungle, Khruangbin, Pinkpantheress, PJ Harvey, …

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Tomorrowland 

Boom, Belgium (19-21 & 26-28 July, 2024)

With about 400,000 attendees, Tomorrowland in Belgium is not only one of Europe’s largest music events, but perhaps the largest and best-known electronic music festival in the world. First held on a single day in August of 2005, Tomorrowland now spans two weekends and features multiple stages, tents, and other venues, each with its own distinct atmosphere and style of music. The success of Tomorrowland led to various spin-offs, including TomorrowWorld held in Atlanta between 2013 and 2015, Tomorrowland Brasil, and Tomorrowland Winter. In 2024, more than 600 DJs and live acts will keep visitors dancing all night long on 16 stages.

Bands & Artists: 

Armin van Buuren, Swedish House Mafia, Tale of Us, Alesso, Amelie Lens, Bonobo, Dom Dolla, The Blessed Madonna, REZZMAU5 (Deadmau5), David Guetta, Solomun, Eliza Rose, Steve Aoki, …

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Wacken Open Air

Wacken, Germany (31 July – 05 August, 2024)

Around 80,000 metalheads gather on the sacred (and usually swamped) fields of the metal mecca every year: WOA has long since become a real institution for headbangers from around the world. Navigating the country roads to the tiny village of Wacken can be an adventure in and of itself. You don’t actually know if you’re going to make it until you’ve arrived. Alongside more than 150 other acts, Scorpions, Korn, Amon Amarth, Architects, In Extremo, and Blind Guardian have been confirmed as headliners for 2024.

Bands & Artists: 

Scorpions, Korn, Amon Amarth, Architects, In Extremo, Gene Simmons Band, Opeth, Blind Guardian, KK’s Priest, Accept, Feuerschwanz, The Darkness, Alligatoah, Suzi Quatro, Flogging Molly, …

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Sziget

Budapest, Hungary (07-12 August, 2024)

Held in August on an island in the Danube river, Sziget is one of Europe’s largest festivals. More than 450,000 fans celebrate the culmination of a long festival summer. Like many other festivals, Sziget featured mostly rock music when it was first held in 1993, but later diversified to include pop, electronic music, blues, world music, and even jazz. Attending is like entering a parallel world completely removed from reality, which is helped by the fact that it takes place on an island. The 2024 line-up includes acts like Kylie Minogue, Janelle Monáe, Liam Gallagher, Skrillex, and Sam Smith.

Bands & Artists: 

Fred Again.., Halsey, Janelle Monáe, Kylie Minogue, Liam Gallagher, Martin Garrix, Sam Smith, Skrillex, Stormzy, Bebe Rexha, FISHER, Louis Tomlinsson, RAYE, Four Tet, Tom Odell, …

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Which festivals have you attended, and which ones are you planning to see this year? We look forward to your comments!

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Author’s gravatar
Lawrence started playing the electric guitar because of his passion for rock music. Back in the day he played in a metal band, but now plays more for himself.

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