With most line-ups announced and no Glastonbury this year, it’s time to start planning which festival you’re hitting in the summer. But with UK festival prices rising year on year, maybe it’s time you started looking at alternative in mainland Europe. Line-ups are generally the same, it’s exponentially cheaper, and you can always combine it with a spot of travelling. With that in mind, here’s our guide to European music festivals in 2018.
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Dates: 8th – 15th August 2018
Line-up: Arctic Monkeys, Kendrick Lamar, Gorillaz, Liam Gallagher
Price: From £65
If you the idea of going a year without Glasto really is too much to bare, then head to Sziget in Hungary, the continent’s answer to Glastonbury. The seven day music and arts festival bring together over 450,000 people for Europe’s largest cultural encounter of its kind. Having grown from relatively low-profile student beginnings in 1993, the festival now attracts some of the biggest artists on the planets to Budapest’s Óbudai-sziget, a leafy 266-acre island on the Danube. With Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys and Gorillaz headlining, Sziget really is the place to be if you’re all about the music.
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Dates: 30th May – 3rd June 2018
Line-up: Arctic Monkeys, Björk, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, The National
Price: From £190
More Brits head to Primavera than pretty much any other European festival around, and for good reason. 200-odd artists will perform at the eighteenth edition of Primavera Sound this year, and the festival in Barcelona is ideal if you like your home comforts. The festival takes over the whole of Barca, meaning that you can grab an Airbnb rather than your sleeping bag. Just like Sziget, the line-up is cracking with Arctic Monkeys and The National our standouts.
Location: Biddinghuizen, Netherlands
Dates: 17th – 19th August 2018
Line-up: Kendrick Lemar, Gorillaz, The War on Drugs, Dua Lipa
Price: From £163
Lowlands celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, and returns this summer for Dutch extravaganza where the music is as stellar as its relaxed soft-drugs policy. The festival brings in just 55,000 people for three days of visual art, music, film and “performance” events – perfect if you want to watch huge artists but still want a good view. Though it may be much smaller in size, like Glastonbury, the festival conceives itself as a micro-city, with its own radio station, newspaper and currency.
Location: Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Dates: 18th – 22nd July 2018
Line-up: Damian Marley, London Grammar, Wolf Alice, The Horrors
Price: From £89
For something a little different, Romania’s Electric Castle is as unique an experience as festivals on the continent get. Part music, part technology, and part art, this visually stunning festival features 3D projections, secret party areas, and 137,000 people partying within the walls of 15th century castle. As you can imagine, the music line-up is diverse to say the least with rock, indie, hip hop, electronic and reggae fans all catered for.
Location: Boom, Belgium
Dates: 20th – 29th July 2018
Line-up: French Montana, Alesso, Paul Oakenfold, Tiësto
Price: From £83
If you’re into your electronic music, Tomorrowland simply won’t be beaten. The festival takes place in the small town of Boom in Belgium and has quickly become one of the most notable music festivals on the globe since its inception in 2005. It now attracts the biggest names in dance and techno with 2018’s line-up including legends like Paul Oakenfold and Tiësto. The mainstage design is worth going alone!
Location: Pag, Croatia
Dates: 10th – 12th July 2018
Line-up: Stefflon Don, J-Hus, Goldlink, Lil Pump, Tim Westwood
Price: From £110
If you simply can’t give up your beach holiday for a festival this year – fear not – Europe’s No.1 urban music beach festival arrives for their seventh year in Croatia. Fresh Island Festival 2018 will feature performances from some of the UK’s biggest hip-hop, grime and R&B artists, with the likes of J-Hus and Goldlink performing on the beautiful Zrce Beach. The festival also offers daily boat parties and pool parties, as well as excursions and water sport activities.
Location: Ostrava, Czech Republic
Dates: 18th – 21st July 2018
Line-up: Grace Jones, Future Islands, London Grammar, Slaves
Price: From £94
Colours of Ostrava, often just referred to as ‘Colours’, is a festival which feels quite like no other. The festival has been going in the Czech Republic since 2002, but it’s the move to the entrancing surroundings of Dolní Vítkovice – an old metalwork and mine – which has really put this multi-genre event on the European festival map. Across 21 stages – some open, some covered – you’ll find concerts, discussions, theatre performances, films, and workshops from some of the continent’s most interesting artists. This year, everyone from pop icon Grace Jones to Brit punks Slaves will be performing.
Last week, Latitude Festival announced their line-up for 2018 with Solange, The Killers and alt-J headlining.