With most line-ups now announced at least in part, it’s time to start planning which festival you’re heading to in the summer. But with UK festival prices rising yet again, we say it’s time you started looking at alternatives in mainland Europe. The headliners are much the same as they are here, they’re cheaper, and you can always combine it with a spot of travelling. So with that in mind, here’s our guide to the best European music festivals in 2020.
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Dates: 5 to 11 August 2020
Line-up: The Strokes, Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa, Stormzy, Kings of Leon, Major Lazer, Foals
Price: From £165
If you’re looking for the continent’s answer to Glastonbury, look no further than Sziget in Hungary. The fifth biggest music festival in the world, Sizget brings together over 450,000 people together for seven days of music, art and performance. 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. This year’s headliners include The Strokes, Calvin Harris, Kings of Leon and Major Lazer, so we really are talking epic. Day tickets are also available if for some reason you want to head to Hungary for just the day.
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Dates: 3 to 7 June 2020
Line-up: The Strokes, Lana Del Rey, Tyler, the Creator, Beck, Massive Attack, Iggy Pop, The National
Price: From £162
More of us Brits head to Primavera Sound than any other festival in Europe and it’s not hard to see why. Around 200 artists will perform at the special twentieth edition of Primavera this year, and the Barcelona festival is ideal if you like your home comforts. It takes over the whole city, meaning you can grab a hotel or an Airbnb rather than having to dig out your sleeping bag. Just like Sziget, the line-up is always stellar and this year arguable its most eclectic to date with headliners including The Strokes, Lana Del Rey, and Tyler, the Creator, to name a few.
Location: Roskilde, Denmark
Dates: 27 June to 4 July 2020
Line-up: Taylor Swift, Tyler, The Creator, Faith No More, FKA Twigs, Thom Yorke
Price: From £250
Roskilde Festival is the largest music and arts festival in Northern Europe. It’s also one of the oldest, dating back to 1971. Which means, like Glastonbury, Roskilde will be celebrating its 50th edition this summer. Also like Glastonbury, it’s not just about the music. Though the likes of Taylor Swift will be headlining, there’s also plenty in the way of art, food and activism on offer during this 8-day extravaganza. Perfect for those who missed out on Worthy Farm.
Location: Biddinghuizen, Netherlands
Dates: 21 to 23 August 2020
Line-up: Stormzy, Foals, The Chemical Brothers, Lewis Capaldi, Liam Gallagher, London Grammar
Price: From £183
The Netherlands’ biggest festival offering in 2020 is once again Lowlands, which will be celebrating its 28th birthday. The Dutch extravaganza’s music is as stellar as its relaxed soft-drugs policy, with this year’s acts including Foals, The Chemical Brothers, Lewis Capaldi and Liam Gallagher. The festival brings in just 55,000 people for three days, which means it’s perfect if you’re fed up of not getting a decent view at a festival. Though it’s much smaller in size, like Glastonbury, the festival is also a micro-city in itself, and even comes with its own radio station, newspaper and currency.
Location: Boom, Belgium
Dates: 17 to 19 July 2020 and 24 to 26 July 2020
Line-up: Armin van Buuren, Alesso, Eric Prydz, Carl Cox, Fourtet, Basement Jaxx
Price: From £91
If you’re into your electronic music – or just massive parties for that matter – 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 with 2020’s line-up including legends like Armin van Buuren, Alesso, and Carl Cox. But really, everything pales into comparison when you first set eyes on Tomorrowland’s mainstage, which really does need to be seen to be believed.
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Dates: 13 to 15 August 2020
Line-up: The Strokes, Robyn, Bon Iver, Khalid, FKA Twigs, Michael Kiwanuka
Price: From £71
If you fancy a trip to Scandinavia this summer – and who wouldn’t? – Gothenburg and Way Out West festival is the place to be. Sweden’s biggest festival welcomes over 100,000 visitors for three days of music, festivities and culture. Way Out West bills itself as much more than purely a music festival, showcasing over 100 artists alongside film premieres, engaging and forward-thinking discussions, award-winning vegetarian food, and a stellar nightlife programme. But if you’re in it for the music, you won’t be disappointed with The Strokes, Robyn, Bon Iver, Khalid, FKA Twigs, Michael Kiwanuka all playing – making it probably the most eclectic line-up on our list.
Location: Bilbao, Spain
Dates: 9 to 11 July 2020
Line-up: Kendrick Lamar, Pet Shop Boys, The Killers, Slowthai, Supergrass
Price: From £129
Another Spanish entry into our list, BBK Live may not be as well known in these parts as its Primavera cousin further east, but northern Spain’s biggest festival has just as much appeal with one of the most diverse line-ups in Europe. Featuring alt rock, hip hop and dance acts across its three days, this year sees everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Pet Shop Boys to The Killers to Supergrass performing. While it may technically be located in the hills, it also has the added luxury of being bus-able or even walkable from the cultural hub of Bilbao.
Location: Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Dates: 15 to 19 July 2020
Line-up: Twenty One Pilots, Foals, Floating Points, The Neighbourhood
Price: From £96
For something a little different, Romania’s Electric Castle is as unique an experience as festivals on the continent get. Part-music, part-tech and part-art, this visually stunning festival features 3D projections, secret party areas, and 135,000 people partying within the walls of 15th Century Bánffy Castle. Electric Castle also bills itself as one of Europe’s ‘few truly 24-hour festivals’, so don’t expect much sleep!
Location: Ostrava, Czech Republic
Dates: 15 to 18 July 2020
Line-up: The Killers, Twenty One Pilots, Martin Garrix, The Lumineers, Sigrid
Price: From £104
Colours of Ostrava (often just referred to as ‘Colours’) has a different feel to almost any other festival on the continent. Swapping green fields for the old metalwork and mine of Dolní Vítkovice, Colours has 21 stages – some open, some covered – hosting everything from music concerts, discussions and theatre performances, to films, workshops and artists. This year, the line-up includes The Killers, Twenty One Pilots and Martin Garrix, making the 4 day festival probably the best value ticket around at £104.
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