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20 best music festivals 2014

Forget Reading. How about Hellfest? 20 of the biggest, best and craziest music festivals in the world in 2014.

T in the Park? Mud? This year, leave your wellies at home and get your musical kicks abroad with 20 of the biggest, the best, the sunniest and the maddest music festivals in the world. Rock on!

Ok, we’ll include five alternative-ish UK fests too:

Miles Kane, Benicassim, 2013 © Christian Bertrand /
1. Glastonbudget

Where: Leicestershire, England
When: 23-25 May
What: The world’s best tribute festival ever.
Who: Green Date, Blurb, Pearl Jammer, Oasish etc, etc
Why: Because Oasis didn’t reform after all.

2. The Wickerman

Where: Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
When: 25-26 July
What: Family-friendly small-scale Glastonbury
Who: tbc
Why: £10 for a flushing toilet

3. Rewind

Where: Perth, Scotland, Henley-on-Thames, and Cheshire, England
When: 18-20 July, 16-17 and 29-31 August
What: 80s-tastic retro fest
Who: T’Pau, Billy Ocean, Level 42, UB40, Jason Donovan, Rick Astley
Why: Just in case Kylie turns up to do ‘Especially for You’ with Jason

4. Bloodstock

Where: Derbyshire, England
When: 7-10 August
What: The UK’s biggest independent metal festival
Who: Megadeth, Saxon, Hatebreed
Why: To see the full-contact Medieval fighting squad: ‘Expect even bigger and more explosive bouts of historic violence’.

5. Festival No.6

Where: Portmeirion, Wales
When: 13-15 September
What: ‘A bespoke banquet of music and art’
Who: tbc, but everything from rock n’roll to Welsh male choirs
Why: To re-enact surreal scenes from The Prisoner


rock metal guitar music festival
6. Rock Wechter

Where: Leuven, Belgium
When: 3-6 July
What: Mega rock festival with heavyweight line-up
Who: Metallica, The Black Keys, Babyshambles
Why: They publish all the times that bands are on stage in advance, so you don’t have to fork out even more cash on one of those lanyard thingys

7. Tomorrowland

Where: 18-20 and 25-27 July
When: Boom, Belgium
What: ‘A trippy technicolour fantasy’ in two parts
Who: Tiësto, Paul Kalkbrenner, Armin Van Buuren
Why: You can travel to the festival on a Tomorrowland Party Flight – complete with acts

8. Roskilde

Where: Roskilde, Denmark
When: 29 June – 6 July (yes, it’s on for a whole week)
What: Massive, famous music festival, once graced by Status Quo
Who: Carcass, Rob Zombie, Deerhunter
Why: To witness/take part in the annual Nude Run, the male and female winners of which win a ticket for next year

9. Sziget

Where: Budapest, Hungary
When: 11-18 August
What: Europe’s biggest music festival, held on ‘The Island of Freedom’ in the Danube
Who: Queens of the Stone Age, Placebo, Klaxons
Why: It boasts ‘an electronically amplified, warped amusement park that has nothing to do with reality’

10. Montreux Jazz Festival

Where: Montreux, Switzerland
When: 5-20 July
What: Historic festival that’s hosted names from Ella Fitzgerald to James Brown.. and Status Quo
Who: tbc – line-up announced 3 April
Why: To take the Jazz Train through The Alps

Benicassim copyright Christian Bertrand /
11. Benicassim

Where: Valencia , Spain
When: 17-20 July
What: All your favourite acts, plus sunshine and cheaper beer
Who: Jake Bugg, Lily Allen, M.I.A
Why: Swap the mud and rain for Spain… yeah, yeah, yawn

11. Pohoda

Where: Trencin, Slovakia
When: 10-12 July
What: Family-friendly fest featuring big names in rock, pop and dance.. in Slovakia!
Who: Kraftwerk, Afghan Whigs, Tame Impala
Why: ‘Dogs with visibly aggressive character will not be allowed to enter the festival’

13. Exit

Where: Novi Sad, Serbia
When: 10-13 July
What: One of Europe’s biggest music festivals, held in a historic fortress
Who: Disclosure, Rudimental, Queens of the Stone Age
Why: So you can chill out (yeah, right) afters at the Sea Dance Festival on the beach in Montenegro

14. Outlook

Where: Pula, Croatia
When: 3-7 September
What: It’s a bit like Ibiza, but with Horace Andy not Hardwell
Who: Goldie, Lauryn Hill, Busta Rhymes
Why: Beats, bass, beach parties, boat parties, bucketloads of booze.

15. Hellfest

Where: Clisson, France
When: 20-22 June
What: The Glyndebourne of the heavy metal calendar. They don’t come much bigger than this.
Who: Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath… and Status Quo
Why: Status Quo. Enough said.

The rest of the world

burning man Black Rock Desert
16. Burning Man

Where: Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA
When: 25 August – 1 September
What: What indeed! The daddy (or should that be Earth Mummy?) of far-out festivals. Makes Glastonbury look like The Proms, especially after a shandy or two
Who: ‘Burning Man isn’t your usual festival, with big acts booked to play on massive stages’, they say
Why: To seriously get your freak on. ‘In Black Rock City, you’re guaranteed not to be the weirdest kid in the classroom’, they say.

17. Coachella

Where: California, USA
When: 11-13 & 18-20 April
What: California’s answer to Glastonbury. No dogs allowed here. Even if you’re Paris Hilton
Who: Ellie Goulding, Lana Del Rey, Bryan Ferry
Why: To get a selfie backstage with Paris Hilton

18. Craven Country Jamboree

Where: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
When: 10-13 July
What: ‘The World’s Greatest Country Music Festival’
Who: Keith Urban, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Why: To hear Kenny and Dolly doing ‘We’ve Got Tonight’. In our dreams. We’ll have top settle for the bull-riding demonstrations.

19. Shambhala

Where: Nelson, British Columbia, Canada
When: 7-12 August
What: ‘The biggest acts in dance music’ in a crazy day-glo world on a cattle ranch in the Canadian Rockies
Who: tbc – revealed 15 March
Why: To have a strange encounter in The Fractal Forest with someone dressed as a nine-foot insect

20. Lake of Stars

Where: Lilongwe, Malawi
When: 26-28 September
What: Showcase of the music and arts of ‘the Warm Heart of Africa’ on the palm-fringed shores of Lake Malawi
Who: tbc
Why: For a festival experience so utterly different to Reading, with cheaper beer.