The music listening experience is malleable; it can and should be appreciated everywhere. Different settings provide different contexts which allow the listener to connect with songs in a myriad of ways.
Live music is all about taking the relationship between setting and sound to a new level, showcasing artistic creations in ways that ensure the most enjoyment possible for everyone in attendance.
Bodies of water have always been a source of inspiration for artists and thus it only makes sense that rivers, lakes, and oceans would make great settings for concerts.
Certainly the festival world thinks so, as there are a host of festivals that use these scenic settings to their advantage. Here are the best of the best.
Annie Mac Presents: Lost & Found Festival
Festival lineup (2019): Annie Mac, Patrick Topping, Skream, The Martinez Brothers, Peggy Gou, The Black Madonna, Chase & Status, Richy Ahmed
In the festival world, making it to your fifth edition is a big deal. Reaching that milestone in 2019, it's not hard to see why people have fallen for Lost & Found. Taking over beaches, pools, clubs, seas, and even castles in Malta, this year's boat party features sets from My Nu Leng, Oneman, and Alexis.
When & where: 30 April - 3 May 2020, St Paul's Bay, Malta
Festival lineup (2019): Martin Garrix, The Black Eyed Peas, Rita Ora, Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters, Patti Smith, The Sugarhill Gang and Melle Mel & Scorpio
Featuring some of the festival world's most unique events, there's never a dull moment at Secret Solstice. Bringing their magical surroundings into the experience for years, the festival's partnered with local tour companies to step up their game this year. On the boat side of things a few highlights are whale watching tours and northern lights tours, as well as tours that cover both whale watching and northern lights.
When & where: 26-28 June 2020, Reykjavík, Iceland
Festival lineup (2019): Jamie Jones, Hannah Wants, Bicep, Richy Ahmed, MK, Eats Everything, Charlotte de Witte, Claptone
Certainly no afterthought, if there's one festival in the world that has mastered the boat party, it's Hideout. With 17 different boat parties at this year's edition, it's not a proper Hideout experience until you've grooved to the beat on the high seas. They come in all shapes and sizes, setting sail in the afternoon and evening, with lineups of artists that cover a wide range of sounds. No excuses.
When & where: 21-25 June 2020, Novalja, Croatia
Festival lineup (2019): Tiësto, Marshmello, The Chainsmokers, Armin van Buuren, DJ Snake, J Balvin, Future, Timmy Trumpet
The two countries that seem to fully understand the appeal of the boat party are Croatia and Hungary. The latter's biggest electronic music festival, Balaton Sound, takes to the seas once each day, with a lineup of heavy hitters led by Monika Kruse, Matador, Alle Farben, and Dubfire.
When & where: 8-12 July 2020, Zamárdi, Hungary
Barcelona Beach Festival
Festival lineup (2019): David Guetta, Armin van Buuren, Alesso, W&W, DJ Snake, Steve Aoki, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Don Diablo
Claiming to be the first beach festival, BBF is a rite of passage for Barcelona's dance music lovers. Annually curating a lineup of the biggest names in EDM, you can get ready for this all-out rager of a party with a couple different boat parties traversing the Mediterranean.
When & where: 13 July 2019, Barcelona, Spain
Festival lineup (2019): Foo Fighters, Martin Garrix, The 1975, The National, Ed Sheeran, Florence + the Machine, Post Malone, twenty one pilots
Hungary's main music festival and one of the world's biggest, Sziget has been growing their boat party offerings for the past three years. Now featuring six boat parties over the festival's seven days soundtracked by DJs on from this year's lineup, what's cool about these is they travel up and down the Danube, offering great views of the famed city's skyline.
When & where: 5-11 August 2020, Budapest, Hungary
Festival lineup : Rødhåd, Chris Liebing, Amelie Lens, Richie Hawtin, Ricardo Villalobos, Seth Troxler, Len Faki, Solomon
The techno heavyweight in Croatia, Sonus has been putting on booming sets at Zrce Beach since 2013. The heavier sounds on display at Sonus add a unique element to their vast array of boat parties, with open waters and coastal hills acts as a truly epic backdrop for thunderous kick drums and atmospheric synths.
When & where: 16-21 August 2020, Novalja, Croatia
Festival lineup: Jeff Mills, Blawan, Nina Kraviz, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Helena Hauff, Peggy Gou, Hunee, Craig Richards
The underground music nerd festival in Croatia, Dimensions runs over 20 boat parties each festival, teaming up with some of the scene's finest labels and selectors to create unforgettable experiences for three hours at a time out on the Adriatic.
When & where: 13 August - 18 September 2020, Pula, Croatia
Festival lineup (2019): Fisher, Eats Everything, Max Chapman, Pawsa, Ben Sterling, My Friend
Like Sziget's offerings, Budafest's boat parties traverse the Danube for a distinctly urban experience. With the city's famed parliament, thermal baths, foothills, and bridges acting as a background, these 1000 person capacity parties are a unique way to get to know the Hungarian capital.
When & where: 1-3 September 2019, Budapest, Hungary
Festival lineup (2019): Andy C, Chase & Status present RTRN II Jungle, Loyle Carner, SHY FX, Bugzy Malone, Goldie, Ghetts, Mala
A Croatian festival staple for a decade now, Outlook is tragically calling it quits this year, after one final blowout. Like Hideout, the boat party element is certainly no afterthought, with the festival finding partners in major labels and promoters for over 40 events on the crystal clear Croatian waters.
When & where: 30 July - 4 August 2020, Pula, Croatia