Did you know that festivals don’t have to mean getting washed out and traipsing through mud to see your favourite artists? It can also mean chilling on pristine sands, swimming or surfing in clear blue waters, and soaking up rays while listening to top, top music.
Here's our selection of the best beach festivals.
Festival lineup: Amelie Lens, Rødhåd, Chris Liebing, Richie Hawtin, Ricardo Villalobos, Seth Troxler, Len Faki, Tale of Us
With a passion for underground electronic music, Sonus is tucked away on a little slice of paradise: Croatia’s Island of Pag. Once the suitcases hit the hotel floor, it’s five days and four nights of partying, which means beachside sets, boat fiestas and plenty of pool action – whether that’s relaxing or raving.
When & where: 18-22 August 2019; Novalja, Croatia
Festival lineup: Florence + the Machine, Foals, Dizzee Rascal, Wu-Tang Clan, Jorja Smith, Franz Ferdinand, DJ EZ, Wilkinson B2B Sub Focus
Spanning the UK's Cornish coastline, Boardmasters is a festival dedicated to surfing, skating and live music, even hosting its own pro competitions. Held on Fistral Beach and Watergate Bay in Newquay, Boardmasters attracts thousands of extreme sports and music fans every August, keen to pair up their passions.
When & where: 7-11 August 2019; Newquay, UK
Festival lineup: Swedish House Mafia + more artists to be announced
Born in Miami, Ultra Music Festival has since taken its huge L.E.D. screens and colossal sound systems around the world, with its European edition in Croatia fast becoming one of its most famous.
The festival is spread across Split's historical Stadion Poljud, as well as a selection of other parties in what is known as Destination Ultra, including Ultra Beach on the island of Hvar, a Regatta beach party on Brač and a number of parties hosted by Resistance inside beach clubs and fortresses.
When & where: 12-14 July 2019; Split, Croatia
Festival lineup (2019): Travis Scott, The Lumineers, Diplo, Khalid, The 1975, Vampire Weekend, Cardi B, Kygo
Boasting a status as the only music festival located literally on a beach in the US, Hangout brings all the elements of a grand-scale music festival to the sandy shores of Alabama, meaning you can stroll out of your beachfront condo and catch sets from great artists.
When & where: 16-19 May 2019; Gulf Shores, USA
Annie Mac Presents: Lost & Found Festival
Festival lineup: Annie Mac, Patrick Topping, Skream, The Martinez Brothers, Peggy Gou, AJ Tracey, The Black Madonna, Shy FX
Now in its fifth year, Annie Mac's Maltese adventure has become Europe's most explosive start to the summer. Lost & Found Festival takes a distinctly UK-flavoured lineup to the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, with pool-parties, boat-parties and even a castle rave making it a unique and high energy festival.
When & where: 2-5 May 2019; St Paul's Bay, Malta
EMF: Electrobeach Music Festival
Festival lineup (2018): Martin Garrix, Armin van Buuren, Oliver Heldens, Afrojack, DJ Snake, Angerfist, Yellow Claw, NERVO
Right down near France's border with Spain, EMF brings the very biggest names in dance music to the coast at Le Barcarès. Last year saw three days of full-throttle partying to the likes of David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Afrojack and NERVO – it's any EDM fan's dream, and one of the best beach spots around.
When & where: 12-14 July 2019; Le Barcarès, France
Festival lineup (2018): Snarky Puppy, Maâlem Hamid El Kasri, Asma Hamzaoui, Ismael Rahil, Omar Barkaoui, Fatoumata Diawara, Said Boulhimas, Khalid Sansi
This magical world music festival on the north-eastern coast of Morocco has built its reputation on a laid-back, bohemian atmosphere blessed with wonderful Riad guesthouses and meandering bronze beaches.
Focusing on the traditional Gnaoua (pronounced "Now-ah") music which originated from sub-Saharan Africa, the festival takes in ritual poetry, soulful African beats, jazz, reggae, rhythmic drum sets and acrobatic dancing, alongside more contemporary world music by musicians from all over the globe.
When & where: 20-22 June 2019; Essaouira, Morocco
Dimensions & Outlook
Festival lineup: Dimensions: Jeff Mills, Blawan, Anderson .Paak, Helena Hauff | Outlook: Andy C, Chase & Status, Loyle Carner, Shy FX
Sibling festivals Dimensions and Outlook bring their distinctive sounds to Pula in Croatia. While house, disco and soulful selectors are more at home at Dimensions, the bass-heavy DJs and MCs shine at Outlook.
Venues range from an idyllic Roman Amphitheatre to an old fort, where both the underground elite and firm favourites play out against the stunning backdrop of the Adriatic coast.
When & where: Dimensions: 28 August - 1 September 2019 | Outlook: 4-9 September 2019; Pula, Croatia
BBF: Barcelona Beach Festival
Festival lineup: David Guetta, Armin van Buuren, Alesso, W&W, Don Diablo, Steve Aoki, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, DJ Snake
Immersed within the coastal city of Barcelona, BBF is a mecca for all electronic and dance music lovers. Barcelona's Platja del Forùm sets the scene, with the Mediterranean as a beautiful backdrop to some of the biggest DJs and producers in the world.
When & where: 13 July 2019, Barcelona, Spain
Soul Beach Music Festival
Festival lineup (2018): Mary J Blige, Usher, Trey Songz, LLCoolJ, Robin Thicke, Ledisi, Babyface, Faith Evans
A cornerstone of Caribbean musical culture, Soul Beach is a full five-day long groove on the sexy, smouldering beaches of Aruba that swings between day and night, only pausing for a touch of some delicious food.
When & where: 22–28 May 2019; Aruba
Festival lineup: Erykah Badu, Tame Impala, Solange, Future, Cardi B, J Balvin, Interpol, Janalle Monáe
Primavera Sound keeps its roots under the wide canopy of rock, with 2019's lineup featuring Erykah Badu, Tame Impala, Interpol and Solange, who top a bill that is 50/50 gender split. However, Barcelona's indie giant does also dip its toes into electronic and dance waters while priding itself on also giving rising artists an international platform.
And once the festival is over, you’re perfectly placed to explore one of Europe's most beautiful cities.
When & where: 30 May - 1 June 2019; Barcelona, Spain
Festival lineup: Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, Florence + the Machine, Twenty One Pilots, Martin Garrix, The 1975, Richard Ashcroft, Catfish and The Bottlemen
Not strictly at the beach, but definitely close to water, Sziget Festival takes over Obudai Island in the River Danube just off Budapest each August. Alongside high-profile lineups, sky-bars, heated spring baths and theatre sideshows have turned this into one heck of a carnival. With so much colourful non-music activity taking place, Sziget has been described as Europe's alternative to Burning Man.
When & where: 7-13 August 2019, Budapest, Hungary
Festival lineup (2019): Jamie Jones, Hannah Wants, Bicep, Richy Ahmed, MK, Eats Everything, Claptone, Charlotte de Witte
Another festival taking advantage of the breathtaking scenery on Pag Island is Hideout, continuing to roll out the house and techno in a country hardly spoilt for choice. But Hideout shows year after year that it's ahead of the rest, remaining a popular choice for travellers from far and wide looking to get away for an incredible summer party.
When & where: 1-5 July 2019; Novalja, Croatia
Festival lineup: Post Malone, Timmy Trumpet, Steve Aoki, Russ, 6LACK, Anitta, Jimmy P, Vitor Kley
MEO Sudoeste is a Portuguese institution that goes way beyond the music, having grown into a staple of the Portuguese summer calendar. Drawn primarily to its eclectic musical mix, festival fans know that parties take over the campsite just as much as the stages.
MEO Sudoeste may only be officially scheduled for five nights, but revellers often end up staying for more like nine in what is essentially an extended summer camp.
When & where: 6-10 August 2019; Zambujeira do Mar, Portugal
Cavendish Beach Music Festival
Festival lineup: Carrie Underwood, Russell Dickerson, Eric Church, Cam
If country music is more your kind of thing, then Cavendish Festival will suit you like a dream. The 3-day long bash is held each year on Prince Edward Island, Canada, turning what was once a cow pasture into a 70,000-strong music and dining festival. Artists such as Carrie Underwood and Russell Dickerson compliment the warmest waters north of the Carolinas.
When & where: 5-7 July 2019; Cavendish, Canada
Spring Break Island
Festival lineup: Felix Jaehn, Salvatore Ganacci, Cuebrick, Jey aux Platines, Maxtreme, Basskiller, Dropixx, Clubbusters
As you’ve probably guessed, the Island of Pag has a fair claim to being Europe's number one dance festival destination. Spring Break Island takes over this hotspot, cranking things up alongside a selection of top international DJs and local favourites to really kick off the Croatian summer.
When & where: 30 May – 8 June 2019; Novalja, Croatia
Les Plages Électroniques
Festival lineup: DJ Snake, Solomun, Orelsan, Adriatique, Tchami x Malaa, Meute, Mercer, Polo & Pan
France's stylish southern city of Cannes welcomes superstars of house and techno to the beautiful golden sands, which saw performances from the likes of Jamie Jones, Amelie Lens and Sven Väth across three days in the Mediterranean sun at the festival's last edition.
When & where: 9-11 August 2019; Cannes, France
Fresh Island Festival
Festival lineup: Tory Lanez, Lil Uzi Vert, Yxng Bane, Hardy Caprio, B Young, Gunna, Not3s, Tim Westwood
With three beach-side stages, plenty of poolside action and bungee jumping for the more adventurous, Fresh Island has it all. Add stunning sands, 24-hour parties and some of the biggest names in hip-hop into the mix and you’re probably already booking your festival trip. The likes of Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, and A$AP Rocky have all hit it in the past.
When & where: 15-17 July 2019; Novalja, Croatia
Beyond the Valley
Festival lineup: The Kooks, Joey Bada$$, Bonobo, Tash Sultana, Duke Dumont, Richy Ahmed, Kölsch, Peggy Gou
Ever been stuck for New Year’s Eve plans and wished you could be at a music festival? Beyond the Valley, a boutique camping festival in Victoria lays on an unrivalled lineup of Aussie and international music, complete with food trucks, boutique beer and cocktail bars. Oh, and a hangover spa named the Luxury Pop-Up Hotel.
When & where: December 2019; Larder, Australia
Zrće Spring Break Europe
Festival lineup: Headhunterz, Bauso
Zrće Beach’s very own Spring Break spin-off takes place on what was named the most beautiful and best-kept beach on the Adriatic in 2002. Secluded from neighbours by a pine wood, it’s the perfect place to let loose to some of the finest dance, techno and house. Spring Break shows no signs of letting up and continues to ride the crest of public imagination and demand.
When & where: 30 May - 2 June 2019; Novalja, Croatia
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