The grandad of European rock festivals and its younger but just as monstrous brother – Reading & Leeds – tend to dominate August's alt-rock and indie scene. But the next 31 days are stuffed full of lesser known festivals that pack a hell of a punch.
Italian summers are not lacking for a small town festival or two, and Sicily's Ypsigrock is a nouveau classic with Future Islands, Metronomy and Battles bringing some stardust to a solid, understated lineup. Taubertal Festival pulls of a similar trick in the glorious German countryside, while a little further north Poland's biggest festival, OFF, stretches on with its 2014 gong for Best Medium-Sized Festival in hand. France's traditional love for Carribean rhythms shows no signs of drifting, as Reggae Sun Ska celebrates its 18th birthday with a headline set from the one and only Jimmy Cliff. And a treat for metal fans: Rob Zombie will be hot-footing it from Sweden's Getaway Rock to Germany's M'era Luna in the same weekend.
25 years old this year, La Route Du Rock has a typically mid-soft soundscape led by Father John Misty, Sun Kil Moon and Jungle. And having appeared in several of our profiling articles (Lineup by Lineup: Ten Festicket Festivals for Anyone Dreaming of Coachella 2015; 12 Awesome Festivals in Scandinavia) Way Out West's surprise package delivers one of the summer's most genuinely stand-out lineups, with Pet Shop Boys, Florence and the Machine, alt-J, Years & Years, Beck… on and on… you get the picture.
The world's only pop-up town hosts yet another BoomTown Fair, with a lineup as long as both your arms plus those of everyone in your family, and a deluge of close-up performers bringing the whole thing to life. Back in Germany, Highfield is graced by Interpol, The Gaslight Anthem and old-school heroes The Offspring. And wrapping up the weekend, Flow Festival (which also featured in the electronic version of this article but is about as eclectic as festivals get) shows that Scandinavia really has become a thriving hub for festivals.
Together again on the the banks of the beautiful Übersee, The Offspring and The Gaslight Anthem are joined by Deichkind at this year's Chiemsee Summer, while Le Cabaret Vert is probably the only place you'll catch Paul Kalkbrenner and The Chemical Brothers on the same bill as Limp Bizkit. Norway's Pstereo (yep, there's Scandinavia again) closes in on a decade with La Roux and Susanne Sundfør at the helm, while down in Germany (hey Germany's popped up a lot too, hasn't it?) MS Dockville revels in an industrial setting like no other.
With the last weekend of the month come the aforementioned behemoths: Reading & Leeds finally get underway with Metallica, Mumford & Sons and The Libertines. Meanwhile down in Switzerland, Tame Impala, more alt-J and even more Paul Kalkbrenner are in line for the fifth edition of Zürich Openair, while on a much more low-key scale (no musical pun intended), SummerDays Festival welcomes Deep Purple to the southern bank of Lake Constance. Portugal's Reverence Valada carves out its own heavier niche, with a discussion wing focused on nurturing the European scene.
Topping things off, a couple that lean towards the pop end of the spectrum: Fusion Festival in Birmingham, UK, have lost Justin Bieber from the lineup but still boast Clean Bandit, Rudimental and super-group McBusted; and back up in (you guessed it) Scandinavia, Helsinki's first edition of Modern Sky is set to mark the beginning of something good. For the uninitiated, Modern Sky is China's biggest festival brand, and after a succesfull adventure in good old NYC, Finland could yet be its stepping stone to the rest of Europe…