How do you define indie? The term is rooted in the late 70s, when artists began recording, producing and marketing their own records when they couldn’t get a label to fund them.
Buoyed on by the freedom of expression this setup gave them, the indie scene exploded. Since then, however, the term has gone under many transitions, so much so that its meaning is now the cause for much debate.
Pulling together a range of themes associated with indie – indie rock, trend-setting and alternativeness – we've compiled a list of eight music festivals that we believe best fit the indie bill. But just like the term, our choices are inevitably up for debate.
Headliners (2017): Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Frank Ocean, The xx
Certified indie-giant, Primavera Sound has racked up a reputation as the destination for sun-kissed European hipsters seeking out the very latest trend-setting artists from alt-rock to sub-mainstream electro.
Basking on the Barcelona coast, the festival prides itself on pushing the alternative scene forward, and as its reputation shows, its influence has never been greater.
When & where: 30 May-3 June 2018, Barcelona, Spain
Festival No. 6
Headliners: The The
Music, art, theatre and more come together in the charming Welsh village of Portmeirion as pop-up stages and venues are erected across the town.
Regarded as one of the UK's best boutique festivals, Festival No. 6 has a leftfield ethos etched into its roots, ignoring the status quo and focusing solely on its pick of the best up and coming artists in each field.
When & where: 6-9 September 2018, Portmeirion, UK
Best Kept Secret
Headliners: LCD Soundsystem, The National, Father John Misty
The Netherlands' biggest indie festival also has a very alt-location: a safari park.
Surrounded by woodland and lakes of exotic animals, Best Kept Secret won't be true to its name for much longer, with music junkies across the continent making the trip to the guitar-based wonderland.
When & where: 8-10 June 2018, Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands
Headliners: Bonobo, Olli Schulz, Everything Everything, Faber
Sibling to MS Artville, an artistic festival that creates its own pop-up village, MS Dockville takes over the aforementioned town and fills its intimate spaces with a diverse blend of bands and DJs, reflective of Germany's thriving alternative music scene and innovative edge.
When & where: 17-19 August 2018, Hamburg, Germany
Pitchfork Music Festival Paris
Headliners (2017): The National, Ride, Run The Jewels, Kamasi Washington
The festival of the hipster's favourite music publication, it's no surprise that Pitchfork Music Festival is all about showcasing independent and underground artists.
With a growing influence on the alternative scene, the Pitchfork brand has its finger constantly on the pulse, which means lineups are filled with the most astute pioneers and crowds are brimming with music journalists and industry insiders.
When & where: November 2018, Paris, France
Headliners (2017): The 1975, Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes
Although boasting a heavy dose of indie musicians, Latitude's "indie-ness" is particularly evident away from the lure of main stages.
A short stroll around the site and you'll be greeted with the very best of the creative arts, from deep literature sessions to avant-garde film screenings and the best up and coming comedians.
When & where: 12-15 July 2018, Southwold, United Kingdom
Headliners (2017): The Libertines, Metronomy, All Saints, The Coral
Sheffield has a long association with indie artists, being the birthplace of the Arctic Monkeys as well as Pulp, Richard Hawley and Milburn.
The city's premier music festival, Tramlines, aims to reflect the city's gritty music scene, showcasing a variety of genres in its favourite venues.
When & where: 20-22 July 2018, Sheffield, United Kingdom
Headliners (2017): Foo Fighters, The Prodigy, Richard Ashcroft
If your definition of indie is synonymous with something unique, then Secret Solstice must tick every box. Held in the sparsely-populated, geographically unique Iceland, the festival not only hosts a lineup of international and local artists in its capital Reykavík, but also takes festival-goers out to some incredible locations.
A secret, naturally heated lagoon and the country's second largest glacier provide the venues for a series of exclusive parties that you literally wont find anywhere else.
When & where: 21-24 June 2018, Reykjavík, Iceland
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