Top 10 Indie Music Festivals in Europe

Top 10 Indie Music Festivals in Europe

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.

Primavera Sound

Headliners: Björk, The National, Arctic Monkeys, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Migos

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

Festicket Guide / Book Primavera Sound 2018

Festival No. 6

Headliners: The The, Friendly Fires, Franz Ferdinand

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

Festicket Guide / Join Festival No. 6 2018 Mailing List

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

Festicket Guide  Book Best Kept Secret 2018

MS Dockville

Headliners: alt-J, Bonobo, Nick Murphy, Maribou State

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

Festicket Guide  Book MS Dockville 2018

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

Festicket Guide  Join Pitchfork Music Festival Paris 2018 Waiting List


Headliners: The Killers, Solange, alt-J

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

Festicket Guide  Book Latitude 2018


Headliners: Stereophonics, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Craig David presents TS5

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

Festicket Guide / Join Tramlines 2018 Waiting List

Secret Solstice

Headliners: Slayer, Stormzy, Gucci Mane

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 won't find anywhere else. 

When & where: 21-24 June 2018, Reykjavík, Iceland

Festicket Guide  Book Secret Solstice 2018

This Is Not A Love Song

Headliners: Phoenix, Beck, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Father John Misty

It's definitely fair to say that this southern French gem doesn't have quite the same global recognition as some of the festival on this list, but that's a huge part of its appeal.

The consistently eclectic lineups packed with international stars betray the intimate scale and inviting atmosphere of the annual early-summer gathering.

When & where: 1-3 June 2018, Nîmes, France

Festicket Guide  Book TINALS 2018

OFF Festival

Grizzly Bear, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Aurora, Jon Hopkins

While the scale and size of the festival – and its increasingly expansive lineup – have grown over the last decade or so, one thing that has never changed for Poland's OFF Festival is its commitment to showcasing the finest in alternative, independent and experimental musical talent.

When & where: 3-5 August 2018, Katowice, Poland

Festicket Guide  Book OFF Festival 2018

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