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 names. Here's our selection of the top 20 beach-side events.
- Top 20 Music Festivals in Europe
- Summer 2016: Start Planning Your Croatian Electronic Escape Now
- TOP 10: Electronic Music Festivals in the UK
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: 19-23 August 2018; Novalja, Croatia
Spanning the UK's Cornish coastline, Boardmasters is a festival dedicated to surfing, skating and live music, even hosting its own pro competitions. The Chemical Brothers, Annie Mac and The Horrors are on the lineup for 2018.
When & where: 8-12 August 2018; Newquay, UK
Born in Miami, Ultra Music festival has since taken its huge L.E.D. screens and colossal sound systems around the world, leaving its beloved EDM mark on Ibiza, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Santiago and Seoul, now taking up residency in Croatia. Aside from the main stadium event there is also outstanding beach parties and a fun boat party that anyone in their right mind would not miss.
When & where: 5-11 July 2018; Split, Croatia
Hangout Festival, USA: 19–21 May 2017
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 top names.
When & where: 18-20 May 2018; Gulf Shores, USA
Annie Mac Presents: Lost & Found Festival
Now in its fourth 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: 3-6 May 2018; St Paul's Bay, Malta
Electrobeach Music Festival
Right down near France's border with Spain, EMF brings the very biggest names in dance music to the coast at Le Barcarès. Three days of full-throttle partying to the likes of David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Calvin Harris and deadmau5 – it's any EDM fan's dream, and one of the best beach spots around.
When & where: 12-14 July 2018; Le Barcarès, France
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: 21-24 June 2018; Essaouira, Morocco
Dimensions / Outlook
Sibling festivals Dimensions and Outlook bring distinctive sounds to Pula, Croatia. While house, disco and soulful selectors are more at home at Dimensions, the more 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: 29 Aug - 2 Sep & 5-9 Sep 2018; Pula, Croatia
BBF: Barcelona Beach Festival
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: 14 July 2018; Barcelona, Spain
Soul Beach Music Festival
A cornerstone of Caribbean musical culture, Soul Beach is a full five day long groove on the sexy, smouldering beaches of Aruba that swings both day and night, only pausing for a touch of some delicious food.
When & where: 23–29 May 2018; Aruba
Primavera Sound keeps its roots under the wide canopy of rock, with recent headliners including The Black Keys, Arcade Fire and Queens of the Stone Age. But 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 - 3 June 2018; Barcelona, Spain
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: 8-15 August 2018; Budapest, Hungary
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: 25-29 June 2018; Novalja, Croatia
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: 7-11 August; Zambujeira do Mar, Portugal
Cavendish Beach Music Festival
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. Names such as Eric Church and Keith Urban compliment the warmest waters north of the Carolinas.
When & where: 6-8 July 2018; Cavendish, Canada
Spring Break Island
As you’ve probably guessed, the Island of Pag has a fair claim to being Europe's number 1 dance festival destination. Split into two different chunks, Spring Break Island will be cranking it up for a total of 10 days and 12 nights hosting a selection of top international DJs and local favourites to really kick off the Croatian summer.
When & where: 31 May - 3 June & 14-17 June 2018; Novalja, Croatia
Les Plages Électroniques
France's stylish southern city of Cannes welcomes superstars of house and techno to the beautiful golden sands, with performances from the likes of Jamie Jones, Amelie Lens and Sven Väth across three days in the Mediterranean sun.
When & where: 9-11 August 2018; Cannes, France
Fresh Island Island
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 and A$AP Rocky have hit it in the past and over 40 live acts and DJs will be carefully selected for the upcoming four day bash.
Beyond The Valley
Ever been stuck for New Year’s Eve plans and wished you could be at a music festival? Beyond The Valley, a new 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: 31 December 2018; Larder, Australia
Zrce Spring Break Europe, Croatia: 2–5 June 2017
Zrce 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: 31 May - 3 June; Novalja, Croatia
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