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 (2020): Amelie Lens, Chris Liebing, Richie Hawtin, Ricardo Villalobos, Charlotte De Witte, Seth Troxler, Ben Klock, Jamie Jones, Sven Väth, Monika Kruse, Maceo Plex
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: 16-20th August 2020; Novalja, Croatia
Festival lineup (2020): Skepta, Kings of Leon, The 1975, The Kooks, Loyle Carner, Dizzee Rascal, Mura Masa, Damian Marley, Sam Fender
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: 5-9th August 2020; Newquay, UK
Rolling Loud Portugal
Festival lineup (2020): A$AP Rocky, Future, Wiz Khalifa, Playboi Carti, Meek Mill, Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, Chief Keef
The world's biggest hip-hop festival finally touches down in Europe, having established a devoted fanbase across the globe with lineups of the biggest names in modern rap. Portugal plays host to this new chapter in the festival's ongoing story of dominance, with the sands of Praia da Rocha playing host to a wealth of international superstars.
When & Where: 8-10th July 2020; Portimão, Portugal
Festival lineup (2020): David Guetta, DJ Snake, Armin van Buuren, Richie Hawtin, Steve Aoki, Afrojack, Marshmello, Pendulum, Galantis
Born in Miami, Ultra Music Festival has since taken its huge LED 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: 10-12th July 2020; Split, Croatia
Festival lineup (2020): Red Hot Chili Peppers, Post Malone, Billie Eilish, Marshmello, Lana Del Rey, Cage the Elephant, Kane Brown, Illenium
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: 15-17th May 2020; Gulf Shores, USA
Annie Mac Presents: Lost & Found Festival
Festival lineup (2020): Annie Mac, Helena Hauff, Eats Everything, Honey Dijon, slowthai, Charlotte De Witte, Seth Troxler, Josey Rebelle, CamelPhat
Now in its sixth year, Annie Mac's Maltese adventure has become one of Europe's most explosive festivals. 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.
Please note that this festival was postponed to September due to the spread of coronavirus.
When & Where: 10-13th September 2020; St Paul's Bay, Malta
Festival lineup (2020): Aya Nakamura, Beenie Man, Chronixx, Dadju, Diamond Platnumz, French Montana, Kizz Daniel, Machel Montano, Maître Gims, Naira Marley, Olamide, Teni, Torey Lanez, Wizkid, Wande Coal
Already one of the most hotly anticipated events of the summer, despiter only being held for the first time in 2019, the European instalment of Afro Nation promises a peerless lineup of Afrobeats, dancehall, rap, R&B and bashment on the sands of Praia da Rocha. Such was the success of the debut, it spawned other global events Afro Nation Ghana and Afro Nation Puerto Rico.
When & Where: 17-19th July 2020; Portimão, Portugal
Festival lineup (2020): Black Eyed Peas, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Passenger, Nina Kraviz, Tyga, Timmy Trumpet, Jamie Jones, Paul Kalkbrenner, Nicky Romero, Parov Stelar
This magical electronic and pop festival takes place on a beautiful coast in Romania for four days of partying and sun. The festival is only in its fifth year and yet it attracts many famous artists and and music fans looking for the perfect early July vacation spot.
When & Where: 2-5th July 2020; Constanta, Romania
Dimensions & Outlook
Festival lineup (2020): Dimensions: Floating Points, Helena Hauff, Karenn, Josey Rebelle | Outlook: Shy FX, Goldie, D Double E, Flava D
After many fruitful years in Pula, sibling festivals Dimensions and Outlook have upped sticks and moved to a new Croatian home in Tisno. While house, disco and soulful selectors are more in their element at Dimensions, the bass-heavy DJs and MCs shine at Outlook; both festivals offering the underground elite and new favourites the chance to play out against the stunning backdrop of the Adriatic coast.
When & Where: Dimensions: 13-17th August 2020; Tisno | Outlook: 30th July - 3rd August 2020; Tisno
BBF: Barcelona Beach Festival
Festival lineup (2020): Armin van Buuren, Steve Aoki, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Alan Walker, Marshmello, Timmy Trumpet, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano
Held on the northern reaches of the famous coastal city, 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: 11th July 2020, Barcelona, Spain
Festival lineup (2020): The Strokes, Lana Del Rey, The National, Tyler, the Creator, Bad Bunny, Pavement, Bikini Kill, Massive Attack, Iggy Pop, Disclosure, Young Thug, Kacey Musgraves
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: 6-4th June 2020; Barcelona, Spain
Festival lineup (2020): Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa, Kings of Leon, Major Lazer, The Strokes, A$AP Rocky, Stormzy, Foals
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: 5-11th August 2020, Budapest, Hungary
Festival lineup (2020): Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Richie Hawtin, Noisia, DJ Snake, Deep Dish, Alesso, SFDK, Brennan Heart, Kase.O, Amelie Lens, Maceo Plex, Vini Vici
Another dance music giant, Dreambeach Villaricos spans a variety of genres as it strikes a balance between the mainstream and the underground, with established favourites from the worlds of EDM, techno, house, hardsyle, drum & bass, hip-hop and more. And as you'd expect from a party on this scale, the staging, production, sound and lighting are built to match.
When & Where: 5-9th August 2020; Villaricos, Spain
Festival lineup (2020): Andy C, Chase & Status, Hannah Wants, Jamie Jones, Hot Since 82, Mall Grab, Skream, Shy FX
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: 21-25th June 2020; Novalja, Croatia
Festival lineup (2020): Bad Bunny, Migos, Major Lazer, Ozuna, blackbear, MEDUZA, Profjam, Melim + more TBA
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: 4-8th August 2020; Zambujeira do Mar, Portugal
Cavendish Beach Music Festival
Festival lineup (2020): Miranda Lambert, Dan + Shay, Brett Young, Dallas Smith, Chris Lane, Tim Hicks, Mitchell Tenpenny
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: 10-12th July 2020; Cavendish, Canada
Les Plages Électroniques
Festival lineup (2020): The Chainsmokers, Paul Kalkbrenner, Guy Gerber, Kaytranada, Kungs, Sam Paganini, Stephan Bodzin, Vald
France's stylish southern city of Cannes welcomes superstars of house, techno and beyond to the beautiful seaside site for three days in the Mediterranean sun, which has seen performances from all manner of dance music royalty across recent years.
When & where: 7-9th August 2020; Cannes, France
Fresh Island Festival
Festival lineup (2020): Burna Boy, Wizkid, DaBaby, D-Block Europe, Tim Westwood, DJ Semtex
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: 4-9th July 2020; Novalja, Croatia
Lineup (2020): Alan Walker, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Alok, Vini Vici, Sean Paul, Miss K8, Mandragora, MORTEN
One of Portugal's biggest dance music festivals, RFM Somnii invites a selection of party-starters from a variety of genres for a huge-scale three-day party on the sands of Praia Do Relógio in Figiuera da Foz, complete with imposing staging and spectacular production.
When & Where: 10-12th July 2020; Figueira da Foz, Portugal
See all of our upcoming beach festivals here