Europe's finest and biggest music festivals are also some of the heaviest hitters in the world. Glastonbury and Tomorrowland lead the way, with behemoths like Creamfields, Ultra Europe, Sziget, Primavera Sound and Rock am Ring heading up the chase.
Here's our run-down of 20 European bucket list festivals to hit up in 2020, in no particular order and covering all kinds of genres.
- TOP 50: The Best Music Festivals in the World 2019
- TOP 10: Electronic Music Festivals in Europe
- 10 Classic Festival Looks to Wear This Winter
- Top 20 Rock Music Festivals in Europe
- TOP 10: Hip-Hop & Urban Festivals in Europe
Festival lineup: Armin van Buuren + more artists to be announced
One of the two or three most prestigious dance festivals on the planet, Creamfields is always full to bursting with worldwide stars. Whatever flavour of electronic music you're into, you'll find more than you could ask for at Creamfields.
When & where: 27-30 August 2020; Daresbury, UK
Festival lineup: Pavement + more artists to be announced
Indie King and forceful supporter of new music, Primavera Sound prides itself on pushing the alternative scene forward. Creativity is paramount, with headliners often standing out from the festival crowd.
When & where: 4-6 June 2020; Barcelona, Spain
Rock am Ring & Rock im Park
Festival lineup: System of a Down, Green Day, Volbeat, Deftones, Billy Talent, Korn, Weezer, Broilers
If rock and metal are your game, then Germany's Rock am Ring needs no introduction. Along with sister festival Rock im Park, it pulls unparalleled lineups year after year and can lay claim to being one of the best-attended weekends in the world.
When & where: 5-7 June 2020; Mendig and Nürnberg, Germany
Isle of Wight Festival
Festival lineup (2019): Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, George Ezra, Biffy Clyro, Courteeners, Fatboy Slim, Richard Ashcroft, Lily Allen
Isle of Wight Festival is renowned for exclusive, legendary headliners – Fleetwood Mac, The Stone Roses, Bruce Springsteen – and eclectic lineups that pay homage to its own incredible history. Now over 50 years on from the original edition, IOW is as strong as ever.
When & where: 11-14 June 2020; Isle of Wight, UK
Festival lineup (2019): Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta, Carl Cox, DJ Snake, Afrojack, Adam Beyer, Above & Beyond, The Chainsmokers
Transported across the Atlantic from Miami's glamourous city centre, Ultra Europe wasted no time in establishing itself as a worthy successor to the original UMF. The biggest DJs in the world bring Croatia's stunning Adriatic coast to its feet.
When & where: 10-12 July 2020; Split, Croatia
Defqon.1 Weekend Festival
Festival lineup (2019): Angerfirst, Bass Modulators, Brennan Heart, Headhunterz, Coone, Radical Redemption, Destructive Tendencies, Wildstylez
Defqon.1 blazes the trail for hard dance music in a way that few other festivals do for any genre. The power of Q-dance keeps production and lineups at the very top of their game, and a sister edition in Sydney, Australia, has added an extra Defqon's reputation.
When & where: June 2020; Biddinghuizen, Netherlands
Festival lineup (2019): Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, Florence + the Machine, Twenty One Pilots, Martin Garrix, The 1975, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Jungle
Sziget is one of those festivals that could never spend another cent on marketing and still sell out every single year. Its reputation precedes it by almost a decade, and Budapest makes an incredible host city.
When & where: 5-11 August 2020; Budapest, Hungary
Festival lineup (2019): Cardi B, Travis Scott, Migos, A$AP Rocky, Future, Rae Sremmurd, Tory Lanez, Lil Uzi Vert
Rap and dance music form the perfect partnership at Wireless Festival, creating a distinctive weekend that embodies one of London's many subcultures with perfection.
When & where: 3-5 July 2020; London, UK
Festival lineup (2019): The Cure, Carl Cox, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Tom Walker, Jeff Mills, Maceo Plex, Amelie Lens, Greta Van Fleet
Titans of dance are scattered with the occasional note of indie and pop – or even heavy metal, in the case of Motörhead in 2015 – at Serbia's EXIT Festival. Sister festival Sea Dance keeps the party going at the beautiful beach-side location of Budva, Montenegro.
When & where: 9-12 July 2020; Novi Sad, Serbia
Festival lineup: Taylor Swift, Thom Yorke Tomorrow's Mordern Boxes, Pusha T, Mura Masa, Whitney
Naked runs and wild campsite parties don't define many modern music festivals, but Roskilde's deep sense of history brings people back year upon year for much more than just the music.
When & where: 27 June - 4 July 2020; Roskilde, Denmark
Festival lineup (2019): The Chainsmokers, Armin van Buuren, Carl Cox, Martin Garrix, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, A$AP Rocky, David Guetta, Adam Beyer
Tomorrowland is, simply put, the biggest electronic music show on earth. Massive lineups cherry-picked from any artist they could want, allied to an intense attention to detail, create an unrivalled wonderland that keeps on mesmerising the world.
When & where: 17-26 July 2020; Boom, Belgium
Mad Cool Festival
Festival lineup (2019): The Cure, Bon Iver, The National, The 1975, The Smashing Pumpkins, Greta Van Fleet, Robyn, Jorja Smith
Only a few years old, Mad Cool is already one of Europe's most glittering, glaringly popular festivals. True, it doesn't have the history and reputation for breaking ground that its Barcelona rival Primavera Sound commands, but in Mad Cool, Spain finally has another festival that stands a chance of challenging the Primavera might.
When & where: 9-11 July 2020; Madrid, Spain
Festival lineup: KISS, Iron Maiden, System of a Down, Deftones, Korn, The Offspring, Disturbed, Gojira
The grandfather of rock and heavy metal festivals around the world, Download represents the high water mark of many bands' careers.
When & where: 12-14 June 2020; Derby, UK
Festival lineup (2019): Chance the Rapper, Solange, Four Tet, Brockhampton, Loyle Carner, H.E.R., Action Bronson, Kaytranada
Nestled in the heart of London, Lovebox champions creative programming and a positive sense of fun. Just like with Wireless Festival, it's no surprise that urban and electronic music has found such a good home in the UK capital.
When & where: 12-3 July 2019; London, UK
Festival lineup (2019): Adam Beyer, Amelie Lens, Charlotte de Witte, Dixon, Jeff Mills, Nina Kraviz, Richie Hawtin, Sven Väth
Awakenings' iconic Gashouder venue in the heart of Amsterdam is left behind for the yearly festival, morphing the luscious Dutch countryside into an all-out natural dancefloor.
When & where: 27-28 June 2020, Spaarnwoude, Netherlands
Festival lineup (2019): Stormzy, The Cure, The Killers, George Ezra, Liam Gallagher, Tame Impala, Kylie Minogue, Janelle Monáe
Glastonbury sets the bar when it comes to worldwide music festivals. It hosts the biggest names in music on its famous Pyramid Stage, but it's the other side of Glastonbury that really sets it apart.
From the immersive world of shenanigans that is Shangri-La, to the flame throwing Arcadia spider and the hidden, underground Piano Bar, every corner of Glastonbury is full of surprises just waiting to be discovered.
When & where: 24-28 June 2020; Pilton, UK
Reading & Leeds Festivals
Festival lineup (2019): Foo Fighters, The 1975, Post Malone, Twenty One Pilots, Bastille, Blossoms, Billie Eilish, Stefflon Don
Reading Festival rightly sits among the world's genuine rock elite. Along with Leeds Festival – its northern English little brother – Reading has diversified somewhat over the last decade, but still packs a heavy punch each August.
When & where: 27-30 August 2020, Reading and Leeds, UK
Super Bock Super Rock
Festival lineup (2019): Lana Del Rey, The 1975, Metronomy, Kaytranada, FKJ, Superorganism
Lisbon's kingpin festival boasts seriously impressive headliners every year, though its worldwide profile remains a little lower than it rightfully deserves. SBSR is also an unbelievable excuse to see one of Europe's most breathtaking cities.
When & where: 18-20 July 2020; Lisbon, Portugal
Hellfest Open Air
Festival lineup (2019): Slayer, Manowar, KISS, Tool, Gojira, ZZ Top, Dropkick Murphys, Def Leppard
Every sub-genre of metal in existence carves out its own corner of Hellfest, adding up to the darkest and heaviest festival on the planet. Not for the faint-hearted, but steeped in overdriven beauty.
When & where: 19-21 June 2020; Clisson, France
Festival lineup (2019): Ms. Lauryn Hill, The Streets, Prophets of Rage, Chronixx, Chase & Status, Groove Armada, Slaves, UB40
Incredible music laying down a soundtrack for an entirely purpose-built themed city and ongoing mythology – BoomTown Fair takes the idea of a unique festival to a whole new level. Leave your civilian clothing at home and buckle up for a wild ride.
When & where: 12-16 August 2020; Winchester, UK