Europe's finest and biggest music festivals are also some of the heaviest hitters in the world. Tomorrowland leads 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 2019, in no particular order.
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Festival lineup (2018): Carl Cox, Tiësto, Axwell λ Ingrosso, Alesso, Giggs, Fatboy Slim, Major Lazer, Adam Beyer
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: 22-25 August 2019, Daresbury, UK
Festival lineup (2018): Arctic Monkeys, Björk, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The National, Migos, A$AP Rocky, Lorde, Haim
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: 30 May – 2 June 2019, Barcelona, Spain
Rock am Ring & Rock im Park
Festival lineup: Tool, Die Ärzte, Slipknot, Marteria & Casper, Dropkick Murphys, Sabaton, Foals, Die Antwoord
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: 7-9 June 2019, Mendig and Nürnberg, Germany
Isle of Wight Festival
Festival lineup (2018): Kasabian, Depeche Mode, The Killers, Liam Gallagher, Camila Cabello, Manic Street Preachers, Chase & Status, Nile Rodgers & Chic
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 50 years on from the original edition, IOW is as strong as ever.
When & where: 13-16 June 2019, Isle of Wight, UK
Festival lineup (2018): Afrojack, David Guetta, Marshmello, Alesso, The Chainsmokers, Carl Cox, Eric Prydz, Armin van Buuren
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: 12-14 July 2019, Split, Croatia
Defqon.1 Weekend Festival
Festival lineup: (2018): Headhunterz, Wildstylez, Radical Redemption, Atmozfears, Destructive Tendencies, Miss K8, Noisecontrollers
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: 21-24 June 2019, Biddinghuizen, Netherlands
Festival lineup: Ed Sheeran + many more to be announced
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: 7-13 August 2019, Budapest, Hungary
Festival lineup (2018): J. Cole, Stormzy, Drake, Giggs, Big Sean, Rae Sremmurd, Migos, French Montana
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: 5-7 July 2019, London, UK
Festival lineup: The Cure, Sofi Tukker + many more to be announced
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: 4-8 July 2019, Novi Sad, Serbia
Festival lineup: The Cure, Travis Scott, Scarlet Pleasure, Blawan, Testament, Alma, Full of Hell & The Body, Julia Holter
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: 29 June - 6 July 2019, Roskilde, Denmark
Festival lineup (2018): Armin van Buuren, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Martin Garrix, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Carl Cox, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, Alesso, Ben Klock
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: Dates for 2019 TBA, Boom, Belgium
Mad Cool Festival
Festival lineup (2018): Pearl Jam, Arctic Monkeys, Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, Depeche Mode, Tame Impala, Kasabian, Nine Inch Nails
Only two editions in, 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: 11-13 July 2019, Madrid, Spain
Festival lineup: Def Leppard, Slipknot, Tool, Slash, Whitesnake, Rob Zombie, Trivium, Die Antwoord
The grandfather of rock and heavy metal festivals around the world, Download represents the high water mark of many bands' careers.
When & where: 14-16 June 2019, Derby, UK
Festival lineup (2018): Childish Gambino, Skepta, Wu-Tang Clan, Bonobo, N.E.R.D, Anderson .Paak, Annie Mac, SZA
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: Dates for 2019 TBA, London, UK
Festival lineup (2018): Nina Kraviz, Adam Beyer, Carl Cox, Ben Klock, Rødhåd, Jeff Mills, Ricardo Villalobos, Amelie Lens
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: 29-30 June 2019, Spaarnwoude, Netherlands
Festival lineup (2018): Silk City (Diplo & Mark Ronson), M.I.A., Grace Jones, London Grammar, Plan B, Chaka Khan, Mura Masa, First Aid Kit
Madcap adventuring and spectacular themes are Bestival's calling cards. If you're looking for a huge musical lineup, you've come to the right place; though Bestival's really all about endless side-performances.
When & where: Dates for 2019 TBA, Dorset, UK
Reading & Leeds Festivals
Festival lineup (2018): Fall Out Boy, Kendrick Lamar, Kings of Leon, Travis Scott, Post Malone, Panic! At The Disco, Courteeners, Wolf Alice
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: 23-25 August 2019, Reading and Leeds, UK
Super Bock Super Rock
Festival lineup (2018): The xx, Justice, Travis Scott, The Voidz, The The, Anderson .Paak, Tom Misch, Stormzy
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 2019, Lisbon, Portugal
Hellfest Open Air
Festival lineup: Slayer, Manowar, Dropkick Murphys, Carcass, Mass Hysteria
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: 21-23 June 2019, Clisson, France
Festival lineup (2018): Gorillaz, Die Antwoord, Limp Bizkit, Enter Shikari, Shy FX, Soul II Soul, Maribou State, Sleaford Mods
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: 7-11 August 2019, Winchester, UK