While music festivals are obviously our main passion at Festicket, quite a few of us had a close eye on the recent draw for this year's Champions League (sadly Ipswich Town continue their 55 year absence from Europe's most elite club competition, but I'm sure it will be worth watching nonetheless).
Conversation in the office turned to which music festivals best represent each of Europe's major players in this year's tournament; the perennial favourites, the new challengers, the big spenders. And so this piece was born.
Not every single team in the competition is included; to be perfectly honest I don't know enough about FC Viktoria Plzen to make any clever comparisons. But here are most of the heavy hitters. Apologies in advance to any Spurs fans.
Glastonbury = Real Madrid
The biggest, most historically successful, and still the one to beat. Maybe their enormity, dominance and media attention might put a few people off, but it's hard to argue against them being the greatest of all time.
Primavera Sound = Barcelona
Classy, consistent and an absolute joy to behold when on top form. Always in the conversation for the best in the world, and hard to look past as one of the finest we’ve ever seen.
Sziget = Bayern
Utterly dominant in their home country and an absolute giant of Europe. Global stars on display year after year. Well-known for the respect and gratitude they have for their loyal fanbase.
Mad Cool = Atletico Madrid
A new contender to the Spanish crown. In a short space of time, the highly organised machine have invested heavily in some big names and mounted a real charge as one of the best that Europe has to offer. Very difficult to beat on their day.
Reading & Leeds = Manchester United
Historically, few come close to the heritage and reputation of this global giant. In recent years some have questioned those behind the scenes on their commitment to bringing in the best names and maintaining the traditional identity, but there’s no denying they are still a major player.
All Points East = PSG
A newcomer to the scene that has caused waves with their enormous financial investment. Perhaps still looking to take that extra step required to be considered among the European elite. Can't boast the same heritage and history as a lot of their competitors, but the performances speak for themselves.
Rock Werchter = Juventus
In a country with a rich history and a wealth of world-famous offerings to choose from, they have managed to establish themselves as the dominant force.
Øyafestivalen = Manchester City
Despite having actually been around for many years, recent investment has lead to them becoming one of the most exciting prospects out there, with perfectly balanced lineups and an engaging style.
Roskilde = Liverpool
Perhaps slightly overlooked or underestimated at the highest level, despite their size and heritage. Their devoted fanbase will be keen to remind you of their hugely impressive history (no doubt with plenty of mentions of the 1970s). Even when others have hit higher highs, there have always been an impressive array of names appearing year on year.
Wacken Open Air = Borussia Dortmund
German. Heavy metal pioneers. Insanely passionate and instantly recognisable fanbase. Partial to a skull motif.
Dour Festival = Napoli
Somehow regarded as one for the hipsters, despite actually being one of the biggest and best known in their home country, and in Europe more broadly. Very recognisable identity and a wealth of talent in the lineup, even if the absolutely biggest star names might be playing elsewhere.
NOS Alive = Benfica
This Lisbon favourite sits comfortably among the biggest and best in Portugal, and they are fully deserving of their place among the European elite. It might be hard to see them compete with the true giants, but there's no denying the quality on display.
Bestival = Ajax
Operating on a slightly smaller scale now than they have in the past, and without quite the same calibre of huge names in recent lineups. However, they helped shaped the landscape of the scene in a lot of ways, with many that have come since adopting their ideas, principles and ethos. Also have a strong reputation for supporting homegrown talent.
Melt Festival = Schalke
A German stalwart with strong and obvious links to the coal mining history and industrial heritage of the city they call home.
Festival Internacional de Benicàssim = Valencia
Although it's fair to say they are slightly overshadowed by other Spanish giants, there's definitely a charm to this coastal fan favourite. What's more, they have certainly been able to compete at the highest level over the years (see 2000 and 2001 for reference).
Les Eurockéennes = Olympique Lyonnais
Historically one of the most successful in their country, for years they looked utterly unbeatable on a domestic level. Others may have come along to grab the headlines more recently, but they remain one of the most consistent performers in France every year and are more than deserving of their place in the selection of Europe's finest.