Germany's festival scene has something for everyone. No matter what you want to see, no matter what kind of festival you want to go to, you can find it here.
Festivals have been set up everywhere from the beach to the mountains and every genre you've heard of and more are all represented.
However, the sheer volume of choice is a bit much to take in, so to help cut through the noise here is the cream of the crop; the top 20 festivals in Germany, in no particular order.
Time Warp DE
Headliners (2019): Carl Cox, Adam Beyer, Richie Hawtin, Charlotte de Witte, Peggy Gou, Chris Liebing, Sven Väth, Amelie Lens
Taking place at the beginning of April, Time Warp DE sets the tone for the techno music you'll be dancing to all summer. Ever since it began in 1994, this festival has been about innovation and creativity. Add pristine sound systems and top of line stage production to this, and you've got one of the best festivals in the world.
When & where: 4 April 2020, Mannheim
Headliners: Tiësto, Chris Liebing, Len Faki, Lost Frequencies, Boys Noize
Another electronic monster, heading into its 27th year, MAYDAY Dortmund annually offers an expertly curated lineup of techno and house pioneers along with rising talent. Brought to you by I-Motion, the same promoters who created Nature One, Exodus, Syndicate and other major electronic music festivals, it's safe to say these guys know how to throw on a killer party. Come to rave.
When & where: 30 April 2019, Dortmund
Rock am Ring / Rock im Park
Headliners: Tool, Die Ärzte, Slipknot, The Smashing Pumpkins, Tenacious D, Die Antwoord, Slash, The 1975
Combined, these twin rock festivals draw some of the biggest crowds in the world. The allure is no secret, the festivals offer nothing short of legendary rock acts and seriously revved up fans who eat, sleep and breath rock and roll.
When & where: 7-9 June 2019, Nürburg / Nuremberg
World Club Dome
Headliners: David Guetta, Nina Kraviz, Armin Van Buuren, Marshmello, Sven Väth, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike
World Club Dome is one of the biggest EDM parties in Europe. The festival transforms Frankfurt's Commerzbank Arena into the world's biggest club and packs it full of amped up partiers. Offering the biggest DJs in the world and utterly mesmerising lights displays, the vibe here is insane.
When & where: 7-9 June 2019, Frankfurt
New Horizons Festival
Headliners: Martin Garrix, Major Lazer, Don Diablo, Timmy Trumpet, Alison Wonderland, Rezz, Project One
Held in Germany's iconic Nürburgring, New Horizons Festival has rapidly built an extensive fanbase and glowing reputation despite its debut only taking place in 2017. Is it to do with the glut of talent from across the electronic music spectrum, performing across seven separate areas within the festival grounds? Most likely, yes.
When & where: 21-25 August 2019, Nürburg
Headliners: The Streets, Hot Chip, Parcels, Tocotronic, Kevin Morby, Von Wegen Lisbeth
Maifeld Derby is an indie music lover's dream. Mixing together electronic, hip-hop, rock and everything in between, this festival packs in seriously talented artists outside of the mainstream. Getting its name from the horse racing stadium it's set in, Maifeld Derby is more than just music. Activities are set up throughout the site and festival-goers are encouraged to express themselves in any means they see fit.
When & where: 14-16 June 2019, Mannheim
Hurricane Festival / Southside Festival
Headliners: Foo Fighters, Mumford & Sons, The Cure, Die Toten Hosen, Tame Impala, Macklemore, Interpol, Steve Aoki
Another set of twins, Hurricane and Southside are good old massive outdoor festivals. These festivals present some of the biggest names in music every year, seeing The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and Foo Fighters formerly headline, to name a few. Ever since their inception in 1997, these twin festivals have been key dates on the German festival circuit.
When & where: 21-23 June 2019, Scheeßel / Neuhausen ob Eck
Airbeat One Festival
Headliners (2019): Armin van Buuren, Martin Garrix, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Steve Aoki, The Chainsmokers, Afrojack
Think of any major electronic act of the last 15 years. They've more than likely played Airbeat One Festival. Beginning in 2002 with a crowd of 1000, the festival has grown dramatically every year since. Airbeat One now welcomes more than 40,000 people over 4 days of straight up partying.
When & where: 8-12 July 2020, Neustadt-Glewe
Headliners: Bon Iver, A$AP Rocky, Jorja Smith, Skepta, Four Tet, Kaytranada, Solomun
Set amongst a former coal mine, complete with industrial structures and a picturesque lake for a backdrop, Melt Festival is in the running for Germany's most unique and stunning festival site. The music offered here is distinctly alternative, with organisers firmly committed to offering the best and brightest outside the mainstream.
When & where: 19-21 July 2019, Gräfenhainichen
Sea You Festival
Headliners: Sven Väth, Amelie Lens, Lost Frequencies, Jamie Jones, Adam Beyer, Len Faki, Monika Kruse
Sea You Festival is Germany's premier lakeside getaway music festival. Featuring a lineup of some of the biggest names in house and techno, Sea You takes place on the shores of lake Tunisee and has been dubbed the "beach republic." The festival separates itself from the competition by incorporating water sports and other activities on the lake into its festivities.
When & where: 13-14 July 2019, Freiburg
Headliners: The Chainsmokers, Armin Van Buuren, Steve Aoki, Richie Hawtin, Paul Van Dyk, Felix Jaehn, Timmy Trumpet
If Tomorrowland is your mecca, PAROOKAVILLE should be in your sights. Only heading into its third year, this festival has already become one of the best EDM festivals in Europe. Its lineups are consistently stacked with the biggest DJs in the world and its stage production is insane. But what's really great about PAROOKAVILLE is its immersive atmosphere. This is not just a festival, but a metropolis dedicated to big beats, massive drops, and a good time.
When & where: 19-21 July 2019, Weeze
Wacken Open Air
Headliners (2019): Slayer, Sabaton, Powerwolf, Parkway Drive, Prophets Of Rage, Within Temptation, Bullet For My Valentine
Ask your metal friends about Wacken Open Air and watch their eyes light up. This festival is the crown jewel of heavy metal and hard rock in Europe. What started as a smalltime, local festival in 1990 has grown into the largest metal festival in the world, with almost 100,000 people attending each year. Attendance is mandatory for anyone who considers themselves a metalhead.
When & where: 30 July - 1 August 2020, Wacken
Headliners (2019): Paul Van Dyk, Sven Väth, Neelix, Richie Hawtin, Eric Prydz, Angerfist
The younger sibling of MAYDAY Dortmund, this massive open-air electronic festival has actually surpassed its elder in size and attendance. This festival features over 20 stages, crowds of more than 60,000 and state of the art stage, sound and light production. Taking place on a former NATO missile base, the campground is a massive party and can hold up 65,000 people.
When & where: 2-4 August 2019, Kastellaun
Headliners: Billie Eilish, Jon Hopkins, Von Wegen Lisbeth, Parcels, Jungle, RIN
The largest river island in Europe is Hamburg's Wilhelmsburg district, aka the home of MS Dockville. This outdoor festival is set in the woods along the shores of the Elbe. Genre doesn't really apply to this one, instead its all about creativity. Focusing their attention not only on big names here, instead, producers also strive to curate a lineup of bands bucking trends and carving their own path.
When & where: 16-18 August 2019, Hamburg
Haldern Pop Festival
Headliners: Father John Misty, Michael Kiwanuka, Sophie Hunger, IDLES, Khruangbin, Julien Baker
Championed by German music television institution Rockpalast, Haldern Pop Festival has become an institution unto itself over its 35-year duration. A showcase festival by nature, the roster consistently features a heady concoction of domestic talent and international headliners. Performances occur in a multitude of ingenious and arresting locations, ensuring that creativity remains at the heart of Haldern Pop Festival.
When & where: 8-10 August 2019, Rees
Echelon Open Air & Indoor Festival
Headliners (2019): Chris Liebing, Amelie Lens, Adam Beyer, Vini Vici, Deborah de Luca
With almost 30,000 people attending every year, Echelon Open Air & Indoor Festival is the largest of its kind in southern Germany. Set in an old Cold War NSA satellite tracking station, the festival has spent the last 10 years transforming the site from a place of division and suspicious to one of unity and positivity.
When & Where: 22 August 2020, Bad Aibling
Headliners: Kings Of Leon, Swedish House Mafia, Martin Garrix, Khalid, Twenty Øne Pilots, Billie Eilish
The German outpost of the iconic Chicago festival, Lollapalooza Berlin is a massive multi-genre festival in the nation's capital. The Lollapalooza series is one of the most influential and successful festival series in the world and simply put is one of those festivals you have to see before your time's up.
When & Where: 7-8 September 2019, Berlin
Headliners (2018): Angerfist, Radical Redemption, Miss K8, Atmozfears
House and techno are great, but sometimes you just need to let go and rave to something more intense. For over 10 years, Syndicate Festival has presented the best of the harder electronic styles for one crazy night of partying. The beats are booming, the BPM is up, the lights and pyrotechnics are egging you on and so are the thousands of possessed fans around you. Nothing to do but let go and have an amazing night.
When & Where: 5 October 2019, Dortmund
SEMF - Stuttgart Electronic Music Festival
Headliners (2018): Chris Liebing, Charlotte de Witte, Len Faki, Joseph Capriati, Maceo Plex, Matador, Pan-Pot, Sven Väth
Heading into its second decade, Stuttgart Electronic Music Festival has become an unmissable night for any serious techno fans. While the majority of festivals choose the summer, SEMF takes place in mid-December during the lead up to Christmas when everyone is in a festive mood. This can at least partially explain the festival's electric atmosphere and its DJs penchant for going above and beyond during their sets.
When & Where: Dates for 2019 TBA, Stuttgart
Love Family Park
Headliners: Ricardo Villalobos, Adam Beyer, Peggy Gou, Chris Liebing, Sven Väth, Maceo Plex, Charlotte de Witte
A true haven for techno purists, Love Family Park merges the ethos of the underground with an outdoor summer experience, exhibiting the finest work from various mainstays of the genre. From minimal and tech-house to the straight-up hard-hitting techno, it's a no-brainer for disciples of the scene.
When & where: 25 July 2020, Rüsselsheim am Main
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