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 names. Here's our selection of the top 20 beach-side events.
- Top 20 Music Festivals in Europe
- Summer 2016: Start Planning Your Croatian Electronic Escape Now
- TOP 10: Electronic Music Festivals in the UK
Sonus Festival, Croatia: 21-25 August 2016
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.
Boardmasters, UK: 10-14 August 2016
Spanning the Cornish coastline, Boardmasters is a festival dedicated to surfing, skating and live music even hosting its own pro competitions, and in the past has been soundtracked by the likes of Snoop Dogg and Chase and Status. Faithless, Rudimental and Bastille headlined in 2015.
Ultra Europe, Croatia: 15-17 July 2016
Born in Miami, Ultra Music festival has since taken its huge L.E.D. screens and colossal sound systems around the world, leaving its beloved EDM mark on Ibiza, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Santiago and Seoul, now taking up residency in Croatia. Aside from the main stadium event there is also outstanding beach parties and a fun boat party that anyone in their right mind would not miss.
Hangout Festival, USA: 20-22 May 2016
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 top names. The Weeknd, Calvin Harris and Florence and the Machine are set for 2016's edition.
kaZantip (formerly "Kazantip Republic"): 2017 dates and location TBA
kaZantip's two-week dance affair captures hearts like a whirlwind holiday romance. Taking over beautiful ocean-side locations, kaZantip watches the the waves lap across the thin, white sands, past palm trees and towards the stages where over world-famous DJs don’t just get the party going – they make sure it never stops. Expect nudity, water sports and champagne in what will be the most incredible fortnight of your life.
Croatia Rocks, Croatia: 2016 dates TBA
We all know Ibiza Rocks, right? Well the iconic brand decided after 10 years that it was time to bring a dose of the famous Mediterranean Island to Croatia. Having already been dubbed ‘the new Ibiza’ it seems only fitting that the gorgeous sands of Pag’s Zcre Beach can now dance to the eclectic real deal, topped off with pool and beach parties.
Sónar Festival, Barcelona: 16-18 June 2016
Immersed within the coastal city of Barcelona, Sónar is a mecca for all electronic and dance lovers. Indeed the main events occur on two sites across the city, but it’s the ‘Off Sonar’ parties which make this festival extra special, manifesting across the city’s rooftops, bars, pools and iconic beaches.
Gnaoua, Morocco: 12-15 May 2016
This magical world music festival on the north-eastern coast of Morocco has built its reputation on a laidback, bohemian atmosphere blessed with wonderful Riad guesthouses and meandering bronze beaches. Focusing on the traditional Gnaoua (pronounced "Now-ah") music which originated from sub-Saharan Africa, the festival takes in ritual poetry, soulful African beats, jazz reggae, rhythmic drum sets and acrobatic dancing, alongside more contemporary world music by musicians from all over the globe.
Dimensions & Outlook Festivals, Croatia: 24-29 Aug 2016 (Dimensions); 31 Aug - 5 Sep 2016 (Outlook)
Dimensions and Outlook bring a distinctive bass and urban sound to Pula, Croatia, with MCs and DJs reverberating round one of Europe's most scenic surroundings. Venues range from an idyllic Roman Amphitheatre to an old fort, where both the underground elite and firm favourites play out against the stunning backdrop of the Adriatic coast.
Soul Beach, Aruba: 25-30 May 2016
A cornerstone of Caribbean musical culture, Soul Beach is a full five day long groove on the sexy, smouldering beaches of Aruba that swings both day and night, only pausing for a touch of some delicious food.
Primavera Sound, Spain: 1-5 June 2016
Primavera Sound keeps its roots under the wide canopy of rock, with recent headliners including The Black Keys, Arcade Fire and Queens of the Stone Age. But 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. Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem and Tame Impala are confirmed for 2016.
Sziget, Hungary: 10-17 August 2016
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. The likes of alt-J, Martin Garrix and Kings of Leon performed in 2015 while 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 The Burning Man.
Hideout Festival, Croatia: 26-30 June 2016
Another festival taking advantage of the breathtaking scenery on Pag Island is Hideout, continuing to roll out the house, techno and dubstep 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 Brits looking to get away for an incredible summer party. Jamie xx, The Martinez Brothers, Seth Troxler, Jamie Jones and Andy C are just a teaser of the great 2016 lineup.
Cavendish Beach Music Festival, Canada: 8-10 July 2016
If country music is more your kind of thing, then Cavendish Festival will suit you like a dream. The 4-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. Names such as Eric Church and Keith Urban compliment the warmest waters north of the Carolina’s.
MEO Sudoeste, Spain: 3-7 August 2016
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.
Spring Break Island, Croatia: 26-29 May 2016
As you’ve probably guessed, the Island of Pag is fast taking over as Europe's number 1 dance festival destination. Split into two different chunks, Spring Break Island will be cranking it up for a total of 10 days and 12 nights hosting a selection of top international DJs and local favourites to really kick off the Croatian summer.
SunSplash, Turkey: June 2016
Set in the beachfront area of the stylish Su Hotel on the Turkish Riviera, Sunsplash Antalya is a mixture of a luxury getaway and groovy dance music (think: Norman Jay, Jamie Lidell, Mad Professor). Workshops on yoga and healthy eating should align your yin and yang while you're there.
Fresh Island Island, Croatia: 12-14 July 2016
With three beach-side stages, plenty of poolside action and bungee jumping for the more adventurous, New Yorker 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 and A$AP Rocky have hit it in the past and over 40 live acts and DJs will be carefully selected for the upcoming four day bash.
Beyond The Valley, Australia: NYE 2016/17
Ever been stuck for New Year’s Eve plans and wished you could be at a music festival? Beyond The Valley, a new boutique camping festival in Victoria, lays on an unrivalled lineup of Aussie and international music, complete with food trucks, boutique beer and cocktail bars. Oh, and a hangover spa named the Luxury Pop-Up Hotel.
Zcre Spring Break, Croatia: 25-29 May 2016
Zrće Beach’s very own Spring Break spin-off takes place on what was named the most beautiful and best kept beach on the Adriatic in 2002. Secluded from neighbours by a pine wood, it’s the perfect place to let loose to some of the finest dance, techno and house. Spring Break shows no signs of letting up and continues to ride the crest of public imagination and demand.