Inspiration Samuel Asquith


Five of the best summer music festivals

The proliferation of summer music festivals means that organisers are pushing the boundaries to make their event stand out. As well as big name performers, expect unforgettable experiences in surreal environments. Here are five of the summer’s best European festivals

  1. 1 Party at an old ironworks

    As the Czech Republic’s third largest city, Ostrava falls a little under the tourist radar. But it’s well worth seeking out and gets its moment in the spotlight this summer with the Colours of Ostrava, from 19-22 July. Taking place in the visually spectacular location of a disused ironworks, this festival looks like no other. As for the music, that’s the only thing that isn’t metal. Expect an eclectic mix of performers, including Norah Jones and Jamiroquai.


    Colours of Ostrava Festival
  2. 2 Rock out in Roman ruins

    In Pula, Croatia, Dimensions Festival (30 August-3 September) has the unique selling point of taking place in an ancient Roman fortress, Fort Punta Christo. But the music is far from dated, with a line-up that showcases the best in underground electronica. Go to a rave in the moat of the fortress, take in the Adriatic on one of the daily boat parties or, even better, witness the opening concert with the likes of Grace Jones and Moderat in a Roman amphitheatre.

    Festival Dimensions
  3. 3 Supersize your festival

    Established in 1976, the gargantuan North Sea Jazz Festival, from 7-9 July in Rotterdam, sees more than 1,000 musicians across 14 stages, making it the largest indoor music festival in the world. Despite the name, the festival hosts not only jazz performers but also gospel, world, funk and hip-hop artists and more. This year’s festival theme is Chicago’s influence on jazz. Expect show-stopping performances from Mary J Blige and The New Power Generation’s ‘Celebrating Prince’ show.

    North Sea Jazz Festival
  4. 4 Have an avant-garde adventure

    Resurrected in 2013 after a 23-year hiatus, Berlin Atonal is definitely one for the more avant-garde festival-goer. Taking place from 16-20 August, it’s a platform for innovative and experimental electronic music and art, with several world-premiere commissions and audio-visual installations being revealed, including Turner Prize-winning photographer Wolfgang Tillmans’ latest collaborative project. Kraftwerk Berlin – an imposing former East German powerplant – will host the festival, setting the stage for an extraordinary experience.

    Berlin Atonal
  5. 5 Be an island castaway

    A week-long music and cultural festival on an island in the middle of the Danube, anyone? Well, that’s the gist of the Sziget Festival in Hungary. And, having won the Best Major European Festival award twice in the last six years, it is a safe bet for an unforgettable multi-genre experience. On the green island of Obuda, 2km from Budapest, Sziget’s unique appeal includes a futuristic amusement park and a lively performing arts programme. Sziget runs from 9-16 August and performers include Kasabian, Pink and Wiz Khalifa.

    Festival Sizget