After our rundown of the top homegrown festivals, we’ve rustled up a primer to the best summer shindigs taking place in more exotic climes.
Pleasant as yet another weekend in a British field/holiday camp can be, sometimes it pays to cast one’s net a little futher. Castles, islands, open air museums – there are no shortage of remarkable locations to be investigated, not to mention a similar abundance of top-notch line-ups.
Given the profusion of new festivals popping up all over the globe, it’s near impossible to offer a truly comprehensive survey. A few crackers – New York’s Unsound festival and Detroit’s Movement, to name two – have already been and gone. Equally, some of reliable events (Elevate, Club To Club) are keeping shtum about their line-up for now. Still, here’s a lean fifteen picks for the venturesome music aficionado. From the cerebral to the carnivalesque, there’s something here for all breeds of traveller.
Note: listed ticket prices are for the event in full, and do not include booking fees.
Barcelona, Spain, 155€
The Goliath of electronic festivals returns for its nineteenth year of music, art and shades-and-wifebeater combos. During the day, the festival sets up stall in Barcelona’s wonderful Centre de Cultura Contemporania; come sundown, things decamp to the sprawling Fira Gran Via L’Hospitalet complex. New Order, James Murphy and Lana Del Rey demonstrate the festival’s booking muscle, but it’s sets from Flying Lotus, Untold and Blawan (b2b with Mary Anne Hobbs) that we’re especially excited about. Particularly charmed names in a great line-up include Richie Hawtin, Jacques Greene, Julio Bashmore and Daedelus. In a year that’s seen the Sónar brand expand into Sao Paolo, it’s great to see that the Barcelona edition is as on point as ever.
Jeff Mills plays Canada’s MUTEK this weekend
TAURON NOWA MUZYKA
Katowice, Poland, c. €50
The Polish gathering takes place in and around an abandoned coal mine, and the organisers have correspondingly dug deep to snare some great leftfield dance names. DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn will be spreading the footwork gospel, and John Talabot will be capitalising on a banner 2012. Sepalcure and L-Vis 1990 are on the cards, and Hot Chip and Caribou & Four Tet will bring in the punters. Throw in three of the finest freneticists around - Rustie, Mouse On Mars and Gang Gang Dance - and you’ve got a sterling bill.
August 30 – September 3
Fort Puna Christo, Pula, Croatia, £135
Somehow, Croatia has managed to establish itself as the new dance festival capital of Europe. The bass-orientated Outlook remains the biggest of the bunch, and the 2012 line-up packs some serious punch as a result. DMZ, Skream, The Bug (w/ Flowdan and Daddy Freddy) and Hatcha will all represent the low-end. Pearson Sound, Pinch and Joker also get the nod. Moreover, Outlook have assembled some seriously good old timers: you’re unlikely to catch Souls Of Mischief, Lee Scratch Perry and DJ Marky on the same bill anywhere else. Numerous boat and beach parties should keep things on a lively tip.
May 30 – June 3
Assorted venues, Montreal, Canada, up to $260
As the festival market balloons, one common complaint is that most line-ups are increasingly interchangeable. Not so with Montreal’s MUTEK festival, which offers a hoard of unique, high-concept and one-off performances. Kode9 will present his collaborative film-score project with MFO and Ms. Haptic. Tim Hecker and Stephen O’Malley will present a live collaboration in St. James’ Church, and Lustmord and Biosphere will be giving their Trinity collaboration a second spin. FACT will also be hosting a killer showcase on the Thursday. Jeff Mills will be debuting at the festival with a live presentation of his The Messenger/Sleeper Wakes project, and Monolake will show off his surround-sound Ghosts audio-visual set. Demure visionary Shackleton completes the bill for the evening. Roly Porter, Blondes and Nicolas Jaar also feature.
Petrovaradin, Serbia, £95
Like the 400+ year old fortress which hosts it, EXIT is now a formidable bulwark on the summer festival landscape. The Serbian bash always pans wide with its line-up, leading to one of the most winningly schizophrenic bills around. Even if Guns’N'Roses and Duran Duran don’t prod your buttons, the likes of Laurent Garnier, Richie Hawtin and Erykah Badu should do the business. There’s also an R&S showcase, featuring nifty folks like Lone, Pariah and Teengirl Fantasy. Further acts include New Order, Space Dimension Controller, Addison Groove and Azari & III.
BAD BONN KILBI
May 31- June 2
Düdingen, Switzerland, CHF 165
This relatively humble Swiss event has all sorts of interesting curiosities. Oneohtrix Point Never, Dimlite, Rustie and Clark will all be playing live. Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry will stop by with his The Whitebellyrats sidemen, and Nguzunguzu will throwing a global pop sounds into a blender. Mudhoney and The Afghan Whigs will also a bit of scuzz to proceedings. The festivities also take place a stone’s throw from the majestic Lake Schiffenen, so bring some flat stones for skimming.
Erykah Badu will be Serbia’s EXIT in July
Dour, Belgium, 117€
The Francophone village of Dour, situated in Western Belgium, is normally a relatively sleepy spot. That changes in July, when Belgium’s pre-eminent electronic festival – recently declared by Last FM to be the world’s best for discovering new music 0 sets up stall for four days. There’s absolutely no shortage of class acts on the bill: Actress, Mount Kimbie, James Blake and Pantha Du Prince will all be filling rooms with their highly distinctive, similarly immaculate brands of dance music. Hats off to the hip-hop booking team, who’ve managed to assemble The Pharcyde, Black Star and DOOM on the same bill. Other treats include Ben Klock, Battles and Mosca.
September 6 – September 9
Fort Puna Christo, Pula, Croatia, £120
Outlook spin-off Dimensions shares a venue and a sensibility with its progenitor, but offers an altogether more sophisticated bill. Carl Craig will be appearing under his phenomenal 69 guise, and Moodymann and Theo Parrish will also be representing Detroit. Surgeon and Marcel Dettmann will be adding a hard edge, whilst Floating Points and Nathan Fake will offer somewhat dreamier sounds. Other big draws include Joy Orbison, Four Tet, Kyle Hall and Tessela.