The 14 best music festivals in Europe, from Primavera Sound to Rock Werchter

fFestival-goers in the UK are greeted with more options than ever before. Dance fans can let off steam in the city; Country music fans can grab some BBQ before a line dancing class. Or if you just crave dancing on a muddy field, there are plenty of those too.

But for many, music is an opportunity to get away from it all – and that could mean leaving the UK altogether to experience your favorite artists in an incredibly different setting, be it a dramatic mountain range or a sun-kissed Italian village.

Here are The Independents most popular music festivals in Europe.

Primavera sound

Where: Barcelona, ​​Spain; Oporto, Portugal; Madrid, Spain

If: May 29 – June 4; 7th-10th June; 8th-11th June

It’s not for nothing that Primavera is considered the biggest party in Europe. Based in Barcelona, ​​the festival enjoys a reputation that surpasses itself and a loyal following that keeps coming back. It seems that the combination of Spanish sun, an amazing line-up and no camping can’t be beat. But that also means that Prima – as it is so affectionately called by its visitors – is usually sold out. Fortunately, the festival has recently expanded and now hosts events in Madrid and Porto with almost identical line-ups. Annabel Nugent

meadows in the mountains

Where: Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria

If: 1st-5th June

The highlight is the name! Meadows in the Mountains takes place in the Rhodope Mountains. It’s an idyllic fantasy – that is, when your dreams are set to a pounding mix of techno and house music – and an unlikely combination that makes for a totally unique experience in rural Bulgaria. Far from Coachella vibes, Meadows in the Mountains isn’t interested in being cool. Nobody judges your festival outfit here. The days are lazy and euphoric, starting with a pastel sunrise and ending well, just as you wish. A

The lineup for La Prima Estate 2023


La Prima Estate

Where: Camaiore, Italy

If: 16th-18th June and 23.-25. June

The promise of beautiful Tuscan seascapes, varied music and more activities than you can shake a hand-carved stick make La Prima Estate a true feast for the senses. Although only in its second year, the event is far from an amateur venture as it was organized by the founders of the long-established, month-long Lucca Summer Festival. Held over two weekends in mid-June on the golden sands of Lido di Camaiore, La Prima Estate will host big names like Nas, Bon Iver, Alt-J and Metro Boomin. You can also try a cooking master class or soothe your hangover with sunrise yoga. After all, you are on vacation! Kate Ng


If: June 24th – July 1st

Where: Roskilde, Denmark

When you’re sweaty, sticky, and unbearably hungover, sometimes all you need is a quick bath. At Roskilde Festival there is a real lake on the festival site where most guests take a refreshing dip in the afternoon before the music starts at sunset. This year’s lineup could be one of the most impressive ever, with Kendrick Lamar joining Lil Nas X, Burna Boy, Central Cee, Latto, Blur, Lizzo and Rosalía. Ellie Muir

Solange performs in Roskilde in 2017


Rock Werchter

Where: Werchter, Belgium

If: June 29 – July 2

Towering over Belgium as the country’s biggest rock festival, Rock Werchter is a four-day, four-stage extravaganza that draws some of Europe’s coolest crowds. Located about an hour outside of Brussels, Werchter is a sleepy village that comes alive at this popular annual event. Some festival-goers love it so much that you can see them camping out before the festival even starts. As the title suggests, Rock Werchter’s roster has plenty of headbangers, from Muse to Queens of the Stone Age. But with alt-pop superstar Rosalía, grime heavyweight Stormzy and Afrobeats showstopper Adekunle Gold also taking the stage this year, there really is something for everyone. Nicole Vassel

Montreux Jazz Festival

Where: Montreux, Switzerland

If: June 30 – July 15

Montreux is arguably the most prestigious music event in Europe, and has hosted the likes of Prince, David Bowie, Nina Simone, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock and Aretha Franklin. Nestled between sloping hills and the tranquil waters of Lake Geneva, the festival invites visitors to enjoy the beautiful scenery and Belle Époque buildings. MJF takes place over two weeks and this year the organizers have outdone themselves. From celebrity acts like Bob Dylan, Mavis Staples and Iggy Pop to the decadent pop and hip-hop of Janelle Monae and Lil Nas X, MJF is 2023’s destination for music’s most passionate fans. ROC

Bob Dylan is performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival this year

(Getty Images for AFI)

Bilbao BBK Live

Where: Bilbao, Spain

If: 6th-8th July

Nestled on the slopes of Bilbao’s sprawling mountains, this Spanish festival offers scenic views of the Basque Country, late nights and a stellar lineup. While the program spans all genres, this year’s headliners are aimed at pop and indie audiences: The Chemical Brothers, Arctic Monkeys, Florence and The Machine and Idles will hit the stage later in the summer. As with many European festivals, the set times are much later to avoid fatal heat stroke throughout the festival as most performances start in the evening rather than the afternoon. Enough time for a siesta. EM

No’s Alive

Where: Lisbon, Portugal

If: 6th-8th July

Right off the bat, Nos Alive has a lot to offer. Enjoy great weather, spectacular architecture and delicious food? Lisbon has everything. If endless sunshine and the city’s famous pastéis de natas aren’t your thing, the annual epic lineup should be enough to win your festival loyalty. This year’s program features Lizzo, Lil Nas With the Docklands covered in artificial turf, Nos Alive almost feels like a grown-up musical playground. There really is nothing that compares. NV

Metallica perform at NOS Alive 2022

(Jose Fernandes)

Oya festivals

Where: Oslo, Norway

If: 8th-12th August

This gem in the heart of Oslo offers the amenities of one of Norway’s coolest cities and a program that tends to break the trend elsewhere in Europe. So while every other festival seems to have cast its spell on the Arctic Monkeys and Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oya showcases avant-garde pop acts like Lorde, FKA twigs and Caroline Polachek. This year’s headliners, meanwhile, include the reunion of Britpop stars Blur and Nigerian Afrobeats star Wizkid. However, you might want to start saving as Oslo is notoriously expensive. Can we say it’s totally worth it? ROC

Insanely cool

Where: Madrid, Spain

If: 6th-8th July

Want the Coachella experience without the obnoxious influencers? Then look no further than Mad Cool, the festival bringing a desert vibe to Madrid – complete with palm trees, a Ferris wheel and glorious weather you can count on. This year’s program has a lot to offer for both rock and pop fans. In a minute you’re moshing to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Queens of the Stone Age. Next, you’ll groove to Lizzo and Lil Nas X. Spend a day lounging by the pool before dancing under the palm trees on cooler evenings. Sounds perfect right? Isobel Lewis

Lizzo is headlining Mad Cool this year

(Invision 2022)

Flow Festival

Where: Helsinki, Finland

If: 11th-13th August

Flow is an option for all the camp-hesitants out there. The event takes place in a disused power station, a wonderfully easy 20-minute train ride from Helsinki Central Station. However, do not expect green meadows. This festival is an urban affair. (It’s greener than most when it comes to sustainability though; it was one of the first to go carbon neutral and continues to reduce its footprint every year). Born out of a small club event almost two decades ago, Flow has retained its local appeal to this day. Against a backdrop of purple sunsets, local Scandinavian artists draw crowds just as large and boisterous as international heavyweights, which this year include FKA Twigs, Christine and the Queens and Wizkid. A


Where: Castelbuono, Sicily

If: 10th-13th August

Hardly any other festival in Europe takes place in such a unique environment as Ypsigrock. The festival takes place in the small Sicilian village of Castelbuono, about an hour’s drive from Palermo. The main stage is housed in the sun-drenched courtyard of an imposing medieval castle. If the stunning scenery and slobber-worthy cuisine aren’t enough to impress you, it might be the fact that Ypsigrock never books the same act twice. While Sicily is becoming a tourist hotspot every year – also thanks to the success of the hit TV show white lotus and celebrity endorsements from celebrities like Madonna, Bradley Cooper and Katy Perry – you probably won’t hear many English voices in Castelbuono. Assuming you know the words for “ice cream” (“Gelato”)“Aperol Spritz” (“Aperol Spritz”) and “pizza” (“Pizza”)along with your “please” and “thank you,” we assume you’re going to be fine. ROC

Ypsigrock takes place in the small Sicilian village of Castelbuono

(Roberto Bonomo)

Rock En Seine

Where: Paris, France

If: 23.-27. August

Why choose between a festival and a city break when you can have both? Rock en Seine’s hilarious action takes place west of the Seine in the Parisian suburbs. That means croissants by day and Kronenberg 1664s by night. For its 20th anniversary, the festival presents a suitably high-calibre lineup with a heady mix of pop and rock, including Yeah Yeah Yeahs, boygenius, The Strokes and Nova Twins. If you stumble drunk through the picturesque 460-acre park where Rock En Seine takes place, you can be confident that you’ll be following in the footsteps of kings, emperors and even French star Louis de Funès – all probably drunk. to. A


Where: Budapest, Hungary

If: 10th-15th August

For six days, this musical spectacle will conquer an entire island around the Danube. With a beach and Colosseum-style stage, Sziget is one of Europe’s largest and most impressive music festivals. The diverse lineup includes acts from all corners of the world, ranging from the dreamy sounds of Lorde and Arlo Parks to the likes of Yung Blud, David Guetta and Imagine Dragons. Also featured on some of the 60 stages are Billie Eilish, Loyle Carner, Macklemore, Sam Fender, Jamie xx, Mimi Webb and Bonobo. Not enough to quench your thirst for culture? Visit the theatre, the museum district or… the circus! Meg Warren Lister

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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