If there is one thing the United States and Europe have in common, it is that they both play host to some of the world’s biggest and best music festivals. From Coachella and Burning Man to Glastonbury and Tomorrowland, festivals have been causing music lovers to cross the Atlantic in search of that special one-off musical experience in a foreign land for generations.
With 2020 set to be a hot year for new musicians, the following list will rank the best festivals at from both sides of the pond at which to catch them.
Note: If you decide to travel to Europe next year (2021) please be aware that you’ll have to get an ETIAS visa waiver prior to arrival. Please find more information here: ETIAS Guide.
The quirky ancient town of Glastonbury from which the festival draws its name is virtually deserted for the 51 weeks of the year. Once a year, however, tens of thousands of merrymakers make their way from across the UK and beyond to set up camp in a field in the rural English county of Somerset for five days to witness one of the most famous musical spectacles on the planet. The world’s most famous musicians from every genre consider it the highest honor to have the chance to play at Glastonbury, and festival attendees consistently rank the event as the best festival they have ever been to. The original hippy vibe that the festival is famous for still lives on to a lesser or greater event today.
Located in the fittingly-named Belgian town of Boom, Belgium’s biggest festival is not to be missed. The festival site rivals that of Glastonbury and is surrounded by enchanting lakes and forests. The best electronic artists from around the world come to play at the magical festival that is magically decorated with art and features such as stages that float on the surface of the lakes. Tomorrowland tickets sell out in double-quick time, so make sure to get in on the act early if you want to go.
If you are ever in Budapest later on in the year, all anyone under the age of 40 will be talking about is the lineup for the city’s annual Sziget Festival. Sziget is a haven for all types of rock music and has become enormously popular, attracting around 100,000 people, all looking to chill out and let freedom reign. The site for the event is a lush 108-hectare island in the middle of the mighty Danube, giving it an extra-special feel.
1. Burning Man
Every year, Nevada’s Black Rock Desert plays host to one of the most extraordinary musical gatherings on the planet. Around 70,000 people brave the extreme temperatures to party day and night with other liberal like-minded people at the annual Burning Man festival. As well as for its consistently top-quality lineup, the festival is famous for its tiny eco-logical footprint and the fact that no money is charged at any of the attractions. If you want something, you will have to barter for it!
Coachella has quickly become America’s most popular festival in recent years. The festival takes place in California’s Indio Desert and sells out every year in a flash. The coolest bands strut their stuff on stage as the spellbound crowds watch on. As you wander the festival site, you are bound to catch a glimpse of one of the many celebrities that frequent the event. Visiting Coachella is simple for Europeans who are eligible for the ESTA visa waiver scheme; there really is no excuse to book your ticket to the States this summer.
3. South By South West
Taking place every spring in Austin, Texas, SXSW is renowned as a hotbed for up-and-coming artists trying to make a name for themselves in the music industry. Everybody who is anybody in the world of music gravitates to the festival to get the first word on who is hot and who is not among the newcomers to the scene. In addition to musicians, the SXSW also attracts the latest talent from the film and media worlds. All in all, a fantastic experience.
Tip: Make sure you sort out your ESTA visa prior to arrival.
The tradition for far-out festivals runs deep in on both sides of the Atlantic. Do not miss out on the opportunity to get to one if you find yourself on vacation this year. The time of your life could be just around the corner.