The ELLE Guide to Festivals 2015

With hundreds of music festivals vying for your attention this summer, here's our pick of the best

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Whether it's a traditional muddy UK experience you're after, a sun-soaked, laid-back European funfest, or an exotic, long-haul, once-in-a-lifetime trip, it’s time to get on those dancing shoes...

Compiled by The ELLE Team and Cara Sterio

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In Europe

Nos Primavera Porto, Portugal

4-6 June

MOST POPULAR

Photo: Hugo Lima

Portugal's biggest draw, Optimus Alive, joined forces with ultra-cool Barcelona offering, Primavera Sound, to create a super-festival. Acts include FKA Twigs and Damien Rice, but dig deeper throughout the four stages as here's where the really intriguing acts can be found: Underworld and Jungle for starters. One to brag to your friends about.

Price £75; optimusprimaverasound.com

SunSplash, Turkey

21-28 June

Camping in a field isn't for everyone, so how about a festival in blazing sunshine, staying in a boutique hotel? Now we have your attention, welcome to SunSplash. The ‘biggest little festival’ in Antalya, on the Turkish Riviera, is guaranteed blissed out fun with chic beachside parties, laid-back cocktail bars, sand even yoga sessions for the early risers. Gilles Peterson and Jamie Lidell have previously featured. Tickets from £20 per day Packages from £230pp for three days including festival entry, hotel, breakfast, dinner and Yoga classes; sunsplash-festival.com

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Packages from £230 including festival entry, five-star hotel, breakfast, dinner, Yoga classes, spa and gym access; sunsplash-festival.com

Ibiza and Majorca Rocks, Spain

June 4-18 September

Long thought of as the daddy for dance music, the Spanish isle has rediscovered its love for good old-fashioned rock with the summer-long series of gigs now into its fourth year. Brit award nominees Years and Years, kickstart proceedings off in June with the first of the weekly Wednesday night raucous gigs taking place poolside at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel. Action kicks off in Majorca a week later, leaving you the weekends to make the most of the party island. The Libertines, Sigma, Fatboy Slim, Example, David Guetta and The Courteeners also perform - and don't miss the boat parties.

Tickets from £25; ibizarocks.com

Open’er Festival, Poland

1-4 July

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At £90 for a weekend, or £35 a day, the Open’er Festival in Poland is officially the cheapest in Europe. Far from skimping on acts, Mumford and Sons, Kasabian, Faithless, Kendrick Lamar and The Prodigy will all be performing at the event. Open’er will also be hosting its revamped Fashion Stage, filled with both ready-to-wear and eccentric collections. opener.pl

Tickets from £35 a day, £90 the weekend, opener.pl

The Garden Festival, Tisno, Croatia

1-8 July

MOST POPULAR

Photo: timertl.com

Possibly the country home to more new festivals than any other, Croatia is positively sprouting musical events. Jostling for the number one spot is The Garden Festival, with its beachside location, infamous Arghanoughty boat trips, laid-back electro, funk and dance music, and luxurious Shikar Tents, shipped in from India, for those who want to camp in style. If not, there are plenty of hotel options along the coast, all in walking distance. Sun-worshippers- look no further. This is their tenth and final year, so they're going out with a bang!

Week-long passes from £120; day pass from £15; thegardenfestival.eu

EXIT, Novi Sad, Serbia

9-12 July

If creative dressing and wild hedonism is your thing, then EXIT is for you. Revellers go the distance in this fortress-set long weekend, so prepare to party to the likes of Faithless, Clean Bandit, Motorhead, Rudimental and The Prodigy. Started as a protest to the Slobodan Milosevic regime, EXIT is based in a fortress on the banks of the river Danube, and the campsite at Officers' Beach is only a 20-minute walk away.

£89 ticket only, £25 camping pass; exitfest.org

Electric Elephant, Croatia

9-13 July

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Photo: heathershuker.co.uk

Imagine watching the likes of The 2 Bears and Dj Harvey on the decks with the beautiful Croatian coastline as your backdrop. Recover on the beach by day before nights of full-on partying. A perfect long weekend of escapism.

The four-day ticket is £130 or buy double whammy tickets for The Garden Festival and Electric Elephant for £175, electricelephant.co.uk

OFF Festival, Katowice, Poland

7-9 August

With previous headliners including Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine and Godspeed you! Black Emperor, the Polish festival is in its tenth year and shows no sign of slowing down. Held in an unusual green oasis within two residential estates, The Valley of Three Ponds park mixes city life with a traditional field festival atmosphere.

£42 for three day pass, without camping; off-festival.pl

Sziget Festival, Budapest, Hungary

10-17 August

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Photo: Peter Kallo

While the line-up may cater for British fans (Robbie Williams, Florence and the Machine, The Ting Tings) the scenery most definitely isn’t what we’re used to: a beautiful forested island in the middle of the Danube River that cuts through the heart of Budapest. Take in the picturesque cityscape and then listen to all the bands that have been on your wish-list for the past decade.

Weekly pass with camping £165, day tickets at £37; sziget.hu

Dimensions Festival, Croatia

26-30 August

MOST POPULAR

Photo: Dan Medhurst

Want to change the backdrop a little? How about a festival set in an abandoned 19th Century Fort? With the likes of Four Tet and Little Dragon playing on the Adriatic coastline, this is a one not to be missed. Choose boat and beach parties or travel to Pula, a pretty city buzzing with music and culture. At the end of the day (or night…) choose whether to lay your head beneath the stars, or off site in a hotel/ apartment. Adventure awaits.

Tickets £140, dimensionsfestival.com

Outlook Festival, Croatia

2-6 September

Photo: Benjamin Eagle

With Boy Better Know, Wiley and Rockwell performing, Outlook Festival is the chance to party to some of the legends of hip-hop, reggae and dancehall and see some of the best up-and-coming talent.

At the same venue as Dimensions, you can party in a dungeon, a courtyard, a moat, a boat, the beach or the festival’s main stage, set on a harbour.

Tickets £140, outlookfestival.com

Sunscape Festival, Malta

5–8 September

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Launching last year, Sunscape is a music, arts and lifestyle festival set on the pretty island of Gozo next to Malta. DJs, outdoor cinemas and zip wires take over the island's beaches, and with such a secluded location and a reputation to be made, this festival is set to be a future favourite.

Ticket prices TBC; sunscapefestival.eu

Lollapalooza, Berlin

12-13 September

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Launching for the first time in Europe, the world-renowned Lollapalooza festival will kick-start the party in the vibrant city of Berlin. Celebrating the festival’s massive global success across South America and the USA, Lollapalooza is set for a sell-out show, taking over the iconic Tempelhof Airport. From punk to pop, you can party to the likes of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Libertines, Sam Smith and Bastille, with many more acts yet to be revealed. 

Day tickets £48, two-day tickets at £84. Children under 10 go free lollapaloozade.com

IN THE UK

Lunar Festival, Warwickshire

5-7 June

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Fancy a weekend with a little bit of everything? Head to the Lunar festival in idyllic Warwickshire. By day, chill with the 360 cinema, yoga sessions and sausage-making master class (never seen that at a festival before) , perfect for setting you up for an evening BBQ. As the sun goes down, embrace Lunar in all its glory as you party with some of the best in the Midlands club scene.

Tickets from £42, lunarfestival.co.uk

Field Day, Victoria Park, London

June 6 & 7

Caribou, Ride and Patti Smith are just three of the 70-plus acts taking to the stage in Victoria Park. With food and drink courtesy of Street Feast, Venn Street Market, London Brewers’ Market and Tim Peaks Coffee, plus craft markets, team games and eating contests – if you can’t get into the tents for your favourite acts (once they're full, they're full- so stake out a spot early) there is plenty to keep you entertained.

MOST POPULAR

Victoria Park, Grove Road, London E3, fielddayfestivals.com Tickets available online or various outlets (see website above for details) £54.50 Sat £38.50 Sun, or £83 for the whole weekend

Parklife, Manchester

6-7 June

The sixth Parklife Festival happens in Heaton Park, with a line-up of world famous acts, including Disclosure, Ben Howard and Rudimental, as well as DJ sets by Annie Mac, Jamie Jones and Duke Dumont, and even Nas making an appearance. Expect a wealth of crazy creations and oddball installations, a host of up and coming acts, local acts, and food stalls from the local market and local restaurants.

Tickets for the weekend are £89.50; day tickets start at £54.50. Grounds close at 11 pm, no camping option. parklife.uk.com

Lovebox Festival, London

17-18 July

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Established by electric music legends, Groove Armada, Lovebox has evolved from hosting a party at Rouge strip club in 2002, to 85,000 festival-goers in the heart of London. Although it’s no longer a Groove Armada affair, the festival is set to celebrate its 10th year since taking over from the British duo, boasting headlining acts Rudimental and Snoop Dog. Set in urban London, Lovebox prides itself in bringing a rural atmosphere to the urban audience, so who says you can’t get the best of both worlds?

Weekend tickets start at £85, day tickets at £49.50 loveboxfestival.com

Port Eliot Festival, Cornwall

30 July - 2 August

Tucked away in the Cornish hills, this medieval monastery and stately home plays host to a literary/foodie/music/fashion hybrid of a festival. The Flower & Fodder stage (sponsored by Fortnum & Mason) and The Wardrobe Department, last summer watched the likes of Simone Rocha creating outfits and accessories. Plus, there's a Cabaret stage accompanying the weekend of music, so there's plenty to keep you entertained. For those averse to regular camping, there are a plenty or alternatives including traditional tipis, yurts or gypsy bowtop caravans.

Tickets from £50. porteliotfestival.com

Kendal Calling, Lake District

30 July- 2 August

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Set in the bucolic setting of Lowther Deer Park, Kendal Calling has won both Best Small and Best Medium-sized Festival and is now one of the fixtures on the Uk festival scene. Snoop Dog and Elbow headline what will be a weekend of spectacular scenery as well as foot-stomping music.

£135; kendalcalling.co.uk

Standon Calling, Hertfordshire

31 July -2 August

MOST POPULAR

A family-friendly festival within an hour of London, Standon Calling has so much more to offer than just mud and music. With its theme for 2015 still to be confirmed, there is plenty to keep the young ones occupied while the parents chill with a well-earned cider, perched on a hay bale. Basement Jaxx, The Dandy Warhols and Ella Eyre will perform. There are boutique tipis and yurts on offer for those who don't want the hassle of sharing tent space with excitable kids.

Ticket £127; standon-calling.com

Nozstock, Herefordshire

24-26 July

Photo: Susana Sanroman

A festival virgin? Let Nozstock ease you into the muddy-wellied way of life. This self-proclaimed ‘home-made’ event, which was once a simple gathering of friends, has now developed into one of the country’s best boutique festivals.

From folk to drum and bass, this intimate gathering has an eclectic mix of music to suit all tastes, and away from the bands, get set to enjoy comedy, arts and workshops in various locations across the farm, your new playground.

Tickets £99, nozstock.com

V Festival, Chelmsford and Staffordshire

22 - 23 August

With big names from Calvin Harris to Sam Smith headlining, V Festival is also featuring some classic old school favourites this year, such Tom Jones and The Proclaimers. As always V is all about providing more pop for your pound than anywhere else – The Script, Ellie Goulding, Paloma Faith, George Ezra, Kasabian, Stereophonics and Olly Murs are all on the line up.

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£189 with camping; vfestival.com

Festival Number 6, Portmeirion

3-6 September

Beautiful, intriguing, magical, Festival Number 6 is one of the most charming events to spring up in recent years, taking over the pretty coastal village of Portmeirion for one weekend in September. Immerse yourself in street performances, master classes, installations, as well as the music. Grace Jones headline and Belle and Sebastian perform in the town made famous by ‘The Prisoner’. Camp, stay in guest houses, or even in the castle that looms over the Mediterranean- inspired village.

Weekend camping £150; festivalnumber6.com

Shakedown, Brighton

15 August

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With a buzzy music scene, Brighton was made for one-day festivals. A predominantly urban showcase of some of the greatest  groups, Sub Focus, Camo Krooked, Spy, are among the many acts bringing the party to the south coast this summer. With an open air stage in Stanmer Park and one of the last UK festivals of the summer, Shakedown will leave you counting down the days until next year's season.

Tickets £45; shakedown.co.uk

Governor's Ball, New York, USA

5-7 June

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The impossibly hip New York holds an impossibly hip festival – naturally. Drake, Deadmau5 and The Black Keys headline the event in Randall's Island Park, on the East River, between Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx. Shuttle buses run to the venue, but by far the coolest way to arrive is by the Manhattan Ferry.

Weekend tickets from £172; governorsballmusicfestival.com

Essaouira Gnaoua Festival, Morocco

14-17 May

If you're into world music, then this one is for you. Only three and a half hours flight - but a world apart - from the UK - Morocco's laid-back surfing capital, Essouira, has been host to Gnaoua’s colourful acts for the past 15 years. Wander around the labyrinthine coastal town, listen to astonishing musicians for free at the main square's stage and bask in the legendary hospitality of the locals who’ll ply you with endless mint tea.

Free; festival-gnaoua.net

Splendour in the Grass, Australia

24-26 July

Hidden in the cooler, deep mid-winter, Splendour in the Grass is an alternative to Australia's behemoth festival Big Day Out. Outkast, Two Door Cinema Club, Childish Gambino and Foster The People wowed the crowds last year in the lush grounds of North Byron Parklands.

Tickets TBC; splendourinthegrass.com

Burning Man, Nevada, USA

August 30 - 7 September

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Not so much a festival, more an endurance test, Burning Man asks you to leave your money at the entrance gate. Not that you'll need it, of course, the revellers share everything in a kind of barter system and you'll leave with hundreds of new Facebook friends. An experimental community, an art installation, an outer body experience, the most profound week of your life? However you describe Burning Man, you'll never be the same again.

Tickets from £258; burningman.com

Rock in Rio, Brazil

18-19 and 24-27 September

Rock in Rio doesn't mess about. With 600, 000 tickets selling out in just four hours, it is said to be the largest festival in the world. Big, brash and boasting some of the world's greatest acts this year includes Metallica, Katy Perry, Queen and Slipknot, this is one not to miss. Don't forget to take in the sunset stage, which showcases South American talent.

Tickets TBC; rockinrio.com

Lake Of Stars, Lilongwe, Malawi

25-27 September

Eleven years after the first Lake of Stars was held in rural Malawi, the project launches a new city event in the capital, Lilongwe. Showcasing Malawian culture, the multi-venue event promises to be an ‘eclectic programme of live music, film, theatre, exhibitions and speakers’, and if past years are anything to go by, will mix the best UK names (Foals have been previous headliners) with local bands for an experience you'll never forget. Think of it as Africa’s SXSW.

Tickets: £47; lakeofstars.org

Iceland Airwaves, Rekjavik, Iceland

4-8 November

The Scandinavian festival returns with one of the most eclectic lineups on the circuit. After darting from venue to venue, catching a mix of up-and-coming talent GusGus, check out some of the great Icelandic must-sees (the Blue Lagoon, glacier walking and the Northern Lights - if you're really lucky). Iceland Airwaves really does it all.

Tickets £163; icelandairwaves.is

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