The ELLE Guide to Festivals 2013

With hundreds of music festivals vying for your attention this summer, we pick the best. Whether it's a traditional muddy UK experience you're after, a sun-soaked, laid-back European offering or if you're planning on going further afield for a once in a lifetime trip, it’s time to get on those dancing shoes

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In Europe

Optimas Primavera Porto, Portugal

30 May - 1 June

Portugal's biggest draw, Optimus Alive, has joined forces with ultra-cool Barcelona offering, Primavera Sound, to create a super-festival. And it looks likely to be the music lover's festival. Blur headline – for those who missed their triumphant summer return of 2012 – but dig deeper throughout the four stages as here's where the really intriguing acts can be found: James Blake, Grizzly Bear and Nick Cave for starters. One to brag to your friends about. Price £105; http://www.optimusprimaverasound.com/

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SunSplash, Turkey

2-9 June

Camping in a field isn't for everyone, so how about a festival in piercing sunshine, staying in a five-star 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 mingling with DJs and even yoga sessions for the early risers. Gilles Peterson and Jamie Lidell perform. Packages from £320 including festival entry, five-star hotel, breakfast, dinner, Yoga classes, spa and gym access;sunsplash-festival.com

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Ibiza and Majorca Rocks, Spain

5 June - 20 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 third year. Indie's new darling, Jake Bugg, kickstarts proceedings in June with the first of the weekly Wednesday night raucous gigs taking place poolside at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel. Action then takes place in Majorca the following day, leaving you the weekends to make the most of the party island. The Vaccines, Tinie Tempah, Chase & Status, Example and Foals also perform and don't miss the boat parties. Tickets from £34; ibizarocks.com

The Garden Festival, Tisno, Croatia

3-10 July

Possibly the country home to more new festivals than any other, Croatia is sprouting musical events like nobody's business. But jostling for the greatest title 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, a myriad hotels are located along the coastline, all in walking distance. One for sun-worshippers. Week-long pass £105; day pass from £15;thegardenfestival.eu

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EXIT, Novi Sad, Serbia

12-15 July

If creative dressing and wild hedonism is your thing, then EXIT is the one for you. Revellers go the distance in this fortress-set long weekend, so prepare to party to the likes of Snoop Lion, Bloc Party, Fatboy Slim and Thom Yorke’s supergroup-but-you’re-not-allowed-to-call-them-a-supergroup Atoms for Peace. Started as a protest to the Slobodan Milosevic regime, EXIT is based in a fortress lies on the river Danube and the campsite at Officers Beach is only a 20-minute walk away. £95 ticket only, £25 camping pass; exitfest.org

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OFF Festival, Katowice, Poland

2-4 August

One of the strongest, heavyweight line-ups of the summer (Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine, Godspeed you Black Emperor!) the Polish festival is in its eighth year and shows no sign of stopping. Located in an unusual green oasis within two residential estates, The Valley of Three Ponds park mixes city life with a traditional field festival atmosphere. While its no-nonsense recycling policy means you can party without the guilt. Don’t miss the Before Party on 1 August with Patrick Wolf and a DJ set from Micachu. £35 for three day pass, without camping, £45 with camping; off-festival.pl

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Sziget Festival, Budapest, Hungary

5-12 August

While the line-up may cater for a British fan (Blur, Biffy Cyro, Editors, Dizzee Rascal) 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. Drink 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 £190, no camping £168; sziget.hu

In UK

Parklife, Manchester

8-9 June

The Manchester festival owes a large glass of wine or two to its booking team this year, for the city event has outdone itself with a line-up rich in UK dance, pop and indie. Rita Ora, Example, Plan B and Rudimental perform alongside legends Jurassic 5 and some of the finest British bands such as The Maccabees, Everything Everything and The Horrors. Great value and great music, Manchester has done it again. £69.50; parklife.uk.com

Summer Stampede, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London

6 July

Queen Elizabeth Park spent summer 2012 showcasing the very best of British Olympic talent. This summer's all about doing the same with music. One of the great international success stories of the last few years, Mumford & Sons have put pen to paper to curate their very own day of music. The banjo boys are bringing double Brit Award winning strummer Ben Howard and New York stars Vampire Weekend with them, too. £57.50; mumfordandsons.com

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Kendal Calling, Lake District

July 26-28

Set in the imposing yet dramatic mountain range of the north west, it was only a matter of time before Kendal housed its own festival. It was then only a matter of time before said festival won awards and became one of the worst-kept secrets in the UK. Primal Scream and Basement Jaxx headline what will be a weekend of breathtaking scenery as well as foot-stomping music. £122; kendalcalling.co.uk

Standon Calling, Hertfordshire

2-4 August

A family-friendly festival within an hour of London, Standon Calling has so much more to offer than just mud and music. With its Running Away From The Circus theme for 2013, there is plenty to keep the young ones occupied while the parents relax with a well-earned cider, perched on a hay bail. De La Soul, Band of Skulls, The Joy Formidable and Mike Skinner perform and under 13s go free. There are even boutique tipis and yurts for those who don't want the hassle of sharing tents with excitable children. Ticket £99; standon-calling.com

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V Festival, Chelmsford and Staffordshire

17 - 18 August

Beyoncé only recently finished dazzling fans with her Mrs Carter UK tour, but Queen B will be back for a pair of spectacular summer performances. Back after a break, and headlining on the opposite night, are US rogues Kings Of Leon. As always V is all about providing more pop for your pound than anywhere else - Olly Murs, Calvin Harris, Jessie J, The Script, Emeli Sande, Ellie Goulding and Labrinth are all on the line up. £195 with camping; vfestival.com

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Festival Number 6, Portmeirion

13 - 15 September

Breathtaking, intriguing, magical even, Festival Number 6 is one of the most charming events to spring up in recent years, Festival Number 6 takes over the picturesque coastal town of Portmerion for one weekend in September. Immerse yourself in street performances, master classes, installations, and of course, music. Manic Street Preachers headline, Chic featuring Nile Rogers and indie stars Everything Everything perform in the town made famous by <The Prisoner>. Camp, stay in guest houses, or the castle that looms down on the Mediterranean inspired town. Weekend camping £170; festivalnumber6.com

Shakedown, Brighton

28 September

With a bustling music scene, Brighton was made for one-day festivals. A predominantly urban showcase of the best of British, Labrinth, Dizzee Rascal, Pro Green, Chase and Status and Katy B are among the many acts bringing the party to the south coast. And party Brighton does, 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 festival season. £49.50; shakedown.co.uk

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Sunhead/Around the world

Governor's Ball, New York, USA

7-9 June

The impossibly hip New York holds an impossibly hip festival – naturally. Kings of Leon and Kanye West headline the event that takes place 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. Tickets £140; governorsballmusicfestival.com

Essaouira Gnaoua Festival, Morocco

20- 23 June

If you're looking for a truly cultural, charming festival celebrating world music, then look no further than this North African offering – only three and a half hours flight from the UK. Located in Morocco's laid-back surfing capital Essouiria, Gnaoua has been bringing together colourful and exciting acts for 15 years. While exploring the labirthyne coastal town, soak up astonishing musicians for free at the main square's stage and bask in the legendary hospitality of the locals with a bottomless mint tea. Free; festival-gnaoua.net

Splendour in the Grass, Australia

26-28 July

Hidden in the cooler deep mid-winter, Splendour in the Grass offers an alternative to Australia's behemoth festival Big Day Out. Mumford & Sons, Frank Ocean, Empire Of The Sun and The National perform at the lush grounds of North Byron Parklands. Expect excitable Australians out for a good time. Weekend tickets £230; splendourinthegrass.com

Burning Man, Nevada, USA

August 26 - 2 September

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 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. Price: TBC; burningman.com

Rock in Rio, Brazil

13/14/15 and 19/20/21 September

Rock in Rio doesn't mess about. This year's line up features Beyoncé, Metallica and Muse – a collaboration waiting to happen, perhaps? – and is rumoured to be the largest festival in the world. Big, brash and bursting with some of the world's greatest acts, don't forget to take in the sunset stage, which showcases South American talent. Worth the flight alone. Day passes £83; rockinrio.com

City Of Stars, Lilongwe, Malawi

27-28 September

Ten years after the first Lake Of Stars held in rural Malawi, the project launches a new city event in Lilongwe. Promoting Malawian culture, the mutli-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 a charming experience you'll beaver forget. Think of it as an African SXSW. Price: TBC in July; lakeofstars.org

Iceland Airwaves, Rekjavik, Iceland

30 October - 4 November

The Scandinavian festival returns with one of the greatest and most eclectic line ups on the circuit. Imagine darting from venue to venue, catching a mix of up and coming talent (AlunaGeorge, Stealing Sheep and Zola Jesus) and one of the most influential dance acts of all time (Kraftwerk). Add to that, taking in some of the great sights of Iceland (the Blue Lagoon, glacier walking and the Northern Lights, if you're really lucky) and Iceland Airwaves really does it all.Price TBC; icelandairwaves.is

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