Five of the Best Festivals around the World

ELLEuk gets the lowdown on the best music festivals around the world this summer...


The Garden Festival, Petrcane, Croatia: 6-13 July

An azure sea disappearing into the sunset, beach-hut bars serving up summer cocktails, tanned revellers dancing in clear waters... The Garden Festival is pretty close to musical paradise. Set on the tip of a peninsula jutting out into the Adriatic, the line-up sees predominantly up-and-coming DJs like Electric Wire and Art Department warm up for a few big name acts like Norman Jay in front of a few hundred fans around a mini pool. Make sure you book one of the daily Argonaughty boat trips – sip champagne cocktails while dancing on deck. The sure-fire way to feel like a rock star. Enq.


Getting there: Croatia Airlines flies from London Gatwick to Zadar (20 minutes away) from £325 return. Enq.

Burning Man, Nevada Desert, USA: 29 August – 5 September

You can’t go to this Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas-style week-long festival in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, without leaving head-to-toe in dust and having made a few hundred new Facebook friends. Everyone shares, so there’s no need to bring money (there are no vendors on site, so it’s marshmallows on the fire), but do bring a trailer or hardcore tent pegs (they’re likely to be blown away by harsh desert winds otherwise), sunscreen and a torch. The desert is turned into a magnified Glastonbury Shangri-La field for the week leading up to US Labor Day (September 5) – installations, fancy dress and sculptures dot the wasteland. Don’t expect scheduled performances – everything runs to its own timescale and audience participation adds to the community spirit. And yes, a Wicker Man-style sculpture goes up in flames at the end of the festival. Once-in-a-lifetime stuff. Enq.


Getting there: Camping tickets: from £130. British Airways flies from London Heathrow to San Francisco (350 miles away), from £605, return, or from London Heathrow to Reno (125 miles away) from £656, return. Enq.

Rajasthan International Folk Festival, Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan: 12-16 October

Held in the courtyards and gardens of Jodhpur’s medieval Mehrangarh Fort, over the four nights following the October full moon, RIFF is like The Arabian Nights meets Buddha Bar. Patrons Mick Jagger and the Maharaja of Jodhpur oversee a mix of traditional and contemporary Indian and world music. Each day starts with a dawn raga (Hindu melody) on an open-air stage overlooking the city. There are interactive music sessions in the fort’s gardens and, by night, live acts take to the main stage in the moonlit Old Zenana Courtyard. Enq.

Getting there: Weekend camping ticket, with electricity and toilets: £50. Virgin Atlantic has return flights to Delhi from London Heathrow from around £516 return. Enq.; onward flights to Jodphur with Jet Airways from £96 return. Enq.

Rock Werchter, Belgium: 30 June – 3 July

How can such an unknown festival to UK music fans have some of the biggest artists on the planet taking to its stage? Rock Werchter has been quietly simmering under the mainstream for almost 30 years, but its quality can’t be contained any longer. Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, The Chemical Brothers and Kings of Leon are among the headliners. So now you know. Enq
Getting there: Day tickets: £67, weekend tickets: £171. Eurostar has return tickets from King’s Cross St Pancras to Brussels from £129.00 return. Enq. From Brussels, Werchter is around 30km away (public transport is included with the ticket).

Exit, Novi Sad, Serbia: 7-10 July

Fancy a festival with a twist? How about one in a fortress on the Danube River watching the epic Arcade Fire? Walking through the tunnels and down cobbled streets between stages, Exit is unlike any other festival around the world. Add Pulp, Underworld and Portishead to the bill and this Serbian festival won’t disappoint. Enq.

Getting there: Weekend camping ticket: £105. Wizz Air has return flights from £230 from London Luton to Belgrade. Enq. From Belgrade, Novi Sad is just over an hour’s bus journey from Belgrade city centre.

The Best of the Rest – More Festivals around the World…

Spirit of Burgas, Bulgaria: 13-15 August

The spirit of this festival lies in its beach location on the Balkan coast and unrelenting sunshine – which British festival can give us that? Still a young name on the circuit of festivals around the world, Spirit of Burgas offers a unique line-up including 1990s rock heroes Deftones, the king of electro dance Moby and British icons Skunk Anansie. Weekend ticket: £54; Camping pass: £13. Enq.

Lollapalooza, Chicago, USA: 5-7 August

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, city-bound Lollapalooza takes over Chicago’s main park for a weekend of art installations, kids’ activities and of course, music. Although no names have been confirmed yet, Eminem, Foo Fighters and Muse are rumoured to be headlining. Expect the rest of the line-up to include some diverse newcomers including Sleigh Bells, Crystal Castles and Best Coast.
Day tickets: £55; weekend tickets: £131. Enq.

Oya, Oslo, Norway: 9-13 August

Festival-goers can swim from one stage to another in the Medieval Park in Oslo making this a truly unique experience. Oya also boasts one of the best overseas line-ups of the summer with Kanye West, Pulp, Janelle Monae, Fleet Foxes and Warpaint taking to its four outdoor stages. One of the more unknown festivals around the world, but not for long. Weekend pass with camping: £225. Enq.
To read this full feature on summer festivals around the world, buy this month’s ELLE. Or see our pick of the best rural summer festivals in the UK. And before you go, check out our guide to what to wear to this summer's festivals.
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