Dates: June 7th – June 10th 2012
What and where? On a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee
Line up: Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beach Boys, Feist, The Civil Wars, The Shins
How to get there: If you’re flying from the UK then the closest airport is Nashville International Airport (Nashintl.com) or Chattanooga (Chattairport.com), which is an hour and 15 minutes away. There’s a frequent shuttle bus that will take you to and from the festival from Nashville Airport. If you’re coming from another state, then there are plenty of Greyhound buses that stop just a mile from the festival.
Where to stay before: If you’ve got the time, we’d recommend spending a couple of days exploring Nashville.The Music City hostel is great for those on a budget and is filled with struggling but (invariably) brilliant musicians who have some of the top tips for the soulful southern city. If you don’t fancy a hostel then there are plenty of other places to stay in town that are perfectly situated for you head to the famous Broadway bars or the lesser known 2nd Avenue for dusk 'til dawn bluegrass, country and blues. Perfect.
Where to stay during: Despite the heat, we’re afraid camping is the only option (although you can upgrade your ticket and take a campervan).
Don’t miss: The fitness fanatics amongst you (and anyone in need of restoring their energy levels a bit) should head to the Solar Stage for a spot of yoga. If yoga's not your thing, then you shouldn’t miss the brilliant silent disco that goes on every night. Both yogis and clubbers should go to one of the Garnier Fructis salons for much needed hair washing and styling.
Ticket price: £160 (book quickly before tickets sell out)
Where to book: Bonnaroo.com/tickets
What and where? Lollapalooza in Grant Park, Chicago has now been running for 20 years and has the whole festival shebang down to a fine art. It’s grown over the years and now spans over 110 acres and has multiple stages.
Dates: August 3rd – August 5th 2012
Line up: Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, Sigur Ros, Florence + the Machine
How to get there: Lollapalooza has teamed up with Virgin America, so if you’re flying in from San Francisco or Los Angeles you’ll get a special rate (Virginamerica.com). The closest airport is Midway and from the airport you can take the CTA Orange Line downtown to Grant Park; the journey will take around 30 minutes. O’Hare Airport is around 50 minutes away on the CTA Blue Line.
Where to stay during: There’s no camping on-site but there are plenty of hostels in Chicago itself. For a stylish start (or end) to the festival check in at Chicago’s Hotel Palomar (Hotelpalomar-chicago.com) or continue the partying at the W Hotel (Whotelsofchicago.com). There’ll be plenty of public transport and taxis to take you to and from the city. Alternatively, if you want to be really green, you could always hire a bike.
Don’t miss: The farmers' market, to refuel your body with some fab fresh produce. Or if you don’t fancy battling the crowds, kick back at Uncorked, a huge tented chill out lounge that has giant screens of the performances that you can watch with a large glass of one of the Estancia wines they have on offer. There’s also the Green Street Art Market for one-of-a-kind handmade pieces.
Ticket price: £140
Where to book: As always, tickets are selling like hotcakes, so book quick: Lollapalooza.com.
What and where? Undoubtedly the coolest of the European festival venues, Exit has been held in an 18th-century fortress on the Danube in Novi Sad, Serbia since 2000.
Dates: 12th – 15th July 2012
Line up: Duran Duran, Guns N’ Roses, Plan B, The Toy Dolls, Sneaky Sound System, Felix Da Housecat
How to get there: There are plenty of cheap(ish) options for getting to Exit Festival. Serbian National Airlines (Jat.com) and Wizzair (Wizzair.com) operate on a daily basis to Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. Alternatively, Ryanair, Wizzair and EasyJet all fly to Budapest from which it’s £19.50 each way on the bus to the festival. Although the journey is slightly longer, you can also travel from Split or Dubrovnik.
Where to stay before: Seeing as so many beautiful cities are within easy reach of the festival, we’d definitely suggest going a few days early. To start or end your trip in style we love the look of Brody House (Brodyhouse.com) in Budapest. Or if you fancy a few days on the beach first, you could fly to Split and get the boat to Hvar for some relaxation at ELLEuk favourite Hotel Podstine.
Where to stay during: July in Serbia can get pretty warm, so one of the best options is checking in to one of the nearby hostels (Hostelbookers.com), which you can book from just £15 per night. Or you can camp in the Exit Village, where the party goes on from sunrise to sundown.
Don’t miss: This place is all about the music. You won’t need to do anything except dance, dance, dance.
Ticket price: £95
Where to book: Exitfest.org
Sonar Sao Paulo
What and where? Sister festival to Sonar in Barcelona, Cape Town and Tokyo, Sonar Sao Paulo is a platform for new talents in Brazil’s largest city.
Dates: 11th – 12th May
Line up: Bjork, Little Dragon, Skream, Cee Lo Green, Chromeo, James Blake, Seth Troxler
How to get there: The Tiete bus Terminal is right next to to the venue as is the Tiete metro station, both of which you can get to easily from the Guarulhos Airport (for international arrivals; Aeroportoguarulhos.net) and Congonhas Airport (for national arrivals; Aeroportocongonhas.net). There’s a shuttle bus from Congonhas Airport, but there’ll also be plenty of cabs available to take you to and from the city centre.
Where to stay during: Seeing as it’s just a two-day festival and it’s right between two highways, there’s no camping. Hotels in Sao Paulo can get pretty pricey, so we’d recommend looking into some of the great apartments they have in the city centre. Airbnb have reasonably priced, comfortable choices to share with a group of friends (Airbnb.com).
Don’t miss: The Sonar Cinema, which is collaboration between Sonar and the Catalan festivals In-Edit and Screen from Barcelona. They’ve got a huge selection of brilliantly innovative films from all genres in high definition. For the more avant garde styles of music, head to Sonar Village.
Ticket price: £250 (although it’s half the price for students).
Where to book: Sonarsaopaulo.com.br
What and where? Oya is returning for its 10th year and taking place in a medieval park in Gamlebyen (the oldest part of Oslo).
Dates: 7th – 11th August
Line up: Bjork, The Black Keys, The Stone Roses, Bon Iver, Florence + the Machine, Feist
How to get there: You can book a return flight from the UK on any of the budget airlines, Ryanair, Easyjet and Wizzair all fly regularly. The cheapest way to get to the city is to take the S train from the airport to the main railway station. The journey takes around 25 minutes and costs £8.
Where to stay before: Oslo is only a 10-minute walk away from the festival. So there are plenty of options for a comfortable night’s sleep before you camp. We’d quite like a stay at the uber stylish Grims Grenka hotel (Firsthotels.com), which is just a 10-minute walk into the city centre from the Oslo Central Station.
Where to stay during: As it’s set in a park, you can happily camp amongst the trees, grass and water, and be safe in the knowledge that, with 100% ecological food and green ethics, it’s the most environmentally friendly festival in Norway. The Ekeberg campsite is also just a 10-minute walk from Oslo Central Station, so you won’t have far to lug your bags...
Don’t miss: What we love about this festival is that you can actually swim between the stages. Pretty cool, no?
Ticket Price: £224
Where to book: Billettservice.no
For more of the best festivals this summer, check out our full summer 2012 festival guide.