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Seven Small European Festivals to be Excited About this Summer

Seven Small European Festivals to be Excited About this Summer main image

Want to explore Europe this year? While the US might have Coachella and Burning Man, there’s a least a dozen edgier alternatives setting up camp on a European field somewhere this summer. With music festival season just around the corner, here are some of the best indie festivals happening in Europe this year.

Secret Solstice, Reykjavik, Iceland

June 15-18
From €89 (US$99)

The sun never sets on Secret Solstice. Literally. Because of Iceland’s proximity to the Arctic Circle, the country gets long, night-free summers and winters submerged in near-total darkness. Expect whimsical discussions about the night, 24 hours of constant sunlight and an eclectic lineup of quirky (i.e. bizarre) Icelandic bands at this music festival, as well as some more recognizable international acts. On this year’s lineup are the wonderful and magnificent Rhye, The Prodigy and Foo Fighters. We recommend you take a dip in the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa surrounded by lava fields and mountain, and rent a car before or after the festival to explore the country’s majestic landscapes.

Buy tickets here

Lowlands, Biddinghuizen, the Netherlands

August 18-20
€185 (US$209)

Lowlands has blessed us with an incredible lineup this year. With Alt-J, The xx and Iggy Pop headlining, Lowland promises to be the Dutch music event of the year. Expect an experience somewhat similar to Glastonbury: it’s self-contained and has its own currency and radio-station.

Buy tickets here

Les Vieilles Charrues, Carhaix, France

July 13-16
€44 a day (US$50)

From its humble beginnings as an intimate gathering of friends just trying to “have a nice meal, sing a little and have something to drink”, Les Vieilles Charrues (The Old Plows Festival) has grown to see bands like Die Antwood or M.I.A in this year’s lineup, but - rest assured- it’s still got that lovely rustic Breton charm. The festival has its own currency - you top up your wristband with money online and pay for food and drinks with it - and a free campsite.

Buy tickets here or listen to this year’s playlist here.

Sziget Festival, Budapest, Hungary

August 9-16
€77 a day (US$86)

One of the largest music festivals in Europe, Sziget Festival (literally “Island Festival”), is a week-long pop-rock festival that’s previously seen appearances from incredible bands like Sex Pistols, Fatboy Slim and Queens of the Stone Age. Names on this year’s bill include Alt-J, Rita Ora, PJ Harvey and Metronomy…

Buy tickets here.

Flow Festival, Helsinki, Finland

August 11-13
€99 a day (US$ 111)

This year’s lineup is utterly magnificent. Lana Del Rey, Young Thug, Frank Ocean, London Grammar, Aphex Twin, Goldfrapp, The XX, Flume: all the big names of hip-hop, jazz and electronic music will be there.

Buy tickets here.

Positivus, Salacgrīva, Latvia

July 14-16
€75,60 (US$84)

Just off the Gulf of Riga, tucked away among the pines, Positivus has a bit more of a family feel - a flaw the utterly idyllic setting more than makes up for, with its arts and crafts market, theatre and art performances and cinema tent screening Latvian and international arthouse. Positivus has seen amazing performances in the past from the likes of M83, Sigur Rós, Iggy Pop, Moby, The XX, Kraftwerk and Damien Rice.

Buy tickets here.

Field Day, London, United Kingdom

June 3
From £72 (US$92)

If you’re familiar with British punk music from the seventies, you’ve probably already watched this amazing footage of The Clash performing White Riot at Victoria Park in 1978. Every year, the East London park rids itself of prams and yuppies and undergoes a total transformation: beer cans, face paint, glitter and delicious tunes. Big names on this year’s lineup include Aphex Twin, Arab Strab, Flying Lotus, Nicolas Jaar and Slowdive.

Buy tickets here.

Want to explore Europe this year? Discover seven of the best music festivals on the continent this year

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Written by Mathilde Frot
I'm originally French but I grew up in Casablanca, Kuala Lumpur and Geneva. When I'm not writing for QS, you'll usually find me sipping espresso(s) with a good paperback.

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