The lights, the melodies, the frenetic energy: There’s something completely indescribable and even life-changing about attending a music festival. And, like all good things, why stop at just one? With dozens of events taking place around the globe every year, there’s bound to be some you still need to cross off your bucket list!
Here’s a list of seven musical festivals around the world that you need to check out.
1. Coachella (USA)
Inspired by the iconic 1993 Lollapalooza tour, Coachella was first established in 1999. Since its humble beginnings, the festival has grown exponentially and now commands an audience of approximately 250,000 across two big weekends a year. Set on an impressive 600 acres in California, the festival has plenty of room for partygoers to camp on site throughout the event. Complete with art installations and other immersive experiences, Coachella is a must-attend for any music buff. The festival is also a popular celeb hangout, with big names like Leonardo Dicaprio and Kylie Jenner attending in 2023.
2. Just Like Heaven (USA)
From Coachella to the Head in the Clouds Festival, the US has no shortage of amazing musical festivals to add to your bucket list. A relatively new (2019) addition to the line up is another Californian based event, Just Like Heaven. The festival is named after the classic Cure song “Just Like Heaven”, which encompasses the whole vibe of the event. Much like the 1987 hit, the festival will charm you with nostalgic indie rock sets from legendary bands such as MGMT and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Due to its popularity, the event now takes place over two full weekends, jam packed with unforgettable performances.
3. Splendour in the Grass (Australia)
With their laid-back nature and casual approach to drinking, it’s no surprise that the Aussies know how to throw a fabulous music festival. Inspired by Woodstock and Glastonbury, this Byron Bay based event attracts around 50,000 festival goers per year and boasts an impressive line-up of acts from around the globe.
Far from just performances alone, Splendour in the Grass is also known for its extensive art installations, market stalls and creative workshops. The wide range of culinary delights is an experience unto itself, drawing in the foodie crowd and creating a vibrant, party atmosphere. The festival has also drawn praise for its focus on environmental initiatives, which encourages attendees to recycle and compost food and beverages at the event and carpool to reduce carbon emissions.
4. Green Man Festival (UK)
Green Man Festival, known for its indie, folk and alternative music line-up, is one of the largest music festivals held in the UK. Based in Wales, the festival takes place annually at the height of summer, ensuring glorious weather for all attendees.
Set against the unique and breathtaking backdrop of the Brecon Beacons, the festival is named after the verdant, almost mythical landscape, which harkens back to Celtic mythology. The festival prides itself on using renewable energy sources and recycling programs to create an environmentally sustainable event befitting its name.
The Green Man Festival isn’t just about music. With an atmosphere worthy of a renaissance fair, the event showcases performance art, theater, comedy, workshops, craft activities and art installations for attendees to enjoy.
5. Woodstock Festival (Poland)
In Poland, the venerated 1969 Woodstock Festival lives on. Also sometimes known as Pol’and’Rock, the event takes place every year in Kostrzyn nad Odra, a town between the Polish-German border. Now one of the biggest musical events in Europe, Woodstock aims to uphold the original free love values of the 60s and promotes unity and tolerance among festival goers of all backgrounds. In keeping with these values, the festival remains free to attend as to not exclude music lovers from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
Musically, the festival hosts a diverse range of acts, from punk to electronic music. While Polish artists dominate, bands from around the world are welcome to take part. The event also supports live performances, workshops and even discussion panels. Attendees can camp out on the festival grounds and partake in delights from various food stalls, creating a vibrant and eclectic background that’s not to be missed.
6. Pentaport Rock Festival
Established in 2006, the Pentaport Rock Festival (also sometimes called Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival) is held annually in Icheon. Last year, the ever-growing festival hosted a staggering 130, 000 attendees over three days, all in the heart of the urban Songdo International Business District. Just this week, the 2023 line-up was revealed, with The Strokes confirmed as a headliner.
Pentaport Rock Festival sets itself apart from the folksier festivals discussed above with its high production values. The venue has gained international recognition for the quality of its stages and facilities, with the safety and comfort of attendees being prioritized. Multiple stages also allow the venue to support concurrent acts to captivate music lovers of all genres. The festival combines musical appreciation with other cultural activities, such as market stalls, art exhibitions and even interactive zones where festival goers can experience virtual reality installations and meet their favorite artists.
While not strictly a festival, Eurovision makes the list for being one of the world’s most beloved musical competitions. With fans reaching as far as Australia, the contest has evolved into a cultural phenomenon that unites the globe. While the competition is highly televised, only around 6,000 people are typically lucky enough to attend the spectacular grand final live and in person.
For attendees, the magical atmosphere is intensified by the focus on pageantry and flamboyance. Every year acts from 37 countries stun with elaborate costumes and awe-inspiring pyrotechnical displays. Beyond that, competition plays a strong role in cementing European unity and offers an unrivaled opportunity for cultural exchange. Truly, being a part of Eurovision would be a life-changing event for any festival lover.
With a growing understanding of their cultural significance and higher production values than ever, there’s no shortage of unmissable musical festivals to attend with every passing year. Start by adding these top seven events to your bucket list today.