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Music festivals are those special treats that make summers even better. The thousands of music enthusiasts get together to sweat against each other’s bodies while watching tens of their favorite artists perform one after the other. The bigger the festival, the harder it is to get the ticket on time and find a good spot from where you can glance at your idol. Of course, there are those well-known music festivals that attract the biggest names to come and play. However, there are equally many less famous music festivals in Europe that have a unique vibe and will provide you with experiences no worse than the big ones.
Together with other bloggers and music lovers we put together a list of the best less famous music festivals in Europe that you definitely have to check out.
Here we go!
1. Reeperbahn Festival, Germany
Price: €100 for 4-day ticket
Reeperbahn festival Hamburg is a true gem not just for those in love with music but also for people wanting to discover Hamburg city. The biggest club festival in Europe, Reeperbahn is taking place throughout the city next to the infamous Reeperbahn street (aka the red light district). It will take you to some of the newest and coolest venues Hamburg has to offer (and believe me, being a music capital of Germany it has many!).
Among my favorite ones is Prinzenbar with a big chandelier hanging from an old ceiling and Mojo, which looks like an abandoned underground station turned into a nightclub, that surprises visitors with a DJ playing in the bathrooms. The festival serves as a great avenue for new and exciting vibrant artists to get discovered. A lot of famous names such as Ed Sheehan and Rag’n’Bone Man started here. But thanks to a huge selection of names to see and venue to visit, in one day you can hear everything from hip-hop and pop to classical music and rock’n’roll. Reeperbahn is a great place to discover the next big thing in the music industry.
2. Atlas Weekend, Ukraine
When? Beginning of July
Price: €60 for all days ticket (6 days)
3. Tinderbox, Denmark
When? The last weekend of June
Price: €190 for all days
4. Colors of Ostrava, Czech Republic
When? Middle of July
Price: From €90 to €130 depending on how early you buy
Colors of Ostrava is the largest multi-genre music festival in Central Europe. It’s visited every year by people from all over Europe. The festival takes place every year in July and lasts for 4 days. There are numerous Czech bands playing and several international ones too. Usually at least one well-known star is invited. In 2019 it should be The Cure.
What’s one of the most unique things about Colors is the venue. It takes place at a former metallurgical site called Dolní Oblast Vítkovice.
5. Malmöfestivalen, Sweden
When? Beginning of August
6. Cambridge Folk Festival, UK
When? Beginning of August
Price: Start at £180
7. Alfa Future People festival, Russia
Price: €60 for full 3 days
One of the lesser known, but very impressive festivals in Europe is the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) festival called Alfa Future People. Alfa Future People is held in a small village near Nizhny Novgorod, Russia every July (don’t be scared away, it’s just 3 hours away from Moscow by a train / it also has a big airport, so you can easily fly there). I attended the festival in 2016: this was the third and probably the best year of the festival in terms of headliners – all the headliners from Tomorrowland were there. Moreover, four out of the top five DJs in the world (according to the DJ Mag) were part of Alfa Future People in 2016. However, in 2017 and 2018 the line-up was quite impressive as well, but the tickets are quite affordable (around 60 euros for all the 3 days of the festival). Alfa Future People is not just a simple EDM festival – it has a lot to offer its visitors – a lot of workshops on Artificial intelligence, the exhibition of the newest robots and even the sports “activities of the future”.
8. Open Air St. Gallen, Switzerland
Price: 1-day passes 102 CHF, full 4-day passes 232 CHF
9. Melt! Festival, Germany
When? End of July
Price: Start at €119
The Melt! Festival is a music festival in Germany that started in 1999. Every year it takes place in the “city of iron” Ferropolis, which is an open-air museum of huge old industrial machines in the town Gräfenhainichen, which is in the Eastern part of Germany, close to the city Dessau. It is a very unique area as some of those machines are 30 meters high and are illuminated with special light shows when the festival takes place.
Today, Melt! combines electro-tunes with rock music and this makes it a very special festival in Germany. Since 2008 the Melt! takes place in the period of three days and attracts around 20,000 people. Headliners up until today included Portishead, Robyn, Hurts, and Boys Noize among others. Most people arrive here by train and get all their groceries for the festival at a small supermarket in the town. Within the past years, this evolved as some kind of tradition: who comes to Melt! goes grocery shopping here.
10. Ascona Jazz Festival, Switzerland
When? End of June
Price: 20 CHF
The Ascona Jazz Festival takes place every year during summer in the lovely town of Ascona – and there are several reasons to visit it in my opinion. Firstly, Ascona itself is just worth a visit, as it is a charming town next to lake Maggiore, especially its lake promenade, where the Jazz Festival takes places. Additionally, the Jazz Festival is approved as a New Orleans Jazz experience, actually the only one outside of New Orleans in the whole world.
Enjoying a summer evening at Ascona’s lake promenade, eating some original New Orleans food and enjoying concerts in the different tents around the area was simply an incredible experience that I can recommend to everybody that likes this kind of music.
11.Graspop festival, Belgium
Price: €99 per day, €210 for full 3-day ticket
12. Untold Festival, Romania
When? 4 days in August
Price: €50 for one day ticket, around €150/€300 for a VIP one
13.Benicassim festival, Spain
Price: €110 for 4-day festival tickets
Looking for Isle of Wight festival meets low prices and guaranteed sunshine? Then Benicassim Festival (also known as FIB) is the one. Located in between Barcelona and Valencia, Benicassim is a small, Spanish coastal town that completely comes to life in mid-July.
The Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (FIB) itself is a relatively small festival, when compared to some of the UK’s, but features some of the biggest artists in the music industry. Last year, headliners included The Killers, Liam Gallagher, Pet Shop Boys, and Travis Scott.
With camping for up to 7 days and music between 6 PM – 6 AM Thursday to Sunday, this festival is unlike any other.
14. EXIT festival, Serbia
When? Beginning of July
Price: Prices start at €40
EXIT Festival is held in early July over a four day period with the crowds arriving around 10 PM each night and enjoying the festivities until sunrise. Some diehard fans of the festival will attend all 4 days, but there’s plenty to enjoy even if you go for one of the nights.
15. Bardentreffen Festival, Germany
When? Last weekend of July
16. O Son Do Camino, Spain
When? End of June
Price: starting from €50
With this amazing list of summer music festivals, do you also feel like your summer season is already busy? I bet, I would like to visit each and every one of these best festivals in Europe that are not yet too famous, meaning more accessible.
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This is such an awesome list! I kept finding myself saying “ooooh yes! add that one to the list!” and can’t wait to experience some of these! I wouldn’t have even guessed that there were festivals in some of these places, but now I’m thinking about planning trips around them! Thank you for opening up this world for me!
That’s awesome, Amanda! Even I added a few of those to my bucket list. From personal experience can say that Reeperbahn and Atlas Weekend were amazing.
These can all just go straight onto my bucket list! I love small music festivals and it’s a great reason to travel for. The Cambridge Folk Festival sounds right up my street – I’ll keep my eyes on their dates!