A few cheap dresses, a battered tent and an unrestrained passion for music is what you need to pack to set off for the most adventurous camping trips of your life: no, we are not taking you to Wicklow Mountains, but to the best music festivals of 2018.
Where: Pistoia (Italy)
When: 4-15 July
Tickets: between €30 and €55
Since 1980, Piazza Duomo, a huge square under a clock tower bang, has hosted the blues festival, which has now become a fixture for the entire month of July. Because of the high buildings surrounding the plaza, the acoustics are amazing and the experience is that of a very intimate venue that lets you feel the energy of the crowd and the artists to the fullest.
After the concert, the fiesta continues in the medieval alleys of the city centre, where groups of street musicians take out their drums and guitars to recreate open air dancing floors all over Pistoia. Small kiosks sell wine and beer for €1 a glass and and enormous panini with porchetta for a couple of euros. This year, the main stars will be Graham Nash, Alanis Morrisette, James Blunt, Steve Hackett and Mark Lanegan Band Supersonic Blues Machine feat. Billy F. Gibbons.
Bilbao BBk Live
Where: Bilbao (Spain) When: 12-14 July Tickets: €60 for one day, €155 for the whole festival It exists since 2006 and is less known and frequented than most of those on this list, but it has a relatively low price and an interesting program. It is held in a large area set up specifically on the slopes of Mount Cobetas, southwest of the city. Good atmosphere and nice location, but once you’re in, you have to pay for food and drinks with a cashless wristband and it’s really hard to get a refund if you don’t spend all the money on it.
This year there will be Gorillaz, the XX, the Chemical Brothers, Florence + the Machine, Alt-J, Childish Gambino, David Byrne, Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds, Benjamine Clementine and James.
When 13-15 July
Tickets: one day €69, two days €129.5, three days €189.5
Probably the biggest and best organized festival on Irish soil, Longitude takes place in Marlay Park Dublin, spreading across the rolling hills of the park. Usually, Friday and Saturday are frequented by a younger audience (18-25), while Sunday is reserved to the oldies. Alcohol is strictly prohibited and security controls have been heightened with each passing years, but this didn’t stop youthful energy from buoying Longitude. This year’s line up is more oriented towards hip-hop and R&B: J Cole, Travis Scott, Solange, Migos, Post Malone, The Internet.
Colors of Ostrava
Where: Ostrava (Czech Republic)
When: 18-21 July
Tickets: €122 for the whole festival
Ostrava is the third largest city in Czech Republic, in the eastern part of the country. The festival has been held since 2002 and it is one of the most important in Central Europe. The concerts are in the Vítkovice district, in a former iron and steel millon, spread on 16 eclectic stages, four of which are outdoors. The industrial scene of blast furnaces, twin chimneys and twisted pipes add add a psychedelic and cryptic feeling to the setting. No alcohol restriction. When you wake up in the morning longing for a strong black coffee, you might find groups of Czech sipping a beer for breakfast.
The program is very rich and the ticket relatively cheap: this year there will be NERD, Kygo, Jessie J, London Grammar, Future Island, Grace Jones, Cigarettes After Sex, Ziggy Marley, Aurora, John Hopkins, Calexico, Joss Stone, George Ezra, Paul Kalkbrenner, Mura Masa and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats.
Where: Bloom, Belgium
When: 20-29 July
Tickets: from € 94 to € 496
Held in the last week of July in near a Belgian tiny little town, Tomorrowland is something extraordinary. With 400,000 people gathered in 2017 for the Amicorum Spectaculum, this year's story of Planaxis can only reconfirm Tomorrowland as the biggest electronic music festival in the world. Tomorrowland is mind-blowing for what concerns stage design and production. Shows, exhibitions, 15 stages and more: Tomorrowland will let you experience things you didn't even know you wanted. As it houses more people than any other festival, be ready to queue and to walk. The camping, Dreamville, is about 20 minutes walk from the concerts setting and there are long queues to use the restrooms and the showers.
Carl Cox, The Viper, Roma, Fabrice Lig, Dj Mad Dog, Busy P, Crack-T and many more will be waiting for you.
Where: Paris (France) When: 21-22 July Tickets: €79 for one day, €149 for the two days of the festival Invented by Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction in the ‘90s, Lollapalooza is one of the most important festivals in the world: it is traditionally held in Chicago, but some editions were housed around the world. There has been recently one in Brazil and this summer there will be one in Paris, at Hippodrome de Longchamp. There are four main stages and lots of smaller themed ones that are really worth a visit. What we really appreciated about Lollapalooza were the efforts they went to to be an environmentally friendly festival. They provide free shuttle buses from Paris, free ashtrays and reusable cups for drinks.
You’ll find the Gorillaz, the Killers, Depeche Mode, Travis Scott, the Kasabian, Dua Lipa, Diplo, the Stereophonics, Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds, Paul Kalkbrenner, The Blaze and Lil Pump.
Where: Oslo (Norway) When: 7-11 August Tickets: €102 for one day, €290 for the whole festival Øya is held at Tøyenparken, a lush park located in the Norwegian capital, and is one of the few European festivals where many big names of hip hop pass (Kanye West, Outkast and Kendrick Lamar in recent years, for example). The atmosphere is seraphically calm and the concerts follow one another in the five stages, three of which are ingeniously designed amphitheatres sloping downhill.
This year there will be Kendrick Lamar again, along with Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, Lykke Li, Charlotte Gainsburg, ST. Vincent, Patti Smith, Brockhampton, J Hus, Grizzly Bear, Jorja Smith, Fever Ray, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Superorganism and Moses Sumney.
Where: Budapest (Hungary) When: 8-15 August Tickets: €70 for one day, €299 for the whole festival It is one of the most crowded festivals in Europe, which is fine, but it is better to know it before finding yourself surrounded by people on a camping trip. It takes place on an island on the Danube and it lasts a whole week. There are dozens of stages with music at any time of day or night. Make sure to make time to explore every area of the festival, like Sziget beach, the travelling funfair, the Luminarium (an 800m2 inflatable sculpture with a labyrinth of rooms to explore) and much more.
The program is usually less sophisticated than other festivals, but not this year: Kendrick Lamar, the Arctic Monkeys, the Gorillaz, Kygo, Dua Lipa, Lana del Rey, Mumford & Sons, Shawn Mendes, Liam Gallagher, Bastille, Likke Li, Stormzy, the War on Drugs, the Gogol Bordello, Fever Ray and the Cigarettes After Sex.
There’s music for every taste, but if you haven’t found a festival that triggered your interest, you might want to check if you’d like to some cheap destinations to travel to this summer.