Trackhunter's Top 10 European Summer Festivals for 2023
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Following on from last month’s ‘Top 10 UK Dance Festivals for 2023’ we thought we’d cast our eyes further afield and select a few of the best parties on the continent this summer. Going overseas to festivals has become much more commonplace in recent years, largely due to the cost of flights and the chance you might stay dry and warm for the weekend. Here are Trackhunter’s 10 Euro picks for this coming summer, from the small discerning party right up to the epic hardcore bang fest.
The ticket prices were correct at the time of writing but may have changed tiers by the time this article is published.
Polifonic - Milan, Italy - 9-11th June - tickets start at 70 Euros.
This is the second edition of the Milan based festival, which takes place across three locations. There’s also a second festival by the same organisers taking place in Puglia at the end of July. The Milan edition features some fantastic artists including Bicep, Red Axes (Live), Hunee, Ben UFO, Helen Hauff, Danilo Plessow (AKA MCDE). The Puglia follow up again looks hot, with Skee Mask, Johnny Rock, Kerri Chandler as some of the stand out acts.
Sónar - Barcelona, Spain - 15-17th June - 210 Euros (day tickets available)
No list would be complete without one of the grandparents of modern electronic music curations. Beyond just a music festival, this is a celebration of art, technology and creativity.
Sónar’s reputation means they are able to recruit the very best artists and this year is no exception. Aphex Twin, Bicep (Live), Honey Dijon, Max Cooper (Live AV) and The Blessed Madonna are just the tip of a very exciting musical iceberg.
Hospitality on the Beach - Tisno, Croatia - 4-11th July - £190
At the time of writing there are still tickets remaining for what is branded ‘A drum & bass holiday like no other’. Given that it is the folks behind the legendary Hospital Records you can feel confident in knowing that this will be a great break in the sun. It’s not the only festival in our list that takes place at Tisno, so this clearly is a magical place for a party. Veterans of the scene are in attendance as Andy C, Ed Rush & Optical, Bryan Gee and Jumpin Jack Frost are all playing. As with many dance music festivals, the sets are often too short, but fear not, Hospital legends London Elektricity will be dropping a five hour journey - so get ready.
Exit - Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, Serbia - 6-9th July - 109 Euros (day tickets available)
Euro for Euro (or Pound for Pound) you cannot get much better value than Exit. The award-winning festival is set across 40 stages with more than 1000 acts. It is incredible to think that Serbia was in a state of war just a quarter of a century ago and now it hosts international artists such as The Prodigy, Skrillex and Eric Prydz alongside plenty of homegrown talent.
Awakenings Summer Festival - Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands - 7-9th July - 220 Euros (day tickets available)
The Netherlands have always punched above their weight as a dance music stronghold and Awakenings takes place more than once each year. The July festival is their zenith with some of house and techno’s megastars coming together including Nina Kravitz, Maceo Plex, Adam Beyer, Richie Hawtin, DJ Seinfield and DJ Rush. Wrapping up the Sunday you can look forward to Ellen Allien, Honey Dijon, Chris Liebing and Luke Slater.
Sea You Festival - Freiburg, Germany - 14-16th July - 149 Euros (day tickets available)
Set across 7 stages and with over 150 acts this is another big party for the headstrong. DJs and artists include Richie Hawtin, Charlotte De Witte and Vitalic (Live). Set by the side of a large bathing lake (which you can go in) this is one of the best festival sites Germany has to offer.
SuncéBeat - Tisno, Croatia - 20-27th July - £245 plus fee (day, weekend, week day tickets available)
One of the most stunning European festival parties which has previously hosted the likes of Roy Ayers, Lonnie Liston Smith and The Brand New Heavies. SuncéBeat takes place over the course of a week and therefore offers a variety of ticket and accommodation packages. If you are looking for a festival full of house music legends, then across the week you can look forward to hearing sets from David Morales, Danny Krivit, Francois K, Tony Humphries and Kenny Dope. There are also live sets from Children of Zeus and Another Taste.
Waking Life - Portugal - 17-22nd August - 250 Euros
The magically titled Waking Life not only has a rather striking and unique name but also has a rather alluring and thoughtful website. No massive flashing visuals, and over-powering text, but a very simple and easy to navigate website. Add to that it takes place in Portugal so you should have a very good chance of good weather, and the line up is rather appealing too. Before we get onto the DJs, the live line up looks superb with Carl Finlow, Azymuth, DMX Krew, Jan Jelinek, James Holden and Schatrax all playing live. DJ sets include Gilles Peterson, Objekt, Molly & Fred P, Deadbeat, Actress and Skee Mask. More than that, this is a festival in the heart of the community and one that is not for profit and supports agricultural and counter-cultural initiatives.
Mysteryland - Haarlemmermeer (15 miles from central Amsterdam), Netherlands - 25-27th August - 199.50 Euros (day tickets available)
Regarded as the number one Dutch dance music festival in that hot bed of great parties, which has a long history going back to 1993. After bouncing back last year from two years dormant due to the pandemic, they have once again pulled together some very special acts. It is hard to pick the standouts when they have over 300 artists playing over the weekend, but it would be impossible to exclude Sven Vath from the must sees, alongside other notable techno legends Adam Beyer and Dave Angel. The setting and stages look mighty impressive and like that behemoth of a festival, Tomorrowland, this will no doubt sell out.
Convenanza - Carcassonne Castle, France - 29th/30th September - £115 plus booking fee.
The impressive Carcassonne Castle plays host to the very special Convenanza festival which this year celebrates its 10th year anniversary. This year will feel particularly poignant for many that attend as it would have been Andrew Weatherall’s 60th year on this planet. Lord Sabre co-curated the festival in Southern France alongside Bernie Fabre and it has become one of those folklore festivals which in itself is a pilgrimage. At the time of writing there was no formal announcement as to who was playing, but if you love Weatherall, Sean Johnston, Baris K et al, and fancy some unbridled fun before Autumn sets in, this is the place for you.
https://www.convenanzafestival.com/ Discover new digital dance music with Trackhunter