Once you experience a music festival in Spain, bathed in the sun, you might not go back to the perennially rain-threatened Irish versions.
Primavera, held on a concrete jungle of a site in the east of Barcelona, is all about the music, and post-pandemic has expanded across two weekends – next year one weekend will take place in Madrid.
Coming at the start of June, the festival mostly runs on a 6pm-6am schedule – spend your day at the beach, catch the subway to the site, and dance the night away. Bliss.
- Tickets: From €245 (no camping so book accommodation well in advance)
- How to get there: Flights from Dublin to Barcelona.
Created and hosted by the Roots since 2008, the Roots Picnic takes place at the 14,000-capacity Mann Centre and offers an intriguing lineup.
The likes of heavyweights such as Rick Ross and Chief Keef mix with Freddie Gibbs and Robert Glasper, while the acclaimed Jazmine Sullivan is among the headliners.
DJ Jazzy Jeff also features and there’s a podcast stage too – Questlove Supreme of course features.
- Tickets: From $199
- How to get there: Flights from Dublin to Philadelphia.
The undoubted king of the festival scene, Glasto takes place on about 900 acres – a perimeter of about 13.5km – with dozens of areas and more than 100 stages, from the altar of the Pyramid Stage to Shangri-La.
Tickets – all 210,000-plus of them – go in a matter of minutes so this is one you warplan for.
A lot of the performances over the weekend are broadcast across the BBC, but Glasto has to be experienced at least once in a music fan’s life – mud and rain be damned!
- Tickets: £280 + fees (sold out)
- How to get there: Bristol International Airport is about 45 minutes away but with bus and train options across the UK (these fill up quick too) there are myriad options.
With July temperatures of around 30C-plus in the Spanish capital, Mad Cool festival is positively sizzling.
Only running since 2016, it attracts around 60,000 daily and takes place across seven stages.
Mainly focused on rock and indie – Metallica and QOTSA are quite the gets for the festival – there’s plenty of appeal on the lineup.
(There’s a Mad Cool Sunset event that takes place on September 10 featuring Rage Against the Machine, Run the Jewels, and Lucy Dacus, among others, that also looks very appealing.)
- Tickets: Day tickets from €75, four-day passes from €185.
- How to get there: Fly Dublin to Madrid.
Primavera and its two weekends – Tomorrowland is taking place over three weekends in July and is a surefire destination for dance music fans, some 70,000 of whom will attend the festival daily.
Over 700 artists are playing the festival, which has been running since 2005 – this year’s theme, post-pandemic, is fitting: ‘The Reflection of Love’.
It’s a visually stunning event – NME calls it a ‘sensory overload’ – that you won’t soon forget.
- Tickets: ‘Full Madness’ weekend tickets from €310, day tickets from €114.50 (all sold out)
- How to get there: Fly Dublin to Brussels, with shuttle services to the site about 40km away.
With a capacity of up to 50,000, if you happen to find yourself on the east coast of Australia, this is one of the premier music festivals to attend, drawing acts that are hot right now as well as sure-fire festival big-hitters like Liam Gallagher and Mura Masa.
There’s around a dozen stages, from comedy to the Tipi Forest dance area. An unforgettable experience.
- Tickets: Day tickets from AUS$189, three-day tickets from $399
- How to get there: Fly Dublin-Qatar-Brisbane, then it’s about 140km south to North Byron Parklands.
Rocky, Future, AJ Tracey
An offshoot of a Miami festival (which takes place July 22-24 and features Ye (unless he pulls out) and Kendrick Lamar, Rolling Loud is a killer lineup of the hottest names in rap and hip hop right now – a lot of whom are still lacking at other festivals on this list and in general.
Taking place on a beach (!) in the Algarve! (!!) this year is its debut but if it lives up to blissful expectation, it could be top of the musical destinations every summer.
- Tickets: Weekend tickets from €305 (no camping so you’ll have to price in accommodation options)
- How to get there: Faro is the closest airport, about 74km away. Fly direct from Cork and Dublin.
A festival that always boasts a good gender split, which you alas cannot say about a lot of festivals even in 2022, Oya has been running since 2009 and takes place in picturesque Toyen Park.
The big names are obvious but the likes of Fred Again…, Scandi duo First Aid Kit, Bright Eyes, Little Simz, and Irish acts Fontaines DC and CMAT, among 80 confirmed acts, ensures intriguing depth.
The festival has been run on renewable energy from the grid since 2009 as one of Oya’s stated goals is to be one of the world’s greenest events.
- Tickets: Weekend from €350, day tickets from €130 (no camping)
- How to get there: Fly Dublin to Oslo, and it’s a short metro stop to Toyen Park
Held on a 266-acre island in Budapest, Sziget has been running for nearly 30 years and over the course of a week plays host to a mind-boggling 1,000 performances across 60 stages, drawing hundreds of thousands of people from across Europe.
And while the music offering is always superlative – Fontaines DC and Inhaler offer an Irish tinge to affairs this year – there’s also a circus, theatre, museum quarter, and daily boat parties.
Boredom is not an option at Sziget.
- Tickets: Day tickets from €80, three-day passes from €215, six-day from €315, basic camping included.
- How to get there: Fly Dublin to Budapest.
For anyone disappointed by how much bigger and commercial Electric Picnic has gotten over the last few years, EOTR, held on the same weekend, is a tonic, a throwback to simpler times with little to no corporate advertising on site.
A muso’s dream, there are no VIP areas, so musicians are often found wandering around the site, checking out performances.
- Tickets: Weekend camping, £210 + fees (sold out)
- How to get there: Ninety minutes from Bristol, you can fly from Dublin; get a train from London to Salisbury and shuttle-bus or taxi from there.