European music festivals 2023: The best events to travel to, from Primavera Sound to Sziget

Sziget festival in Budapest, Hungary  (Furesz Zsolt Photography)
Sziget festival in Budapest, Hungary (Furesz Zsolt Photography)

Winter is well and truly bedded in, and with recent cold spells it’s reasonable to start dreaming of a summer of fun in 2023.

With the festival season back in full swing after a few years of uncertainty, now is the time to start planning your European expeditions, and with such a huge range of choice available and decent value tickets, there’s something to please every music fan.

Here, we’ve rounded up the European festivals you need to know about. Bon voyage.

The Warehouse Project Rotterdam

What is it? The world famous Manchester club night, Warehouse Project, has taken over multiple venues across the city since 2006, and now the iconic event is growing its wings and expanding outside the UK for the first time, taking over Rotterdam for a three-day extravaganza.

When is it? April 28-30

Who’s playing? Peggy Gou, Bicep, Dan Shake, Josey Rebelle, Joy Orbison, Mella Dee, Overmono, Saoirse, Seth Troxler, Skream and many more.

Where is it? Rotterdam, Netherlands

Tickets: from £299, thewarehouseproject.com

Hospitality on the Beach

What is it? A drum’n’bass extravaganza run by the legendary London label, Hospital Records, bringing together some of the scene’s biggest names.

Who’s playing? TBA

When is it? June 4-11

Where is it? Tisno, Croatia

Tickets: from £160, hospitalityonthebeach.com

Primavera Sound

Kendrick Lamar on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)
Kendrick Lamar on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

What is it? Undoubtedly one of the finest festivals Europe has to offer, with incredible depth of quality on its line-up, this year spread out across two main weekends. Rap? Hyperpop? Thrash metal? You can probably find it here.

Who’s playing? Depeche Mode, Kendrick Lamar, Blur, Rosalía, Halsey, FKA twigs, Skrillex, Måneskin, St. Vincent, The Moldy Peaches, Calvin Harris, Le Tigre and many more acts announced.

When is it? June 2-12

Where is it? Barcelona, Spain

Tickets: €325 (approx. £282), primaverasound.com

Rock am Ring/Rock im Park

What is it? Feeling like something of a Reading and Leeds throwback — before they broadened their horizons beyond simply rock bands — this huge German festival is spread across two separate sites on one weekend.

Who’s playing? Machine Gun Kelly, Papa Roach, Evanescence, Tenacious D, Hollywood Undead and many more acts to be announced.

When is it? June 2-4

Where is it? Nürburgring/Nürnberg, Germany

Tickets: €229 (approx. £200), rock-am-ring.com / rock-im-park.com

Melt

What is it? An open-air spectacular with a line-up rooted mostly in electronic music but with a few intriguing deviations.

Who’s playing? Solomun, The Blessed Madonna, HAAI, Joy Orbison, Eliza Rose, Skin on Skin, Daphni and many more to be announced.

When is it? June 8-11

Where is it? Gräfenhainichen, Germany

Tickets: from €164.95 (approx. £145.50)

Sonar

What is it? Said by some to exist in Primavera’s admittedly huge shadow, Sonar in fact carves itself a niche by focusing on bass-heavy sounds, from UK rap to techno.

Who’s playing? BICEP LIVE, Solomun, Peggy Gou, Amelie Lens, Laurent Garnier, Honey Dijon, Richie Hawtin, The Blessed Madonna and many more acts to be announced.

When is it? June 15-17

Where is it? Barcelona, Spain

Tickets: from €195 (approx. £170), sonar.es

Roskilde

What is it? Reliably the best festival in Denmark, year after year, pulling in headliners to rival festivals anywhere else in Europe.

Who’s playing? Headliners: Blur, Burna Boy, Christine and the Queens, Queens of the Stone Age

Plus, huge acts including Denzel Curry, Tove Lo, Rina Sawayama, Alice Glass, Tobias Rahim, Japanese Breakfast and many more acts to be announced.

When is it? June 24-July 1

Where is it? Roskilde, Denmark

Tickets: 2400 DKK (approx £284), weekend passes sold out, join the waiting list; roskilde-festival.dk

Open’er

What is it? Poland’s biggest festival, with a line-up that covers heavy-hitters from the worlds of pop, rap, rock, dance and beyond.

Who’s playing? Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Arctic Monkeys, Kendrick Lamar, Nothing But Thieves, One Republic, Queens of the Stone Age and many more acts to be announced.

When is it? June 29-July 2

Where is it? Gdynia, Poland

Tickets: from 949zł (approx. £181), opener.pl

Rock Werchter

 (Zackery Michael)
(Zackery Michael)

What is it? As the name suggests, this one specialises in bands making loud music, but there are some pop and rap acts snuck in there too.

Who’s playing? Arctic Monkeys, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Muse, Rosalía, Sam Fender, The Lumineers, Stromae, Fred Again, Slowthai, Christine and the Queens and many more artists to be announced.

When is it? June 29-July 2

Where is it? Werchter, Belgium

Tickets: from €292.00 (approx. £254), rockwerchter.be

Mad Cool

What is it? Another Spanish behemoth which draws the biggest names from all the major genres of pop, rock and dance.

Who’s playing? Headliners: Robbie Williams, Queens of the Stone Age, Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Plus Lizzo, The Black Keys, Liam Gallagher, Lil Nas X, Sam Smith, The Prodigy, The 1975, Franz Ferdinand, Rina Sawayama, Paolo Nutini, Rufus Du Soul, Bombay Bicycle Club, Jamie XX, Years and Years and many more acts announced.

When is it? July 6-8

Where is it? Madrid, Spain

Tickets: from £186.27, madcoolfestival.es

Exit

What is it? Another intriguingly eclectic festival, this time in Serbia, promising everything from tech house to ska to hardcore punk in recent years.

Who’s playing? ? Headliners: The Prodigy, Skrillex, Viaga Boys

Keith Flint had previously mentioned that EXIT was his favourite international festival, so the band will be playing in his honour.

Other acts include LF SYSTEM, Keinemusik, CamelPhat, Hot Since 82, Vintage Culture, Indira Paganotto and many more to be announced.

When is it? July 6-9

Where is it? Novi Sad, Serbia

Tickets: €109 (approx £95), exitfest.org

Pohoda

What is it? A veteran festival with more than two decades’ experience, offering a hugely friendly atmosphere and some pretty massive acts from the worlds of pop, rock and beyond.

Who’s playing? Jamie XX, Sofi Tucker, Sampa The Great, Wet Leg, Viagra Boys, Hazey, Charlotte Adigery and Boris Pupul and many more artists to be announced.

When is it? July 7-9

Where is it? Airport Trencin, Slovakia

Tickets: from €129 (approx. £113)., pohodafestival.sk

North Sea Jazz Festival

What is it? Running for over forty years, this Rotterdam festival has built up a reputation for bringing together some of the world’s biggest jazz acts, with all jazz sub-genres represented at the festival. But as well as jazz musicians, the North Sea Festival has a tonne of chart-topping artists in its line-up, including Lizzo and Stormzy.

Who’s playing? Headliners: Lizzo and Stormzy are joined by Tom Jones as the festival’s biggest acts. Van Morrison, Jill Scott, Little Simz and Loyle Carner are also in the line-up. The full roster is yet to be announced but so far acts include Buddy Guy, Jacob Banks, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, The Teskey Brothers, Abdullah Ibrahim, Jan Garbarek, and Pat Metheny Side-Eye.

When is it? July 7-9

Where is it? Rotterdam, Netherlands

Tickets: Tickets went on sale on November 25 and are now sold out, northseajazz.com

Bilbao BBK Live

What is it? A festival that feels almost like a mini version of Primavera Sound, with the same variety and quality, just not on the same massive scale.

Who’s playing? Headliners: Arctic Monkeys, Florence + the Machine, The Chemical Brothers

Plus Jamie XX, IDLES, The Blaze, DUKI, Love of Lesbian, M83, 070 Shake, Avalon Emerson, BAICUA, Ben UFO, Call Super, HAAi, John Talabot, Young Marco and many more acts to be announced.

When is it? July 6-8

Where is it? Bilbao, Spain

Tickets: from €150.00 (approx. £131), bilbaobbklive.com

Awakenings

What is it? Techno heads should make this their number one priority for the summer: it’s the largest outdoor festival dedicated to the genre in the world.

Who’s playing? TBA

When is it? July 7-9

Where is it? Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tickets: £TBC, awakenings.com

Ultra Europe

What is it? The European edition of the hugely popular American festival, specialising in EDM.

Who’s playing? TBA

When is it? July 7-9

Where is it? Split, Croatia

Tickets: from €169 (approx. £148), ultraeurope.com

Love International

What is it? A sun-drenched dance music festival on the Croatian coast, with plenty of boat parties and sunrise DJ sets.

Who’s playing? Call Super, Chaos in the CBD, Crazy P Soundsystem, Eliza Rose, Leon Vinehall, Midland, Moxie, OR:LA, Palms Trax, Job Jobse plus many more to be announced.

When is it? July 12-18

Where is it? Tisno, Croatia

Tickets: from £165, loveinternationalfestival.com

Festival Internacional Benicàssim

Dan Smith performs with his band Bastille at the Leeds Festival 2022 (PA) (PA Wire)
Dan Smith performs with his band Bastille at the Leeds Festival 2022 (PA) (PA Wire)

What is it? A festival popular with both Spaniards and Brits, which has a focus on Latin artists as well as the more widely known international stars.

Who’s playing? Franz Ferdinand, Bastille, Vetusta Morla, Kaiser Chiefs, Crystal Fighters, Tom Odell, Clean Bandit, Orbital, The Wombats, Sigala, Dean Lewis and many more acts to be announced.

When is it? July 13-16

Where is it? Benicàssim, Spain

Tickets: from €47.99 (approx. £42), fiberfib.com

Super Bock Super Rock

What is it? Moving from the urban surroundings of Lisbon and onto a beach further south in Portugal, expect a spread of rap, rock and pop at this festival.

Who’s playing? Headliners: The 1975, Franz Ferdinand, James Murohy

Plus Black Country, New Road, L’Impératrice, Sampha The Great and many more acts to be announced.

When is it? July 13-15

Where is it? Sesimbra, Portugal

Tickets: from €84 (approx. £74), superbocksuperrock.pt

Tomorrowland

What is it? Something of a Mecca for European fans of EDM, this festival promises the biggest names and some bombastic stage production across three weekends.

Who’s playing? Afrojack, Amber Broos, Amelie Lens, Ape Rave Club, Armin Van Buuren, Dom Dolla, James Hype, Like Mice, Mandy, R3HAB, Kolsch, Tale of Us and more acts to be announced.

When is it? July 21-23, 28-30.

Where is it? Boom, Belgium

Tickets: €TBA, tomorrowland.com

Off

What is it? The antidote to Open’er’s pop, this Polish festival focuses on the more obscure, experimental side of things.

Who’s playing? Panda Bear & Sonic Boom, OFF!, Melody’s Echo Chamber, The Staples Jr Singers, Balming Tiger, Gilla Band, Tropical Funk Storm, Taxi Kebab, Big Joanie, Underscores, Haru Nemuri, Mind Enterprises, Son Rompe Fera and many more acts to be announced.

When is it? August 4-6

Where is it? Katowice, Poland

Tickets: from 379zł (approx. £72), off-festival.pl

Øya

What is it? A Norwegian festival which proves just how strong its native music scene is, with plenty of homegrown acts headlining alongside international favourites.

Who’s playing? Hakan Hellstorm, Sigrid, FKA Twigs, Devo, Behaire, Jonas Benyoub, Marstien, Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra and many more acts to be announced.

When is it? August 8-12

Where is it? Oslo, Norway

Tickets: from NOK 3,664 (approx. £310), oyafestivalen.no

Sziget​

What is it? A Budapest blowout that seems to book bigger names each year. Expect internationally famous acts across the broad spectrum of rock and beyond.

Who’s playing? Headliners: Billie Eilish, David Guetta, Florence + The Machine and Imagine Dragons

Plus Sam Fender, Niall Horan, Yungblud, Foals, Diplo, Jamie XX, M83, Moderat, Sven Vath, Mimi Webb, Nothing But Thieves, Two Feet, Viagra Boys, Amyl and The Sniffers, Dixon, 070 Shake and many more acts to be announced.

When is it? August 10-15

Where is it? Budapest, Hungary

Tickets: from €325 (approx. £285), szigetfestival.com

Flow

 (Petri Anttila / Flow Festival)
(Petri Anttila / Flow Festival)

What is it? A varied festival, booking everyone from legacy rockers to cult favourites, held within the industrial surroundings of a disused power station.

Who’s playing? FKA Twigs,  Caroline Polachek, DEVO, Suede, 070 Shake, Shygirl, Amyl and The Sniffers, Jockstrap, Sexmane, Ege Zulu, Olavi Uusivirta 40/20, Yona, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Anna Puu,  Ruusut and many more acts to be announced.

When is it? August 11-13

Where is it? Helsinki, Finland

Tickets: from €225 (approx. £198), flowfestival.com

Rock en Seine

What is it? Paris’s biggest festival, delivering a crowd-pleasing blend of rock and pop music that draws an increasingly international crowd each year.

Who’s playing? Arctic Monkeys, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Stromae, Tame Impala, FKJ, Jamie XX, Kraftwork, La Femme, The Blaze, Aurora, DIIV, Jeremy Beth, Los Bitchos, London Grammar, Yungblud, Fred Again, James Blake and many more acts announced.

When is it? August 25-27

Where is it? Paris, France

Tickets: €TBA, rockenseine.com

Dimensions

What is it? A collection of cutting-edge DJs and musicians, ranging from techno to jazz, which has now moved away from its home in a 19th century fort and into the ever-popular Tisno.

Who’s playing? Adam Pitts and Lisene, Alex Kassian, DJ Assault, DJ Bone, DJ Perception, DJ Stingray 313, DJ Voices, Donato Dozzy, Dr Banana, Enrice Felqui, Flo Dill, , Fumiya Tanaka, Gene on Earth b2b Dyed Soundsystem, Helena Hauff, Nicholas Lutz, Prosumer, Skee Mask, Zip and more acts to be announced.

When is it? August 31-September 4

Where is it? Tisno, Croatia

Tickets: from £154, dimensionsfestival.com

ION

What is it? A brand new festival from the people behind London house and techno favourite Junction 2, taking place on the Albanian Riviera, after first making plans to launch in 2020.

Who’s playing? Bizarre Trax, Half Baked, Junction 2, Krankbrother, Chaos in the CBD, Daniel Avery, Dixon, DJ Seinfeld, Helena Hauff, Jimi Jules, Nicholas Lutz, Otik, Sam Bangura and many more acts to be announced.

When is it? September 6-13

Where is it? Dhërmi, Albania

Tickets: €TBA, ionalbania.com