Plan on heading to the world’s top EDM festivals? We tell you which ones make the cut.
Europe’s most surreal dance music festival, Tomorrowland is made even more spectacular by its magical location, eccentric festivalgoers and a line-up of the world’s biggest acts across genres. Its three days of madness with a stellar lineup. Throw a stone and you’ll find a superstar stage – from David Guetta to Axwell, Armin Van Buren to Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox to Tiësto, from Infected Mushroom to Benny Bennassi. Believe this: the festival is regularly sold-out in minutes of tickets going live. Fireworks, a neon kaleidoscope, more music than you could ever dream of, freaks and geeks, and one hell of a party: Tomorrowland often outdoes itself with its larger than life production, incredibly easy access to food and bars and a friendly vibe that makes it amazingly memorable year after year.
When: July 2017.
Where: Boom, Belgium
Check out: https://www.tomorrowland.com
Lollapalooza started out as a festival for alternative kids in Chicago. Today, after 25 years, it has evolved into a four-day fiesta that has something for everyone. From mystery EDM act Marshmello to industry veterans Radiohead, Danish singer Mø (its her voice on the smash hit Lean On) to electro-rock band LCD Soundsystem, both Chicagoans and tourists are welcome to enjoy this wide palette of music. The festival itself is one huge metropolis, enclosed within the wonders of the Windy City itself. And like its European cousin, Tomorrowland, but with a lot less stage production, Lollapalooza sells out pretty damn quickly.
When: August 2017.
Where: Grant Park, Chicago.
Check out: https://www.lollapalooza.com
Electric Daisy Carnival
An electronic music mecca with over 400,000 revellers who descend on to Las Vegas for an EDM extravaganza unlike any other: Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) has built its reputation on a festival that caters to people of all ages with music for all tastes. Fans regularly make EDC as part of their annual travel plans from across North America. It’s an event that introduces many teenagers to electronic music. And for those who in the latter half of their raving lives, it reinforces the idea that the values of P.L.U.R (Please, Love, Unity and Respect) that the genre is based on are not some lofty ideal but practised to perfection at EDC.
When: June 16-18, 2017
Where: Las Vegas, California
Check out: http://lasvegas.electricdaisycarnival.com
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
The Holy Grail of California festivals: one that extends for three days over two weekends, Coachella has, in recent years, seen an increased presence of electronic dance music. The Sahara tent at the festival is the de facto location for all EDM fans to converge. Its stunning location, spread across 600 acres of the Empire Polo Club in the Indio desert, provides great contrast between landscape and the glittering light and sound showcase. It’s at Coachella that Daft Punk changed the sound of pop music forever with their memorable Pyramid light show in 2006. Last year, electro-rock band LCD Soundsystem played a special reunion gig while the world’s richest EDM DJ Calvin Harries played a banging closing set on the main stage.
When: Two weekends in April 2017.
Where: Coachella Valley, California.
Check out: https://www.coachella.com
Visit one of the world’s greatest cities with incredible architecture, gastronomic delights and a seaside promenade to die for. Combine it with attending Sónar, the pride of Barcelona. It is one of the world’s longest running multimedia & electronic music festivals and it enters its 24th year in 2017. The festival is divided in three parts to fit in the 200+ artists and various performances: Sónar by Day, Sónar by Night and Sónar+D (a technology showcase by various industry professionals.) The entire city takes on a festive vibe with Off Sónar, unbelievably, an even bigger programme than the festival itself, which takes over any remaining venues Barcelona has to offer. That includes rooftop swimming pools, secret locations and most of the city’s brilliant clubs.
When: June 15th-17th 2017.
Where: Barcelona, Spain.
Check out: https://sonar.es
Amsterdam Dance Event
A cobweb of canals, tons of art and a progressive spirit make Amsterdam easy on the eye and great for the soul. Add to that one of the world’s best clubbing festivals spread over five days with some of the best artists on the planet, secret raves in the famed Red Light district, gear and software showcases, dance music-related installations, films and talks, and you’ve got a heady concoction of parties that never seem to stop. Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) is one of the most important dates on any electronic music artist’s calendar. That’s why you’re likely to bump into any of your heroes across genres in the Dutch capital. The annual DJ Mag Top 100 awards bash are also held during ADE.
When: October 2017.
Where: Amsterdam, Netherlands.
For the best contemporary, experimental and timeless underground electronic music out there, head to Dekmantel. This Dutch festival has rapidly established itself as one of the best, most intimate festivals anywhere in the world. Kickstarted in 2013, the organisers have upped the mixture of quality artists but also retained the quality of the vibe. The event takes place in the verdant environs of the Amsterdamse Bos where attendees can choose to camp or ride in from the city centre in Amsterdam each day. This year, for the first time, they added boat parties as well activities at EYE, the film museum and night time takeovers of several iconic venues in the city. Dekmantel’s dance floors are always bursting with energy in spacious surroundings with a killer line-up that equals a cool crowd.
When: August 2017.
Where: Amsterdamse Bos, Netherlands.
War veterans walk into the garden in full uniform, the Star-Spangled Banner is put down, the trumpet is played in memory of the soldier who died defending freedom. It’s so quiet that you could hear a needle drop. The soldiers fire shots and urge electronic music fans to continue enjoying the day and their freedom. There’s a thunderous, emotional applause and DJs takeover to play a relentless techno set. That’s the vibe you get when you party at the Movement festivals in Detroit. The birthplace of techno is a weird mix between an abandoned ghost town and the festival area where the who's who of the underground scene downs Bloody Marys in a super relaxed vibe. The three- day event is held during Memorial Day weekend inside Hart Plaza – Detroit’s legendary riverfront destination. More than 100 of electronic music’s most illustrious artists, local heavyweights and pioneering legends make their way to the Motor City.
When: May 2017
Where: Hart Plaza, Detroit, USA.
Singapore’s most beloved club, Zouk, first introduced the concept of clubbing to the nation as far back as 1991. Zouk Out!, a festival extension of the club itself lives up to all the values the institution stands for: cutting-edge musical vision, award-winning production, a great location (Siloso Beach in Sentosa, tentatively moving to Clarke Quay next year) and an annual trip of a party. The festival itself is now in its 17th year, making it one of the longest running festivals not just in Asia, but across the world. It’s little surprise then that they manage to attract some of the best in the business of electronic music in their line-up: From moombahton star Dillon Francis to EDM biggie Hardwell, Spanish techno legend Tiga to Asia’s finest DJs Aldrin and Jeremy Boon, they’re all happy to ZoukOut.
When: December 2017.
Check out: http://zoukout.com/2016/
Article by Benedict D’Costa
Photo credits: Facebook pages of festivals
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