Green Man Mountain Stage (Jenna Foxton)
List Words : James Callery | 20 July 2017

The 12 coolest summer music festivals for 2017

Missed Glastonbury? From Ugandan beach parties to a Japanese mountain festival, these cool festivals should satisfy your ears, including where to see PJ Harvey, Bombino, Alt-J and more...

1: Out of the Woods, Austria

alt-J (Gabriel Green) 

Why you should go: Out of the Woods' site in Burgenland, located in the peaceful village of Wiesen, is surrounded by meadows, forests and bathing lakes. Visitors can enjoy a short musical break, only an hour away from Vienna. 

Critically acclaimed artists, such as Foals and alt-J, sit beside newcomers on a lineup that will excite indie lovers from Burgenland to Baden, and beyond. Bring an earthy wardrobe and get involved.

Who to watch: alt-J, Feist, Phoenix, Foals

Dates for this year: July 20 to 22


2: Green Man, UK

PJ Harvey (Maria Mochnacz)

Why you should go: Green Man is an independent music and arts festival held in the Brecon Beacons. The mountain range is dotted with lakes, rivers and forests, the perfect setting for a countryside escape. 

The festival’s indie-folk lineup is joined with comedy and literature tents to explore, as well as areas for children’s entertainment. The event is also known for its overwhelming range of independently brewed beers and ciders. Pop up performances and giant interactive sculptures add to the festival’s quietly bohemian atmosphere.    

Who to watch: PJ Harvey, Ryan Adams, Future Islands, The Shins, Lambchop, Conor Oberst

Date for 2017: August 17 to 20


3: Flow Festival, Finland

Balloon 360° stage (Samuli Pentti)

Why you should go: Flow Festival is an electronic and experimental art and music event held at a former power plant in Suvilahti, Helsinki. The site features champagne bars, contemporary art installations and a number of vegan food stalls. 

One of the event’s unique features is the Balloon 360° stage, a circular platform set beneath a giant illuminated globe. The Flow weekend also includes VR film, art and 'virtual' experiences

Finland’s capital shares the festival’s artistic and foodie leanings, but if you’re in need of a breather, try kayaking over to Pihlajasaari Island, where you’ll find attractive wood-fringed beaches.
Who to watch:
Aphex Twin, Death Grips, Moderat, The Afghan Whigs

Dates for this year: August 11 to 13



Crowd at WOMAD (WOMAD)

Why you should go: WOMAD was set up in 1982 by singer and activist Peter Gabriel. Since then it has hosted over 150 festivals in more than 30 countries. The world music-heavy line-ups are similar to acts found on Glastonbury's World music stage, but there is enough variety here to suit most musical tastes.  

One of the festival’s aims is to "create, to inform and to highlight awareness of the worth and potential of a multicultural society." Workshops held by performing musicians over the course of the weekend continue the theme of educating and inspiring.

Who to watch: Bombino, Toots and the Maytals, Goat, Rival Consoles, Roy Ayers, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 

Dates for 2017: July 27 to 30


5: Dimensions Festival, Croatia

Performance at Dimensions Festival (Marc Sethi)

Why you should go: Dimensions is an underground electronic music festival held at Fort Punta Christo, Pula. The festival is attended by fans of cutting edge dance music and party-loving, sun-tanned Londoners.

The 19th century stone fort overlooks the Bay of Pula entrance and offers views of the forested islands of Brijuni. The event is known for its high end sound systems, as well as its daytime beach and boat parties.

Pula’s seafront location is perfect for restorative daytime strolls. Ancient Roman sites such as the well-preserved amphitheatre add character to this otherwise unassuming city.   

Who to watch: Theo Parrish, Andy Stott, Yussef Kamaal, Demdike Stare

Dates for 2017: August 30 to September 3


6: Burning Man, USA

Art installation at Burning Man (Dreamstime)

Why you should go: Although not strictly a music event, Burning Man is often seen as the ultimate festival experience.

Set in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, tens of thousands of people come each year to form a "temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance." There is nothing available for purchase on-site, so you’ll need to take provisions for a full week of desert camping. 

Those lucky enough to secure a ticket will be treated to a mind-boggling spectacle of colossal art installations, gratuitous nudity and Fear and Loathing levels of debauchery. Insane fashion parades, desert gales and extravagant pyrotechnics also lend to the festival’s wild, apocalyptic feel.

Who to watch: Whoever shows up 

Dates for this year: August 27 to September 4


7: MUTEK, Canada

MUTEK (Vivien Gaumand)

Why you should go: MUTEK is a Montreal-based festival dedicated to the "dissemination and development of digital creativity in sound, music, and audio-visual art." It’s tailored towards forward-thinking creatives with a passion for electronic soundscapes.  

This year marks the 375th anniversary of the founding of Montreal, as well as the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. With MUTEK events taking place at venues across the city, it’s the perfect time to explore Quebec’s cultural capital. 

Over the five days, expect to hear experimental noise accompanied by retina-frazzling visuals. 

Who to watch: Monolake, Africaine 808, Robert Henke, Driftmachine

Dates for 2017: August 22 to 27


8: Labyrinth, Japan

DJ at festival (Dreamstime)

Why you should go: Labyrinth is set high in the mountains of Niigata, on the north west coast of Honshu. Those attending will experience wall-to-wall techno blasted from the high-end Funktion One sound systems. 

DJs play from illuminated teepees on a glade encircled by forests. The single open space ensures that festival-goers share the same carefully curated musical journey.   

There are a limited number of tickets available to those living outside of Japan, so it’s best to plan ahead.

Who to watch: Lineup TBA

Dates for 2017: September 16 to 18



9: Afropunk Brooklyn, USA

Crowd at AfroPunk Brooklyn (AfroPunk)

Why you should go: AfroPunk Festival Brooklyn is held each year in the sports-worn fields of Commodore Barry Park, New York. A diverse and stylish crowd attend the two-day arts and culture celebration. 

You'll hear hip hop, grime, R&B and house from artists of the caliber you’d expect at a festival set in creative Brooklyn. The event is known for setting trends in music and fashion, and has been praised for its zero tolerance stance towards all forms of prejudice. AfroPunk also hosts festivals in Paris, London, Atlanta and Johannesburg throughout the year.  

Who to watch: J Rocc & Karriem Riggins, NAO, Ho99o9, Thundercat

Dates for 2017: August 26 and 27


10: FYF Fest, USA

Bjork performing live (Manchester International Festival)

Why you should go: From its birth as the punk-centric 'Fuck Yeah Fest' in 2004, FYF has since been headlined by the likes of Kendrick Lamar and LCD Soundsystem.

The festival takes place in Exposition Park, LA. Although the college grounds setting is somewhat underwhelming, FYF Fest benefits from an exceptionally strong lineup each year. The event’s considered layout, top-notch grub and quality sound has attracted a loyal following of local indie, rap and rock kids.

Who to watch: Bjork, Flying Lotus, Jonathan Richman, SURVIVE 

Dates for this year: July 21 to 23   


11: Nyege Nyege Festival, Uganda

Performer at festival (Nyege Nyege Festival) 

Why you should go: Nyege Nyege Festival is held in the town of Jinja, on the sandy shores of the Nile river. The non-stop three-day event draws fans of African music, spirited locals and adventure travellers.

The site is a maze of surrealist concrete sculptures, hidden pathways and tree-sheltered stages. Those wishing to explore the town will enjoy its colonial Indian-influenced architecture and its opportunities for white water rafting, kayaking and mountain biking.

Who to watch: AG (NTS), ANU, Contours, Moxie

Dates for 2017: September 1 to 3


12: Doune The Rabbit Hole, UK

Doune the Rabbit Hole (Doune the Rabbit Hole) 

Why you should go: DTRH is set on the Cardross Estate, on the fringe of the Scottish Highlands and Loch Lomond and The Trossach's National Park. Just to the north is Lake of Menteith, the only lake not classed as a loch in Scotland.

The eclectic indie lineup and community spirit attracts a mix of families and young arty types. The festival also hosts spoken word and theatre performances, as well as DIY art installations and children’s entertainment.

Who to watch: Roddy Woomble, BMX Bandits, Jenny Hval, Jessica Pratt, Big Thief, Ulrika Spacek

Dates for 2017: August 18 to 20

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