Top 10 Summer Music Festivals 2012

Festival Campsite

There may be an overload of impressive UK festivals this summer (see here for some homegrown highlights), but cast your net a bit wider and you'll find a ton of alfresco music events the world over - and most come without the risk of rain. We've picked the cream of the crop in our Ten Essential Summer Music Festivals so you can combine a spot of festival revelry with a mini holiday.


Where: Malsaucy (near Belfort), north-east France
When: 29 June - 1 July
Who to see: The Cure, plus a host of other massive acts - full lineup to be announced by April. 2011 saw the likes of Arcade Fire and Motorhead.
Why go? France's biggest and best. You get to see the above headliners among French talent (Charlotte Gainsbourg) in gorgeous surroundings - one stage is even on the beach!
Tickets: €44 - €99



Where:: Landgraaf, Netherlands
When: 26 - 28 May
Who to see: Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, Soundgarden, plus a host of other big acts and rising stars.
Why go? One of the oldest festivals in Europe, headlined by some of the best music acts around. The location is fairly low key, making it easy to lose yourself in the scene and take a vacation from the real world. Guaranteed raging weekend!
Tickets: €160 (weekend), €85 (daily)

Pinkpop festivalPinkpop festival

Exit Festival

Where: Petrovaradin (a 13th century fortress on the Danube), Novi Sad, Serbia
When: 12 - 15 July
Who to see: Guns N' Roses, Duran Duran, New Order Wolfmother and many more...
Why Go? Aside from a spectacular setting, Exit (originally conceived as an anti Slobodan Milosevic protest) continues to offer the politically minded a chance to express themselves and, more importantly, dance. Fast becoming one of the festivals to go to.
Tickets: €99

Exit festivalExit festival

Roskilde Festival

Where Havsteensvej, Denmark
When: 5 - 8 July
Who to see:Bon Iver, The Roots, Bjork, Friendly Fires and plenty others.
Why go? Roskilde is an all-out music/art/culture festival that plays host to more than amazing music and cracking parties (although they do a pretty good job at that). It's an expensive trip, but you get what you pay for. Expect organic food stores you never imagined, mind blowing art exhibitions, arts and crafts, good vibes and plenty of interesting weirdos.
Tickets Around £85 - £190

Rockslide festivalRockslide festival


Where: Ferropolis, Grafenhainichen, Germany
When: 13 - 15 July
Who to see: The 2012 lineup is still to be announced. 2011 saw Pulp, the Streets and Boys Noize.
Why go? It's electro á gogo here, and the industrial backdrop (Ferropolis translates as City of Steel and is a museum of mining) sets it all off nicely. Certainly not everyone's cup of tea, but if you're into the electro scene Melt! is your festival Mecca.
Tickets: £65 - £85

Melt festivalMelt! Festival


Where Budapest, Hungary
When: 6 - 13 August
Who to see: Noah And The Wale, The Stone Roses, Friendly Fires and The Subways.
Why go? This fest is in the middle of the Danube, oh yes, in the middle. Access to the island is by water taxi lending it an exclusive feel. 2012 sees a edgy and varied lineup.
Tickets: €195 - €225

Sziget festivalSziget Festival

Fuji Rocks

Where: Echigo Yuzawa, Niigata, Japan
When: 27 - 29 July
Who to see: Radiohead and The Stone Roses.
Why go? Goodness me. A musical treat in spectacular settings. If you have the means to go, go! The mountainous landscape and environmentally conscious stance ('respect for nature' is one of the fest's priorities) makes this an idyllic choice - the top bill intermingled with Japanese acts seals the deal.
Tickets: £338 (3 day ticket)

Fuji RocksFuji Rocks

Open'er Festival

Where: Gdynia, Poland
When: 4 - 7 July
Who to see: Bjork, Franz Ferdinand and Julia Marcell.
Why go? It's an amazing festival: well organised, friendly, clean ( clean as a festival can be), eco friendly (see their Green 'n' Clean Award for more of that) and graced by some of the finest musicians in business.
Tickets: 410 PLN (4 days w/camping), 290 PLN (2 days w/camping), 165 PLN (Day ticket)

Opener FestivalOpener Festival


Where: Oslo, Norway
When: 7 - 11 August
Who to see: Florence And The Machine, Bon Iver, Feist and The Stone Roses.
Why go? Set in Oslo's medieval park in the oldest part of the city, Oya's vibe is nowhere near as clean as its ethos - the fest promises to recycle all waste and dish up only eco-sound food, no less. 2012 sees a lineup bigger and better than ever.
Tickets: £234 for the weekend (yes, it's pricey, but definitely well worth it)

Oya FestivalOya Festival

Burning Man

Where: Black Rock Desert (north of Reno), Nevada
When: 27 August - 3 September
What to see: Some of the most incredible works of art created for a festival.
Why go? Undoubtably the strangest, most outrageous and spectacular of all outdoor festivals right now. You'll go there to lose and find yourself at the same time, and probably come back wondering if the entire experience was all a dream… This year's theme is 'Fertility 2.0' so get creative and start crafting your outfits.
Be warned: For hardcore, hippy-minded festival goers only. This middle-of-the-desert affair expects you to be completely self sufficient, creative and self expressive. It helps if you can handle heat!
Tickets: $240 - $420

Burning ManBurning Man