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8 European Festivals to Try Instead of Glastonbury in 2018

This year Glastonbury Festival is having a year off (better known as a “fallow year”) to allow the ground to recover from the perpetual mudbath.

Be bold and broaden your festival horizons. You’ll discover new brands, get to dance on a beach or by the pool or party in a fortress or under the midnight sun. And as a perk you can combine the fun with a long weekend of heady culture, gastronomic delights and sightseeing.

Sea Star Festival

Where: Umag, Istria, Croatia
When: May 24th to May 27th

Why: Sea Star Festival, put together by same team behind EXIT Festival (see below), is set to return to beautiful Stella Maris laguna in Umag on May 25th and 26th for the second time. The opening day will take place on May 24th and the after party on Sunday, May 27th.

With six stages in a stunning location and more than 70 world-renowned artists and outstanding productions the festival is set to be a stunner.

Umag is a beautiful Istrian town, rich in Mediterranean spirit, historical baroque and renaissance buildings and narrow streets that lead to numerous authentic restaurants making it the perfect place to chill out after dancing all night.

Secret Solstice Festival

Where: Reykjavik, Iceland
When: June 21st to 24th

Why: This will be the fifth anniversary of the Secret Solstice Festival which takes place during the summer solstice (meaning the sun never sets) in one of the most breathtaking corners of the world. The festival has firmly established itself on the bucket list for every true festival-geek wanting to be a part of this truly unique experience. After all, who wouldn’t want to experience dancing at midnight in the sunlight?

There will be an eclectic lineup to the naturally breathtaking country for main stage sets, glacier raves, midnight sun boat parties and lava tunnel adventures. By combining a high caliber of music talent alongside side events that showcase the incredible Icelandic landscape, Secret Solstice have created a not-to-be-missed festival experience.

EXIT Festival

Where: Serbia
When: July 12th to 15th

Why: Party in a fortress overlooking the Danbue river in Serbia. Just a short ride away from the Serbian capital Belgrade, the magical Petrovaradin Fortress set high on the banks of the river Danube in Novi Sad provides the perfect setting for the EXIT Festival.

Started as a student protest in 2000 fighting for political change and freedom, EXIT continues to spread positive vibes, promoting change and positive education, supporting many community and humanitarian missions, while throwing a damn good party. It’s where hedonism meets activism.

There is something for music lovers of all genres with a diverse mix of artists performing on numerous stages connected by cobbled streets, ramparts and tunnels. Also renowned for it’s amazing atmosphere and energy the Dance Arena champions, the who’s who in the electronic music world set in the awe inspiring moat of the fortress, it’s that special moment when the sun’s rays shine over the fortress walls and your favourite tune is belting through the sound system and into your soul.

Positivus Festival

Where: Latvia
When: July 20th to 22nd

Why: Taking place in the picturesque coastal town of Salacgriva in Latvia, Positivus is the largest music and arts festival in the Baltic States. Positivus transports chart-topping headliners, underground emerging talent and exciting art and dance stages to their unspoiled atmospheric coastal setting amid stunning woodland.

Festival goers can dip their toes in the Baltic Sea or take slopin in a hammock beneath the trees while enjoying a rich diversity of international chart toppers and underground emerging talent in this idyllic holiday location.

Positivus also offers art and dance stages giving festival goers a variety of activities and stalls selling locally made designer clothing and accessories, giving festival goers plenty to see and do during the 3 day event. Positivus takes place from  2018.

OFF Festival

Where: Katowice, southern Poland
When: August 3rd to 5th

Why: A unique boutique music festival, OFF Festival takes place in Three Lake Valley, Katowice – a beautiful green oasis in the heart of industrial Silesia. OFF is a way of life and the ethos of organiser Artur Rojek is firmly aimed at supporting art and music with the festival bringing many acts to Poland for the first time.

OFF Festival’s reputation is growing year on year driven by the festivals forward–thinking, eclectic music policy and it’s bold and eclectic lineups. From the greatest alternative music stars from around the world to the increasingly strong Polish scene, OFF Festival has inspiring music in abundance and the organisers and crowd have one serious finger on the pulse when it comes to music. As well as discovering new music festival goers can also discover the city of Katowice with plenty of art and culture to soak up and a huge choice of bars and restaurants to delve into.

Lowlands Paradise Festival

Where: Biddinghuizen, Netherlands
When: August 17th to 19th

Why: Taking place next to the Walib Fairgrounds, Biddinghuizen Lowlands features some of the biggest headliners, impressive installations including the new iconic armadillo food and drink area, plus unique covers for every stage so you can enjoy all the music rain or shine. Just over an hours drive from Amsterdam you can easily mix your festival trip with a few days city break in Amsterdam.

Lowlands also has plenty of things to do from enjoying a soak in the hot tubs, to taking part in science experiments. Tickets include festival entry, camping and shuttle bus from/to railway station or Dronten Lelystad.

Amsterdam Dance Event

Where: Amsterdam, Netherlands
When: October 17th to 21st

Why: Amsterdam has a thriving club and nightlife scene and for five days a year the city becomes the centre of the electronic music world as over 395,000 visitors flock to the city for the Amsterdam Dance Event.

The ultimate music festival for fans of electronic music features more than 2,500 international artists performing in more than 100 of Amsterdam’s most celebrated venues including Melkweg, Gashouder, Claire, Shelter, Paradiso, the NDSM Docklands and De School. In addition to the extensive line-up of the ADE Festival, the ADE Conference also offers music enthusiasts and artists a large and varied day program featuring a wealth of dance music-related seminars, artist Q&A’s exhibitions, films, documentaries, DJ showcases and gear master classes, taking place across Amsterdam’s five main districts, utilising historical locations and unique venues across the city.

Sea Dance Festival

Where: Budva beach, Montenegro
When: TBA

Why: The Sea Dance Festival gathers party people from all over the world to dance together on the beautiful beach in Budva, Montenegro. With a stunning beach location and impressive line up of more than 100 hottest international music stars this is one of Europe’s hottest summer destinations.

Montenegro has towering mountains perfect for hiking and mountain biking as well as some of the world’s best unspoiled beaches on the Adriatic Sea.

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