Don’t listen to Kanye. Professional musicians have it good these days. Music festivals were once tailor-made just for fanatics and drug addicts, but they’ve since become a steady part of mainstream culture (since, you know, we’re all fanatics and drug addicts). It’s a recent thing too, it really wasn’t until 2011 that Coachella started selling out within a matter of hours. The good news is that if your home-region show is capped, you can be part of another fest on just about any other corner of the planet.
Here are a few festivals worth the airfare, the ticket, and the crap you’ll get covered in while camping.
Barcelona, Spain (May 22-26)
image via stylefile.julesb.co.uk
What just might be the best festival of the year is just around the corner. Taking place at the banks of the Balearic Sea, Primavera’s putting out a lineup that looks like a rich man’s Coachella. The line-up includes My Bloody Valentine, Blur, Postal Service’s reunion tour, Fiona Apple, my hometown hero Death Grips, and somehow the entire Wu-Tang Clan (if the stress from two weeks of Coachella doesn’t get to them first).
Zagreb, Croatia (June 24-26)
We’ve mentioned a Zagreb attraction once already in the past month, so now there’s another excuse to go to Croatia’s capital. INMusic is probably the most camper-friendly festival in the world with courtesy hot showers, free WiFi, and gadget charging areas… wait, that hardly sounds like camping. Headliners include rock acts like Arctic Monkeys, Iggy and the Stooges, and pop-punk geezers NOFX.
Worthy Farm, Pilton, England (June 26-30)
More of an enormous festival than a string of concerts, Glastonbury takes place on 900 acres of green fields that includes circus acts and theater performances, and even a kid’s festival. The line-up has yet to be confirmed except for a guaranteed showing by Nas, so it’s already worth the ticket. I’m guessing his performance and the children’s festival won’t happen on the same day.
Splendour in the Grass
North Byron Parklands, Australia (Dates TBD)
image via sydney.concreteplayground.com.au
With a name that sounds a bit more like an Italian 70’s porno than a festival, Splendour in the Grass has done well to uphold a stellar reputation down under. It’s a massive art show that books an incredible number of musical acts, making it a good “one-and-done” choice for a yearly festival. The lineup and dates for this year have yet to be announced, but last year’s acts including Jack White, The Shins, and Kimbra bode well for what’s in store.
Wertcher, Belgium (July 4-7)
What’s cool about Rock Wertcher is Wertcher itself: the town is tiny but puts itself into throwing a huge summer rock show. In fact, 2011 was so good that it won Best European Festival Line-Up at the Festival Awards Europe, because that apparently exists. Headliners are Kings of Leon, Of Monsters and Men, and Green Day. Hopefully Billy Joel will be on another bender by then.
Fuji Rock Festival
Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata, Japan
image via www.uniquejapantours.com
Two days of partying on a mountain slope in Japan. Oh yes. As the best festival Japan offers, Fuji Rock has become a big-time festival destination for many music fans in recent years. No announced line-up yet, but Radiohead was there for 2012. I know… I wish I went, too.
Obudai Island, Budapest (August 5-12)
If you miss out on Burning Man, you can still get a week’s worth of partying in at Sziget. Boasting over 200 music and art acts, this sounds like the kind of thing where survival isn’t a guarantee, or where a month’s worth of decompression is necessary afterwards. Headliners are Blur, Azelia Banks, and Hadouken!