Music festivals are, for many people, the purest and most enjoyable way to experience live music. Ankita Mamgain shares a few options where the euphoria extends far beyond the stage.
A wise man once said, “Going to a music festival not only makes you happier, it changes your life.” The power of music is undoubtedly one of the most incredible parts of the human experience. When added to a social gathering involving people from diverse backgrounds, coming together for their love of this art, it becomes a force unparalleled by anything else. One of the best ways to live this experience is at a music festival. The performers, the element of travel, meeting strangers and general euphoria makes them so popular. If you are going to invest in a (probably pricey) festival pass, ensure the best bang for your buck by attending a festival where the scenic surroundings are just as great as the tunes.
With an ever-increasing number of top-notch events popping up every year, we bring you three summer fests that not just guarantee great music, but also an amazing holiday.
Sasquatch! Music Festival, GeorgE, USA
This is one festival where the setting alone can guarantee hordes of people. Sasquatch! music festival is held every Memorial Day weekend at a beautiful gorge in central Washington. The view of the gorge is picturesque and is one of the most breathtaking sites you will see in your lifetime. Add to this this year’s acts, which include The Cure, Florence and the Machine, Disclosure, Four Tet and Major Lazer. If this sounds like where you want to be from May 27-30 this year, make sure you load up on supplies and get some good quality camping gear. The stage at Sasquatch! is an outdoor amphitheatre, and no matter where you’re situated, the sound and view will be phenomenal.
Named in honour of America’s first president, George is a small town that is famous for its forests, rich history and one of the most extraordinary amphitheatres in the world. The state of Washington is home to many natural treasures and urban wonders that promise a wonderful road trip. Surrender to the enchanting landscape of Olympic National Park in Port Angeles and then get lost in the futuristic cityscape of downtown Seattle. Located between Seattle and Olympia, Tacoma is home to the amazing Museum of Glass, then head to sunnier Spokane for its mesmerising gardens and parks. Do visit the charming town of Leavenworth that celebrates its Bavarian heritage throughout the year.
Primavera Sound, Barcelona
Music journos have dubbed it the best music festival in the making and one has even gone on to claim that “Primavera Sound is to US festivals what a nice contemporary-design sofa is to a beat-up couch from Goodwill.”
Started in 2001, the festival celebrates its 16th edition this year with a smashing line-up that includes Radiohead, Tame Impala, Suede, Beach House, Beirut, PJ Harvey and Sigur Rós among 150-odd artists and bands who’ll perform from May 30-June 5. Unlike Barcelona’s other renowned modern music fest, Sonar, which concentrates mostly on electronic beats, Primavera Sound boasts a diverse line-up year after year covering genres such as alternative, indie, pop, rap, hip hop, electro, dance, folk, world music, jazz and pretty much anything else you can think of.
You can catch a number of live gigs at the city’s numerous pubs and bars but the main action is reserved for Parc del Forum, a vast and surreal urban landscape that seems almost purpose-built for the job. Another factor, and a very important one, that adds to the experience is the amazing summer weather in Barcelona. However the sea breeze can bring down the temperatures at night, so carrying an extra layer is much advised.
If gig-hopping in the city, the best way to do this is on foot while discovering Barcelona’s modernist architecture and numerous other treasures. Fill up on tapas, pintxos and vermouth or head to Montjuïc Mountain for a break during the day and marvel at the astonishing views of the city.
Mawazine – Rhythms of the World, Rabat, Morocco
As the name suggests, Mawazine attracts an international audience as well as a celebrity following. This popular nine-day festival blends cultures and attracts musical talent from all over the world. The festival was founded in 2001 as part of a government initiative to promote a more liberal image of Morocco, and has since expanded. By inviting thousands of singers and musicians from all corners of the world, Mawazine calls for sharing and conviviality among cultures.
Many big names like Stevie Wonder and Rihanna have graced the festival’s stages, and artists from around the world exhibit their works at individual and collective shows. At this festival you can hear everything from Berber fusion rock to Colombian cumbia music. To be held this year from May 20-May 28, the line-up includes Iggy Azalea, Jean Wyclef, the National Orchestra of Barbes, The Afrobeat Experience and Christina Aguilera. Rabat, Morocco’s capital is the centre of cultural dynamism and is a great starting point to get acquainted with the country. When not attending a concert, explore its array of historical sites and museums or wander in local markets and gardens. Do visit the 11th century fortress in the Kasbah district, the incredible Hassan Tower, tomb chamber at the Mausoleum of King Mohamed V and the Andalusian-style Medina.