The best European music festivals in 2016
Flow Festival Helsinki

So far, we’ve scoured the length and breadth of the UK in search of the best festival offerings – but it might be time to consider ditching the waterproof waders in favour of some Bermuda shorts.

If you’re thinking of packing a suitcase in search of sunnier climes, set course for one of these European festival destinations – combining incredible line-ups with some very un-British weather.

Primavera Sound

Primavera Sound

CC / Flickr / JasonParls

Where: Barcelona, Spain
When: June 2-4, 2016
Who’s playing: Radiohead, Air, Vince Staples
What’s it like: Barcelona is no stranger to stellar music festivals, but Primavera Sound is the cream of the crop. Located at the Parc Del Forum on the coastline, within an easy tram ride of the city centre, the festival attracts a huge collection of artists for those travelling to the Catalan capital.
How much: €195 (£153)

NOS Alive

Nos Alive, Portugal

CC / Flickr / Chris Shepperd

Where: Alges, Portugal
When: July 7-9, 2016
Who’s playing: The Chemical Brothers, Arcade Fire, Father John Misty
What’s it like: Formerly known as Optimus Alive, this festival is held in the riverside location of Alges, which is a suburb of the Portuguese capital. NOS was previously voted as one of the best European festivals by the NME and one of its main selling points is its proximity to Lisbon’s vibrant down-town region, making this as much a city-break as a festival weekend. The Portuguese festival is one of only two European events who can boast Arcade Fire on their bill.
How much: €119 (£93)

Bilbao BBK Live

Bilbao BBK

Where: Bilbao, Spain
When: July 7-9, 2016
Who’s playing: Pixies, Courtney Barnett, Hot Chip
What’s it like: The Spanish city of Bilbao is a culturally rich location at any time, but the BBK Live Festival sees thousands of music fans flocking to Kobetamendi Hill for a line-up which rivals the best on the continent.
How much: €117 (£93)

Splash! Festival

Splash! Festival Berlin

CC / Flickr / Dirk Heine

Where: Gräfenhainichen, Germany
When: July 10-12, 2016
Who’s playing: Action Bronson, Mac Miller, Stormzy
What’s it like: Splash! Festival is Germany’s biggest hip-hop and reggae festival and takes place in Ferropolis, an open air museum of old industrial machines. There’s carnival rides and a whole heap of German hip-hop fans, looking to rap along to a number of American, British and European artists.
How much: €130 (£102)




Where: Benicàssim, Spain
When: July 14-17, 2016
Who’s playing: Kendrick Lamar, Disclosure, Mac Demarco
What’s it like: One of Europe’s most prestigious festivals, the Spanish beach resort welcomes sun-soakers and music fans alike for an unbeatable line-up of the biggest names in music including British electronic duo The Chemical Brothers, hip-hop revolutionary Kendrick Lamar and slacker king Mac Demarco.
How much: €147 (£116)
Website: www.fiberfib.comf

OFF Festival

OFF Festival Poland

Where: Katowice, Poland
When: August 7-9, 2016
Who’s playing: GZA, Napalm Death, Beach Slang
What’s it like: Looking for a line-up that really lives up to the ‘eclectic’ tag? Then a trip to the scenic Three Lake Valley in the Polish city of Katowice may be in order. OFF Fesitval takes a truly scatter-gun approach to genre when picking its headliners, with this year boasting Wu-Tang Clan member GZA alongside extreme metal icons Napalm Death. Expect the unexpected.
How much: €53 (£42)

Flow Festival

Flow Festival Helsinki

Flow Festival

Where: Helsinki, Finland
When: August 12-14, 2016
Who’s playing: Massive Attack (w/ Young Fathers), The Last Shadow Puppets, Thundercat
What’s it like: Transforming a disused power station in the Finnish capital of Helsinki into a festival hub, OFF Festival is grown-up festival vibe for those looking for a strong musical programme, but also partial to food vendors supplying some of the city’s finest cuisine. Cool, calm and well curated.
How much: €165 (£130)

Rock en Seine

Rock En Seine

Where: Paris, France
When: August 26-28, 2016
Who’s playing: TBC
What’s it like: Hipster-haven Paris has been previously home to Europe’s edition of the Pitchfork Music Festival, but Rock en Seine has grown from a mere two stage operation to a three-day extravaganza of rock, electronica, hip-hop and indie favourites.
How much: €119 (£93)

2016: Festival Guide