Over the last three years, I’ve travelled solo to over 50 festivals all over the world and one of the questions I get asked the most is which ones are the best? I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my top 10 festival experiences all over the world (so far) and help out anyone who is looking for recommendations or struggling to decide which festivals to attend.
(Please note: Locations are based on the edition I attended. Prices listed are the starting price for tickets only.)
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Price: 3000 Thai Baht / $120 AUD
One of the world’s biggest festival brands, Don’t let daddy know has events in multiple locations all throughout the year. While I am yet to explore other editions, the first edition in Thailand presented a strong progressive house lineup with a production to match and will be expanding to a two day event in 2018. The organisation was faultless with quick and easy entry and a strong security presence throughout the night. Thailand is quite a cheap place to travel to, with many things to see and do. We were able to splurge on a reputable hotel, exploring the temples during the day and partying at night. This festival is one I would not hesitate to go back to.
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Price: 1,275,000 Indonesian Rupiah / $125 AUD
Crowned as Asia’s biggest electronic music festival, the two day event presents a diverse lineup across multiple stages. Similar to Thailand, there is a strong security presence, not only at the festival but throughout entire the city. The organisation was impeccable, with quick and easy entry points including thorough bag checks and metal detectors. Indonesia is incredibly cheap so we were able to splurge on a hotel within walking distance to the festival and caught cabs in and out of the city for only a couple of dollars (as long as you get into a trustworthy, metered taxi!). I would highly recommend this one to anyone on a budget.
Location: Miami, USA
Price: $457 USD / $600 AUD
One of the biggest names in the festival scene, Ultra Music Festival has expanded to over 20 countries across 6 continents. Having attended three editions (Croatia, Japan & USA), Miami takes the cake! As the unofficial opener for the new festival season, the three day event closes Miami Music Week with a spectacular production and big names spread out across 8 stages. The entry point can get quite crowded with long lines and wait times so make sure to get here early to avoid missing any sets. A week allows you enough time to explore both the beach and the inner city, with various smaller events leading up to the event, however, this one will no doubt take a chunk out of your savings! With the perfect mix of American rave culture and European style, this festival is the perfect transition for those who are used to the European scene and is definitely something you should experience at least once!
Location: Las Vegas, USA
Price: $399 USD / $525 AUD
One of the biggest events under the insomniac brand, EDC is unlike anything else I’ve ever attended before. The three day dusk ’til dawn festival located just outside the Las Vegas strip brings ravers together under the electric sky for a celebration of peace, love, unity and respect. Thousands of lights illuminate the entire festival ground with carnival rides and boutiques spread out among the various stages and installations. The vibes at this festival are a true representation of American rave culture, creating the most inclusive and loving environment I’ve ever set foot on. While it is one of the pricier festivals, it is one that I will keep going back to and I look forward to exploring the other editions around the world.
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Price: 140 Euro / $220 AUD
Also known as the World’s Biggest Club, the Frankfurt based festival gathers attendees from all over Europe to what genuinely feels like one big club. Large headliners stack the main stage line up, while smaller stages including Q-Dance and pool sessions, as well as numerous food options and chill out areas, surround the outskirts of the stadium. Big City Beats have also expanded to Asia, launching the first edition of World Club Dome in South Korea, which I also highly recommend.
Location: Neustadt-Glewe, Germany
Price: 110 Euro / $180 AUD
This one was recommended to me by a friend I met at another festival and did not disappoint! Held on an old airfield, the three day, dusk ’til dawn event puts a unique twist to your typical festival with each year focusing on a different country as the theme. The most recent edition featured an enormous main stage which resembled the Capitol building, with other American landmarks and icons including Mount Rushmore and the Hollywood sign surrounding the area. Three other stages as well as carnival rides and an international food court feature throughout the festival grounds. Camping options are available with a frequent shuttle loop providing easy access to the local train station, supermarkets, city center and beach parties. Just don’t make the same mistake I did and purchase a Main Camping pass unless you feel like popping your tent up among all the cars!
4. DEFQON 1
Location: Biddinghuizen, Netherlands
Price: 120 Euro / $190 AUD
If you haven’t already been able to tell, I’m a massive hardstyle fan and a Q-Dance stage is always a deciding factor with any festival I go to. The three day Q-Dance event dedicated exclusively to the harder styles gathers people from all over the world for a celebration like no other. Even if you’re not a hardstyle fan, I strongly recommend purchasing a Saturday pass to witness one of the greatest endshows/fireworks displays in the world. If you are a hardstyle fan however, this one is a no brainer!
Location: Salzburg, Austria
Price: 139 Euro / $220 AUD
Located in the Austrian countryside, the three day event has established itself as one of the biggest and best Electronic music festivals in the country. Delivering a consistently powerful lineup across four stages and strong organisation and production each year, many artists often boast that this one is one of the best festivals in the world. A continuous shuttle service runs throughout the event, transporting festival goers between the event, campgrounds and central station. This festival is always on my summer itinerary.
Location: Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands
Price: 120 Euro / $190 AUD
One of the oldest running festivals in the world and the big sister to Tomorrowland, this festival is one that should not be missed! Just a quick train ride from Amsterdam, shuttles wait to bring you to the two day event. Camping options are also available, extending the event to three days with an exclusive opening party. The festival featuring multiple art installations, has an extremely relaxing, fairytale vibe, with numerous stages surrounded by trees and separated by water. This is probably one of the only festivals where the hardstyle stage is bigger than the main stage! If you miss out on Tomorrowland tickets (or even if you don’t!), this is absolutely the next best thing!
Location: Boom, Belgium
Price: 280 Euro / $430 AUD
While compiling this list, I struggled to place each festival in order but Tomorrowland stood out as number one. The four day event brings festival goers from all over the world for one of the biggest celebrations of electronic dance music. Located just north of Brussels, the event consistently brings the biggest names in dance music and just about everyone else in between across almost 20 stages. The impeccable organisation and attention to detail completely transports you into another world for the weekend, not to mention the food is to die for! Tickets can be pricey and are extremely hard to get but the experience is 100% worth the money!