Best International Music Festivals 2011 – maybeBest International Music Festivals 2011 ”“ Maybe”¦

Ok, so the weather this last week or so has been outstanding; but we all know it won’t last, certainly not into summer and the festival season, so here is the LTW guide to the top dozen music festivals for those who want to try and ensure some decent weather as they bask in a field with the gentle sounds of Grinderman etc wafting over them”¦

Primavera: May 26-28 – Parc del Forum, Barcelona, Spain
As foreign city festivals go this one is pretty much unbeatable. Not only is it bang on the coast in Barcelona so the view is superb and the weather flawless, this well-run event features a brilliant line-up including Oklahoma’s finest psychedelic alt.popsters The Flaming Lips, Echo & The Bunnymen, Belle & Sebastian, PIL, Swans and PJ Harvey

Sasquatch!: May 27-30 – Washington, USA
Sasquatch! began in 2002 on a hunch that there was room for a music festival catering to alternative and eclectic musical tastes. It is held in central Washington state and has grown to be considered one of the top North American music festivals. Confirmed for 2011 include Foo Fighters, Death Cab For Cutie, and Modest Mouse. The festival boast four stages including the ”ËœBig Foot’ and ”ËœYeti’ stages.

Bonnaroo Music Festival: June 9-12 ”“ Manchester, Tennessee, USA
An award-winning festival [Rolling Stone Magazine’s Best Festival of 2008 no less], with multiple stages of live music of all kinds. Line up for 2011 includes Arcade Fire, Strokes, Black Keys, Eminem, Gogol Bordello. The festival features craftsmen and artisans selling unique products, food and drink vendors, a comedy tent, silent disco, cinema tent, and ferris wheel. Sponsors of the festival are required to provide free activities for attendees; should adopt that idea everywhere!!

Roskilde Festival: June 30 – July 3 – Denmark
One of Europe’s five largest rock music festivals; which has been running since 1971 ”“ was begun by two students as a non-profit event aimed at hippies. Previous line-ups read like a who’s who of current music ”“ So far confirmed for 2011 are Iron Maiden, Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, Mastodon, M.I.A , PJ Harvey, and The Strokes. Every year, on the Saturday of the Festival, since 1998, Roskilde Festival Radio organizes a nude run around the camp site. One male and female winner will receive a ticket for the next year’s festival.

Rock al Parque: July 1-3 ”“ Simon Boliver Park, Bogota, Columbia
‘Rock in the Park’ festival is South America’s biggest music event and what’s more its FREE entry! As such since 2004 numbers attending have topped 400,000 ”“ with those sorts of numbers security is an issue; the sale of alcohol at Rock al Parque is prohibited, as is smoking, despite the fact that the event takes place outdoors. Concertgoers are not allowed entry if they are wearing belts with metallic buckles, as these can be used as weapons. Furthermore, all concertgoers have to go through a routine security inspection before entering the concert grounds, and may even be asked to remove their shoes and socks if need be.
The festival is broadcast live over 2 local radio stations: ‘Canal Capital’, and ‘Radiónica’ ”“ Also available live over the internet.

Exit Festival: July 7-10, Novi Sad, Serbia
Held in the grounds of the magnificent Petrovaradin Fortress that sits atop a hill overlooking Novi Sad ”“ With weather to match the view, all you need are some decent bands and this years Exit has them by the lorry load ”“ Grinderman, Pulp, Bad Religion, M.I.A, and Underworld are just some of the acts so far confirmed.

Benicassim: July 14-17 ”“ Benicassim, Castello, Spain
Benicassim has long been an international festival fave with the Brits for the site’s close proximity to the beach and the option of camping free from July 11-18, and with a line-up this year that includes The Strokes, Primal Scream, Arcade Fire and The Stranglers you can be assurred that the cheap Easyjet flights will have long ago been booked up.

OppiKoppi: August 5-7, South Africa
OppiKoppi is South Africa’s leading live music festival. Now in its 14th year, home-grown bands and DJs rub shoulders with European talent under the expansive African sky. Like Glastonbury, only much hotter and dusty!
Line-up is to be announced shortly.

Sziget Festival: August 10-15, Budapest, Hungary
An annual rock festival held on Obudai Island in the Danude, Budapest, which is now one of the biggest summer music festivals in Europe. Being located on an island, some festival goers have tried to enter by swimming across the Danube or by paddling across in inflatable rafts. The organisers very much discourage these attempts claiming that it has never worked and that it is dangerous due to the tricky nature of the fast-flowing Danube river. So far for 2011 we have Manic Street Preachers, Pulp, Chemical Brothers , and Flogging Molly. In addition to music, the festival offers a plethora of other activities including cinema, dance, theatre, tattooing, volleyball, tennis, football, indoor rowing, rock climbing, and bungee jumping

Summer Sonic Festival: August 13”“14, Japan
Despite the recent tragic events in Japan Summer Sonic has confirmed it is going ahead. Bit like Leeds and Reading in that it’s held at two cities Osaka and Chiba. The majority of the bands playing in Osaka the first day go to Chiba the following day and vice versa.
Confirmed for 2011 are Beady Eye, Death From Above 1979, PIL, Public Image, and get this; Bow Wow Wow

Pukkelpop: August 18-20, Hasselt, Belgium
Might not guarentee the sunshine at Pukklepop, it being held just over the Channel in Belgium ”“ Still a fantastic festival, and with a so far confirmed line-up of
The site is rather oddly split by a motorway, the stages on one side, the camping area on the other ”“ organisers provide ”Ëœtraffic officers’ to try to prevent the inevitable closure of the motorway as 100,000+ cross the road to look for their tents.
Pukkelpop was were the lead singer of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool committed suicide in 2010 by leaping from a mobile phone mast a few minutes after finishing their set.

Anyone been to any others? Anyone going to any others? Let us know…

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.


  1. OFF festival, Katowice, Poland, 4-7 August


    When I went in 2009 it was in a park in Myslowice but has now moved closer to the city. You get a few British and US bands – this year they’ve got Primal Scream, Mogwai, Gang Of Four, Deerhoof, Warpaint, Xiu Xiu and Liars amogst others but you also get loads and loads of Polish bands which non Poles will never have heard of – but the involvement of top quality alternative radio show Offensywa (presenter Piotr Stelmach described by a local fan we met as “the John Peel of Poland”) means they’re usually worth seeing. And my Polish isn’t too hot but if you check the website it looks like PiL have just confirmed too.

    This (links below) was my review of 2008 but like I said, it’s moved to a bigger site now. Hopefully they’ve expanded the food court a bit which the year we went basically seemed to offer the choice between lard on toast and mystery meat on a stick.

    part 1 – httpss://
    part 2 – httpss://

  2. Cool festivals.. But have you ever heard about Kazantip? I prefer to go there almost every year. That is the craziest rave music event I\’ve ever been!! It lasts for a MONTH on the beach of Crimea Peninsula, Ukraine. Ye, far from enough but it is worth it! People there are real party animals:)) The sea, world favorite dj\’s, cheap prices and really hot people! The official site is but there you can find only info about event. I book my trip and find a lot of useful info before the trip here
    By the way, what is really funny it is not considered as a festival but as the separate Kazantip Republic with own rules and government. Cool idea!

  3. The whole world should come to Oppikoppi!

    By the way, Oppikoppi was started in 1994, It’s now in its 17th year.

  4. Have you ever heard of Corona Capital @ Mexico City? This year is their second one, and it seems like it’s gonna be pretty huge. Portishead, The Strokes, The Rapture, Santigold, Moby, Cansei de Ser Sexy, M83 and others. The tickets were first sold for $40 dllrs ($500 pesos) but as the date comes closer the prices rise now its $61 dllrs ($750 pesos) since the concert is a month and a half away.

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