Summer is one of the busiest touring seasons for musicians and taking on the festival circuit is a gruelling but rewarding rite of passage for pop performers, hip-hop stars and rock ‘n rollers alike. As Glastonbury prepares to kick off on June 26, we round up six of the hottest summer festivals around the globe this year and give you a glimpse into their surprising histories. Plus, our nine step guide to surviving your first — or 50th — music festival.
When is it? June 26-30
Where is it? Worthy Farm, Somerset, UK
What is it? Glastonbury is the biggest greenfield festival in the world. Since its inception in 1970, it has taken place at the Worthy Farm, which was inherited by Michael Eavis from his father in 1954. The camping festival gets its name from Glastonbury town, located a short drive away from the festival grounds.
Who’s performing? Stormzy, George Ezra, Lauryn Hill, Bastille, The Killers, Liam Gallagher, Janet Jackson, Hozier, The Cure, Vampire Weekend, Miley Cyrus, Years & Years, Tame Impala, Billie Eilish, Wu-Tang Clan, Janelle Monae.
When is it? August 1-4
Where is it? Grant Park, Chicago, US
What is it? Lollapalooza was conceived in 1991 by Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell as a farewell tour for his band. The festival toured annually until 1997 and returned in 2003. It’s now headquartered in Chicago, but yearly global editions also began to take place in 2011. This year, it also takes place in Stockholm (June 28-30).
Who’s performing? Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Twenty One Pilots, The Strokes, Tame Impala, Flume, The Chainsmokers, J Balvin, Kacey Musgraves, Lil Wayne, Janelle Monae, Meek Mill, Hozier.
When is it? July 19-28
Where is it? De Schorre, Boom, Belgium
What is it? One of the largest electronic dance music festivals in the world, Tomorrowland recorded 400,000 in attendance in 2018. The themed festival, founded in 2005, takes place over the course of two weekends and sells out in minutes. This year’s theme is a repeat of 2012: The Book of Wisdom.
Who’s performing? Tiesto, The Chainsmokers, Steve Aoki, Jonas Blue, Armin Van Buuren, A$AP Rocky, Paris Hilton, J Balvin, Nicky Romero.
4. Woodstock 50
When is it? August 16-18
Where is it? Watkins Glen, New York, US
What is it? A one-off celebration of “peace, love and music” in commemoration of 50 years of Woodstock, the 1968 music festival that became a milestone in pop culture.
Who’s performing? The Killers, Miley Cyrus, Santana, The Lumineers, The Raconteurs, Chance the Rapper, Jay Z, Imagine Dragons, Halsey, Cage the Elephant, Janelle Monae.
5. Reading and Leeds
When is it? August 23-25
Where is it? Little John’s Farm (Reading), Bramham Park (Leeds), UK
What is it? Reading and Leeds Festivals are a pair of festivals that happen at the same time and have the same bill of performers, who alternate days. It takes place over the August bank holiday weekend. Reading — originally known as the National Jazz Festival in the 1960s — is considered the world’s oldest pop music festival.
Who’s performing? Billie Eilish, Chvrches, Bastille, The 1975, Post Malone, Twenty One Pilots, Foo Fighters, Juice WRLD, Charli XCX, Lil Uzi Vert.
6. Rock in Rio
When is it? September 27-October 6
Where is it? Barra Olympic Park, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
What is it? Rock in Rio is a reoccurring music event that launched in Brazil in 1985 as a 10-day festival; Queen, AC/DC, Rod Stewart and Iron Maiden were among the performers. An approximate 1.4 million people attended.
Who’s performing? Drake, Cardi B, Foo Fighters, Weezer, Bon Jovi, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Panic! At the Disco, Iron Maiden, P!nk, Muse, Imagine Dragons.
9 STEP GUIDE TO SURVIVING A SUMMER FESTIVAL
1. Stay hydrated! This is the number one rule at any summer music festival. It can get ruthlessly hot and sweaty out there, and dehydration can lead to nausea and loss of consciousness. Read up on each festival’s rules and see if you can pack a refillable water bottle with you.
2. Sunscreen is your best friend. You might think there’s a breeze and the sun isn’t strong, but even when you can’t feel it, it can do a lot of damage to your skin — so don’t skimp on the SPF.
3. Download a weather app. Whenever you’re going to a different country, it’s recommended to keep tabs on the weather forecast and pack clothes accordingly. Reading and Leeds are notoriously wet festivals, for example, so you may need to invest in rain boots.
4. Opt for closed and flat shoes. You’re at a festival — you want to dance, mosh and move around comfortably. Closed shoes will protect you from people stepping on your feet!
5. Carry a backpack of essentials. Most festivals will allow you to bring in a small bag — so consider building your own first aid kit and packing a change of clothes. Don’t overdo it, though, because you’re going to be lugging it around all day.
6. Schedule, schedule, schedule. This is especially important for multi-stage festivals! Make a list of all the acts you want to see, their set timings and what stages they’re performing on. Trust us — this will save you a whole lot of headaches and heartbreak.
7. Plan your transportation. Most major festivals will include detailed instructions on how to get to them by bus, train and car. Public transport is typically affordable and will save you the hassle of finding parking. Make sure you print any travel instructions and keep them with you — and always find out when the last train leaves.
8. Ditch the selfie sticks. These are usually prohibited items, they’re a pain to carry around and they restrict people’s view. It’s a good idea to have a read through each festival’s allowed and prohibited items lists to make sure you don’t get any of your stuff confiscated at the gates.
9. Don’t forget to have fun! Festivals can be overwhelming, but with proper planning, they can be a lot of fun. Remember — you’re there to have a good time, so whether that means being front and centre or lingering in the back where there’s room to breathe, there’s no wrong answer.
THE 8 MOST BIZARRE BANNED ITEMS AT MUSIC FESTIVALS
- 1. Laughing gas – Glastonbury Festival
- 2. Hula hoops, stuffed animals and markers – Coachella
- 3. Frisbees and inflatable furniture – Lollapalooza
- 4. Eye drops and chain wallets – Firefly Festival
- 5. Couches – Falls Festival
- 6. High visibility jackets - The Ends Festival
- 7. Whistles and pacifiers – Ultra Music Festival
- 8. Media personality Katie Hopkins “due to her vile and horrendous opinions that Truck Festival wholeheartedly does not agree with” – Truck Festival
OUR DREAM SUMMER FESTIVAL LINE-UP IN THE UAE
Arctic Monkeys, Drake, Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Panic! At the Disco, The Killers, LANY, Halsey, Lizzo, Paramore, the Jonas Brothers, Kings of Leon, Shawn Mendes.