The best festivals in the world for 2020 (2023)

LUCCA SUMMER FESTIVAL, TUSCANY, ITALY

1st-31st July 2020

Within the ancient walls of the historic Piazza Napoleone in the picturesque town of Lucca, this month-long festival plays host to a jawdropping collection of stars from every genre. This year Elton John, Ennio Morricone, New Order, Janelle Monae and Sting are set to grace its stages.

Genre: music (multi-genre)
Insider tip: The festival takes over the city, the music echoing round the streets, so you’ll catch even more in the city’s bars.
Website: summer-festival.com

OPEN'ER FESTIVAL, GDYNIA, POLAND

1-4 July 2020

Poland's biggest festival consistently draws in huge rock, indie, rap and pop acts (Travis Scott, Kylie, The Strokes, The Smashing Pumpkins), but it also has a huge fashion stage, where upcoming designers exhibit their wares to a 90,000-strong audience. It makes each year’s festival T-shirt design competition a particular draw (pun intended).

Genre: music (multi-genre), art
Insider tip: Explore Gdynia too, with its gorgeous beaches and thriving food culture.
Website: opener.pl

ALSO FESTIVAL, WARWICKSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM

3–5 July 2020

A pioneering ideas festival with a focus on getting back to nature, where music leaves the small stages and goes into the wild. Enjoy a gospel choir Sunday breakfast, a treasure hunt of song lyrics, a lakeside battle of vinyl geeks and a disco bunker. Forest bathing, science talks and an on-site wooden pintxo restaurant, Getaria, made from the site’s own trees, complete the 360° wellness bubble-bath.

Genre: music (multi-genre), ideas, art
Insider tip: A great one for young families: the kids even do a Saturday-night pudding procession.
Website: also-festival.com

BARN ON THE FARM, GLOUCESTERSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM

2-5 July 2020

This intimate Gloucestershire festival has gained a strong reputation for its carefully curated line-ups of promising indie talent. With three stages set in – you guessed it – barns, this is the place to catch hot newcomers before they hit the big time. Previous years have seen Ed Sheeran, Ben Howard and Bastille perform. With a cosy capacity of 1,500 guests, Barn on the Farm is one of the only festivals where you can watch a band and then have a beer with them afterwards.

Genre: music (indie)
Insider tip: For an even more boutique experience, head along to 'intimate Thursday' or 'intimate Friday' – there are only about 250 tickets on sale for each and they sell out fast.
Website:barnonthefarm.co.uk

FIELD DAY, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM

11th July 2020

From a park in Hackney to a 10-acre site near Enfield’s marshes and reservoirs, Field Day is one of London’s biggest events – and the loudest, with the best festival sound system in the city. Four mammoth interlinking warehouses, The Drumsheds, are at the heart of it, and Skepta, Jorja Smith and Diplo have all been recent big-hitting headliners.

Genre: music (multi-genre)
Insider tip: An additional afterparty ticket gets you in till 3am (the latest curfew in London).
Website:fielddayfestivals.com

The best live music bars in London

EXIT FESTIVAL, NOVI SAD, SERBIA

9–12 July 2020

Evolving from the anti-Milošević protests of 2000, Exit is now one of the biggest dance-music festival juggernauts in Europe. It flirts with the mainstream (The Cure, The Chainsmokers and Chase & Status), but techno and bass (Paul Kalkbrenner, Carl Cox, Jeff Mills) remain its pulse. Plus its Petrovaradin Fortress amphitheatre-like setting – you’re literally raving in a giant moat – is jaw-dropping.

Genre: music (EDM)
Insider tip: It gets hot here, so an apartment in Novi Sad is recommended.
Website:exitfest.org

LOVE INTERNATIONAL, TISNO, CROATIA

15-21 July 2020

Set in the hills of Tisno overlooking the stunning Dalmatian Coast, this event blurs the lines between festival and holiday. Big-name DJs (Craig Richards, DJ Harvey, Optimo) provide the soundtrack to open-air clubs, beach parties, secret island parties and parties on boats that travel for hours (just don’t miss the departure points).

Genre: music (electronic)
Insider tip: Barbarella’s Discotheque, a short journey from the main site, is sunrise-seeker central.
Website:loveinternationalfestival.com

NOS ALIVE, LISBON, PORTUGAL

8-11 July 2020

An alternative-music juggernaut in Portugal’s buzzy Lisbon, running everyday from 4pm to 4am. Big-name headliners have included Vampire Weekend, The Smashing Pumpkins and The Chemical Brothers. Weekend ticket options can also include hotels and special-interest tours exploring street art, the city’s surfing and local food.

Genre: music (rock, indie)
Insider tip: Camp in the nearby four-star Lisboa Camping & Bungalows, which has its own pool, restaurant, bathhouse and tennis courts, and where a pitch starts at €38.80.
Website:nosalive.com

G! FESTIVAL, FAROE ISLANDS

16–18 July 2020

Deep in the North Atlantic, in the tiny seaside village of Göta on the Faroe Island of Eysturoy (population 567), artists at the G! Festival have to compete with the midnight sun and stunning scenery for attention. The islands’ huge grassy mountains are like nothing on earth, and the spirit of the crowd – used to dark winters and all-day summers – is undeniable. British stars are regulars (Fatboy Slim, Lewis Capaldi), as are Nordic giants (metal is ever-present).

Genre: music (alternative, electronic)
Insider tip: Visit the lovely Finnish sauna and hot tubs down on the beach.
Website: gfestival.fo

FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL DE BENICASSIM, SPAIN

16-19 July 2020

On the coast between Barcelona and Valencia, the small village of Benicàssim has long been host to one of Europe’s best summer pop festivals. Friendly crowds, international stars like Lana Del Rey and Kings Of Leon, and simple camping options (including the city-centre Villacamp, with its own bar and café, leisure zone and showers) keep things easy.

Genre: music (multi-genre)
**Insider tip:**Turn up three days early to enjoy festival sets in local clubs Buddha and Casablanca.
Website: fiberfib.com

MELT!, FERROPOLIS, GERMANY

17–19 July 2020

Located in the Ferropolis open-air museum on a tiny peninsula between Leipzig and Berlin, in the shadow of mining cranes and excavators, this three-day electronica and indie extravaganza is all about laser lights and euphoric partying. When the crowds are tired from dancing to acts such as Bon Iver and Bonobo, they pitch tents beside the lake or collapse in a bunk bed on the Mixery Melt! sleeper train, a hotel (and bar) on wheels that also collects and drops off weekend merrymakers.

Genre: music (multi-genre)
Insider tip: Slope off for rest around the tree house, hidden bars and hammocks of the idyllic Forest stage.
Website: meltfestival.de

MIDI FESTIVAL, SOUTH OF FRANCE

24–26 July 2020

The gorgeous medieval hill town of Hyères in the French Riviera hosts this four-day showcase of some of the world's best left-field music. Hubert Lenoir, Muddy Monk and Charlotte Adigéry will be among those playing here beneath the stars at one of the festival's three quirky venues: a racetrack, the beach, and an early modernist building, the Villa Noailles.

Genre: music (alternative)
Insider tip: The Villa Noailles exhibits art and photography and is worth further exploration.
Website:midi-festival.com

WOMAD, WILTSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM

23–26 July 2020

A country estate outside Malmesbury is the landing site for all sorts of weird and wonderful sounds from around the globe. British artists of an exploratory bent are in residence too (Orbital, Nadine Shah), but the main pleasure here is finding new music. Attracting families (The World of Children area runs from 9am to 7pm each day) and grown-up music fans alike, this is a festival to bring your teenage brood to and let them loose, knowing they'll be safe.

Read more about Womad Festival in our guide to the best music festivals in the UK.

Genre: music (world)
Insider tip: Go to the World of Words Tent, a beautiful wooden framed geodesic dome: a balm for the mind and the soul.
Website:womad.co.uk

BLUEDOT FESTIVAL, CHESHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM

23–26 July 2020

At other festivals, 'dark matter' is something to be avoided in the compostable loos. Here at Jodrell Bank, the incredible observatory in the Cheshire countryside, it's just one of many cosmic subjects to get to grips with over the Bluedot weekend. Futuristic bands (Kraftwerk, New Order and Hot Chip among them) provide the festival with a star-laden soundtrack , as more than 200 astronomers and astrophysicists share their universal knowledge.

Genre: music (electronic, indie), science, arts
Insider tip: Don’t miss the late-night Orbit stage’s cutting-edge intergalactic sounds.
Website:discoverthebluedot.com

SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS, BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA

24–26 July 2020

Behold Australia’s biggest winter festival, held in the beautiful North Byron Parklands of New South Wales, which attracts cutting-edge pop and alternative stars like Childish Gambino, Little Simz and Chance The Rapper. But there’s more: the fantastically eclectic World Stage, home to global music, and hidden areas like the nighttime Tipi Forest with its underground DJs, light shows and fire twirlers.

Genre: music (multi-genre)
Insider tip: The peaceful wellness haven of the Bohemian Lounge turns into an erotic cabaret and silent disco space after sundown.
Website:splendourinthegrass.com

TERRAFORMA, MILAN, ITALY

26–28 July 2020

An exploratory arts, music and ideas festival in Italy’s fashion capital, featuring three days of music, workshops and lectures promoting sustainability. The festival team have restored the historic Villa Arconati garden in the city, and have set up solar-lit camping, and an impressive recycling system. Artists such as Laurie Anderson and Mica Levi provide the tunes.

Genre: music (electronic), art
Insider tip: Be sustainable yourself by collecting empty cups: with enough, you get a free beer.
Website:terraformafestival.com

PARIS JAZZ FESTIVAL, PARIS, FRANCE

2020 dates to be announced

Big names as well as emerging talents will perform at the Paris Jazz Festival, in the city's beautiful Parc Floral.

Genre: music (jazz)
Insider tip: Pack a picnic blanket and a basket stuffed with French foodie treats.
Website:parisjazzfestival.fr

PORT ELIOT, CORNWALL, UNITED KINGDOM

2020 dates to be announced

The ultimate posh literary festival, where authors become the rock stars of the weekend (poet laureate Simon Armitage, Emily Maitlis, Decca Aitkenhead, roll on up). There are also artists (Jeremy Deller), fashionistas (Zandra Rhodes), foodies, artisans, thinkers, talkers, bohemians and idlers. The site, on the banks of the River Tiddy, is stunning too.

Read more about Port Eliot Festival in our guide to the best music festivals in the UK.

Genre: literary
Insider tip: Book the Woodfired Canteen’s amazing open-air dining, for only £25 a seat.
Website:porteliotfestival.com

PETE THE MONKEY, NORMANDY, FRANCE

2020 dates to be announced

A little slice of eco-cool in the Normandy seaside town of Saint-Aubin-Sur-Mer. Expect cabaret acts, naked saunas and under-the-radar European indie. And all proceeds go to a wildlife charity.

Genre: music (indie)
Insider tip: Pack your swimsuit and head to Normandy's lovely coast for a break from the revelry.
Website: petethemonkeyfestival.com

MANCHESTER INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL, MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM

2020 dates to be announced

A fantastic international arts festival with experiment and exploration at its heart, which keeps putting more focus on music. Past festivals have staged events such as Maxine Peake’s new work, The Nico Project, inspired by the 1960s Velvet Underground star; conceptual bell-ringing with Yoko Ono; plus star performances by conceptual art-lovers like Janelle Monae and David Lynch.

Genre: music, art, theatre
Insider tip: Head to the Festival Square’s intimate Glass House for Michelin-starred weekend lunches.
Website: mif.co.uk

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