The best summer music festivals

It’s nearly time to pack a tent, put on your wellies and rock out in a field - and we know exactly where to do it...

The best summer music festivals
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We've finally seen the first rays of sunshine, festival season is on its way!

The Rolling Stones, The xx, Paul McCartney, Kings of Leon, Blur and Metallica are among hundreds of great acts playing in fields this summer - here's our guide to the best music events of 2013 to experience live, and on TV...

Bonnaroo, Tennessee, United States, June 13-16
Headliners: Paul McCartney, Bjork, Mumford & Sons
Set on a 283-hectare farm, under the scorching summer southern sun, prepare for a consistently top line-up with a few old school hippies thrown into the mix for good measure. Take a break from the tunes with a go on a waterslide or carousel.

Travel to Tennessee with Radio Times Travel, see here for more info

Glastonbury Festival, Glastonbury, England, June 26-30
Headliners: The Rolling Stones, Primal Scream, Portishead, The xx
It’s usually chucking down with rain, you have to wear clothes caked in mud and you'll probably lose your tent in the sea of coloured fabric at some point. But despite all that, the world’s biggest music festival is utterly worth it. The acts are top notch, yes, but many bohemian types don’t even notice, they’re too busy frolicking in the tipi field, getting married in the Chapel of Love or being served by butlers in the Paradise Lost Trailer Park while watching can can dancers.

INmusic, Zagreb, Croatia, June 24-26
Headliners: Bloc Party Arctic Monkeys, NOFX, Basement Jaxx
This stunning forest and calming lake setting is ideal for the clean, business-type festival-attendee. You can have a hot shower and take your laptop – they’ve rigged the place up with Wi-Fi. The modest 25,000 capacity means you won’t have to stand watching a band with a beehive in your face, either.

Open’er, Gdynia, Poland, July 3-6
Headliners: Blur, Animal Collective, Kings of Leon, Editors
Not only is the line-up slick, but they hold silent discos in a bunker, documentary screenings, fashion shows and theatre productions – plenty to amuse your bouche. Just don’t piggyback your buddies when watching bands – it makes the organisers go grrrr.

Exit, Novi Sad, Serbia, July 10-14
Headliners: Snoop Dogg (Snoop Lion), DJ Fresh, Atoms For Peace
This scenic mega-fest includes a crowd 250,000 strong, more than 500 acts and 20 stages – and apparently the whole party evolved from a protest a decade ago.

Travel to Serbia with Radio Times Travel, see here for more info

Dour Festival, Dour, Belgium, July 18-21
Headliners: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wu-Tang Clan, The Smashing Pumpkins
The big acts draw the numbers, but the emphasis here is on pushing music forwards. Charge up on local beer and discover dozens of gimmick-free small alternative bands.

Travel to Belgium with Radiio Times Travel, click here for more info

Pitchfork, Chicago, United States, July 19-21
Headliners: Bjork, R.Kelly, Belle & Sebastian
If you’ve heard of the most obscure bands on the bill, and sport that fall-out-of-bed floppy hair and skinny jeans look, you’ll get on fine at this tastemaker fest, set up by the indie webzine Pitchfork.

Secret Garden Party, Abbots Ripton, England, July 25-28
Headliners: Goldie, John Kennedy, Soulwax, Willy Mason, Zane Lowe
Think bonkers art projects, mass fancy dress in a field, weird installations, and some 26,000 revelers. This year organisers have added an amphitheatre, a yacht club bar and re-introduced the Temple of Boom for dubstep to techno.

Summer Sonic Festival, Osaka, Japan, August 10-11
Headliners: The Stone Roses, Metallica, Cyndi Lauper, Earth Wind & Fire
No matter the weather, this Japanese-mega fest will go on. Here bands rock out to tens of thousands of pogo-ing maniacs in indoor arenas.

Visit Japan with Radio Times Travel, click here for more info


Outside Lands, San Francisco, United States, August 10-12
Headliners: TBC
This fancy festival offers ‘gourmet rock’ aka food and music. Vendors serve up delicious organic food and biodynamic wine from the area, and loads of stuff is powered by solar. How very eco.

Visit San Francisco with Radio Times Travel, click here for more info

Shambala, Northamptonshire, England, August 23-25
Headliners: Alice Russell, Courtney Pine, The Skatalites
This lovely little fest makes us all warm and fuzzy. It has a real music appreciation community vibe. Attendees here don’t believe in plastic bottles but do believe in woodland workshops and roaming theatrics.

Reading/Leeds Festival, Reading and Leeds, England, August 23-25
Headliners: Biffy Clyro, Green Day, Eminem, Deftones
Punks, metal-heads and emos congregate for toilet tipping, beer can hurling and moshing in pits filled with sweaty teens. If your ears aren’t almost bleeding – the music is just not loud enough.,

The Burning Man, Nevada, United States, August 26-September 2
Headliners: You and your mates
Bring your own musical and arty entertainment to this sweltering party under the Nevada sun. On the Saturday night the atmosphere will build to a climax, and a 12-metre-tall effigy of 'The Man' is set alight.

Visit Nevada with Radio Times Travel, click here for more info

Bestival, Isle of Wight, England, September 5-8
Headliners: Elton John, Franz Ferdinand, M.I.A, Snoop Dogg (Snoop Lion)
This festival is not just about raving in a field. For one long weekend of the year this patch of grass offers a collection of weird and wonderful places to bed up. Book in advance and sleep in anything from a tepee to a beach hut to a country cottage on wheels.

Visit the Isle of Wight with Radio Times Travel, click here for more info

Berlin Festival, Berlin, Germany, September 6-7
Headliners: AlunaGeorge, DJ Shadow, Pet Shop Boys, Bjork
The killer setting and attention to detail make this fest world-class. The shenanigans take place in the Tempelhof Airport, complete with an arrivals hall, baggage belts and immigration booths, plus a retro departure board displaying the lineup. 

Visit Berlin with Radio Times Travel, click here for more info

Photos by: Geert SchNfer, Jason Bryant, Jeremy Farmer and Derek Bremner.