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...

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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