Whilst giant EDM-style festivals with steep ticket prices seem to dominate the discussion around electronic music, there are a whole host of excellent electronic music festivals for the discerning dance music fan that take place throughout Europe on a somewhat more under-the-radar basis. Some of the festivals in this list may be less underground than others, but they all guarantee a great few days of partying!
What sets Gottwood apart from other electronic music festivals is that it doesn’t follow any mainstream trends and doesn’t try to deliver the most extravagant line-up in order to attract the most people. Rather, the organisers have set about creating a special vibe year-on-year, with both the magical location in the Anglesey woods and the line-up chosen specifically for that purpose. The music on offer crosses the different boundaries of electronic music, with a mix of Old-School Garage, Intelligent Techno, deep Drum & Bass and everything in between.
- Line-up: Adam Shelton / Andrew Ashong (Live + Dj) / Artwork / Brawther / Craig Richards b2b Ben UFO / dBridge / Enzo Siragusa / FaltyDL / Frank & Tony / Hunee / Leon Vynehall / Marc Romboy / Marcellus Pittman / Margaret Dygas / Maxxi Soundsystem / Midland / Mind Against / Motor City Drum Ensemble / Mouse Outfit (Live) / Move D / Om Unit / PBR Streetgang / Point G (Live) / Radioactive Man / Ralph Lawson / Seven Davis Jr (Live) / Soul Clap / Subb-an / tINI / Tom Demac (Live) / Tornado Wallace / Zenker Brothers / Zip + many more.
- Dates: 11th – 14th June 2015
- Price: £125 + Booking Fee
- Ticket Availability: Early bird tickets are sold out. They are now on the final tier price.
- Accomodation Information: Tents and Yurts are available to hire for the duration of the festival, with prices starting at £275. Of course, you can always bring your own tent!
Soundcloud: Old School Rave & Jungle Set from 2 Bad Mice @ Gottwood 2013, showing how eclectic the line-up is.
Although maybe not as obscure as some of the other festivals on this list, Dimensions Festival still deserves to be mentioned for a number of different reasons. It’s the less well-known sister festival to the bass-heavy Outlook Festival, which takes place in exactly the same place – the stunning Fort Punta Christo, on a secluded peninsula not far from the Croatian town of Pula – only a week afterwards. Even though there is more of an emphasis on deeper house and techno, there is still no lack of bass, with deep Dubstep and Drum & Bass still strongly represented, and a finely tweaked soundsystem that simply puts many other festivals to shame. There are also more of the legendary, wish-you-were-there boat parties, as well as chilled daytime sessions on the beach – it is definitely the place to be for lovers of the deeper side of electronic music. This year’s headliners are some of the biggest to date, with the legendary George Clinton|Parliament|Funkadelic set to provide an unforgettable funk and soul soundtrack under the Croatian stars.
- Line-up: George Clinton|Parliament|Funkadelic, Moodymann, Ben Klock, Lil Louis, Mount Kimbie (DJ Set), John Talabot, Surgeon, Rodhad, Anthony Parasole, Truncate, Hessel Audio : Ben UFO, Pearson Sound, Pangaea. As well as: Motor City Drum Ensemble, Daniel Avery, Horse Meat Disco, Jeremy Underground , DJ Deep, Paranoid London (live), Delano Smith, Franck Roger, Osunlade, Max Graef, Goldie, Doc Scott and Fierce.
- Dates: 26th – 30th August 2015
- Price: A standard ticket costs €135 although it can be bought in different combinations with tickets for Outlook Festival or with a campsite pass, which are priced differently.
- Ticket Availability: Tickets are currently on general sale and can be purchased on the official Dimensions Festival Website.
- Accommodation Information: Onsite camping is available, as are hostel rooms. These can be booked directly in conjunction with your festival ticket. Dimensions Festival also have a number of partners who can offer offsite accommodation, should you prefer to have a bit of a rest away from the festival site.
Soundcloud: Henry Wu in the mix for Dimensions!
Fusion Festival was first held in 1997 and is perhaps the most left-field of the festivals on this list – it has a strong counterculture basis and is aimed at people seeking to go away for a few days and completely separate themselves from their conventional everyday lives and worries. Unsurprisingly then that there is little by the way of fixed restrictions for what’s on offer – there is some emphasis on different styles of electronic music, however, at points, you can also stop and listen to live music from some of the other festivalgoers. The avant-garde is encouraged here – music isn’t the only outlet for attendees to express themselves – so you might also stumble upon various visual-art installations during your time at the festival.
- Line-up: The line-up is not released beforehand.
- Dates: 25th – 28th June 2015
- Price: €90 + another €10 for rubbish collection.
- Ticket Availability: Tickets are available from the Fusion Festival website.
- Accommodation Information: The location on a former military airfield in Lärz is an ideal space on which to set up camp. Creative solutions are encouraged!
Soundcloud: andhim with some “Super-House” from Fusion 2012.
HORST Arts & Music Festival
First held in 2014, HORST has everything that you would want from an alternative arts and electronic music festival. It was devised with the aim of providing a place for young creatives, makers of electronic music and visual artists to showcase their work. This year the festival will be bigger than last year, with a number of established artists performing as well, however the organisers are keen to stress that their main intention is to protect the vibe and ensure that the festival maintains a sense of quality over quantity.
- Line-up: On last years line-up were Floating Points, Joy Orbison, Boddika, Leon Vynehall, Detroit Swindle, Flako, Cid Rim and Dark Sky
- Dates: 11th – 12th September 2015
- Price: Around €32.
- Ticket Availability: Last year was the first edition of the festival and it sold all of its 2500 tickets. There are early bird tickets available – sign up for the newsletter to know when presale starts.
- Accommodation Information: This year there are camping spaces provided for people who want to stay during the night. Alternatively, you can take the bus to the centre of Leuven and find hostels or hotels there.
Soundcloud: NonPlus label boss Boddika with some deep house.
The PITCH Festival, still going strong after 5 years in the game, is scheduled this year for the weekend of the 3rd-4th of July. The prime location in the heart of Amsterdam, along with the forward thinking line-up that promises lots of atmosphere, sets this festival apart from the rest. The two-day festival takes place in a park on the grounds of a former factory, perfect for taking breaks from nipping between the various stages.
- Line-up: James Blake | Flume | Kaytranada | James Holden live | Rustie | Gold Panda | Evian Christ | Simian Mobile Disco live | Lido | Antal | Siriusmodeselektor | Jon Hopkins | Kwabs | Jungle | Jamie xx | John Talabot | Ten Walls | Jack Garratt | Herbert | Bob Moses | Bea | Hot Chip | Dekmantel Soundsystem, with more to be announced
- Dates: 3rd – 4th July 2015
- Price: €80 for a weekend pass, €45 for the Friday or Saturday.
- Ticket Availability: Presale started February 13 . Tickets can be bought here.
- Accommodation Information: There is no camping on the festival site, however, there are a lot of hostels and hotels in the vicinity.
Soundcloud: Jamie xx and John Talabot on the Beats in Space Radio Show.
The Aquasella Festival, which takes place in the north of Spain in the town of Arriondas, is truly a part of the European festival landscape. Indeed, this year’s edition of the festival is the 19th time that it will have been held. The festival has grown a lot lately, mainly because of the international artists they are able to attract every year as well as the general good vibes from the attendees.
- Line-up: Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Surgeon, Ben SIms. Some artist from past editions are: Sven Väth, Oscar Mulero, Vitalic, 2ManyDjs or Nina Kraviz to name a few plus the local residents.
- Dates: 21st – 23rd August 2015
- Price: €45 for entry. €60 for entry + camping.
- Ticket Availability: The first 1000 tickets are already on sale here.
- Accommodation Information: A camping space with all the trimmings for the entire 3 days comes in at €60.
Soundcloud: Blawan going in at Aquasella 2014!
#KFF15 Kappa FuturFestival Torino 2015
The Kappa FuturFestival has taken place in the Parco Dora, a post-industrial green space in Turin‘s city centre, every year since 2011. The KFF, as it is known to fans, takes place over two intense days in an open air setting, with the aim of giving space to electronic sounds in a location that both evokes Turin’s industrial past and shows a borderless future. In 2014, more than 30,000 people came together to celebrate the urban and contemporary spirit that ties the festival together.
- Line-up: On day 1 – Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock, Solomun, Pan-Pot, Seth Troxler, The Martinez Brothers, Kings Of House Nyc: David Morales | Louie Vega | Tony Humphries, Tale Of Us, Siriusmodeselektor live: (Siriusmo + Modeselektor), Eats Everything & more. On day 2 – Sven Väth, Jamie Jones, Kölsch, Joseph Capriati, Ten Walls, Recondite Live, Pillow talk Live, Oscar Mulero, Jonas Kopp Live, Alex Bau, Discrete Circuit, Ilario Alicante and more TBA.
- Dates: 11th – 12th July 2015
- Price: 1 day pass = €35 / Weekend pass: €50/ 1 day VIP pass: €80/ VIP Weekend pass: €150
- Ticket Availability: Tickets are available from one online outlets.
- Accommodation Information: An accommodation package which includes a festival pass and hotel room can be booked on the festival website.
Soundcloud: Ben Klock will be bringing those Berghain vibes to Turin with him!
Set within the beautiful harbour city of Sète, in the south of France, and first organised by Gilles Peterson in 2006, Worldwide Festival is a mainstay among electronic and live music festivals in France, with this year’s event being the 10th edition of the festival. The actual festival takes place in several different areas across the city, including events on the beach, under the harbour lighthouse, as well is in an open air theatre built into the cliffs!
- Line-up : Still not fully released, but so far – Laurent Garnier / Dj Harvey / Mala / Garfld / Gilles Peterson / James Blake / Seven Davis JR / Pharoah Sanders / Lefto / Coki / LTJ Bukem + more.
- Dates: 6th – 12th July 2015
- Price: A “Platinum Pass” which gets you access to the St Christ Stage (Main Stage, on the Harbor, under the Lighthouse), the Théâtre de la Mer (the open air concert space built into the cliffs) + all the other Worldwide Festival stages during the day, costs €209 EUR. The “St Christ Pass”, which gives you access to the St Christ Stage + all the other Worldwide Festival stages during the day, costs €129 . Individual tickets will be available once the line-up is fully released.
- Ticket Availability: Tickets are available on the festival website. To guarantee entry, passes should be bought in advance. Individual tickets can be bought later, however, the availability depends on the artist playing.
- Accommodation Information: Book accommodation in advance is advised, as the Worldwide Festival attracts a lot of people to Sète – which is also a summer resort (lots of other tourists are on holiday there during the festival). Different accommodation options are possible, ranging from camping to hotels. More info here.
Soundcloud: Gilles Petersen & Four Tet with a warm-up set just for Worldwide Festival!
Urban Art Forms Festival
The motto of the Urban Art Forms Festival is “Back To Where Your Heart Beats” – no doubt they have the authority to say this, as the festival is a pioneer among electronic music festivals in Austria and this year’s edition is back in the original location where it was first held. The festival grounds are situated in a secluded, tree-lined valley in Wiesen, near to Mattersburg – there are plenty of hammocks on hand to chill out on should your feet need a rest from all the dancing.
- Line-up: Sven Väth, Die Antwoord, Camo & Krooked, Netsky, Bonobo, Mefjus, Emperor, Foreign Beggars, Alix Perez + many more.
- Dates: 18th June – 20th June 2015
- Price: €139.90 for entry to all 3 days.
- Ticket Availability: Tickets are still available here.
- Accommodation Information: Camping is possible on-site, but only with the 3 day ticket.
Soundcloud: Energetic dancefloor D&B courtesy of Dimension!
Despite its position as a relative newcomer to the electronic music festival scene, Sonus Festival has fast gained a reputation as a purveyor of the finest underground techno going, expertly put together by the same organisers as of the renowned Time Warp festival in Mannheim. The Sonus festival takes place on the Croatian island of Pag, so attendees are guaranteed a mix of the best in sun, sea and techno.
- Line-up: &ME/ me live/ Apollonia/ Barac/ Binh/ Bunte Bummler live/Chris Liebing/ Dan Andrei/ Dixon/ Dorian Paic/ Enzo Siragusa/Felipe Valenzuela/ Felver/ Fumiya Tanaka/ Guti live/ Hash/Hold Youth/ Ian F/ Jackmaster/ Jamie Jones/ John Digweed/Joseph Capriati/ Karotte/ Labud/ Len Faki/ Leon/ Loco Dice/Luciano/ Marco Carola/ Mariano Mateljan/ Matador live/Mathias Kaden live/ Meat/ Mimi/ Monika Kruse/ Nastia/Onur Özer/ Pan-Pot/ Rampa/ Raresh/ Rhadoo/ Ricardo Villalobos/Richie Hawtin/ Richy Ahmed/ Robert Dietz/ Rødhåd/ Seb Zito/ Sedee/Sergej Snooze/ Seth Troxler/ Shaun Reeves/ Shoxy/ Sonja Moonear/Soul Capsule/ Steffen Deux/ Sven Väth/ Tale Of Us/ Ten Walls live/ tINI/Valentino Kanzyani/ Zero/ Zip/
- Dates: 16th-20th August 2015
- Price: €169 for a regular ticket for 5 days and 5 nights; €229 for a VIP ticket for the same amount of time.
- Ticket Availability: There are 2 ticket categories: the regular ticket, costing €169, is valid for all club parties during the Sonus Festival – Boat parties are not included. The VIP ticket includes access to the VIP areas at Papaya and Aquarius, fast-track club entries and our special VIP wristband/ Cost 229 Euro). The “early bird” and the “first release” tickets are sold out.
- Accommodation Information: Ticket and accommodation packages are available here.
Soundcloud: Joseph Capriati especially in the mix to whet your appetite for Sonus 2015!
Cover photo courtesy of: Gottwood Festival.