When it comes to music, there is one thing that seems apparent. Music is powerful. The true power in music lies in its ability to bridge language barriers, bring people together peacefully in times of social unrest, and speak to the human spirit. In an article by Vikas S. Shah Mbe the question “What is music?” is asked during an interview with award-winning musician Moby. Though it is a simple question, the response required a bit of nuance. Moby answered:
“One of the really fascinating things about music is that technically- in a very literal way- it doesn’t exist. A painting, a sculpture or a photograph can physically exist, while music is just air hitting the eardrum in a slightly different way than it would randomly. If you were a space alien trying to define music- you would define it as humans manipulating the way in which air molecules hit someone’s eardrum. Somehow that air- which has almost no substance whatsoever- when moved and when made to hit the eardrum in tiny subtle ways- can make people dance, cry, have sex, move across country, go to war and more. It’s remarkable that something so subtle can illicit profound emotional reactions in people.”
How we experience and engage with music as well as others simultaneously adds depth to the power that it holds over us. Music festivals are not only a great way to share in the adventure of listening to music but also foster senses of connection, common purpose, and community. So, let’s take a look at ten of the top music festivals that you shouldn’t miss this summer.
Date: June 26-30
Location: Pilton, UK
With the claim to fame as being one of, if not the, largest greenfield festival throughout the world, Glastonbury is the festival with a little something for everyone. This festival reaches a fever pitch, dominating conversation from May to July, as it is known to either become the best or worst five days of your year. When attending Glastonbury for the first time, there are several things that you need to know.
- You will have to park far away from your campsite
This festival is literally located in the middle of nowhere so be prepared and pack as light as you are comfortable with.
- Plan to walk miles
The enormous festival site is stretched across 900 acres. To walk around the entire perimeter would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 ½ miles.
- Play nice
There is a broad mix of people that attend Glastonbury. The last thing that any of them want to deal with is some judgemental prick. Keep the vibes right, and it should be smooth sailing.
- The weather forecast is not set in stone
The last thing that you”ll want to happen is to be without sunscreen or rain boots when the need arises for either. It has rained for the entire 5 days in past years but also has the potential to be sunny and hot, so your best bet is to bring both. Treat the weather forecast like a polite suggestion.
- Explore and embrace
This is a 5 day festival on 900 acres with music playing day and night as well as plenty of other activities. Get in there and take it all in. Most of all, enjoy yourself!
Montreux Jazz Festival
Date: June 27-July 6
Location: Montreux, Switzerland
Beginning in 1967, the Montreux Jazz Festival has a fantastic amount of history including humble beginnings mainly showcasing jazz talent and then expanding out into almost every music style that you can imagine. Located on the shore of Lake Geneva, this festival is sure to have something for just about everyone. While a fair amount of the festival takes place inside the convention center across 3 main stages, there is still plenty more to experience. Don’t forget to check around outside the convention center and take as much in as you can.
Date: June 7-10
Location: Manchester, Tennessee
Bonnaroo is an experience best absorbed with an open mind, a willingness to look ridiculous at times, and a sense of adventure. With a lineup of artists that few festivals parallel and rumors afloat of an immersive light and music adventure in the Eastern woods this year, be prepared for a celebration that will leave a lasting impression. Tips for attending this festival include packing toilet paper, sunscreen, and rain boots just in case.
Date: July 10-14
Location: Dour, Belgium
Get ready for good times at the Dour Festival. With all doubts set aside, you are sure to have an experience at this festival. Make sure that you are dressed to impress, even if it means wearing thrift store furs or unicorn costumes in case you are teleported to some astral walkway during one of the mind-blowing performances. In an interview which best summed up his experience at Dour 2018, Jasper Staal was quoted as saying, “I knew what to expect: good vibes, good music, beautiful weather, and an ocean of booze. And a LOT of French. Bonjour mon ami!”
Dates: July 19-21 & 26-28
Location: Boom, Belgium
Boasting a crowd over 400,000 or more over the past several years and stages as well as overall settings that are indeed an experience for all the senses, this festival is a must for anyone with an ear for music across electronic genre. However, this festival can hardly be described by such a simple word. Past events have included a dedicated terminal at the Brussels airport catering to “party planes” and lounge parties before “party plane” departure. This festival has been best described in a Vice article by Matthew Francey as “a big, brash circus of bells and whistles, fireworks and confetti. Essentially – a massive fucking party, with over 300,000 other people, all here to celebrate dance music.”
Date: August 2-5
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Despite the notion that you know what to expect at Lollapalooza, you do not. Nobody does. This three-day affair with sun, drinking, music, food, and the beautiful people of Chicago is an ever-changing experience. The best that you can do is to make sure that you pack appropriately and get in the right state of mind for having an adventure. Oh, and bring a poncho…it may just save your sanity!
Osheaga Music and Arts Festival
Date: August 2-4
Location: Montreal, Canada
Let’s be real, Montreal has enough reasons to inspire just about anyone to visit. Located just minutes from downtown Montreal, Osheaga is a festival that promises to have acts that you won’t want to miss while still giving you the opportunity to enjoy the city. As if an amazing town, tons of great music and the food wasn’t enough, Osheaga also has an app that you can download to make navigating the festival that much easier.
Date: August 7-13
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is home to the island of Obuda and locale of the Sziget Festival where once you enter you are in a completely different universe. The nickname of the island is “the island of freedom” representing the deeper truth which is that you along with everyone else attending are subject to complete acceptance. The only thing that will limit you here is your mind. This may just be one of the best-organized festivals that you will ever attend. The organizers really set the standard with fun interactive perks like Sziget festival passports, “party trains” and other transportation services, as well as safety measures like refillable festival “credit cards” to help you avoid having to carry cash around. If there is one festival that you make it to this year, then this should be on the list.
Date: August 25-September 2
Location: Nevada, United States
Unlike the other festivals on this list, Burning Man is so much more than a music festival. While there is amazing music being performed at this must-attend event, the stranger and more profound truth is that it is unlike anything else that you will ever participate in. The website takes a crack at describing the event by saying it is “an annual art event and temporary community based on radical self-expression and self-reliance in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.” What you need to remember when planning to attend Burning Man is that research is the key to packing for a safe experience. You will also come across plenty of material that will hint to the nature and goings on of this festival but only once you experience it for yourself will you truly understand.
KAABOO Del Mar
Date: September 13-15
Location: California, United States
KAABOO is a special event which brings together musical and visual artists, comedians, and some fantastic food. This festival is a breath of fresh air on the scene going as far as incorporation their own one-of-a-kind comedy club named Humor Me. According to KAABOO, there are plenty of “fun and whimsical experiences for our guests. Each year at KAABOO is different, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” With a festival that promises something like this, each year you attend is an entirely new journey. This is ideal for keeping it fresh and bringing people together every year!
Now that you have a list of ten of the top music festivals to attend in 2019, the only thing left to do is pick one or more and get out there. Just remember, around each corner at any of these events awaits people just like you who want an experience that they will remember for years to come. Most of all, make sure that safety is always a primary concern whenever attending any event and that a little research, as well as planning, go a long way!