Raving Around – Europe’s Best Festivals 2018
Festival season is upon us. Here’s what’s looking good throughout Europe from now until October…
All festivals are listed in date order.
Caprices – 15th Anniversary
Where: Crans-Montana, Switzerland
When: 12 – 15 April
Who: Ricardo Villalobos, Sven Vath, Luciano, Sonja Moonear, DeWalta + Shannon, Guti, Andrey Pushkarev, Amorf (Live) + more
Why: Not many festivals make it to 15 editions. Caprices Festival, hosted by MDRNTY is one of the most stunning music events on the planet. Taking place 2,200 metres above sea level, the daytime space hosts the biggest names in house and techno alongside a staggering 360-degree view of the snowy mountain vista. To put it simply, Caprices is a special festival that offers more than hi-hats and basslines.
To mark the special occasion, Caprices is promising brand new stages and production alongside advanced video mapping and immersive audio-visual technologies alongside a huge lineup. Ricardo Villalobos, Sonja Moonear, DeWalta and Mike Shannon all feature on Friday before Archie Hamilton, Guti and Ben Klock on Saturday. Cocoon and Sven Vath will close the festival with a daytime event on Sunday.
Sunwaves – SW23
Where: Mamaia Nord, Romania
When: 26 April – 1 May
Who: Raresh, Rhadoo, Petre Inspirescu, Cezar, Arapu, Barac, Gescu, Herodot, Praslea, Priku + more TBA
Why: Sunwaves Festival has become the mecca for those who live and breathe the loopy, psychedelic tracks that fit in-between the spectrums of minimal and house.
The festival’s reputation leads to many booking the festival before the lineup is even announced. Over the last 11 years, the biannual festival has become a playground for Romania’s ever-growing cast of selectors who feature alongside some of the biggest names in house and techno.
The first phase of acts features all the big guns – Raresh, Rhadoo, Petre Inspirescu, Cezar, Barac and Herodot are confirmed alongside festival regulars Ricardo Villalobos and Marco Carola and more.
Marathon sets are the norm at Sunwaves. The only question remains, who will break the 24-hour mark this year?
Where: Vystaviste Holesovice, Prague, Czech Republic
When: 11 – 13 May
Who: Ricardo Villalobos, Apollonia, Praslesh (Raresh & Praslea), Sonja Moonear, Francesco del Garda, Barac, Gescu, Anthea, Oshana, Janaret, Molly, Ferro, Topper, Varhat, Vera + more.
Why: There is a brand new musical movement happening in the city Prague. Alongside the music, UP want to shine the light on one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
UP is a 72-hour non-stop journey, where more than 50 artists will perform across four different stages. In its debut year, UP has signed up the underground’s leading talent; confirming Ricardo Villalobos, Apollonia, Sonja Moonear and Francesco del Garda alongside Yokaku favourites Janaret, Varhat, Oshana and Anthea. The three-day festival will also feature a strong Romanian contingent with Praslesh (Raresh & Praslea), Barac and Gescu confirmed.
If you can’t make it this year, a trip to Prague should be on your bucket list for 2019.
Where: Carreglwyd Wood, Holyhead, Wales
When: 7 – 11 June
Who: Craig Richards, Binh, Sonja Moonear, Nicolas Lutz, Ben UFO, Margaret Dygas, John Dimas, Enzo Siragusa, Archie Hamilton, Willow, Adam Shelton + more
Why: True to the snaps, the setting for Gottwood Festival is simply idyllic. Hidden in the middle of the Welsh countryside, Gottwood is a boutique and very intimate electronic music festival best described as a beautiful woodland paradise with wanderlust everywhere you look.
Over the years Gottwood has developed a loyal fanbase who return year after year. Despite its popularity, the festival has remained a hidden gem in the UK festival scene by continuing to stay true to its underground roots. Every year its owners create a fantasy world that continues to surprises its attendees, giving the festival a creative edge that many others lack.
2018 sees another well-programmed lineup with British selectors Craig Richards, Ben UFO and Archie Hamilton paired with the best talent from across the globe. Nicolas Lutz, John Dimas, Binh and Sonja Moonear and more all feature on a lineup that covers everything from house, disco, techno and experimental. Gottwood really does have it all.
Where: Barcelona, Spain
When: 13 – 17 June
Why: Although it’s technically not a festival, Off-Week runs alongside the much-respected Sonar Festival in Barcelona and has become one of the most important weeks in the electronic music calendar. Labels and artists take this opportunity to showcase what they do in one of the cities many nightclubs and open-air spaces. Warm temperatures and cultured city life make Off-Week a dream for music lovers who travel from all over the world to get involved.
With three months still to go, ZT Hotel Olimpic has shown the most promise confirming four daytime open-air events. tINI and the Gang kick things off on Wednesday (13.06) before Art of Dark meets Loud Contact on Friday (15.06). Dan Ghenacia pres. GoDEEP w/ Dyed Soundorom, Delano Smith, Woody, Ferro & more (16.06). Sunday Breakfast finishes off the week with Shonky, Barac and Olga Korol all confirmed (17.06). Nick Curly presents Trust on Thursday (14.06)
Elsewhere, look out for the much anticipated [a:rpia:r] showcase at Green Area, Parc Del Forum (14.06), Yoyaku at Cafe del Mar Lounge (15.06) and FUSE at Input (16.06).
Where: The Garden, Tisno, Croatia
When: 27 June – 4 July
Who: Craig Richards, Four Tet, Bicep, Job Jobse, Gerd Janson, Move D, Hunee, Avalon Emerson, Horse Meat Disco, Paranoid London + more.
Why: When The Garden Festival bade an emotional farewell to the European circuit in 2015, Dave Harvey and Tom Paine (two of the key players involved in The Garden) moved swiftly to ensure the legacy of the cherished festival wouldn’t die. Unsurprisingly, Love International has managed to continue and successfully cultivate The Garden Festival’s unique vibe.
This is down to a number of factors: high production values across the site, a fiercely loyal crowd and the remarkably scenic location of Tisno. Also, because of its intimate size; it’s more hassle-free than other Croatian festivals.
It’s also down the lineup. Most of the selectors on the festival may not fit Trommel’s core audience but if you’re really into electronic music, you’ll find the genius in acts like Gerd Janson, Move D, Bicep, Hunee, Four Tet and Fabric resident Craig Richards.
Where: Houghton Hall, Norfolk, UK
When: 9 – 13 August
Who: Craig Richards, Ricardo Villalobos, Zip, Sonja Moonear, Seth Troxler, Andrew Weatherall, Ben UFO, Margaret Dygas, Barac, Joy Orbison, Nicolas Lutz, Digby, Adam Shelton, Voigtmann + more.
Why: In 2017, Houghton Festival was the success of the summer in the growing UK boutique festival market. In its first year, the team of Craig Richards and Gottwood curated a festival that captured the hearts of its attendees in its debut year.
24-hour programming meant artists were given the chance to express themselves with extended DJ sets covering sunrise and sunset in an idyllic woodland setting. Each stage had its own identity and there was a freedom about the crowd who were left alone in ideal festival conditions with no phone signal.
After all the hype of 2017, Houghton 2018 sold out in a matter of days. Craig Richards returns with a hand-picked lineup of selectors that again features Ricardo Villalobos, Sonja Moonear, Andrew Weatherall and Ben UFO alongside the debuts of Zip and Barac. With the second phase of the lineup still to come, all Houghton needs is a selection of Romanian’s and the sunshine to shine again to top 2017…
Where: Crato, Portugal
When: 15 – 20 August
Who: Thomas Melchior, Rhadoo, SIT Live, Cristi Cons, Vlad Caia, Maayan Nidam, Molly, Afriqua, Ferro, Vlada, Object + more.
Why: A diverse mixture of music, immersive performances and stimulating installations, consisting of carefully selected musicians, artists and performers. Intimate stages next to the lake are the perfect setting to indulge in a broad spectrum of art and sound, free from judgement and surrounded by like-minded creatures.
The lineup goes two ways. Experimental and heavy techno from DVS1, Edward or Maayan Nidam or stripped back, groovy minimal from Molly, Ferro, Thomas Melchior and Rhadoo. This is a festival with a rising reputation…
Where: Zcre Beach, Novalja, Croatia
When: 19 – 23 August
Who: Sven Vath, Ricardo Villalobos, Praslesh (Raresh & Praslea), Dixon, Nicolas Lutz, Sonja Moonear, Binh, Valentino Kanzyani, Enzo Siragusa, Nastia, Dana Ruh + more.
Why: Hosted by Time Warp Festival, Sonus is one of the leading underground festivals on the islands of Croatia. While tech-house and industrial techno dominate the main open-air stages at night, the deeper shades of house and minimal can be found in the early hours of the morning.
Famous for its open-air after-hours sessions, Kalypso played host to the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Sonja Moonear and Margaret Dygas last year on the final morning of the festival. London clubbing brand FUSE often hosts the Tuesday morning session with Enzo Siragusa joined by Archie Hamilton.
In 2018, Sonus has already confirmed Ricardo, Sonja and Enzo. There are also bookings for Praslesh (Raresh & Praslea), Nicolas Lutz and Binh with plenty more to be announced before the festival begins.
If the lineup isn’t enough, Sonus gives you two holidays in one. The festival takes place right next to the beach with The Adriatic Coast providing the most beautiful backdrop for a vacation away from the partying. Unique rock formations, shimmering bays and crystal clear water right on your doorstep.
Where: Cluj-Napoca, Romania
When: 05 – 07 October 2018
Why: The three day festival in Romania featured RPR Soundsystem, Suciu, Herodot, Crihan, Barac, Atipic (live), Arpu, Gescu, Cap, Lizz and Cosmjn and much more in 2017.
Expect similar vibes in 2018 at a festival that is highly regarded as Romania’s best event.
Amsterdam Dance Event
Where: Amsterdam, Netherlands
When: 17 – 21 October
Why: Quite possibly the best week in the electronic music calendar ranging from unbelievable parties, network meetings and conference panels in one of Europe’s most exciting cities. Amsterdam is the perfect city to host such an event, with multiple clubs holding 24-hour licences and multi-purpose event spaces like Gashouder, Mediahaven and BRET all holding events across the week.
So far all we know about ADE in 2018 is the dates. Expect parties and lineups to be confirmed in the near future.
Gottwood, Love International + Off-Week: Khris Cowley (Here & Now)
Houghton: Jake Davies (Hungry Visuals)
Mioritmic: Vlad Cupsa
Sonus: Elephant Studio
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