9 European Music Festivals to Experience in 2018

From discovering the best new bands, to dancing poolside or on a beach, partying in a fortress or experiencing the surreal midnight sun, wallet friendly European hotspots and amazing city festivals to combine with long weekends of culture, gastronomic delights and sightseeing, there’s something for every music lover.

Eurosonic Music Festival in NetherlandsESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) in Netherlands
ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) is the place to discover and access the very best emerging European music talent. The event has a proven track record of helping to break new acts on the international music scene, with now well-known names such as Aurora, Blossoms, Dua Lipa, Hozier, Mø, Lost Frequencies, Royal Blood, and the XX having played at ESNS as up and coming talents.

The B2B side of the event attracts more than 4,000 entertainment industry professionals from all sections of the industry, including representatives of over 400 European festivals, managers, agents, publishers, labels, tech companies and event suppliers. Each year, ESNS stages more than 350 showcases all over the city of Groningen as well as offering a comprehensive and focused conference programme of around 150 panels and keynotes. The event also hosts multiple networking opportunities, annual meetings by music associations, pitch sessions, dinners, parties and dedicated areas featuring the very latest thinking and technical innovation in the music, media, interactive and production industries. At this year’s edition Denmark will be the ESNS focus country.

ESNS takes place from 17 – 20 January 2018.

Sea Star festival in CroatiaSea Star festival in Croatia
After an electric premiere edition Sea Star festival is set to return to beautiful Stella Maris laguna in Umag on May 25th and 26th, while the opening day will take place on May 24th and the after party on Sunday, May 27th. Put together by the team behind EXIT Festival, the first Sea Star festival closed with rapturous applause, firmly proving that it is worthy of the nomination for ‘Best European New Festival’ at the prestigious European Festival Awards. Stunning location, 6+ stages, more than 70 world renowned artists and outstanding productions make this festival a must see. Umag is a beautiful Istrian town, rich in Mediterranean spirit, historical baroque and renaissance buildings and narrow streets that lead to numerous authentic restaurants making it the perfect place to chill out after dancing all night.

Sea Star Festival takes place from 24 – 27 May 2018.

Secret Solstice in IcelandSecret Solstice in Iceland
Celebrating their fifth anniversary, 2018 promises to be Secret Solstice’s biggest edition yet! Taking place in Reykjavik from 21-24 June during the surreal summer solstice (meaning the sun never sets), the festival has firmly established itself on the bucket list for every true festival-geek wanting to be a part of this truly unique experience. Secret Solstice is Iceland’s premiere music festival, each year welcoming an eclectic lineup to the naturally breathtaking country for main stage sets, glacier raves, midnight sun boat parties and secret lagoon blowouts. By combining a high caliber of music talent alongside side events that showcase the incredible Icelandic landscape, Secret Solstice have created a not-to-be-missed festival experience in one of the most breathtaking corners of the world.

Secret Solstice takes place from 21-24 June 2018.

EXIT Festival in SerbiaEXIT Festival in Serbia
Just a short ride away from the Serbian capital Belgrade, the magical Petrovaradin Fortress set high on the banks of the river Danube in Novi Sad provides the perfect setting for the EXIT Festival. Started as a student protest in 2000 fighting for political change and freedom, EXIT continues to spread positive vibes, promoting change and positive education, supporting many community and humanitarian missions, while throwing a damn good party. The award winning festival has something for music lovers of all genres with a diverse mix of artists performing on numerous stages connected by cobbled streets, ramparts and tunnels. Also renowned for it’s amazing atmosphere and energy the Dance Arena champions the who’s who in the electronic music world set in the awe inspiring moat of the fortress, it’s that special moment when the sun’s rays shine over the fortress walls and your favourite tune is belting through the soundsystem and into your soul!. EXIT. Where hedonism meets activism.

Exit Festival takes place from 12-15 July 2018.

Positivus Festival in LatviaPositivus Festival in Latvia
Taking place in the picturesque coastal town of Salacgriva in Latvia, Positivus is the largest music and arts festival in the Baltic States, transporting chart-topping headliners, underground emerging talent and exciting art and dance stages to their unspoiled atmospheric coastal setting amid stunning woodland. Festival goers can dip their toes in the baltic sea or take in the atmosphere in a hammock beneath the trees while enjoying a rich diversity of international chart toppers and underground emerging talent in this idyllic holiday location. Positivus also offers art and dance stages giving festival goers a variety of activities and stalls selling locally made designer clothing and accessories, giving festival goers plenty to see and do during the 3 day event. Positivus was also recognised in the 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 European Festival Awards being a finalist in the ‘Best Medium Sized Festival’ category and also for ‘Best Festival Line Up’ in 2013.

Positivus takes place from 20 – 22 July 2018.

OFF Festival in PolandOFF Festival in Poland
A truly unique boutique music festival, OFF Festival takes place in ‘Three Lake Valley’, Katowice – a beautiful green oasis in the heart of industrial Silesia. OFF is a way of life, one that flies in the face of current trends and stays true to itself, and the ethos of organiser Artur Rojek is firmly aimed at supporting art and music with the festival bringing many acts to Poland for the first time. OFF Festival’s reputation is growing year on year driven by the festivals forward–thinking, eclectic music policy and it’s bold and eclectic lineups. From the greatest alternative music stars from around the world to the increasingly strong Polish scene, OFF festival has inspiring music in abundance and the organisers and crowd have one serious finger on the pulse when it comes to music. As well as discovering new music festival goers can also discover the city of Katowice with plenty of art and culture to soak up and a huge choice of bars and restaurants to delve into.

OFF Festival takes place from 3-5 August 2018.

Lowlands Festival in NetherlandsLowlands Festival in Netherlands
Get ready for A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise 2018. Taking place next to the Walib Fairgrounds, Biddinghuizen Lowlands features some of the biggest headliners, impressive installations including the new iconic armadillo food and drink area, plus unique covers for every stage so you can enjoy all the music rain or shine. Just over an hours drive from Amsterdam you can easily mix your festival trip with a few days city break in Amsterdam. As well as all the amazing artists, Lowlands has so many others things to do from enjoying a soak in the hot tubs, to taking part in science experiments! The festival has also been shortlisted for several awards in the European Festival Awards including ‘Best Major Festival’ and ‘Best Line Up’, Tickets include festival entry, camping + shuttle bus from / to railway station or Dronten Lelystad. Save the date now!

Lowlands Festival takes place from 17 – 19 August 2018.

Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) in NetherlandsAmsterdam Dance Event (ADE) in Netherlands
Amsterdam’s thriving club and nightlife scene is well documented and for 5 days a year the city becomes the centre of the electronic music world as over 395,000 visitors flock to the city for the Amsterdam Dance Event. The ultimate music festival for fans of electronic music features more than 2,500 international artists performing in more than 100 of Amsterdam’s most celebrated venues including Melkweg, Gashouder, Claire, Shelter, Paradiso, the NDSM Docklands and De School. In addition to the extensive line-up of the ADE Festival, the ADE Conference also offers music enthusiasts and artists a large and varied day program featuring a wealth of dance music-related seminars, artist Q&A’s exhibitions, films, documentaries, DJ showcases and gear master classes, taking place across Amsterdam’s five main districts, utilising historical locations and unique venues across the city.

Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) takes place from 17-21 October 2018.

Sea Dance Festival in MontenegroSea Dance Festival in Montenegro
Award winning Sea Dance festival gathers party people from all over the world to dance together on the beautiful beach in Budva, Montenegro. Voted best European medium-sized festival, Sea Dance has proven much within just three short years. With a stunning beach location and impressive line up of more than 100 hottest international music stars. Sea Dance is one of Europe’s hottest summer destinations. Recently listed by Skyscanner as the number 1 cheapest holiday destination this country is well worth checking out. Montenegro has towering mountains perfect for hiking and mountain biking as well as some of the world’s best unspoiled beaches on the Adriatic Sea. And if that wasn’t enough Montenegro featured in the James Bond Film Casino Royale and if it’s good enough for Bond, it’s good enough for us!

Sea Dance Festival dates will be announced soon.

Camden Rocks Festival 2017

 

 

The Damned headline Camden Rocks Festival 2017Having announced The Damned, Orange Goblin and Ruts DC amongst the first acts to be confirmed for Camden Rocks Festival 2017, today Sheffield’s recently reformed indie pioneers Milburn join the line-up, alongside Camden’s own Carl Barat & The Jackals, The Rifles, The King Blues, The Membranes and many more.

Following a sold-out fifth year in 2016, this year will see Camden Rocks Festival up the stakes again, set to host a staggering 250 bands and artists across 25 of Camden Town’s venues on June 3rd 2017.

“We can’t wait to play this year’s Camden Rocks Festival, a great line up as always and right in our own back yard!” say The Rifles.

“Camden Rocks is the weekend when Camden comes as alive as it ever was and should always be. I’m always proud to be a part of it.” Carl Barat adds.

Speaking ahead of The King Blues’ appearance, frontman Itch says, “We are ridiculously excited to be playing at Camden Rocks this year. Camden was where we cut our teeth and has been a spiritual home for us. I can’t wait for this one!”

Camden Rocks 2017 will also host a special reformation from original Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook’s The Professionals, and in addition to Milburn, Carl Barat & The Jackals, The King Blues, The Rifles and The Membranes, Andy Cairns of alt-metal mainstays Therapy? will also perform an acoustic set.

“I’m honoured and excited to be part of the burgeoning Camden Rocks festival this year,” Cairns says. “My previous experience of the event was amazing and I’m very much looking forward to getting stuck in to 2017’s chapter. See you there!”

Further line-up additions are noted below in bold.

The Damned, Orange Goblin, The Ruts DC, The King Blues, The Professionals, Hey! Hello!, Anti Nowhere League, The Urban Voodoo Machine, The RainBand, Young Kato, Stone Broken, Big Boy Bloater and the Limits, MOSES, Screaming Eagles, Imperial Leisure, Habitats, The Main Grains, Napoleon, Slydigs, Max Raptor, Losers, Cortes, Colour Of Noise, Courage My Love, Black Orchid Empire, Jasmine Rodgers, Straight Lines, Yonaka, Exist Immortal, The Anita Chellamah Band, Dirty Thrills, The Blinders, Inklings, MassMatiks, Hands Off Gretel, Fizzy Blood, Broken Witt Rebels, Louise Distras, Millie Manders & The ShutUp, Forte, Stereo Juggernaut, Black Sixteen, Lucie Barat & The Au Revoirs, HVMM, Halflives, Weirds, Frauds, Holding Absence, When We Were Wolves, Bare Knuckle Parade, Lupus-Dei, Liines, Tigress, Divides, Single By Sunday, John, Desert Planes, Happy Accidents, Brandy Row, Role Models, Tim Muddiman & The Strange, Chinese Missy, Alana Bondi, Itamar, Oxygen Thief, The Franklys, CUTE CUTE DEΔTH, Heel, The Kut, Secret Cameras, Yungblud, Kidbrother & Veridian.

Camden Rocks Festival 2017 venues include: Koko, Electric Ballroom, Underworld, Camden Market Amphitheatre, Dingwalls, Proud, Camden Assembly, The Black Heart, The Monarch, The Forge, The Crowndale, Dublin Castle, Devonshire Arms, Irish Centre, Dingwalls Canal side, Bloc Bar, Hawley Arms, Good Mixer, Brew Dog, Fifty Five, Be At One & Winnicott.

Camden Rocks Festival 2017 Poster
Camden Rocks Festival 2017 Poster

Camden Rocks Festival 2017 tickets are now available

 

Jake Bugg to headline Cambridge Folk Festival 2017

Cambridge Folk Festival 2017
Cambridge Folk Festival 2017

Cambridge Folk Festival is delighted to reveal the first artists for next year’s bill including one of Britain’s most exciting talents Jake Bugg, who the Festival have invited to return to headline Sunday night with an acoustic set.

Jake Bugg
Jake Bugg

Jake Bugg’s progress from performing in 2012 at the Festival’s smallest stage, The Den, to headlining Stage 1 is a feat matched only by one other artist, Passenger.

Hayseed Dixie
Hayseed Dixie

Also confirmed are: folk and roots pioneers Oysterband (Sunday), celebrating their 40th anniversary; multi-award winning, visionary folk trio Lau (Saturday), featuring Kris Drever, Martin Green and Aidan O’Rourke and US ‘rockgrass’ favourites Hayseed Dixie (Sunday).

They join previously announced Guest Curator Jon Boden, who will perform over the Festival weekend with The Remnant Kings to preview his autumn 2017 album as well as guest curating elements of the line-up.

Cambridge Folk Festival 2017 Tickets are now on sale:

Full Festival ticket: £167
Day tickets: £27.50 (Thu), £59.50 (Fri), £70 (Sat), £70 (Sun)

Camping at Cherry Hinton Hall and Coldham’s Common is available. Concession tickets (disabled access and carer, Under 21, Cambridge City Resident) are available. Please see the website for more information and full ticket prices: www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk

Cambridge Folk Festival is held over four days in the picturesque grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall. Celebrated for its relaxed atmosphere, excellent facilities and diverse programme, the Festival brings together the best of folk in its broadest sense, from international stars to breakthrough new artists and special one-off performances, talks and workshops across several stages. Previous headliners have included: Joan Baez, Nick Cave, Ray Davies, Buddy Guy, Christy Moore, Van Morrison, James Taylor and The Waterboys amongst many others.

Cambridge Folk Festival is promoted by Cambridge Live with support from Cambridge City Council.

www.twitter.com/CamFolkFest
www.facebook.com/cambridgefolkfestival

 

Kodiak Island featuring Jo Bartlett to release debut album

Kodiak Island featuring Jo Bartlett debut album 'The Golden Section'
Kodiak Island featuring Jo Bartlett

The D.I.Y. ethic runs deep for Jo Bartlett. As a teenager she started her own club, The Buzz Club so her band, Bluetrain, could support her favourite artists.

When she and her partner Danny Hagan recorded ‘Lank Haired Girl To Bearded Boy’ as It’s Jo and Danny they set up their own Double Snazzy label to release it; and when It’s Jo and Danny wanted to play a festival, they started their own, The Green Man.

After the split of The Yellow Moon Band, Jo and Danny’s last musical project together, Jo released a couple of solo albums and formed a band around her to play live. The band has now become much more than a solo project.

Listen to the album track ‘Second Around Time’

Kodiak Island are:
Jo Bartlett – Vocals and guitar
Richard Handyside – Guitar, flute and vocals
Mike Muggeridge – Bass guitar
Gareth Palmer – Cajon, percussion and vocals

Kodiak Island live Dates (with more to be arranged):
Always The Sun Festival – Guildford September 11th
Supporting Dodgy at the West End Centre Aldershot October 1st

Kodiak Island featuring Jo Bartlett debut album ‘The Golden Section’ is scheduled for released on Musical BEAR on 7th October, 2016.

Pop South Festival Glasgow – Saturday 13th February 2016

Occasional Flickers, a band name to make every poster maker think carefully about the fonts used to advertise their gigs, had a stand-up drummer and beards-a-go-go, although they paid the price of being first on as there were barely more people watching than performing. Veering from vaguely akin to Veronica Falls to something altogether more jangly, they reinforced the unwritten rule that every band first on each day mustn’t be too challenging for any lurking hungover souls. The disappointing sight of what appeared to be a “man-bun”, lost them a couple of points but there were extremely considerate regarding time management, as they were keen not to run out of songs before their slot was up, something they managed admirably.

Milky Wimpshake - (c) Robin Halls
Milky Wimpshake - (c) Robin Halls

Thirty minutes spent in the company of Milky Wimpshake will always be a worthwhile investment.

They were utterly professional throughout and rattled off a selection of new and old songs, accompanied by Sophie on vocals for the newer ones – something that works rather well. It might just be me, but I always take delight in listening out for mentions of Gormenghast in the lyrics and it makes me smile when it does. One day, I’ll get round to asking Pete just how many there are.

I’d always been meaning to explore MJ Hibbert and the Validators, as I’ve liked what I’ve heard and in our house the Christmas album gets dug out each year, to add that year’s new track to and to brighten up a generally over-rated time of year.

I really enjoyed them. Having one band member standing at the side of the stage with a pile of cardboard sheets to use as props bode well for later on and so it proved, guiding us through things to do before you’re thirty. Sadly, I

seem to have missed a fair few and am too late to catch up. As many of the songs were, appropriately enough, about getting older, I did allow myself an ironic smirk that I was watching them while drinking a mug of tea and celebrating reaching my half-century.

Mammoth Penguins finished off the first half of the day in fine style, allowing us to catch up with what Emma’s been up to lately. There’s a harder edge here, compared to other recent outings I’ve witnessed and her voice shows

no sign of losing either its distinctive qualities or its power. This lot had been on the list to dive further into for far too long and, on this evidence, would repay the effort. The CD has now been ordered, although quite why I didn’t just buy it up there I don’t know…

Considerately, they were careful not to run over time, as there was an hour break for grub after them, before the eagerly anticipated evening session got underway.

A very swift curry later and we were back in position for what was expected to be a pretty cracking evening line-up, kicking off with the ever wonderful The School. I’d been wondering how all eight of them were going to fit onto what certainly wasn’t an overly large stage but, as they were two light, it was just a cosy fit rather than a major problem.

I don’t know how many times I’ve had the pleasure of their company now but it’s always an absolute blast and, in an ideal world, I’d have them play a gig locally every month or two and I’d genuinely not tire of it. All three albums are a joy and they consistently give me a great deal of pleasure.

While I’m more than happy to traipse around the country watching bands like this in the company of like-minded people, why aren’t these bands getting more back for their efforts? I was persuaded to watch some of the Brit Awards this week and, apart from having Sleaford Mods lyrics running round my head throughout, contrasting that artificial world of false camaraderie, hype and lack of any real talent or soul against the genuine thing in Glasgow was striking, if ultimately depressing.

Hot on their numerous collective heels, were Chorusgirl, another band I was particularly looking forward to seeing. To heighten my enjoyment, I’d also managed to secure a highly desirable position to watch them from, being about six feet from both bar and stage. You don’t get that at the O2.

Bedecked in matching T-Shirts, they lived up to pre-festival expectations and then some. Glorious songs delivered beautifully. You can’t really ask for much more.

One point struck me around now; the use of digital tuners. Is it me or do they encourage constant checking? It’s not a criticism, more an observation. Were things less in tune when they didn’t exist? Surely modern guitars hold their tune just as well or better than older kit? Anyone care to shed any light on this?

Tigercats. The wonderful, wonderful Tigercats. A band that just seem to keep getting better. Now with extra Paul Rains on guitar, surely they must be pretty much touching 11 on everyone’s personal scale of all that is good and wholesome in the world?

On this evidence that certainly are and they had the whole crowd in their hands from the moment they stepped onto the stage, bathed as it was in some rather unexpected red lights. We were treated to a scattering of new songs which hints that, after the more subtle approach of Mysteries, they intend to rocking out a bit more. Frankly, it doesn’t much matter what style or avenues they choose, if they continue to produce stuff of this quality.

Isle of Dogs was an instant attention grabbing album whereas Mysteries took time to bed in before narrowly edging ahead, in my book. Can they beat that standard with their third album? I hope so but the world may just explode with pleasure if they do. I certainly will.

They were as close to perfect here as I’ve experienced from any half-hour of my life.

Trust Fund closed the day and had a pretty short straw in having to follow Duncan and crew. However, the crowd were in a suitably good frame of mind to see past the various technical issues that they suffered and they gave an almighty performance, as befits a headline act.

Veering from noisy as hell to gentle and subtle, often in the same song, Ellis’ excellent vocals and arrangements gave us exactly what was needed. “Make it bleed!”

And so to the end of a superb day’s entertainment. Home to bed and the chance to do it all again the following day. Why isn’t every weekend like this?