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the best summer music festivals in the world 2018

Summer music festival season is nigh. Are you in? If you’re planning to take the plunge this summer, here are 25 popular music festivals around the world that are the best of the best. We’ve included hip-hop, R&B, EDM, alternative, world, rock and pop music on this list. If you’re so inclined, you can spend every weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day at a sensational outdoor music festival somewhere in the world.

There are hundreds of summer music festivals from which to choose. These 25 meet our three criteria for a festival worth attending: a great roster of artists; a strong mix of new music and established standards; and a spectacular location with plenty to do, see, eat and drink while you’re in town. We’ve also offered suggestions on the best places to stay.

Tickets are already on sale for some of these events, some are nearly sold out, and others are just about to become available, so this is the perfect time to get out your calendar and start scheduling. Let the festivities begin!

1. Bottlerock, May 25 – 27, 2018, Napa Valley, California is billed as “the first taste of summer,” and its a fine way to kick off the season. Headliners this year include Bruno Mars, The Killers, Muse, The Chainsmokers, Halsey, Snoop Dogg, Earth, Wind & Fire and Billy Idol. Stay at: The Meadowood Napa Valley in St. Helena or the Bardessono in Yountville.

2. All Points East Festival, May 25 – June 3, 2018, Victoria Park, London, England is a new festival taking over Victoria Park on the first weekend of summer. Catch LCD Soundsystem, The XX, Björk, Karen O, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lorde, Sampha, Beck, Father John Misty and Glass Animals. Stay at: The Covent Garden Hotel or the Bulgari Hotel London.

3. Primavera Sound, May 28 – June 3, 2018 Barcelona, Spain and NOS Primavera June 7 – 9, 2018 in Porto, Portugal. This highly-regarded festival runs across two sites on consecutive weekends – first in Barcelona, followed by a smaller version in Porto. Who’s playing: Arctic Monkeys, A$AP Rocky, Björk, Lorde, The National, Migos, Jane Birkin, Kelela, Vince Staples, The War on Drugs, Haim, Tyler, the Creator and Grizzly Bear. Stay at: The Mandarin Oriental Barcelona, the Meliá Barcelona Sky, the InterContinental Porto, or the The Yeatman in Porto.

4. Field Day, June 1 – 2, 2018, this year at Brockwell Park in south London, has traditionally featured emerging indie acts. This year, though, the roster has serious star power: Erykah Badu headlines, and cool-girl Charlotte Gainsbourg also performs. Also on deck:  Loyle Carner, Madlib, Gilles Peterson, Four Tet, Fever Ray, Earl Sweatshirt, Princess Nokia, Thundercat, AJ Tracey, and Mount Kimbie. Stay at: The Shangri-La at the Shard or the Mondrian London.

5. The Governor’s Ball Music Festival, June 1 – 3, 2018, Randall’s Island Park, New York City. This year, you can catch Eminem, Jack White, Travis Scott, Halsey, Khalid, Diplo and Mark Ronson (AKA Silk City), Lil Uzi Vert, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, 6lack, DRAM, 2 Chainz, Kelela and Third Eye Blind. Stay at: The Beekman or 1 Hotel Central Park.

6. Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, June 7 – 8, 2018, Manchester, Tennessee. This year’s headliners include Eminem, The Killers, Muse, Future, Khalid, Paramore, Kaskade, Alt-J, Dua Lipa and Sheryl Crow. Stay at: The Thompson Nashville or the 21c Museum Hotel Nashville.

7. Firefly Music Festival, June 14 – 17, 2018, The Woodlands, Dover, Delaware. Who’s playing: Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, Odezsa, Lil Wayne, SZA, Alt-J, MGMT, Mike D, Vance Joy, Big Gigantic, Marian Hill and Lizzo. Stay at: The Rittenhouse or the brand-new Four Seasons, both in Philadelphia (about 90 minutes away).

8. Secret Solstice, June 21 – 24, 2018, Reykjavik, Iceland, also known as the Midnight Sun Music Festival, is an adventure on many levels. You can attend a surreal concert in a lava tunnel, or a DJ-led party in a hollowed-out glacier. The main festival takes place across five stages and the festival partners with a company that offers day trips for those with more time – for example, to the Blue Lagoon spa or a whisky distillery – as well as activities, such as ice walking and whale and puffin watching. Who’s playing: 6lack, J Hus, Gucci Mane, Stormzy, Slayer, Bonnie Tyler and Skream. Stay at: The first 5-star hotel in Reykjavik, the EDITION.

9. Mawazine, June 22 – 30, 2018, Rabat, Morocco, Africa. Also known as Rhythms of the World, this is the largest music festival held annually on the continent of Africa. It brings together top-notch names in Arab, African, and international music, as well as the best artists on the Moroccan scene, and to ensure that it is fully accessible for all, the government underwrites free access to 90% of the shows and concerts. This year is the 17th edition of the festival, with a line-up including Bruno Mars, Texas, Jamiroquai, Luis Fonsi, and Martin Garrix. Stay at: The Sofitel Rabat Jardin des Roses Hotel.

10. The Montreux Jazz Festival, June 29 – July 14, 2018, held on the shores of Lake Geneva in Vevey, Switzerland, is now in its 52nd year. Despite its name, the festival includes blues, soul and rock music in addition to jazz. This year’s artists will be announced (and tickets will go on sale) on April 17, 2018. Sir Elton John has already committed to performing at the festival in 2019 as part of his three-year Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour. Stay at: The Grand Hotel du Lac Vevey.

11. The Essence Festival, July 5 – 8, 2018, New Orleans, Louisiana. You saw Girls Trip, right? The you know everything you need to know: it’s a celebration of black women, black culture, and fantastic performances. Music fans fill the Superdome for a stylish getaway weekend where everyone dresses to impress while singing along to their favorites. Grab your squad. On the program this year: Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, The Roots, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Daniel Caesar and H.E.R. Stay at: The Ritz-Carlton or the W in the French Quarter.

12. The Wireless Festival, July 6 – 8, 2018 Finsbury Park, London, England. Who’s playing: Cardi B, Stormzy, DJ Khaled and Friends, Big Sean, Migos, Lil Uzi Vert, Rick Ross, Goldlink, 6lack, Playboi Carti and Lil Pump. Stay at: The Curtain (where you’ll find the London outpost of Marcus Samuelsson’s soul food joint Red Rooster) or the Nobu Hotel, both in Shoreditch.

13. The Latitude Festival, July 12 – 15, 2018, in Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk, England is famous for its pink sheep and eclectic line-up of poetry, comedy, dance and original family activities. This year’s headliners include Solange, The Killers, Alt-J, Belle and Sebastian and The Vaccines. Stay at: The Salthouse Harbour Hotel in Ipswich.

14. Splendour in the Grass, July 20 – 22, 2018, in Byron Bay, Australia has been held annually since 2001. Its location is the “yoga capital of Australia,” and this New South Wales beach town exudes a chill vibe. The festival showcases indie rock, hip hop, electronic and alternative genres. This year’s highlights include Kendrick Lamar, Lorde, Vampire Weekend, Khalid, The Wombats, Hilltop Hoods, Chvrches, Miguel, and Girl Talk.  Stay at: Halcyon House or The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa.

15. Tomorrowland, July 20 – 22 & 27– 29, 2018, in Boom, Belgium (south of Antwerp) has its mantra Live Today, Love Tomorrow, Unite Forever. Hundreds of electronic dance music DJ’s take the various artfully built stages over the course of two weekends. This year’s theme is The Story of Planaxis, and headliners include Steve Aoki, Charlotte de Witte, Above & Beyond, Lil Pump, Dua Lipa, and Chuckie. Stay at: Martin’s Patershof in Mechelen or the Hotel de Witte Lelie in Antwerp.

16. Panorama, July 27 – 29, 2018, Randall’s Island Park, New York City. Headliners this year are The Weeknd, Janet Jackson, The Killers, Migos, SZA, Cardi B, Gucci Mane, St. Vincent, The XX, The War on Drugs, Odesza, David Byrne, Fleet Foxes, Jhené Aiko, Daniel Caesar, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Sabrina Claudio. Stay at: The SoHo Grand or the NoMad Hotel New York.

17. Fuji Rock, July 27 — 29, 2018, Yuzawa, Niigata Prefecture, Japan is the nation’s largest outdoor music event, held at the Naeba Ski Resort since 1999. The festival showcases rock and electronic music, and this year will see performances from Kendrick Lamar, N.E.R.D., Bob Dylan, Skrillex, and Vampire Weekend. Stay at: The Naeba Prince Hotel.

18. Lollapalooza, August 2 – 5, 2018, at Grant Park, Chicago. Who’s playing: Camila Cabello, The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, Travis Scott, The National, Vampire Weekend, Odesza, Logic, Post Malone, Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert, Portugal. the Man, Tyler, the Creator, CHVRCHES, St. Vincent, Zedd, Excision, Walk the Moon, Dua Lipa, LL Cool J, Gucci Mane and Brockhampton. Stay at: The Ace Chicago or the Four Seasons.

19. Bestival, August 2 – 5, 2018, is a  boutique music festival set at the Lulworth Estate in Dorset, England – it bills itself as “the most colorful show on earth” and has a circus/carnival vibe. This year’s line-up includes The Castle Stage, London Grammar, Silk City (Diplo & Mark Ronson), M.I.A., Grace Jones, Plan B and Chaka Khan. Stay at: The Green House Hotel.

20. Way Out West, August 9 – 11, 2018, is held in Slottskogen and areas around central Gothenburg, Sweden. Now in its 12th year, there will be a wide variety of music genres on offer from over 100 artists, as well as a film festival with 35-40 titles. One hundred percent of the food offerings at the festival will be vegetarian, and it will be largely milk-free. The line-up this year includes Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys, Sigrid, Patti Smith, Lykke Li, Arcade Fire. Stay at: Upper House.

21. The Green Man Festival, August 16 – 19, 2018, in the Brecon Beacons, Wales is notable for its arts and culture programs and beautiful scenery – you’ll find live music (in particular alternative, indie, rock, folk, and dance) along with events focused on literature, film, comedy, theater and poetry. This year’s musical performances include Anna Calvi, The War on Drugs, Fleet Foxes, John Grant, Grizzly Bear and Mount Kimbie. Stay at: Gliffaes Country House Hotel.

22. Made in America, September 1 – 2, 2018, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded by Jay Z and now in its sixth year, this festival puts an emphasis on pop, hip-hop and electronic acts – an excellent way to spend Labor Day weekend and close out your summer. Line-up to be announced soon. Stay at: The Rittenhouse or the brand-new Four Seasons.

If you decide to keep the party going into the fall, here are three autumn events to add to your calendar, to make an even 25 awesome musical outings:

23. Festival No. 6, September 6 – 9, 2018, in the village of Portmerion in coastal North Wales bills itself as a “festival like no other in a place like no other,” and features live and DJ musical events, plus art, theater and comedy performances and bespoke dining experiences. Music headliners this year include The The, Friendly Fires, Franz Ferdinand, Anna Calvi, Jessie Ware and The Charlatans. Stay at: The Hotel Portmeirion.

24. Austin City Limits, October 5 – 7 & October 12 – 14, 2018, in Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. This year’s line-up is to be announced soon (if last year is any indication, it’s gonna be good). Stay at: The Four Seasons Austin or The Driskill.

25. The Voodoo Festival, October 26 – 28, 2018, also known as the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, is held every Halloween weekend in New Orleans, Louisiana. This year is the festival’s 20th anniversary. The 2018 lineup will be announced in a few weeks. Stay at: The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans or the W in the French Quarter.

If you have wide-ranging, eclectic musical tastes, you might want to check our lists of the best classical music and opera, jazz, chamber music and dance festivals this summer, too. In just a few weeks, the summer party starts up. You ready? We can’t wait.

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