Looking to find the best festivals to attend in 2022? Check out these international music festivals that are out of this world.
Last updated: 20th Jan 2022
It goes without saying the UK has some of the best festivals around the world. We’ve got Glastonbury, Boomtown, Reading and Leeds, Download, Isle of Wight, and loads more. But as unreal as UK festivals are, if you only look at what’s local, you’re missing out on all the insane music festivals abroad.
We could be missing out on the American equivalent of Glasto. Or the European equivalent of R&L. The point is, we need to check out these foreign festivals. They might be better than what we’ve got over here.
So here are some of the best international music festivals taking place this year that you need to know about. And if you’ve already bought your tickets for a UK fest, why not book another? We’ve had a pretty bleak couple of years. You deserve a treat. Now let’s get stuck in.
Primavera Sound Festival has been recognised as one of the greats for years now. The sound itself is always impeccable with lots of bass and clarity, it’s in a beautiful location so you’re less likely to get drenched, and the lineups are simply brilliant. 2022 will be particularly special as the fest has been extended to run over two weekends. It’s gonna be huge. Oh, and it has flushable toilets so you won’t be haunted by the shame of going in a Pringles can. We know some of you already are.
Known for its out of this world stage production, Tomorrowland is a bucket list festival for any music fan who lives to dance to top tunes. Each year the fest has a different theme with previous themes, including The Book of Wisdom and The Story of Planaxis, resulting in the maddest stages you’ve ever seen, including a giant mechanical dragon. Anyone who knows anything about electronic music knows Tomorrowland Festival is an absolute must.
Combining rock, indie, pop and more, Mad Cool festival is perfect for anyone who has a group of mates with different tastes. The floor is astroturfed so you won’t go back to your tent covered in mud, it has a massive Ferris wheel (unlike the tiny, dodgy ones at UK festivals), and the music starts later so you can sleep off your hangover. The only negative of Mad Cool festival is it’s almost certain you’ll get your heart broken as the lineup is unmatched and your favourites will probably clash. Sorry.
If you couldn’t already tell by the name, this one’s for the heavier music fans. Hellfest is a rock and metal festival with the hardest lineup of 2022. The seven-day festival features some of the best and most iconic names in heavy music for possibly the strongest metal fest lineup of the year. We don’t want to list all the legends on the lineup here because there are so many. But if you’re a fan of chugging guitars and headbanging, you have to check out this killer lineup.
The largest electronic music festival in North America is going down over in Las Vegas, AKA the “City of Lights”. It’s the perfect place for a festival lit up by stunning, colourful lights and breathtaking firework displays. The lineup features some of the most well-known names in techno, hip hop, hardstyle, house and more for an explosive weekend of great tunes and vibes. This festival is the closest you’ll get to heaven.
Taking place in a safari park (yes, really) in The Netherlands is a festival that celebrates a variety of genres with a focus on indie, alternative, rock, pop and dance. After two years off, thanks corona, BKS is back with a bang. The lineup is a dream for any indie kid, but the genres vary with hip hop, noise rock, soul, electronic, RnB, pop, and basically anything that sounds good. There are multiple stages, a dive bar/hangout area, and even a stage specifically for experimental performers.
Another one for those who like a good mosh, Rock am Ring is one of Europe’s largest rock festivals that’s incredibly popular and well-respected by fans of rock and heavy music. While the festival often has huge headliners, it’s also known for shining the spotlight on smaller, newer acts. It’s worth noting that Rock im Park goes down on the same dates and has an almost identical lineup, but takes place in Zeppelinfeld in Nuremberg, Germany.
In 2022, the largest outdoor techno festival will be celebrating its 25th anniversary with a weekend of pure bliss soundtracked by some of the biggest names in the game. 80,000 ravers will gather to dance and bask in the delicious sounds of the hardest tracks. And you could be one of them. If you can’t wait until July, to celebrate their 25th birthday, there will be an Easter version of the festival to satisfy your cravings.
Yep, another festival in Spain. What can we say? They know how to put on a cracking festival. With music starting in the evening to prevent heat exhaustion, festival-goers have the morning to enjoy the beach and soak up the local culture. Then, when the sun begins to set, they can head back to the site to soak up the delicious sounds of some of the worlds best acts. It’s easy to see how this electric festival should be on your radar.
Poland isn’t known for its music festivals like Spain, The Netherlands and the UK, but Open’er is definitely up there with the greats. Open’er always has insane lineups that span across many genres. And while it always has the hottest acts headlining, the booking agents ensure there is plenty of newer, local talent on the bill too. For a UK festival goer, Open’er really is something else. It’s a short bus journey from a beach and the pints are pennies in comparison to our prices.
In September, over on the Croatian coast, Dimension Festival will go off and transport roughly 5,000 music fans to techno, house, and drum & bass heaven. The festival has been described as paradise by attendees and has been praised for its top sound systems and production. We think that says enough. But we’ll go on. Sadly, there are no confirmed artists just yet, but you’re in safe hands. Previous lineups have featured Kraftwerk, Bonobo, Anderson .Paak, Peggy Gou and more.
Here’s the one that needs no introduction. But we’ll give it one anyway. North America’s most famous music festival makes the headlines every year thanks to the dozens of celebrities that attend. The festival has had some of the strongest lineups ever, with legends including Beyoncé, Prince, Daft Punk, Roger Waters, The Cure and many more music icons. As you can see, the festival focuses more on great music than a specific genre. It’s definitely one to keep an eye on as they announce more acts.
Did you know Sziget is on its own island? Seriously. To get there, punters have to cross a bridge over a river. As attendees cross, they leave their inhibitions behind and prepare to launch into a weekend of pure bliss. The festival has been long adored by music fans and attracts passionate crowds who give it their all to many genres, including rock, pop, indie, alt-rock, electronic, hip hop, and so much more. You know you want to go.
Airbeat is one of the most popular European music festivals dedicated to electronic music, with around 55,000 making the pilgrimage to celebrate their favourite music. Each year the festival chooses a theme with previous ones, including the UK, which saw the main stage transform into the London Eye and Big Ben. This year’s theme will be Italy, will you be there?
Roskilde might have the richest history of any festival on this list, with the first event taking place in 1971. That’s 50 years ago! The fest has always had diverse lineups, including Santana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, Bjork, The Beastie Boys, and more. Roskilde, AKA the largest festival in Northern Europe, has an unreal atmosphere, obviously amazing musicians, art, talks, debates and other activities. So if the mosh gets too much, you’ve lots more to get up to.
Distortion invites 100,000 ravers to dance their hearts out in the streets of Copenhagen over five days. Distortion is different to the rest on the list. It’s a collection of parties with over 300 performances and DJ sets in the streets of a capital city instead of a full-on festival in a field. And yes, it’s just as mad as it sounds. In fact, it’s been described multiple times as “controlled chaos”, which we think is the best description any festival can be awarded.
It’s impossible to have a bad time at Afro Nation. Between the average temperature of 25 degrees and a lineup featuring the best acts in RnB, afrobeats, hip hop, dancehall, amapiano, and afro house, how could you? What's more, you’ll experience these summery sounds in the perfect location - on the beach. And if you fancy venturing across the pond for a new festival experience, Afro Nation is also held in Puerto Rico with a slightly different lineup.
Bilbao BBK offers a brilliant festival experience but is much smaller than other large festivals with a capacity of around 40,000. Compared to Glastonbury’s 210,000, it’s tiny. But smaller can be better. Anyone who’s had to brave day three festival toilets will agree. While BBK is smaller, it still has the markers of larger festivals such as huge headliners, passionate fans, a beautiful backdrop and the bonus of great weather.
Sadly, BBF Festival is only one day. But we had to add it because it’s one of Spain’s biggest dance music events with amazing production, huge stages, and the best DJs who smash it on stage every year. Previous years had David Guetta, Armin van Buuren, Steve Aoki, Axwell Λ Ingrosso, and more, so you can only imagine how juicy next years lineup will be.
Another festival regularly praised for its massive lineups is Rock Werchter. In 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2012 and 2014, the fest won the Arthur award for best festival in the world. We’re sold. Despite its name, the festival has a wide array of genres spanning from rock to pop to dance to metal and everything in between. With great bands, lovely weather, and friendly people, Rock Werchter ticks every box.
As the name suggests, Rock in Rio goes down in Rio. But the fest also kicks off in Lisbon, Portugal. Since Portugal is a relatively cheap, short flight away, we’ll focus on that one. The legendary festival books many acts ranging from rock, pop, indie, metal and more. What's more, Portuguese people are insanely passionate about music and make fantastic crowds. They’re the kind to sing every single word and even the occasional riff. It’s a magical experience.
Since 1990, Wacken Open Air has attracted metal fans from far and wide for the chance to mosh to some of the hardest bands on the scene. The lineups almost always feature bands that cover all styles of hard rock and metal. In 2019, it was named the best music festival at the European Festival Awards, so if you manage to snag tickets, you know you’re in for a treat.
Picture this: you’re god-knows how many cheap beers in and feeling great, the sun begins to set on the lake you took a dip in earlier, it’s still warm, the headliner is taking to the stage soon - you’re in paradise. That’s Balaton Sound. It’s one of the largest electronic music festivals with the lineup TBA. But past lineups included Marshmello, Armin van Buuren, Alesso, Big Sean, and Martin Garrix.
Who said a festival had to be in a field? This three-day electronic fest takes place in Weeze am Airport. A bit mad? Maybe, but it works. Parookaville is known for its design that makes it look like the festival is its own separate city. With a set that looks like you’ve transported elsewhere and top tunes, it’s easy to lose yourself and find freedom at Parookaville.
Nova Rock has always boasted rock, hard rock, punk, and metal titans on its lineup. Heavy music fans from all over the globe make the journey to Nickelsdorf, a town near the Hungarian and Slovak borders, for four days of non-stop belters. If heavy tunes are your vibe, Nova Rock should definitely be on your bucket list.
A favourite festival for many DJs to play, Dekmantel encourages the artists on the bill to snub the mainstream and take risks. The festival curates the best artists in house, techno and more to spin their tunes across six stages for a crowd of raving fans. Dekmantel is one of the most respected festivals in the country, thanks to its innovation, creativity, and dedication to doing things differently. Fancy checking out the festival adored by your favourite DJs? Of course, you do.
Let It Roll might be the biggest drum and bass festival in the world. With its huge futuristic stage, unreal lineups, and high energy performances, it’s no surprise thousands of DnB lovers just can’t resist. The festival focuses on continuous evolution, making each year bigger and better than the rest. After a break, thanks to COVID-19, we can’t wait to see what kind of show they put on in 2022.
This iconic festival has hosted some of the greatest legends of our time, including Miles Davis, Nina Simone, Prince, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder. More recent years have seen the fest shift away from its jazz and blues roots, but the influence still remains. More than a festival, you’ll also find pool parties, workshops, jam sessions, silent discos and more. It’s an unreal experience for anyone lucky enough to attend.
This Serbian festival was only founded in 2000 and has already won the Best Major Festival award at the European Festival Awards in 2013 and 2017 and Best European Festival at the UK Festival Awards in 2007. The festival was created as a student movement in the fight for peace and freedom. Since, the festival has launched projects focused on protecting the environment, peace, the creative industries and more. A great festival that uses its powers for good - perfect!
Another whopper of a festival in France, Rock en Seine is back with another killer lineup. Each year is incredibly diverse, with this year’s lineup including the experimental sounds of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, rap-metal icons Rage Against The Machine, indie outfit Arctic Monkeys, and Stromae, the electronic and hip hop giant. Safe to say, there’s something for everyone at this belter of a fest.
The world’s largest hip hop festival has finally arrived in Europe. And it’s on a stunning beach in Portugal. The best hip hop artists in the game can be found all over this festival, with last years lineup including ASAP Rocky, Future, Wiz Khalifa, Young MA, Chief Keef, AJ Tracey, Lil Uzi Vert, Rico Nasty, and so many more. It’s going to be the biggest, wildest hip hop fest of the year. Are you there?
WOW is a multi-genre festival with five stages for fans of all kinds of music ranging from dance to rock and everything in between. If you need a break from the music, there are plenty of hangout areas, activities to enjoy, and food (including veggie options) to indulge in while you recharge. The fest also has speakers and discussions, with past speakers including the podcast The Good Show, Chelsea Manning, and Henry Rollins.
Sonar is a unique festival that celebrates creativity and technology instead of just music. While they have some killer acts on their lineup, the festival also showcases the digital creative industries, creating networking opportunities. But don’t worry, there’s still alcohol, dancing, and people who are there to get their dance on.
Drum and bass haven, Rampage, is back to show you how to have a proper good time. The stage design is wild, the tunes are hard, the vibes are immaculate, and you already want to go, don’t you? We don’t blame you. Belgium has always had strong roots in drum and bass, so it only makes sense to head over there for one of the biggest DnB fests in the world. And if you’ve still got some fuel in the tank at the end, you could check out some local clubs or raves. Brilliant.
As you probably guessed, this festival is all about dancing. The five-day electronic music fest takes place across multiple venues in Amsterdam. As well as cracking live music, you’ll also find technology demos, panel talks and more. While ADE probably isn’t the most well-known fest, it packs a real punch and should be on any electronic music fan’s watchlist.
Find tickets for ADE: Amsterdam Dance Festival - here
Of course, there are dozens more amazing festivals out there just waiting for you to discover them, but these are some of the hottest, most famous, and most respected among music fans and artists alike. Pair that with this year’s shockingly amazing lineups, these international music festivals are just too good to ignore. After checking out all these insane festivals, we’re dying for festival season to come around. So bring on the sun, ice-cold pints, and cracking tunes. We’ll see you there.
Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.