Music festivals are now a huge industry, with thousands of events taking place all over the world. Many of them have grown considerably in size and creeping commercial interests have interfered with what originally made the concept of an outdoor festival so great; enjoying musical performances in beautiful natural surroundings.
In the last few years there have been more and more boutique festivals popping up all over to try and recapture that elusive spirit; with unique locations, eclectic line-ups, and a greater sense of environmental responsibility. Forget Glastonbury or Coachella; these are now the festivals which can offer a truly memorable experience.
Baleapop is a small festival of music and arts which takes place on the idyllic Basque coast of France. The line-up consists of both local and international acts, mainly in the electronic and dance music genres, and shows often happen in interesting venues such as swimming pools, schoolyards, and beaches. Most Baleapop events are now settled at the charming Parc Ducontenia, where you will find a range of video, art installations and other performances to take in during the 3 day fest. Firmly established, but yet to attract too large a crowd – now could be the perfect time to visit Baleapop.
Festival No.6 (Wales)
The postcard perfect scenes of Festival No.6 cannot be matched by many festivals. This increasingly popular boutique festival takes place in the tiny Welsh village of Portmeirion, beneath the peaks of Snowdonia, looking out over a stunning bay and golden sand breaks.
The festival emphasises quality over quantity in every way – keeping things intimate and preferring artisan options when it comes to things like food and drinks. You will also find plenty of entertainment competing with the stunning landscapes for your attention, with literary readings, art installations and of course music – which tends to be indie rock and alternative pop.
Festiwal Tauron Nowa Muzyka (Poland)
This festival is hosting its 11th edition this year, and it is easy to see why it has captured the affection of festival goers with its unique setting and urban atmosphere. There is a reason why this event has won ‘Best Small Festival’ at the European Festival Awards in three of the last five years.
The festival takes place in an old abandoned coal mine, in the Polish city of Katowice, which operated between 1823 and 1999 – a bit different from a field in the countryside! There is a neat juxtaposition between the heritage of the site, and the forward thinking electronic music on the line-up. You can even enjoy a fascinating tour of the mine site in-between sets!
UK electronic music fans hold Gottwood in high regard, which is why the underground festival is now entering its seventh year. There is a lot to like about the festival too, particularly the surroundings – the woods in Llanfaethlu in Wales give the whole weekend a magical atmosphere.
Down in the woods during Gottwood you will find a line-up of some of the hottest new DJ talent mixing with many electronic pioneers. Visitors to this festival often praise its atmosphere for its sense of community and good natured fun.
Unlike most festivals, which only last a few days, Barrakud takes place across a full week on the stunning Zcre beach on Pag Island, Croatia – turning it into a haven for techno fans from around the world.
Barrakud is an ideal choice for those who want to experience a mid-level festival atmosphere, as it draws a large but not overwhelming attendance of around 35,000 every year. The festival also makes the most of its beach setting, by using unique venues nearby including boat parties and shows at the Aquarius. If you want to combine music with beautiful sun-kissed beaches and free exploration of an island, then this could be the perfect festival for you.