When you’re looking for travel inspiration, your favourite band’s tour schedule probably isn’t the first place you look. But perhaps it should be.
There are few better ways to experience a location than at a festival, especially if you’re a music lover. You’ll meet like-minded locals who, impressed by how far you’ve come, are determined to show you an amazing time – and you get to party in absurdly beautiful pockets of the world that you may never otherwise get to.
Beyond big global names like Coachella and Fuji Rock, here are seven stunning music festivals to consider planning your next trip around.[listicle]
Falls Festival Marion Bay
Where: Marion Bay, Tasmania
When: December 31 – January 1 (New Year’s Eve)
All of the Falls Festival locations are magical, but Marion Bay takes the cake. Held on a farm on the south-east coast of Tasmania, the festival is set on high ground, giving you a breathtaking view out across the Tasman to Maria Island and beyond as your favourite acts play in the natural amphitheatre known as the main stage.
When there’s a gap in your timetable, you can walk down through the coastal forest and have a dip in one of the country’s most pristine surfing beaches. With acts like Childish Gambino, Foals, Disclosure, Mac Demarco and The Avalanches playing recent years, it’s one of the best places to wrap up a year.
Image: Charles Morley
Where: Auckland, New Zealand
When: February 23-25, 2018
This uniquely Kiwi festival takes place at a gorgeous bay in Tapapakanga Park, 90 minutes from Auckland. You’ll feel the sand between your toes as you watch an eclectic musical lineup perform on a stage that sits right on the beach.
Tapapakanga Park has a rich Māori history and the festival emphasises respect, community and sustainability. Doubling as “New Zealand’s greatest dress up party”, each festival has a theme that you’re encouraged to embrace.
Alongside local New Zealand talent, recent lineups have featured Hiatus Kaiyote, Blackalicious, Lady Leshurr and Lunice. Get your freak on at the water’s edge and immerse yourself in art installations that weave through the surrounding forest.
Photo: Splore / Facebook
Where: Arcosanti, Arizona, USA
When: May 11-13, 2018
Arcosanti is an “experimental town” in the canyons of the Arizona desert. It’s an architectural playground for students who hope to improve the environmental and social sustainability of urban design. The result is an oasis that feels at once ancient and futuristic, with epic sculptures rising from the arid desert, a huge Roman-style amphitheatre and buildings decorated with intricate frescos and vast circular windows.
Florida band Hundred Waters fell so in love with Arcosanti that they decided to start a festival here. Intended to be a “personal and collaborative experience”, tickets to FORM are limited and you have to apply to take part. Previous line-ups have featured Solange, James Blake, Father John Misty and Skrillex, so it’s worth putting some time into that application!
Image: FORM / Facebook
Where: Husøya and Sanna, Norway
When: July 5-8, 2018
Located on a tiny island municipality off the north coast of Norway, festivals don’t get much more remote than Træna. The annual event takes place over two islands, Husøya and Sanna, which are accessible only by ferry. It’s a pretty nice ferry trip too, if you like gliding past glaciers and mountains in the Arctic Circle.
On the islands, music takes place across some rather incredible “venues”, like an ancient cave described as an “acoustic cathedral” and a church with blacked-out windows to block the endless midnight sun. The line-up focuses heavily on local Nordic artists, but past international acts include First Aid Kit, Highasakite, Spiritualized, The Whitest Boy Alive and Australia’s DZ Deathrays.
Image: Træna / Facebook
Week-End Au Bord De L’eau
Where: Sierre, Switzerland
When: June 29 – July 1, 2018
Cutting edge electronic music set next to an idyllic emerald lake, surrounded by the majesty of the Swiss Alps? Welcome to Week-End Au Bord De L’Eau, or “Weekend At The Edge Of The Water”.
This annual boutique festival takes place in the canton of Valais in southern Switzerland, an area characterised by spectacular mountains, glaciers, sun-drenched valleys and vineyards. The festival is set around Lac de Géronde, which you can kayak across during the day, then take a swim in the baths or play a friendly game of petanque on the shore. You could do worse.
Image: Festival Week-end au bord de l’eau / Facebook
Festival No. 6
Where: Portmeirion, Wales
When: September 6-9, 2018
Picture a festival in Wales, and I guarantee you it looks nothing like Festival No. 6. This is no green, rainy field – No. 6 is set in a unique village called Portmeirion on the north coast, designed in its entirety as an homage to the Italian Riviera. From tiny colourful houses that line the coast to lush, magnificent gardens and decadent architecture, it’s a surreal place to visit on its own – and an absolutely magical place for a festival.
Taking over the whole village, Festival No. 6 embraces the absurdity of its location and curates an eclectic range of art, comedy and music across four debaucherous days. In 2018, legendary post-punk outfit The The will headline the festival.
Image: Festival No. 6[/listicle]
(Lead image: Festival No. 6)
Beth Dalgleish is a freelance writer, radio presenter and hiking enthusiast. She spends all her money on travel and live music. She has written words for FBi Radio, Time Out and Cream Magazine. Find her online as @bethneedscoffee