Top Dance Music Festivals in Europe
Given Europe’s historic predilection for dance music, it is perhaps no surprise that this genre has spawned a number of electronic music festivals across the continent. While the legendary Tomorrowland is king when it comes to lineups, many of the other European events of this type are no exception.
Whether you’re a fan of house or techno, bass or experimental, electro or EDM, you certainly won’t be short of choices to satisfy your preferences.
The great Belgian monster is undoubtedly the great emperor of Europe and attracts electronic music fans from all over the world with its famous stages, multimedia and lineups filled with the biggest names in EDM and hardstyle. The festival has since expanded to create satellite events on five continents, but the original, aptly named Boom will always be the most special.
This festival can be considered a veteran on the European electronic music scene. The iconic Dutch label is now celebrating 20 years of incredible lineups and spectacular visual effects with huge crowds of European techno fans attending. The eight stages usually feature the biggest names in techno music.
At Sónar you will find experimental electronic music with an incredibly diverse range of music styles. This festival literally takes over the city of Barcelona for a weekend. As a venue, this festival makes use of various venues: discos, bars, terraces and even poolside. This is a weekend in which the city welcomes industry professionals and music fans alike, who are witness to the most innovative trends performed by some of the most respected names in electronic music.
Dimensions / Outlook
Outlook is Europe’s first “Soundsystem Culture festival” and its celebration of bass sets it apart from almost all European festivals. Welcoming MCs and rappers, DJs and producers: you can expect to find the best in dubstep, drum & bass, grime and hip-hop, as well as techno, house and garage.
Its sister festival, Dimensions, focuses on the slightly more refined side of electronic music, giving priority to disco and putting bass in the background, but without compromising the lineup or the party. The opening night of both festivals is a “must” and takes place in an ancient Roman amphitheater.
Taking place in Croatia, the European edition of Miami’s famous festival, Ultra Music Festival, welcomes the biggest names in EDM and big-room house to the island of Split for a weekend with large-scale production, big rhythms and lots of boat parties. Since its first edition in 2013, the festival has welcomed several thousand dance fans from over 75 countries, making it a truly global spectacle.
Although the artists on the bill don’t suggest that this festival belongs on this list, by taking a look at the end of the lineup, we can see why this one deserves a mention. The diverse combination of drum & bass, jungle, dubstep, reggae, ska, garage, house, hip-hop, electro-swing, gypsy-folk and more make this annual party the most special event in Europe.
Exit Festival has become one of Europe’s best-known music events thanks to its always impressive lineup and incredible location: an 18th-century fortress on the banks of the Danube. Although it doesn’t focus exclusively on electronic music, the festival’s Dance Arena is one of the most famous circuit stages in the world.
This summer, Croatia’s techno highlight has its incarnation at Sonus Festival, as superstars of this genre head to the Adriatic coast to perform at beach parties, on boats, and at some of Croatia’s best dykes: Aquarius, Kalypso, and Papaya.
The UK’s largest festival dedicated to dance music has already been leading this scene since its debut almost 20 years ago. This brand is now globally recognized in electronic music circles due to the festivals it has hosted in Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and even Australia. However, it is the UK edition, on the outskirts of the musically influential Liverpool, that remains unbeatable.