When you hear Spain, your mind immediately travels to tapas, bullfighting, flamenco dancing and some sweet chilling by the beach. Not only does this warm country offer everything in terms of culture, art and food, it is also swarming with great music festivals (a lot of them actually at the beach!).
Most festivals in Spain are quite young, most born during the 90’s, but have become true “musts” for festival-goers of all around the world. These include many music genres, from indie to rock to techno to EDM to hip-hop, every taste can be satisfied.
One important mention before plunging into our top picks: Monegros/Groove Parade festival. This festival is one of the best known around the world, celebrated in the desert of Fraga in Huesca, it didn’t make our top ten due to the fact that it was cancelled in 2015, after more than 20 editions. The authorities denied usage of the terrain where the festival was usually celebrated, ultimately leading to the whole event getting cancelled. We are still awaiting news for the 2016 edition.
On a lighter note, here are our top picks, starting from number 10:
10. 4every1 festival
When and where: End of June, The Music Park El Alamo, Madrid
4ever1 has done great this year, having been nominated as one of the festivals with best communication campaign, it had to make our list. As one of the best electronic music festivals in Madrid, it united 24,000 people in one day only during its last edition in June 2015. Artists worth mentioning, include some top techno djs such as Solomun, Steve Lawler, Nicole Moudaber, Ben Sims, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Oscar Mulero and Luciano. This festival seems to cover all branches of electronic music with this varied lineup including even some hardtech stars like Fatima Haji. For more information: http://4every1festival.com/en/
When and where: 7th-8th-9th July, Kobetamendi, Bilbao
After the success of its tenth edition (once again sold out) this three day festival makes our list. Located in the Basque country of Spain, in the city of Bilbao in July, this festival unites some of the most famous rock bands. Headliners from its past editions include: Guns and Roses, red hot Chilli peppers, Iron maiden, Metallica, The police, Coldplay, Green Day, Kings of Leon, Radiohead, The Prodigy, Muse, Mumford and Sons and many many more. This festival brought more than 40,000 people per day, for a total of 120,000 for the three days. If you are into rock and bands, this is the festival for you. For more information: http://www.bilbaobbklive.com/2015/en/
8. Medusa Sunbeach Festival
When and where: Mid-august, Playa de Cullera, Valencia
This new-born festival is only in its second edition but has already shown all the potential it has. It brought more than 66.000 people together in its two days, with impressive electronic music artists attending the event. Last year it brought big names in the world of EDM such as Steve Aoki, but also renowned techno djs spark up the list: Dubfire, Carl Cox, Matador and Diplo. The location is as interesting as its lineup, taking place in August at the beach of Cullera, not too far from Valencia. For more information: http://www.medusasunbeach.com/2015/
When and where: 11-13th august, Playa de Villaricos, Almeria
For those of you who love beach raves, Spain offers a wide variety of choice. Dreambeach being one of the musts in this festival category. This two day festival (three-day for the upcoming 2016 edition) is found at the beach of Villaricos, in Almeria, during the month of August. It averaged a crowd of 100,000 people attending the two days, making it one of the biggest electronic music festivals in Spain. Its lineup was as impressive, with masters of techno such as Ben Klock, Marcel Dettman (berghain style, we love it!), Armin van Buuren, Dense & Pika, Dubfire, Luciano, Loco Dice, Maceo Plex, Matador, Marc Maya B2B Tony Varga…the list is endless! In terms of EDM the list was top notch as well in its last edition, with Blasterjaxx making it in the lineup. For those of you who like it extra hard, hardtech stars like Candy Cox and Fatima Haji mixed as well at the 2015 edition. For more infomation: http://www.dreambeach.es/2015/en/
When and where: 2-7th August, Playa el Arenal, Burriana
Better charge up your batteries to the max if you are planning to attend Arenal Sound. This 6-day festival is located on the playa del arenal in Burriana, just an hour away from Valencia. It has two camping areas (more than 300,000 m2). This festival is unique due to its beach club vibes, with amenities such as the inside wave surfing area. This festival would have made it higher up in our list, if it wasn’t for some inundations they had last year in the camping areas due to the rain. Hopefully, this problem will be tackled for future editions. For more information: http://www.arenalsound.com/
When and where: September, Campus de la Universidad de Madrid
DCODE has one of the richest indie-rock lineups out there. Last year they brought The Vaccines, Foals and Sam Smith amongst others. What makes this festival stand out is its accessibility, since it is found in the centre of Madrid. They have a particular vision of having a festival with reduced electrical consumption and waste, and often implement policies of restitution of waste, where you can get something in return (this year it was a Heineken backpack). Thanks to this commitment, it won the “ecovidrio” prize in 2014 for best campaign for raising awareness at a public event. For more information: http://dcodefest.com/
When and where: August, Parc del Forum Barcelona
If you are searching “alternative” vibes at a festival, DGTL is the one for you. Originally started in Amsterdam, it has travelled all the way to Barcelona to Parc del Forum, bringing in its tow its spectacular innovative lighting structures, futuristic sculptures and interactive performance arts. On top of this its past edition of the two day festival had top djs from the techno world in its lineup: Joseph Capriati, Henry Schwarz, Boddika, Ame, Ben Klock, Maceo Plex, Marcel Dettmann, Paul Ritch, Adam Beyer and Dixon are a few names worth mentioning. For more information: http://dgtl.es/en/home/
3.Festival Internacional de Benicassim
When and where: 14-17th July, Costa Azahar, Benicassim
This 4 day indie-rock festival offers a free camping site to those who have the weekend ticket, with access to the many amenities the festival offers (bike hire, 24 hours food and bar). It is found on the Azahar coast, and allows access even to under-18s. In its past editions it has had very well known artists performing at their various stages such as Bastille, Florence and the Machine, The Prodigy, Arctic monkeys, The Killers, Beck and many more. For more information: http://www.fiberfib.com/en/index.php
When and where: 2-4th June, Parc del Forum Barcelona
Another June festival in Barcelona but with a completely different style! This festival is turning 15 this year, and has managed to become one of the biggest festivals in Spain with more than 100,000 people attending it every year. It varies wildly in music genres, with hip-hop, electronic music, rock, indie making it to the stages, this festival can satisfy any musical taste. The list of artists playing at this festival is endless, and it is this variety of choice that makes it spark up at the top of our list. For more information: http://www.primaverasound.es/
When and where: 16-18th June, Barcelona
For electronic music lovers, Sonar in Barcelona should definitely be at the top of the list. This three day festival takes place in June in Barcelona, and not only does it have a stellar lineup, but the particularity of this festival is the infamous Sonar-off week that takes place in Barcelona as a warm-up to the actual festival itself. Big labels in the techno and electronic music world organise events all throughout the week before Sonar, having even some events lasting 15+ hours. Sonar’s activities are divided into two main locations: Sonar by Day in Fira Montjuic, where you can attend concerts and dj performances but you can also find the Sonar +D, the international congress focused on the digital creative industries and dedicated to creating professional, business and networking opportunities and Sonar by Night in Fira Gran Via de l’Hospitalet where live shows and Dj sets are hosted. The whole build-up to the festival is definitely unique, with the whole city coming alive and united for it. The genres of the artists range from EDM to techno to dubstep, making it one of the most complete electronic music festivals in terms of variety within that category. Big names appear in its past lineups: Laurent Garnier, Seth Troxler, Skrillex, The Chemical Brothers, Jamie Jones and many more. For more information: https://sonar.es/en/2015/
Other festivals to keep an eye out for are Azkena rock, with impressive artists such as ZZ top having attended the past edition. Vida, end of June, a festival which aims to encourage the usage of public spaces. This festival is a full-immersion in nature, with forestry area, camping and beach club. The vision of this festival is unique, making a strong stance against the war on drugs and other important social and environmental topics. Also to check out, I am Global Festival, the biggest waterpark festival in Europe.
Written by FestPop Staff Writer, Chiara Michieletto
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