Its the weekend, the sun is shining and there’s a festival in town. For many of us in the UK, the summer months are spent dancing under the stars to our favourite bands and DJs, and as the festival season draws ever closer, we at Decoded thought we’d compile a list of what we consider to be the cream of European festivals from June to September this year.
By no means an exhaustive list, but we hope this gives you a few ideas for taking your festival experiences a little further afield. Croatia for example has a multitude of parties happening, from industry giants like Defected and Sonus to smaller brands like Dimensions who celebrate their 5th birthday in style. Then there’s the boutique festivals for those in the know who command small entrance fees for a whole lot of festival experience. Gottwood in deepest darkest north Wales is already sold out and Field Maneuvres way off in September is keeping its location secret like in the days of the M25 parties.
We’ve also featured the cream of the 700 festivals Holland has each year. Free Your Mind in Arnhem for instance, has been going for 13 years. Nestled aside a beautiful lake, its a music fans oasis with some of the biggest names in the world regularly returning to play. Techno behemoth Awakenings has been going for 16 years, and is the absolute pinnacle of festival production in 2016, you’d be a fool to miss it. We’ve also featured some interesting newer events like Belfasts AVA which encompasses a conference as well as brilliant live music, Loveland Barcelona which will feature during Sonar festival, and TheSoundYouNeed festival making its debut in sunny Malta this year.
Wherever you end up partying this year, we wish you the best time, and hope the memories you make last a lifetime.
The Somerley Tea Party 2016
Somerley Estate, Ringwood
Building on the brilliance of its first two years, The Somerley Tea Party is back for a third edition that promises to be bigger and better than ever on June 3rd and 4th 2016. For the first time ever offering camping and again taking place at the unique location that is Somerley Estate, it promises a knowing mix of established stars and hot underground talents from the worlds of house, techno and drum & bass. What sets this festival apart—as well as its killer lineup—is the stunning setting, which is the sprawling green grounds and lush gardens of an 18th century estate. Every area is unique and within five minutes walk of the campsite, offering a wide range of experiences from communal big top raving to more intimate and organic vibes in the woods where production dangles from trees as you get back to nature.
Free Your Mind Festival 2016
June 4, 2016
Free Your Mind is back to celebrate its 13th year anniversary with a killer lineup that will not disappoint our 15,000+ festivalgoers that we share this wonderful experience with each year. On June 4th we come together to experience a high quality lineup once again with artists like: Dubfire, Jamie Jones, Ricardo Villalobos, Sasha, Seth Troxler, The Martinez Brothers, and many, many more.
Music lovers and festivalgoers gather in Stadsblokken Arnhem to enjoy the best in underground, techno and house. Making the event extra special is the unique grounds on which it takes place on. The terrain represents the perfect setting for a combination of enchanted massive outdoor woods and a beach vacation- immerse yourself in nature, explore the woods and roam the beaches that are surrounded by the beautiful and peaceful Rijn River. Furthermore, there is the industrial aspect of the John Frost Bridge, where one of the stages will be placed for thousands of people to wander and dance around. In addition, there will be a variety of stands to provide festival goers with fun activities along with a diverse selection of bars and food trucks. Come free your mind and get creative.
T13 Titanic Quater, Belfast
AVA (Audio Visual Arts) Festival and Conference is a first of it’s kind electronic music festival, a pioneering event breaking new ground by shining a light on emerging and established artists in Northern and Southern Ireland. After last year’s massive success, AVA announce their return on Saturday June 4th 2016, where they’ll takeover T13 Belfast, on the Titanic Docks for a day and night session comprised of conference and festival. Round two sees heavyweight RØDHÅD joining the bill, the debut live show from Bicep, the return of Boiler Room, plus Mano Le Tough, Gerd Janson, Optimo, Phil Kieran, Timmy Stewart and more local legends. On top of this, AVA’s free conference will expand to help to educate and inspire.
June 9th – 12th 2016
Gottwood Forest, Wales
Bicep – “Up there with our favourite festivals we did all year, and we did a lot! As perfect a small festival can be, amazing people, food and music…look forward to going back ourselves!” Gottwood are riding the wave this year with all tickets already sold out! This “mystical little party hidden in the middle of the woods” looks to be the festival to beat in 2016. Headliners include 2 Bad Mice / Adam Shelton / Andrew Weatherall b2b Roman Flügel / Alex Arnout / Craig Richards b2b Ben UFO / Crazy P (Live) / Daniel Avery / John Talabot / Joy Orbison / Maribou State (DJ) / Maxxi Soundsystem / Move D / Mr G (Live) / Prosumer / Secretsundaze / Will Saul + more
SSW6 Summer Weekender
Stanwix Park Holiday Centre
Now in its sixth year, SSW has leap frogged from being described in the press three years ago as “the new kid on the weekender block” to being hailed recently as ‘the natural successor to Southport‘ by Scotland’s influential music and arts bible, The List.
SSW is an acronym of Scottish Soulful Weekender but this was dropped after the event outgrew its original home, the border town of Dumfries in Scotland. You literally could not get a bed in the town when the event rolled in like some sort of musical religious road show. The ‘soulful’ tag shackled the event a lil’ also, people thought SSW was just a Soul weekender, even though the largest room was in fact a House room. By moving South of the border and by introducing a more diverse musical policy the name Scottish Soulful Weekender became redundant and SSW was born, giving the event a more ambiguous heading.
The line ups at SSW reflect this musical grazing. From one end of the field there have been classic artistes such as Gwen McCrae, Jocelyn Brown, Todd Terry, Keb Darge, Pierre, Lil’ Louis and Tony Humphries who played SSW. At the other end there are the dynamic freshers that have graced the decks or played live at SSW such as Red Greg, Motor City Drum Ensemble, M.A.N.D.Y., JD73, Prins Thomas, Yam Who, Late Nite Tuff Guy and Pig&Dan, whilst the evergreens such as Joey Negro and Kerri Chandler have all played SSW too. So it’s about musical diversity, the past, the present and the future.
June 11th 2016
Brockwell Park, London
FOUND was born in the dark tunnels of South London’s Vauxhall, in the winter of 2011. The original Found Series saw 15 consecutive club nights offer shelter to an expanding melting pot of sounds rooted in UK garage, Chicago house and Detroit techno. In just three years the Found Series has developed into an ongoing run of breathtaking London festivals, street parties, warehouse events and club shows. By producing stellar events that are truly one-of-a-kind, the F: stands as a mark of quality on London’s electronic music calendar. With over 30 years experience driving some of London’s most influential events, venues and underground music scenes, today the Found Series encompasses a wide family of independent festivals, club brands and venues.
Found Festival returns in 2016 for our fourth and biggest edition yet. Taking place – once again – at London’s Brockwell Park we present six stages of house, techno, disco and more, carefully curated alongside some of the most forward thinking members of London’s electronic community. Continuing to strive for authenticity, this year’s event will see us bring together those who shaped our scene, alongside today and tomorrow’s most exciting new artists.
Port Forum, Barcelona
On Friday 17th, Loveland Barcelona kicks off bringing out Drumcode’s distinctive sound with its label head Adam Beyer, who will be joined by artists strictly connected to the brand’s sonic aesthetics as Dense & Pika, Enrico Sangiuliano, Luigi Madonna, Marco Faraone, Pan-Pot, Paul Ritch live, Sam Paganini, Bart Skils, Nick Curly among others in both Loveland Barcelona stages.
The second day on Saturday 18th will host the third edition of Loveland Live, a concept coined by the Dutch festival promoter dedicated exclusively to live performances. Inviting worldwide acclaimed Techno artists, well known for performing their own creations on stage, under this premise, Loveland Live will align in two stages Audion, Gabriel Ananda, Henrik Schwarz, KiNK, Rodriguez Jr, Stephan Bodzin, Vince Watson, Wareika, DOP, Egbert, Gaiser, Julian Jeweil, Matador, Redshape, Secret Cinema,Skudge and Surgeon.
Both events will take place in Port Forum. A pleasant outdoor location integrated into Espai Forum and overlooking the sea, surrounded by palm trees and which combines the Mediterranean vibes and industrial architecture, which will house both stages plus green spaces designed to complete and further improve attendee’s experience during the events, from evening to the morning, of Loveland Barcelona’s first edition.
Secret Solstice Festival
Secret Solstice is an Icelandic music festival that is being held for the third time on June 17-19, 2016 in the city of Reykjavík. It showcases both established artists as well as exciting up-and-coming talent over the course of three days in the 24 hour midnight sun during the summer solstice. It‘s themed after the Norse religion and mythology of old. It‘s set to deliver a unique party atmosphere filled with great entertainment. A total of 60 names are now on the bill for Secret Solstice’s third year, with heavyweights Radiohead, Deftones, Jamie Jones, Skream, Apollonia, Visionquest and Goldie being added to already announced named like Of Monsters And Men, and Kerri Chandler. The final total of acts for the 2016 event is set for around 130 names according to organisers.
While Secret Solstice’s lineup is one thing, it’s the incredible concept that’s had festival guests flocking to Secret Solstice from around the world. Due to the event’s proximity to the Arctic Circle in Reykjavík, the sun never sets for the entire three days of Secret Solstice 2016, making for an extremely special and unique experience for people coming to Secret Solstice from abroad. Just in time for the holidays, Secret Solstice has created the Package Of The Gods, which is the ultimate way to experience everything at Secret Solstice 2016. Priced at 1.5 million Icelandic krona (that’s just a little shy of $11,700 USD), the package promises to be an unforgettable experience for two people. Only three of these incredible packages are available, and are on sale now via the event’s website.
Awakenings 16th Edition
Spaarnwoude Houtrak, Netherlands
Awakenings will host 8 different stages, including 2 spacious and impressive open air stages, representing the broad variety of techno music – from traditional techno to fusion styles and back. As always, the newest and hottest techno kids on the block will perform next to the legends of the scene, resulting in almost 100 different artists and live acts performing over the course of two techno-packed days. The second festival day, longtime collaborators Richie Hawtin, Drumcode, Electric Deluxe, and Joris Voorn will be hosting stages, bringing the very best they have to offer to their beloved Awakenings festival.
Kappa Futur Festival
Parco Dora, Turin, Italy
Since launching in 2012, Kappa FuturFestival has firmly established itself on the global festival circuit, with music running from midday through midnight on both Saturday and Sunday. With its varied hangouts, DJs between the trees and lashings of Italian food and drink, this unmissable festival plays out in massive hangars and industrial spaces in the heart of Torino.
It is a real mass communion where techno lovers unite. The first names out of the bag for this year are Cocoon label boss and techno chieftain Sven Vath, CLR main man Chris Liebing, a return of the acclaimed Kings of House trio aka David Morales, Tony Humphries and Louie Vega, plus New Jersey legend Kerri Chandler, Chicago star Lil Louis and New York’s untouchable DJ talent Danny Tenaglia.
Taking place in the lush green outdoors of Eindhoven on July 9th, Extrema Outdoor features five magical stages and many special treats from ANTS, Carl Cox, Ed Banger Records and more. You can also expect some intimate and personal party experiences with plenty of unique surprises at one of Hollands longest running festivals.
Cocoon in the Park 2016
Temple Newsam, Leeds
The venue will once more be the majestic grounds of Temple Newsam on the outskirts of Leeds, surrounded by lush green countryside and on 9th July of 2016 by an absolutely massive sound system. There is no other event quite like it. The 8th successive year of Cocoon in the Park will bring you the finest artists on one huge stage supported by state of the art sound, visuals, fx and all the trimmings. They are going to be playing with your senses and surprising you again in 2016.
July 28 – August 1
The Garden Resort in Tisno, Croatia
The world famous Movement brand is making another bold move by setting up a third festival—to accompany the Detroit and Turin editions—in Croatia. Taking place from 28th July to 1st August 2016 at the world renowned The Garden Resort and Barbarella’s Discotheque, Tisno, it will play out in a picturesque location with crystal clear blue seas, cloudless skies and in full baking sun.
As for who will be playing, brands like Lola Ed and Half Baked, Circoloco and more will all be involved, whilst the DJ stars lining up for some fun in the sun include Berghain heavyweights like Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann, Siberian techno temptress Nina Kraviz, Detroit legends making a nod back to the original Movement in Robert Hood, Octave One and Derrick May.
Solar Weekend Festival
Solar Weekend Festival, from the stages to art installations to attractions, is designed from the bottom up by creatives from around the world. Now, as the headliners for the 12th edition are launched, more than 5000 creatives have been involved in the on going project.
Taking place in the beautiful Roermond, Eindhoven from August 5th – 7th, creative hub and exciting music festival Solar Weekend has plenty of international stars lined-up for its 12th edition. These include Len Faki, DJ Rush, Miss Kittin, Joris Voorn, Boris Brejcha, Riton, Fedde le Grand, De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig, Broederliefde & SBMG, Fresku and dozens of other names from various genres all playing to a crowd of 30,000 people, 15,000 of whom camp for the duration.
Built on creativity – What separates this festival from the rest, though, is its dedication to boutique design, one-off stages and special art concepts. The whole festival, from the stages to the installations to the attractions and performing art, is all designed by young creative teams and collectives with more than 1,000 of them involved in all (in fact last year the festival reached the milestone of having worked with more than 5,000 creative folks in all over the last 12 years).
In the run up to the event, anyone can submit their ideas, and the best and most imaginative are then commissioned and funded by Solar. The creatives involved then get to see their dream made a reality and as well as this making for extra special experiences for the festival goers, it also adds a real community spirit and vibe and gives the brightest creatives a platform to showcase their ideas.
51st State Festival
August 6th 2016
Trent Park, London
After a sold out debut last summer 51st State Festival returns to London’s stunning Trent Park exploring the roots of house music with a truly transatlantic programme, joining the dots between the US, the UK and the Caribbean. Presented by Found Series, the lineup features tastemakers, trail-blazers and seminal figures from house, garage, soul, funk, dub, dancehall and disco set within one of North London’s most stunning parks.
With the cream of Soulful House across 5 unique stages, 51st State boasts performances from luminary acts Kings of House (Louie Vega/Tony Humphries/David Morales), Soul 2 Soul, Todd Terry, Marshall Jefferson, Dimitri From Paris, Adeva, Crystal Waters, Roy Ayers, Dawn Penn, Joey Negro, Horse meat Disco and many more.
The Garden Resort, Tisno, Croatia
Defected are incredibly proud to bring you phase one line-up for their new landmark festival launching this August. Taking place at The Garden Resort, Tisno in the most idyllic corner of Croatia’s beautiful Adriatic coast, Defected Croatia 2016 will see a diverse selection of world-class DJs playing both beach and main stages, with daily boat parties all adding to a unique outdoor clubbing experience.
The first phase line-up comprises a stellar cast of established and up-and-coming house talent, including Basement Jaxx (DJ Set), Dennis Ferrer,Julio Bashmore, Kenny Dope, Roger Sanchez, Guti (Live), Nick Curly “official”, Osunlade, Noir, RIVA STARR, Sandy Rivera (Kings of Tomorrow),Tube & Berger, Sonny Fodera, DJ Sam Divine, Franky Rizardo, &Me,Adam Port, David Mayer, PurpleDiscoMachine, John Morales, ANOTR,Dario D’Attis ”Official”, Eli Escobar, Fred Everything, Worthy, Luke Solomon and Simon Dunmore. Further acts and the programme for each of the stages and boat parties will be announced in the coming weeks.
Zrce Beach, Croatia
Sonus Festival is once again set to be THE mecca for techno heads in Croatia this summer after announcing its first wave of artists – a heavy artillery of elite selectors all heading to the stunning Zrce Beach in August for a 5 day / 5 night party like no other…
The Sonus 2016 line-up is already enough to get you shopping for new swimwear in the middle of January and it’s only the beginning… Present and correct is a supreme collection of heavyweight artists from around the globe including key players in the Time Warp family Chris Liebing – Frankfurt’s finest and a techno pioneer, the legendary Loco Dice, Cadenza boss Luciano, Italian techno kings Marco Carola and Joseph Capriati plus Chilean master of innovation Ricardo Villalobos. Also confirmed is the unstoppable Dixon – three times winner of RA’s DJ poll and co- founder of Innervisions, along with electronic polymath Seth Troxler, Glasgow royalty and supreme party starter Jackmaster, plus dynamic duo The Martinez Brothers, all set to bring the fire.
Perlon artist and flawless DJ Sonja Moonear is also confirmed to return to Zrce Beach along with the inimitable Perlon co-founder Zip, and two pioneers of the Romanian scene Raresh and Praslea aka Praslesh. Telegraph’s kingpin and Concrete regular Cabanne will be serving up his own Parisian brand of minimal house whilst the mighty Parisian trio Apollonia and Desolat’s tINI bring the techy deepness. Also destined for Sonus shores is ‘Super House’ duo Andhim plus Berlin favourites Binh, DeWalta and Dana Ruh along with German techno giant Oliver Koletzki. Representing the local Croatian scene is Mariano Mateljan from Split and Ilija Rudman from fast-rising electronic hotbed, Zagreb.
24-29 August 2016
Fort Punta Christo, Croatia
In the last five years Dimensions Festival has built a solid reputation as one of the worlds leading electronic parties, each year uniting the most iconic artists from techno, disco, house, world and beyond. Marking it’s fifth birthday with it’s most impressive undertaking to date, Dimensions Festival can now reveal the first names for 2016, including cult UK institution Massive Attack as headliners for the opening concert in the stunning Pula amphitheatre.
From Wednesday 24th – Sunday 28th, world-class acts joining include future-soul quartet Haitus Kaiyote and the experimental jazz-fusion group, the Moritz von Oswald Trio with Tony Allen and Max Loderbauer, plus Detroit king Moodymann, and techno dons Ben Klock, Marcel Dettmann and Rødhåd. Timeless icons from the house underworld bring their classic selections to the Dimensions fort, with definitive 90s duo Mood II Swing, Body & Soul figurehead Joe Claussell and Chicago boss Gene Hunt. On top of all of this, festival goers can find more mind-bending genre explorations in the shape of Hessle Audio, Calibre, Om Unit and more. Selling out last year in record time, Dimensions Festival has become an unmissable date in the diary for any discerning music head.
August 26th – 29th
The first ever TheSoundYouNeed Festival in Malta is already shaping up to be the best event of the summer, and now it is revealing even more exciting names. This is the debut instalment of the sun kissed and dreamy TSYN Festival and it is really sure to put Malta, the most fast rising and refreshing new dance market in the world, properly on the discerning dance lover’s map in 2016. Taking place between 26th and 29th August 2016, the sorely overlooked Malta will provide a beautiful setting and baking hot sun for the likes of well informed first wave names: Flight Facilities, Hudson Mohawk, Fakear, FKJ, Sam Gallaitry, Bondax, Slow Magic, SG Lewis, Jungle (DJ Set), Joe Hertz, STWO, TÂCHES and Durante.
Aug 31st – Sept. 4th
Fort Punta Christo, Croatia
Heading into their ninth year stronger than ever after last year’s sell-out, Outlook Festival can now reveal the first names joining for 2016s adventure, with Damian Marley, Kano, Hiatus Kaiote, Goldie MBE, Section Boyz, Noisia, Channel One, Little Simz and many more headed to the Adriatic coast of talent in their beachside fortress home, with DJs, producers, crews, labels and MCs that span ages, styles and Decades. With tickets moving quickly, it’s time to get on board and find out for yourself why Outlook is the worlds biggest, baddest bass music party.
A combo of dub, reggae, grime, drum & bass, hip-hop and more, Outlook Festival joins the dots between iconic genres, all heard on the worlds best soundsystems. Damian ‘JR. GONG’ Marley will headline the unmissable opening concert in Pula’s historical amphitheatre along with very special guests TBA, and through the week DnB icon Andy C, lyrical G Stormzy and hip-hop king Joey Bada$$ are just some of the next-level artists involved. Heritage acts like Slum Village, David Rodigan, and Channel One meet fresh on.
One of the best kept secrets in the UK rave calendar is the small, yet beautifully formed end of summer fun that is Field Manoeuvres festival, a three-day party held in a secret location just outside London. 2016 sees the Field Maneuvres family grow as they announce brand new residents as the first names for this summers event, with Ryan Elliott, Ben Sims, Jane Fitz, Brackles, Mark E and more all aboard for the madness that will ensue. For those with a taste for all things house, techno, disco and acid, Field Maneuvres is an essential date in the diary, the perfect way to round off summer.
Built on the ethos of free parties with a carefree, cheeky attitude, Field Maneuvres has real family vibrations, encompassed by the much-loved FM residents that return each year. Both old and new faces are in place for this years summer send off, with Berghain resident and kick-drum obsessive Ryan Elliott and leading techno light, Ben Sims, both set to bring fist-pumping sets to the dance floors (and fields). Bringing his esteemed ‘Machine’ party-brand to FM, Ben Sims will be focusing on showcasing the very freshest of techno sounds.
The Social Festival
9th & 10th September
The Kent County Showground
Rounding out the festival season is Nic Fanciulli’s Social Festival. Social favourites George Fitzgerald, Mark Fanciulli, Patrick Topping, Richy Ahmed and Tom Trago will return to Maidstone again on the Saturday, whilst Solomun goes b2b with his Diynamic label-favourites Adriatique on the main stage. Friday sees the new and welcome addition of Berlin’s Paul Kalkbrenner alongside headliners Sasha & John Digweed.
Also making an appearance over the two days are a host of exciting names; Agoria, Andhim, Ellen Allien, Enzo Siragusa, Jasper James, Joey Daniel, Jon Rundell, Marco Faraone, Mind Against, Monkey Safari, Sailor & I, and Pan-Pot all make their debuts at this years festival.
In addition to this stellar house & techno lineup, The Social Festival have also introduced a brand new Drum & Bass arena for 2016, playing host to mainstay names like Roni Size and Krust Present Full Cycle, Feat Dynamite MC , High Contrast, Goldie, LTJ Bukem, Icicle & DJ Zinc, the arena is a welcome foray into the genre for the festival.