Hate drunk crowds, muddy fields, and watered-down drinks associated with most music festivals? Check out these three fests where the drinks, food and scenery is as exciting as the music.
Just as some have an aversion to all-inclusive resorts or cruises, others cringe at the thought of joining the sweaty hordes at music festivals. (The crowds! The crappy food! The muddy fields!) But there’s another breed of festival on the rise—those that combine dreamy settings, excellent food (prepared by actual chefs using local ingredients), artisanal cocktails, and of course, excellent entertainment. It’s time to add these three to your bucket list.
Bilbao BBK Live
July 6–8, 2017
Architect Frank Gehry put the Spanish city of Bilbao on the map, and Bilbao BBK Live is aiming to do the same for music lovers. The festival grounds, atop Kobetamendi Hill, offer awesome views of the city and countryside beyond it. Beyond the festival, there are exhibits at the Guggenheim Museum to check out, and the chance to sample Basque culinary delights (pintxos, anyone?) served at chic tapas bars or at Michelin-starred restaurants. Want to chill on the sand? Take a 30-minute Metro ride from the city center to the beach. Relax all you want: At night, partygoers can reach out and touch faith (yeah, Depeche Mode is headlining).
Lineup Highlights: Depeche Mode, Phoenix, The Killers, Die Antwoord, Justice, The 1975, Fleet Foxes, Royal Blood, Brian Wilson, Two Door Cinema Club, DJ Tennis, Andrew Weatherall.
August 11–13, 2017
The Nordic countries’ coolest music festival, Flow Festival, is set in an abandoned power plant on the edge of Helsinki. For the three-day festival, old factory buildings, brick structures, and warehouses are reimagined as music and art venues, which host not just some of the hottest bands and DJs, but also indie film screenings, cultural talks, and art shows. Sprinkled across the festival grounds are light installations, sculptures and other artworks provided by University of the Arts Helsinki students. A roster of high-profile restaurants, cafes, and bars provide the food (options include vegan, organic, farm-to-table, sustainable, and every other buzzworthy edible trend). Forget lukewarm cups of cheap beer; at Flow you can sample artisanal brews, great wines, and even bubbly at the Champagne Bar. Before and after the main attraction, revelers can explore the ancient fortresses, rugged landscapes, and beautiful islands that surround the Finnish capital, or stick around in the city to check out seaside saunas, modern museums, and exceptional restaurants.
Lineup Highlights: Frank Ocean, Lana Del Rey, The xx, Aphex Twin, London Grammar, Ryan Adams, Flume, Young Thug, Goldfrapp.
September 15–17, 2017
If Morocco—with its Berber towns on the edge of the Sahara desert, gorgeous coastlines, and Moorish architecture—isn’t on your bucket list yet, it will be once you learn about this festival. Set just outside the Red City of Marrakech, Oasis Festival takes place at The Source, a dreamy resort that attracts a discerning international crowd with a boho-chic vibe. During the day, guests are free to explore the narrow alleyways of the medina, shop for vibrant silks and hand-woven baskets at the souk, and sample Moroccan street food. Back at the resort, guests can wander the lavender-scented gardens, cool off in the pool, and partake in daily yoga sessions, receive massages, shop for handcrafted goods at the on-site market, and dine on organic food. Once the sun sets, an impressive roster of international DJs and producers provide the beats to dance the night away.
Lineup Highlights: Solomun, Maceo Plex, Marcel Dettmann, Moodymann, KiNK, Karenn, Charlotte de Witte, Jeremy Underground, Chloé, Polyswitch.