10. Electric Picnic
September 4 - September 6
Stradbally County Laois
Could 35,000 people getting down to MGMT really be classed as "boutique"? It matters not, as Electric Picnic is currently riding high as the event of choice among Ireland's more discerning festival goers thanks to a truly eclectic line-up, coupled with an overall focus on high quality amenities. The acts are split roughly into three groups: electronic, mainstream indie and "others," of which Orbital, Basement Jaxx, Erol Alkan, Moderat and Nôze fall into the first. If you're more in the mood for headliners, however, Flaming Lips, Brian Wilson, Klaxons, Fleet Foxes and the aforementioned MGMT have you covered. There's also the chance to engage in some non-musically related discourse over at the MindField, which will cover such broad-ranging subjects as literature, poetry, science and politics. Although personally speaking, we never feel at our most eloquent when stumbling around a festival site.
RA pick: Take it all the way back to the roots of dance with Chic.
09. Convention 101
September 18 - September 20
Los Angeles, California
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
September is shaping up to be a month of festival firsts. Our initial debutant effort is that of West Coast promoter Robtronik and more specifically the brand new Convention 101 event which will spread its wings across three days and three Californian venues. The apex of the event is centred on Saturday's stint at Premiere Events Lot 613 and 614 in downtown LA which will set-up with three stages and a raft of local and international talent. The indigenous folk are already getting their knickers in a twist over an appearance from German party starters Wighnomy Brothers who will be joined at the summit of the bill by Juan Atkins, Paco Osuna, Stacey Pullen and Echospace. If you're still hungry for love, find a way to get into the Downtown Standard Rooftop on the Sunday which is a VIP only affair. Darling.
RA pick: We'll make no bones about it: don't miss Wighnomy Brothers.
September 26 - October 05
Brisbane | Perth | Melbourne | Sydney | Adelaide
OK. So winter has its charms, but make with the summer already. The Australian festival season swings back into action as the Fuzzy-spearheaded Parklife festival rolls into five key dance-favouring cities for what will be the event's 11th edition. Brisbane's City Botanic Gardens will be the first destination for the mainly indie-dance convoy that makes up this year's line-up. Festival-friendly names such as UK pop starlets La Roux and Little Boots, multi-faceted noise merchant Erol Alkan and NY funk/punk hipsters The Rapture see to the headlining slots, but what of the house and techno offerings? Erm, maybe best to look elsewhere we're afraid, although with Aeroplane, Claude VonStroke, Crystal Castles, Junior Boys, The Cool Kids and Metronomy bulking out the bill, you'll at least be able to dine at the table of diversity.
RA pick: How to resist the dulcet tones of Canadian crooners Junior Boys?
07. Disco 3000
Could it be deemed foolish to back a horse that's never raced before? Well, we just have a good feeling about this one. Disco 3000 organizer David James Wolstencroft (AKA Trus'me) rolls out his vision of a modern European festival experience for the first time on September 4th, and has settled upon Croatia's Petrcane (of Garden Festival fame) as the spot to realise the dream. Wolstencroft's penchant for house and disco à la his own Prime Numbers imprint will be the order of the day here, as Move D, Château Flight, Patrice Scott, Keith Worthy and Linkwood all head seaside. There's direct involvement from a number of like-minded labels too: Versatile, Smallville, Sistrum, Aesthetic Audio and DFA make up the extended family for what promises to be a cosy little musical love-in.
RA pick: Join Trus'me for a deep house knees-up in celebration of year #1.
September 18 - September 19
Day 1 | Day 2
The words "September" and "festival" can often conjure the image of battle-weary, windswept ravers cowering in a sodden tent. As the Greek summer would never allow for such unsavoury scenes, you can be rest assured that the fifth annual Reworks festival will be nothing but sunshine, art and 48 hours of electronic music. Once again over 100 acts will be invited to Thessaloniki's Vilka Complex and spread across seven stages with Cocoon boss Sven Väth playing Zeus over the line-up. Attendees can also look forward to appearances from DJ Hell, Dennis Ferrer and Martinez Brothers who will take their place among the exhibitions and installations that give Reworks its own artistic flair.
RA pick: Ninja Tune's Daedelus should see that the house and techno don't entirely rule the roost.
05. Electric Zoo
September 05 - September 06
New York, New York
Day 1 | Day 2
With the ghosts of Minitek still looming large in the minds of New York's club-going public, Electric Zoo has emerged to potentially banish the memories of the city's festival failures past, with a Labor Day weekend spectacular on Randall's Island. Made Event—the driving force behind this one—appear not to be leaving anything to chance with regards to the line-up and have called upon the twin cheese colossus of Armin Van Buuren and David Guetta to top the bill on their respective days. Fear not, though, Electric Zoo is basing its appeal on diversity and will also invite Richie Hawtin, Luciano, Steve Bug, James Murphy and Lindstrøm to help try and establish The Big Apple as a festival destination to be reckoned with.
RA pick: James Murphy—well, when in Rome.
September 24 - September 27
Don't call them Mutek West: Over the past few years, Decibel has emerged to carve its own identity into the festival landscape, taking advantage of a healthy Pacific Northwest techno scene, and Seattle's unique venue geography to craft an event that is both cosy and cosmopolitan at the same time. And, despite the rain-swept cliché of the city, they've even started to hold an outdoor event or two. With a line-up that includes international and Stateside talent like the Wighnomy Brothers, Alter Ego, Andrew Weatherall, Move D, Bruno Pronsato, Daedelus, Voodeux, Lusine, Nosaj Thing, Pezzner, and Mountains, expect that reputation to only grow in stature after this, its sixth year.
RA pick: It's only the second time in a number of years that the Wighnomy's are hitting the West Coast. Don't miss out.
September 11 - September 13
Robin Hill Country Park
Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Ah, Bestival. Such is the love for this thing, we'll try and be party poopers and say something negative about the event: Well, er...it rained last year, and er...The UK's best-loved festival (although Glastonbury might have something to say on that front) continues to cement its fun-loving, environmentally sound reputation having sold-out a number of months ago, and the press and public alike singing its wacky praises. Fancy dress is as an intrinsic part of the event as the Isle of Wight, and this year's theme will be Outer Space which is where organizers Rob and Josie Da Bank hope you'll be upon viewing the line-up. Massive Attack, Kraftwerk and Elbow are the stars of the show but we have neither the space nor the inclination to preview the 100-plus acts appearing. Previous attendees should also take note of this year's "super-exciting" new site layout and the ingeniously titled Blastival which will showcase the best in pyrotechnical wizardry.
RA pick: Friendly Fires seem to be as widely adored as the event itself.
September 19 - September 22
"Something special." We doubt you'll find anyone who visited one of the eight previous installments of the Labyrinth festival describe it as anything less. The event's charms are tied up in its stunning location, crystal clear Funktion One sound and a recurrent cast of DJs and live acts that are booked based on their intrinsic understanding of the party (and their wonderfully distinctive sounds of course). The line-up was yet to be announced at the time of print but let's have a punt on who will play: Donato Dozzy seems like a safe bet owing to the reaction to his recent appearances; Mathew Jonson has been a firm favourite since his 2005 performance shaped the future musical course of the event; and Peter Van Hoesen in a live or DJ context would seem to make a lot of sense considering his mention of a gig in Japan. Whoever plays though, it's sure to be an occasion.
RA pick: With no line-up announced yet, we couldn't hazard a guess.
01. Green & Blue
Im Birkengrund – Obertshausen
R.I.P. Waldschwimmbad. The spiritual home of Cocoon's Green & Blue event splashed its last splash last year, although the team behind this year's caper are boasting of a new location that will hopefully surpass all of the old site's former glories. So in addition to a Green and Blue floor, patrons can also look forward to a third floor, more space and, like, twice as much fun and stuff. At the risk of stating the obvious, Sven Vath and Ricardo Villalobos headline their respective floors with the German being joined Jacek Sienkiewicz (live), Radio Slave and Matt Tolfrey, and the Chilean getting to grips with Reboot (live), Marco Carola, Swayzak (live) and Cassy. This is one of the European summer's final outposts of festival lunacy: We recommend seizing the opportunity with both hands.
RA pick: Cassy always sneaks in near the bottom of festivals line-ups, but is every bit a main draw.