10. Sensation São Paulo
São Paulo, Brazil
Beginning its journey out of Amsterdam back in 2000, Sensation has cast its net far and wide with the premise of gargantuan parties soundtracked by the planet’s most recognizable DJs. Australia, Chile, Russia, Germany and Denmark are among the countries to be touched by the white wave (attendees are required to dress exclusively in the colour) and on April 17th Sensation will return to São Paulo for a second consecutive year. Felix da Housecat, Chuckie, Tocadisco and an estimated 40,000 people are on the bill for 2010, with further guests and an Ocean of White production theme all in the works.
RA pick: Felix Da Housecat knows a thing or two about moving masses of people.
09. Electronica en Abril
April 16 - April 24
Barcelona | Madrid
In a similar twist to Sonar's dual events in Barcelona and A Coruña this year, Electronica en Abril have opted to run the 2010 edition of their event over consecutive weekends, in its spiritual home Madrid and new destination Barcelona. Starting out on Friday April 16th, the Spanish capital's La Casa Encendida venue will sway to the sounds of Emeralds, High Places and Sunburned Hand of the Man, while the bulk of the electronic action is reserved for Sunday with the pendulum swinging between the horizontal (Jon Hopkins, Leyland Kirby) and vertical (Hudson Mohawke). Kirby will also line up at Barcelona's Obra Social Caja the following weekend, with wistful UK seafarers The Boats closing on the Sunday.
RA pick: Leyland Kirby / The Caretaker's introspective noise in either city.
Mayday, the grand old lady of the European festival circuit, returns for the 20th year at the site she's been occupying since 1993, Dortmund's Westfalenhalle. Your enjoyment of this one will likely rest with your attitude towards colossal events, although unlike São Paulo's Sensation, there'll be upwards of 50 DJ and live acts to take your pick from. Trance has always had a strong Mayday presence, which this year means Armin van Buuren, Judge Jules and Markus Schulz, while the party's other main facet, techno, comes under representation from Carl Cox, Chris Liebing, Luke Slater and Sven Väth.
RA pick: Carl Cox. Big name DJ, big name event.
07. Awakenings Easter Weekender
April 23 - April 25
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
And so it begins again. Dutch festival institution Awakenings lifts the handbrake on their annual wave of parties for 2010 with the first of their Weekenders at their long-standing Gashouder home. And much like previous years, each of the three days bears an unstated yet conspicuous theme, which this Easter edition embraces angular techno, big room noise and the sound of Detroit. So those stopping by on the Friday can look forward to a live performance from Sandwell District's Regis, in addition to DJ sets from Joey Beltram, Christian Varela and Dave Clarke; Saturday is the turn of Joris Voorn & 2000 and One, Dubfire and Chris Liebing; while Sunday's closing fiesta gazes affectionately at the Motor City with Robert Hood, Juan Atkins, Kenny Larkin and Octave One applying the pressure.
RA pick: Delsin's Quince chips in on the Sunday with a live set.
April 15 - April 18
Boulder, United States
How many of the world's most foremost festivals have grown up with a hippie spring in their step? Plenty, that's how many. And while Boulder, Colorado may be no San Fran circa '69, its laidback and liberal climate has bestowed the city's Communikey Festival with a certain sense of calm since its inaugural event in 2008. In addition to the "untz-untz," this vibe has facilitated plenty of extra-curricular activities, which includes exhibitions, interactive projects and workshops (take your little ones along to Kids-patch Orchestra this year), while headliners Lucky Dragons and The Books will certainly be veering left-of-center. The more traditional electronic styles will of course also be serviced: Akufen, Cheap and Deep Productions, Dave Aju and The Bunker's Spinoza and Derek Plaslaiko all spin at varying points across the festivities.
RA pick: Allow Clark Warner's druggy cloud of ambient and techno to send you under.
April 23 - April 25
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Perhaps the most interesting development on the European festival circuit in recent years has been the emergence of events based in newer EU member countries such as Poland, Croatia and Romania. The likes of Unsound, Garden Festival and Sunwaves are rightly thought of as some of the best the continent has to offer, while gatherings such as Rokolectiv have continued to fly the flag for the smaller, multimedia-focused experiences. For their fifth edition Rokolectiv have opted to place most of their eggs in the basket of house music as Move D and Omar-S headline their respective days at the city's Ark venue. The former will be accompanied by Sinner DC, Juju & Jordash and DJ Sprinkles—who also gives an A/V lecture at another event—while Alex Smith gets down with Legowelt and Motor City Drum Ensemble in tow.
RA pick: Legowelt appearing under his wonderfully noodly Nacho Patrol guise.
04. Electron Festival
April 1 - April 4
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4
They really won't be making it easy for you at Geneva's Electron Festival. Take Friday 2nd April for example—the second day of four. After settling down for an early evening encounter with The Vladislav Delay Quartet, do you then opt for Josh Wink and Green Velvet's classic-rooted acid tabs; catch Apparat & Skate DJ Team pair up alongside Hudson Mohawke and N-Type; hear Jesse Rose fidget from DJ Zinc's crack house; or place your trust in the wisdom of Dixon? And this is without making reference to the various exhibitions and contemporary dance performances going on each day. Luckily much of the nighttime noise centers around a single venue, Usine, which is fortuitous when The Hacker, Alva Noto vs Derivative, Atom TM, Noze, Byetone, Deetron and Claude VonStroke are all lining up at varying points across the weekend.
RA pick: Local lads Chaton, Ripperton and Dachshund play a "giant smoky jam session" involving decks and hardware on the Saturday.
April 16 - April 18
Empire Polo Field
Indio, United States
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
The American festival of choice for achingly hip starlets, Coachella have always countered the celeb gawp-fest with their diverse and electronic-friendly musical lineups. The Specials, Public Image Limited, Sly and the Family Stone, Devo and Gary Numan will headline a nostalgia-heavy line-up, but for the tech-inclined Richie Hawtin's Plastikman revival will surely be the comeback of choice. Alongside marquee names like Jay-Z and Gorillaz, new faces and trusted favorites like Fever Ray, Flying Lotus, LCD Soundsystem and Tiësto will keep the desert dancing over the festival's three-day run.
RA pick: Who else? Plastikman.
02. Bang Face Weekender
April 23 - April 25
Pontins Camber Sands
Sussex, United Kingdom
"Prehistoric Bangasaurus." What more needs to be said? With a caveman-to-raveman dress up theme for 2010, the crew behind London's monthly Bang Face night are as committed as ever to holding onto their fancy-dress hard-rave roots for their third annual Weekender, in spite of the lineup creeping ever closer to Bloc-style diversity. Rave, acid and jungle acts will keep pulses in the red zone as always, alongside a healthy UK bass contingent including The Bug and Joker, old hands Aux 88 and A Guy Called Gerald, manifesto-maker Matthew Herbert, and a special guest appearance from, erm, Tim Westwood.
RA pick: Drexciya's DJ Stingray will fire up his Urban Tribe live show vs. Moodymann vs another "surprise guest."
April 5 - April 10
Take your largest cauldron; gently mix in the vivacity and fancy dress of Bestival, the indie meets electronic sensibilities of Melt and the UK-centric spirit of BLOC. Whisk the resulting mixture until brilliant white, pour in 5,000 skiers, boarders, ravers, boozers and freaks, and simmer. Serve piping hot for seven consecutive April nights... Lengthy cooking analogies aside, Snowbombing moves into its second decade of operation this year, taking up a residence among Europe's best-loved festivals with their latest soiree out of Mayrhofen, Austria. Fatboy Slim, Editors and Doves seize the summit of the bill, while the headline electronic pressure arrives via 2ManyDJs, Vitalic, Crookers, Adam Beyer and James Zabiela. RA will be throwing down our own version of the abominable snow rave, which means Moodymann, Ewan Pearson, Sasse and The Revenge all inducing an avalanche.
RA pick: It will be worth attending RA's bash if only to hear Moodymann's thoughts on the muthaf*ckin' slopes.