July 1 - July 3
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Croatia is undoubtedly the new island festival destination. And Manchester's Warehouse Project crew are preparing to get in on the action this year. The debut of the Hideout three-dayer offers it all on a very reasonably priced platter (around 70 quid) on the island of Pag. It promises to be an action-packed affair, with all artists safely tending towards the dance floor-inclined tastes of their own specific scenes. The RA stage on day one features UK new guard Jamie xx and Pearson Sound, while Papa Sven will appear on the main stage and Toddla T reclaims the dance floor in the similarly named arena. Over the following two days, Pendulum, Simian Mobile Disco, Seth Troxler and Crookers will help keep the beach-side spirits high in amongst the sunrise to sunset activities and numerous boat parties.
RA pick: One of our Berlin favourites, Dixon, on the RA stage.
July 15 - July 17
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Lovebox does well with its all things to all men approach and this year delivers another veritable cross-section of pop and electronic music to the green plains of Victoria Park. The usual concoction of big names and underground showcases is most prominent on the Friday with Vice, FWD>>Rinse and Ed Banger Records supplementing the indie-laced main stage lineup with the likes of Flying Lotus, Skream, Roska and Busy P. Whatever Friday's bill left out can be found on the Saturday with drum & bass from the Hospitality roster, festival founders Groove Armada looking forward with a multi-FX Red Light show, and Snoop Dogg taking us back to 1993, performing his inaugural Doggystyle album. Sunday concludes with a poppy disco-pocked program with Kelis, Robyn, 2ManyDJs and Scissor Sisters ushering in the party vibes.
RA pick: Motor City Drum Ensemble adds vintage soul and Chicago house to Warm/Electric Minds Saturday offering.
08. Love Family Park
The idea behind Love Family Park is simple enough: sign up a dozen-odd of electronic music's biggest names to spin in a picturesque field in the middle of summer. This formula has ensured that Love Family Park become one of Germany's most revered festivals, drawing thousands of international and cross-country tourists to its stages each year. The upcoming July jaunt is no different, with a bags of luminous acts locked in for appearances at the 14-hour event, many of whom have become Love Family Park regulars. Minimal giant Ricardo Villalobos will return to the festival for a headline slot, while Zip, Dominik Eulberg and Sven Vath are all also booked.
RA pick: You can count on Perlon boss Zip to bring the goods.
With kilometres of glorious coastline and islands galore, it's not unreasonable to wonder why a Spanish festival would be situated in a bone-dry desert—although as Monegros gears up for its 17th straight edition you get the impression that the 40,000 people who attend each year don't mind getting a bit of sand in their shoes. While the festival may have strayed from its staunch underground roots, there's plenty of stadium-sized fun to be had with David Guetta, Carl Cox, Paul Kalkbrenner and the surprise addition of Busta Rhymes, the only headliner to step away from the dominating 4/4 sounds. For those that prefer that club-in-a-desert feel, veterans like John Digweed, Dave Clarke and Steve Lawler will mingle with Tiga, while Richie Hawtin, Marco Carola and Gaiser will keep it Minus-style mnml.
RA pick: The 2.0 incarnation of Vitalic's Mirror Live show.
July 7 - July 10
Novi Sad, Serbia
Exit's unique selling point? It's location. While quirky outdoor spaces are hardly novel in festival-land these days, the way in which Exit blends seamlessly into an old-world setting gives it a clear edge over its competition. The medieval fortress at Novi Sad easily provides both intimacy and epic moments, depending which side of the craggy outcrop you're partial to. As always, a huge amount of musical variety is the key, with certified pop heroes like Jamiroquai on the bill, and speed metal, jazz, reggae and electronica tucked away into crevices or perched at the top of spiralling cobbled pathways. This year's big draws include Arcade Fire and Portishead on the main stage, Balkan beats poster child Beirut on the Fusion stage, plus Underworld, Marco Carola, Digitalism and great house hope Maya Jane Coles getting down to business at Dance Arena.
RA pick: Drum & Bass pioneer Photek, freshly back on the scene with his new genre mutations.
05. 10 Days Off
July 15 - July 25
"Something for everyone" could pretty much be the lamest strap-line for a festival imaginable, but in the case of Ghent's 10 Days Off it would actually ring true. Techno? Richie Hawtin and Carl Craig. House? Space Dimension Controller and Robag Wruhme. Bass music? Martyn and Zomby. Electronica? Nicolas Jaar and Matias Aguayo. We could go on...The whole thing goes down at Vooruit over (almost) ten consecutive days to coincide with the city-wide Gentse Feesten which dates back as far as 1843. Dance music was still a little way off at that time, but 10 Days Off has now been running for a very respectable 16 years. Exact details of lineups will surface in the coming weeks, just leaving the decision over whether to pick and mix or try and do the whole damn thing.
RA pick: Blawan's mixture of tough techno and bass music is currently pushing all the right buttons.
July 29 - July 31
Beach on the Vistula River
What attracts 12,000 people to journey to the Polish town of Plock for Audioriver each summer? Let's count the reasons. 1) It takes place on a beach on the banks of the Vistula River. 2) The lineup is usually comprised of some of electronic music's biggest names. 3) It currently costs €22 for a weekend ticket. Poland has fast become a go-to destination for European clubbers in recent years, and Audioriver represents the country's glittering mid-summer offering. Trentemøller in concert, Paul Kalkbrenner and Modeselektor nestle in around the top of the bill for the three day gathering; in terms of DJs, Chris Liebing, Seth Troxler & Shaun Reeves and Robag Wruhme will provide deck-based highlights.
RA pick: Check the Swamp 81-approved sounds of UK duo Kryptic Minds.
03. Garden Festival
July 6 - July 13
The Garden Petrcane
Garden has become a European festival staple in recent years and rightly so. The team behind the event have developed a blueprint since starting out in 2006 that has seen many other festival equivalents spring up in its wake. "Back to our roots" is the strapline for 2011, which means Garden will take place across "one long weekend" or seven days. Garden has also been noted for its resolutely sunny soundtrack, which this year sees the likes of Tensnake, Mark E and Greg Wilson return to the Croatian festival village of Petrcane. Boat parties also make up a huge part of the appeal. And this year there'll be 14 of them. Wolf + Lamb will be hosting one, and so will RA: US talents Soul Clap and Benoit & Sergio helm the Argonaughty, with the afterparty going down as usual at Barbarella Discotheque.
RA pick: Hopefully everyone can still walk and talk after Benoit & Sergio's set at sea.
July 15 - July 17
There are a few things you can be certain of when Melt! rolls around each year: Neon-lit post-apocalyptic machinery looming over the various arenas. Late night stomping sessions at the Sleepless Floor. At least one spectacular electrical storm. And a Sunday night closing concert extravaganza. The annual weekender is a highlight of the German calendar, and for good reason; it draws on Berlin's famed nightlife, but is removed enough from it to mesh with a programme of bands and live acts. This year will see the return of favoured features like the Hotel Train, the Thursday night pre-party, and the Melt! Selektor stage curated by Modeselektor. The main action will include Addison Groove, Brandt Brauer Frick, José González, Nicolas Jaar, Robyn and stroppy indie kid Patrick Wolf. As for the closing night concert, names are still being announced, but drawcards like Pulp, Metronomy and Paul Kalkbrenner are surely all in with a chance.
RA pick: The buzz from Azari & III's recent live debut suggests that their set shouldn't be missed.
July 22 - July 24
Like so few festivals these days, Freerotation is truly a family affair. It's run by a small group of friends, none of whom are out to make much money, and invites a crowd of not even 1000 punters (fewer than some nightclubs), most of whom are members. The celebrity-free bill is strictly "for the heads," with three days of deep house, techno and dubstep by locals (Leif, Tom Demac, Grimes Adhesif) international residents (Move D, Shackleton, Portable, Lakuti) and carefully selected guests (Pearson Sound, Surgeon, Fred P, Levon Vincent). Perhaps the quaintest aspect of the event is the setting: Baskerville Hall, a 19th century estate in the Welsh countryside, which hosts intimate dance floors in and outside all weekend. As Richard Carnes found out last year, the festival is a personal favorite among the artists and the revelers alike. No wonder this year sold out in record time..
RA pick: See what the Hessle Audio crew have in store—their sound should suit the setting perfectly.