April 27 - April 28
Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura
We appreciate the simplicity of a festival such as L.E.V. For a sixth year running they will offer a dual presentation of music and visual arts, hosted over two consecutive days out of Gijón's Laboral City of Culture on the northern Spanish coast. The word "city" also doesn't feel like an overstatement in this case—attendees will be treated to shows in theatres, churches, exhibition halls and gardens, all without having to leave the venue's grounds. Music comes from a handful of experimentally-inclined artists, with Prefuse 73, Soap&Skin and Tri Angle's Holy Other entertaining on the Friday, and Mika Vainio, Anstam, Kuedo and Old Apparatus looking after Saturday.
RA pick: 50 Weapons' Anstam bending the rules of club music.
April 19 - April 22
National Museum Of Contemporary Arts
Day One | Day Two | Day Three
Romania's Rokolectiv Festival operates out of Bucharest's Museum of Contemporary Art, which was first designed as a palace by Ceausescu. Today, as one of the largest civilian buildings in the world, it's home to both chambers of the Romanian Parliament as well as the museum section. The seventh edition of Rokolectiv features names sprawled far and wide across electronic music. Over the course of four days the festival will host performances from Portland's house-pop duo The Miracles Club, avant-garde German pianist Hauschka and haunting singer-songwriter Maria Minerva. The club transmissions, meanwhile, will be in the capable hands of Innervisions' head Dixon, Comeme co-founder Matias Aguayo and footwork pioneers DJ Spinn & DJ Rashad.
RA pick: The colourful melodies of Glasgow's Koreless.
08. Mayday Festival
It's a fairly safe bet to assume that when over two-dozen techno and house heavyweights descend upon the German city of Dortmund, the results will be significant. Held across the five floors of the city's Westfalenhallen, this year's Mayday is scheduled to host a wide variety of stadium-sized acts. Chris Liebing, Sven Vath and Carl Cox make up the bulk of Mayday's techno contingent, while big room house will be supplied by the likes of Karotte. As always, it's all due to get underway on the evening of April 30th and go right through until mid-morning the following day.
RA pick: Be there when Dominik Eulberg steps up for a dose of vibrant techno.
07. Awakenings 15th Anniversary
April 7 - April 8
Day One | Day Two
Awakenings first took to the cavernous Gashouder venue in 1997, and the circular spot has played host to Awakenings events pretty much ever since. This year is the Awakenings 15 year anniversary, which in previous years has gone by the name Awakenings Weekender. Semantics aside, the crew at Awakenings have dished up something typically spectacular. Held over the Easter weekend, the first day of the festival will hit the ground running with sets from Dave Clarke and DJ Rush. Sunday's line-up sags under the weight of names like Richie Hawtin, Marco Carola and Chris Liebing. There are very few corners to hide in at Gashouder (as if you'd want to).
RA pick: A Planetary Assault Systems live show on day one should be a nice little birthday present.
06. Communikey Festival
April 25 - April 29
If Communikey was a person, you'd probably want to be their friend. The key message behind the event—even beyond any cultural transmissions, it seems—is that of community. Communikey achieves this by hosting a relaxed five days of happenings in the Colorado college town of Boulder. Multiple venues, all within walking distance of one another, are utilized, although you can take advantage of Communikey's bike rental program if you prefer. For this fifth edition, the event has managed to raise funds to shoot a five-part documentary, so please do smile if someone points a camera at you. The experimental streak of years gone by has in no way dimmed in 2012, with Morton Subotnick, Laurie Anderson and Lillevan headlining, while dance floor concerns will be attended to by Kyle Hall, Deniz Kurtel, Claude Young and DJ Sprinkles.
RA pick: Morton Subotnick performing his famed Silver Apples of the Moon.
April 18 - April 22
Elita is one of the slickest festivals you might find yourself at in the month of April. Touching down at numerous venues in Milan in mid-April, the annual event takes pride in a polished aesthetic and solid booking policy dominated by a batch of dependable house, techno and indie names. Richie Hawtin, Jamie Jones and Maya Jane Coles are three of the heavy-hitters confirmed for sets, and are joined by Swedish quartet Little Dragon, English veteran Matthew Herbert and The Field. It's all set to go down with 18 parties over five nights, with Teatro Franco Parenti, Magazzini Generali and Tunnel among the spaces scheduled to host events.
RA pick: We're sure Riche Hawtin will give Magazzini Generali's finely-tuned system a nice workout.
April 5 - April 8
Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four
Geneva's Electron Festival is running up to nearly a decade of explorations in film, visual art and, of course, electronic music. Held over four days in nearly a dozen venues, the event also brings together conferences, workshops and dance performances. The variety of the shows in this regard is a nice complement to the diversity of the electronic music line-up, which makes the already reasonable ticket price a steal. Definite day one highlights include the recently returning Mouse On Mars and a performance of John Cage's Thirteen (celebrating 100 years since his birth). Addison Groove and Carl Craig presents 69 head a large second day line-up, while Pepe Bradock and Trevor Jackson play day three, and Darshan Jesrani is a top tip for the festival's final day.
RA pick: Kangding Ray melting minds on day one.
April 2 - April 22
Empire Polo Field
Day One | Day Two | Day Three
A festival on a manicured polo field in the middle of the southern California desert: This isn't a mirage, this is Coachella. Always a key stop-off on the North American festival circuit, this year's Coachella straddles two weekends, with the exact same artists billed for each. (Yes, you read that right.) As you might expect then, the lineup features mainly heavy-hitting names, with Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg, Radiohead and the Black Keys taking their place as headliners, and big room electronic acts like David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia not far behind them. Somewhere at the opposite end of the scale, LA's beat scene will come under representation from Thundercat, Flying Lotus and Gaslamp Killer. While tickets may be sold out, the nearby unofficial events are a solid alternative, with last year's A Club Called Rhonda gathering proving the must-do party of the weekend.
RA pick: Radiohead's Saturday night sets will likely be the apex of both weekends.
April 9 - April 14
"Beware: You need to come ready to embrace all the surreal bonkerism that takes place on and off the slopes." We reckon Tom Jones summed Snowbombing up perfectly in his introduction to our In Pictures feature last year. In other words, a week of continual partying, fancy dress and, of course, skiing and snowboarding won't be to everyone's tastes. But for those who do journey out to Mayrhofen in Austria year on year, Snowbombing represents one of the standouts in the festival calendar and undoubtedly one of the circuit's most unique offerings. The team behind the event seem determined to outdo themselves each year, and the lineup for 2012 is no exception. You get bill-topping names such as Dizzee Rascal, DJ Shadow and Groove Armada; huge house and techno talent like Seth Troxler, Jamie Jones, Soul Clap and Tensnake; and bass aplenty via Oneman, Boddika, Pearson Sound and Rustie.
RA pick: Skream's beats should tie-in with the aforementioned bonkerisms.
01. Unsound New York
April 18 - April 22
New York, US
Many have tried to throw festivals in New York, but only a few have succeeded—and lived to do it again the next year. Entering into its third year Unsound Festival New York has cemented its place in the city's cultural landscape by partnering with cultural institutes and local promoters to bring unexpected acts to New York's best venues. BAMcinématek, (Le) Poisson Rouge, Public Assembly, Lincoln Center and ISSUE Project Room will all once again be utilized for the five day event, and acts like 2562, Distal and Throwing Snow will be among the many bringing the beats. But with a lineup that also promises Jacaszek, Julia Holter and Monolake, you can also expect plenty of food for your head as well.
RA pick: Biosphere and Lustmord playing together for the first time.