10. Free Your Mind
Arnhem, The Netherlands
The first of the Dutch summer festivals brings a small but plum selection of artists to the small town of Arnhem. Alongside local techno faves, there's also big names in electrohouse (Booka Shade, M.A.N.D.Y), deep house (Ame) and minimal (Steve Bug, Daniel Stefanik). As is the case with most Dutch festivals, there's a big nod to Detroit with Aril Brikha, Funk D'Void, Deetron, Alexander Kowalski, Ken Ishii, 2000 and One all on the bill. Organisers have also lined up two afterparties depending on which way is closer to home: head to the Planet Rose club in Doornroosje for Steve Rachmad and Melon or split to Maassilo in Rotterdam for New Order, Ian Pooley and Jesse Rose.
RA pick: Vitalic closes out the Rockit stage in rocking festival style.
Free Your Mind Festival
9. Glastonbury Festival
Worthy Farm, England
June 22 - 24
After a year off to let the grass grow back, Britain's biggest festival is back in 2007. As always the music spans the genres: rock, jazz, indie, reggae as well as plenty of acoustic guitars to remind you of the festival’s roots. Dancewise the festival has two areas this year, Dance East and Dance West, as well as electronic music in the Lounge and breakbeats and drum'n'bass at the G-Stage. A quick rundown of names: lots of progressive (Sasha, Danny Howells, Steve Lawler, Hybrid), breaks (Stanton Warriors, FreQ Nasty, Adam Freeland) drum n bass (Pendulum, Andy C) and dance rock (Shitdisco, Simian Mobile Disco and Para One) but this one is not about the lineups, it’s about the vibe, man. Don’t forget your wellies.
RA pick: Iggy & The Stooges encapsulate everything we love about rock.
Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday
8. Garden Party
Athboy, Co Meath, Ireland
A boutique festival held in the beautiful grounds of Ballinlough castle. Capacity is restricted to 10,000 so expect an intimate affair and reasonable queues for the loos. Web portal and in-the-know crew Bodytonic host the Pogo arena with Andrew Weatherall, Donnacha Costello (live), Switch and Charles Webster as well as local spinners while on the main stage there's live sets from the Pet Shop Boys, electro-poppers Hot Chip, Von Sudenfed (Mouse on Mars and Mark E. Smith from the Fall), Carl Cox and more. Elsewhere, you can tuck into live cellists and violinists, dub reggae, massages and even storytelling all set amongst the plains of plush green grass. Nice.
RA pick: The set from rising talent Switch is bound to bump.
7. We love... Sounds Winter Festival
Space Ibiza titans We love... transplant their long-running Sunday parties down under, hooking up with local promoters Sounds. The line-up includes regulars from their Ibiza parties (Hernan Cattaneo, Riton, James Zabiela, Nic Fanciulli), locals-making-international-waves (Riot in Belgium, Van She, Deepchild, Bang Gang DJs, K.I.M), as well as live sets from DJ Shadow, Spirit Catcher and more. It’s sold out now, but if you didn’t manage to snag a ticket, there are two afters to tempt you: prog and deep house with Hernan Cattaneo and Ben Watt, and a dance punk one with the Bang Gang DJs.
RA pick: Catch minimal proggers Audiofly before they head off to Sonar.
We Love Sounds | Official Afterparty #1 | Official Afterparty #2
6. Raum Playa
Parc Del Forum
This year Barcelona promoters Raum move out of the clubs to an outdoor all-night festival happening next to the beach. The biggest of all the off-Sonar events, the line up includes thirty acts across three stages with labels represented including Get Physical (Jay Haze, Audiofly), Spectral (Ryan Crosson), Karmarouge (Gabriel Ananda), Sender (Benno Blome), Cadenza (Lee Van Dowski, Quenum), Perlon (Matt John) and Crosstown Rebels (Karmina, 3 Channels). The party is one of the few open-air events in Barcelona and a nice alternative to the club hopping that defines much of off-Sonar. Once six o’clock rolls around, ask around for directions to the secret all day afters – a rarity in Barcelona.
RA pick: The secret Canadian guest.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Dutch techno fans have been congregating by the thousands for Awakenings every summer for the last ten years, and for a good reason too. Awakenings has one of the friendliest festival crowds, and one of the best techno line-ups this summer. With two stages of hard stuff (Joey Beltram, The Advent, Cari Lekebusch) and two stages of the softer stuff (Richie Hawtin, Anja Schneider, Magda, Wighnomy Brothers) there's pretty much every kind of techno on the menu ranging from 130bpm in the small, sweaty tent to 150bpm in the laser-filled shed. Added bonus: relive the crazy moments on your home stereo a few weeks later when organisers upload all the sets from the festival.
RA pick: An hour and a half of Martin Buttrich tracks at high volume.
4. Renaissance Wild in the Country
For their fifteenth anniversary bash, progressive house stable Renaissance has rented out a stately mansion in the country with headlining live performances from Underworld and Hot Chip. For the diehard label fans there's a back-to-back four hour set from prog pillars Sasha and John Digweed, but this one ain’t just a prog party. There’s something for everyone with Ricardo Villalobos, Luciano, Tiefschwarz, Mathew Jonson, Tiga, 2manyDJs as well as Londoners Damian Lazarus, Geddes and Immigrant Records peeps Robin Porter and Dave Martin on the bill. Should be special.
RA pick: Is it just us or is Ricardo better this year than ever?
Renaissance Wild in the Country
Palazzo dei Congressi
Italy's premier electronic music and digital arts fest Dissonanze is one of the few that manages to get the balance right between IDM and clubbier sounds. It also takes place at one of the most gobsmacking locations in Rome: the Palazzo dei Congressi. Held over two nights, the programme takes place across three areas: dancier acts (Ellen Allien, Luciano, Chris Liebing, Digitalism) play the Hall of Culture, the more intimate Aula Magna hosts IDM and multimedia performances (FM3, Fennesz, Alva Noto) while upstairs there's more experimental club performances on the rooftop terrace (Apparat, Battles, Isolee, Pole). Add to that spectacular light shows, visuals and art installations, and there's not much to complain about really, is there?
RA pick: Apparat’s dramatic laptopping on the terrace.
Dissonanze Day 1 | Dissonanze Day 2
Bernau am Chiemsee, Germany
If you're a fan of German house and techno, you'd be crazy not to make your way to the Shining Festival held smack bang on the banks of Lake Chiemsee in Upper Bavaria. Only eight thousand (this is a good thing) are expected to turn up for label showcases held in the beautiful old hotel with sessions from Cocoon, Great Stuff Records, Minus, Freude am Tanzen, Get Physical, Bpitch, Mobilee and Kompakt. Bring your eyes as well as your ears: the bill features 40 VJs.
RA pick: On the lake in the Traumschiff boat for the Harry Klein party.
Held over three days, one problem with the biggest event on the European club calendar is that there’s just too much going on – you can't see half of what you'd hoped to. Highlights of Sonar proper this year include a electronic jam by supergroup NarodNiki; showcases from Innervisions, Ed Banger and Modern Love; and the debut European performance from Matthew Dear’s Big Hands. Not to mention the dodgems. Of equal interest are the off-Sonar parties and showcases held at the clubs, on the beach and in the bars around Barcelona that week – check RA Events for the big list. And if that lot isn’t enough for you, it’s just a short boatride to Ibiza to catch the beginning of the season.
RA pick: Join the throng on Mar Bella beach for the free parties from Friday to Sunday.
Sonar BBE Gala | Sonar by Day - Thursday | Sonar by Day - Friday | Sonar by Night - Friday | Sonar by Day - Saturday | Sonar by Night - Saturday | Off-Sonar Parties
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