10. How Sweet It Is
NOS Events Center
California, United States
When you think of techno, you think of oranges, right? Probably not. The organizers of How Sweet It Is are hoping the same, as they take over the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino for the 12th annual edition of the event. Looking at the photo above, we're guessing that both the dancers and the organizers will have no problem dressing the place up to welcome the likes of Booka Shade, DJ Sneak, Kraak & Smaak and Cali-based electro DJ Mr. White. With a line-up like that—and Booka Shade playing in a room called the "Temple of Imagination"—expect this to be one to remember.
RA pick: Doc Martin in the "Garden of Eden"? We're in.
09. Moots Festival
March 20 - 22
Mexico City, Mexico
Festivals in Mexico are no rarity, but festivals in Mexico with a line-up this amazing are. Dubfire, Booka Shade, Shlomi Aber, Style of Eye, Felix Da Housecat and many, many more will play at this open air fest in this often underappreciated land of electronic music lovers. They'll all be keeping the music going for a mind-bending 48 straight hours. To get in the fun, all you have to do is shell out $850. And to follow the rules: "No drogas." "No armas." "No violencia."
RA pick: Fade boss Chris Fortier and his tech house madness.
February 28, March 1, 7, 8, 9
Sydney | Perth | Brisbane | Melbourne | Adelaide
Australians have it easy, some might say. As long as you live in—or near—a major city, the acts will come to you each summer in festival packages like the Future Music Festival, in which a varied group of folks all band together for five date tours across the country. For this year's edition, the organizers have tapped Richie Hawtin, Basement Jaxx, N*E*R*D, CSS, Paul Oakenfold, Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Mr. Oizo to bring their various brands of mayhem to the country in what should be one of the most wide-ranging festivals you'll have the chance to see in 2009.
RA pick: Mr. Oizo's cracked Ed Banger electro are going to bring the house down.
March 14, 21
Curitiba | São Paulo
Kaballah is one of Brazil's most massive festivals, taking place at various times throughout the year in different areas of the country. It makes its 2009 debut, however, in March with events planned in Curtiba and São Paulo. Because the other editions are later on in the year, it's impossible to say who might be headlining then. For these shindigs, however, the honor goes to prog master James Zabiela and Italian export Dusty Kid. (The duo will joined by Tiefschwarz at the Curitiba date.) While São Paulo residents will have two more chances to experience Kaballah later in the year, we recommend you don't miss out on this one.
RA pick: Luetzenkirchen will only be playing in São Paulo. Don't miss out.
March 29 - April 4
Snowbombing is a week-long English festival that's held in the picturesque Austrian Alps, which caters to ravers as much as skiers. That's if you can drag yourself out of bed following the previous night's shenanigans, with a raft of top DJs and live acts set to play in all sorts of crazy venues, including igloos, ice villages and even a 200 year old mountain barn. Historically, the festival has focused on breaks and drum & bass, but there's also plenty of tech-house (Nic Fanciulli, Patrice Bäumel), disco (Lindstrøm, Kathy Diamond), dubstep (Benga, Caspa) and electro-house (Mylo) to get your stomp on to. The fancy dress street party is one of the highlights of the week's festivities, so make sure to pack some crazy clothing to join in the fun.
RA pick: Get down to some discofied decadence at the Tirk party with re-edit king Greg Wilson.
05. Ultra Music Festival
March 27 – March 28
Miami, United States
Day 1 | Day 2
The festival within a festival—Ultra Music Festival—will once again take over Miami's Bicentennial Park in late March for mirth, mayhem and Carl Cox. Highlights of this enormous rave include Prodigy, Booka Shade, Roni Size, Cut Copy, Hercules & Love Affair, Luciano, Loco Dice, Richie Hawtin and—of course—Coxy. The show is such an event, in fact, that even some non-purely electronic acts are getting in on the fun this year: Bloc Party will play before Tiësto and the name-changing wonder that is Santigold will play after Steve Lawler.
RA pick: Roni Size making a rare Stateside appearance.
February 27 - March 1
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Ghent's annual Resonance festival returns for its second year in 2009, with a line-up that's sure to get techno fans' tongues wagging both before and after the event. Saturday night's show at Vooruit will see dance floor friendly sets from the likes of Efdemin, Move D & Benjamin Brunn, and Claro Intelecto, which is bookended by more downbeat shows on the Friday and Sunday. We can't think of many better ways to soothe our hangover than listening to the immersive dub techno of Echospace, and thankfully they'll be playing the final night of the festival.
RA pick: Make sure to check out Move D and Benjamin Brunn play tracks from their acclaimed Songs From The Beehive album.
03. Brussels Electronic Music Festival
March 20 - 22
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
This March sees the first annual Brussels Electronic Music Festival take place at Bozar, which is the city's Centre for Fine Arts. The grand, eight tiered building might not be the first place that you'd think of holding a festival, but there aren't many other places that you can see breathtaking art deco architecture whilst raving it up. Musically, the line-up is heavily shaped by label showcases, with ~scape (Pole, Deadbeat, Frivolous), Kompakt (Supermayer, Mathias Aguayo) and Raster-Noton (Byetone, Alva Noto) all taking part.
RA pick: Electro pioneers Dopplereffekt do their thing with a rare live appearance on the Saturday night.
02. Bloc Weekend
March 13 - 15
West + Wales, United Kingdom
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Now entering its third year, the Bloc Weekend festival is quickly establishing itself as the hottest festival for underground electronic music in the UK. Whether you're looking for house, techno, electro, disco or dubstep, you'll be more than adequately catered for with their biggest line-up to date. Martyn, Metro Area, Carl Craig, Aphex Twin, Robert Hood, Green Velvet and Lee "Scratch" Perry are just a handful of the acts that will be at the Butlins Holiday Park in Minehead, which offers a more luxurious festival experience than the norm. Not only do you get a chalet to sleep and shower in, but there are amenities on offer such as dodgems, ten-pin bowling and even the South West's largest water park if you fancy a dip. With music playing and booze flowing 24 hours a day, we wonder how much usage those chalet beds are actually going to get.
RA pick: Freaky electro producer Egyptian Lover will be sure to please the crowd with his robotic anthems.
01. Winter Music Conference 2009
March 24 - 29
The most important Stateside event on the dance music calendar, Miami's Winter Music Conference will be celebrating its 24th edition in 2009. Having grown from humble beginnings, it's become an essential stop for artists, partygoers, promoters and labels. Whether you're going to get your groove on, schmooze, cut a deal or just kick back and admire the magnificent plastic surgery on display, there'll be plenty to see throughout the week-long celebration. For those intent on grooving, though, you'll be the best off: There isn't a genre not represented in this orgy of electronic music. You name it, there's probably a party that caters directly to your tastes.
RA pick: Now that wouldn't be fair, would it? Check RA's guide to WMC for the 120 (and counting) events listed during the week.