10. Maximal Festival
East End Studios Milano
It would be unwise to cast off Maximal as simply a mindless, Italian techno bash: In addition to a satisfactorily sizeable line-up, the organizers behind the event are also keen to highlight the scope of the day's extracurricular activities, as an entire on-site pavilion will be dedicated to arts, technologies, photography exhibitions and videos. On the music front, two-thirds of the Belleville Three (Saunderson and May) will top the bill; Alex Under, Len Faki and Valentino Kanzyani will fly the flag for mainland Europe; while the UK will be represented by Dave Clarke, Funk D'Void and The Advent.
RA pick: Peacefrog man Marco Passarani knows a thing or two about house music.
09. Taico Club
Kodama No Mori
Set upon the sprawling hills of Nagano, Japan, Taico Club is about as close to an idyllic festival location as you could wish to imagine. A small and perfectly formed collective of artists will adorn the sprawling, grassy knolls this year, with headliner Squarepusher epitomizing the event's experimental ethos. Also on the menu will be house and techno ala Ricardo Villalobos and SIS, left-of-centre hip-hop from Doseone & Jel, disco Daniel Wang style, and homegrown talent in the form of Fumiya Tanaka, Takkyu Ishino and De De Mouse. Despite the musical fireworks, expect this to be among the most laidback festivals you ever encounter.
RA pick: Show some local love for Fumiya Tanaka.
After last year's dalliance with guitars, the respective camps of Ibizan veterans We Love and Aussie big wigs Sounds appear to have reverted back to the more familiar surrounds of a DJ-based line-up. RA readers should feel content picking the less mainstream bones from the line-up: Pivot, Anja Schneider, Headman, Guy Gerber, Justin Martin and Dinky should be enough for a full stomach. Meanwhile, clubbing brands Renaissance and Armada have also been invited to host arenas, with local party-starters Bang Gang, Lost Baggage, Pulse Radio and Trashbags filling-out the rest of the big tops.
RA pick: Tired of the big room sound? Try out Dinky, who can usually be relied upon to deliver a more subtle set than most.
"Love is in the air" at this year's Free Your Mind festival, although quite what this gooey theme entails, still remains to be seen. What is abundantly clear, however, is the sheer scale of this year's event: seven stages will be spread across the Stadsblokken, or "city blocks," of Arnhem, catering mainly for those with a healthy penchant for European house and techno. The ballsier end of the spectrum is given a thorough representation by scene stalwarts Derrick May, Speedy J and Klock & Dettmann, while housier appetites will be whetted by Matthias Tanzmann, Nick Curly and Lauhaus & Boris Werner. If there is a palpable lust in the air, we reckon it's coming from the Dutch and their love of these colossal-sized raves.
RA pick: Count on Nick Curly to come up with some block-rocking beats.
06. Les Siestes Electroniques
June 25 - June 28
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 3 (Free Party) | Day 4 (Free Party)
Small yet perfectly formed, Les Siestes Electroniques (or, The Electronic Nap for those of you dozing in French class) is the self-proclaimed champion of the scaled-down festival experience. The action will switch day-to-day between three Tolousse locations, with a single stage giving a refined and focused feel to things. Alva Noto, Ariel Pink, Slive & Soda, Lawrence, Isolée, DJ Koze, Ghostape and Half a Rainbow will be spreading themselves across the days, and will no doubt be maintaining an impeccably high musical standard. Oh, and did we mention two of the five events are free? Nice.
RA pick: Alva Noto sums this gathering up nicely.
June 24 - June 28
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5
After not shifting their entire pre-sale ticket stock in 2008, it's back to sell-out status for Glastonbury this year. The Dance Village will be suitably supped-up this year, and will boast six separate venues including the world premiere of the Novak 3D Disco experience, the outdoor G Stage, 3D Disco meets Silent Disco and the intriguingly titled Pussy Parlure. At the moment, the official line-up has yet to be announced, but Lily Allen, Fleet Foxes, Blur, Franz Ferdinand, The Ting Tings, White Lies and Kasabian are among those confirmed, with La Roux and Animal Collective among the self-confirmed acts. An appearance from the sun, however, is yet to be confirmed.
RA pick: Animal Collective's ethereal electronics should be a perfect match for Glasto.
If you come across anyone questioning the diversity of our good lady techno in the next month or two, be sure to point them in the direction of Awakening Festival, where a total of six separate stages will be showcasing almost a full complement of the genre's rich pallete. Taking place once again at Spaarnwoude, Awakenings' summer incarnation is cast very much in the vein of the all-encompassing festival experience the Dutch are so readily associated with. Adam Beyer, Matthew Dear, Joris Voorn, Carl Craig, Cari Lekebusch and Âme & Dixon will all be appearing on different stages, which basically means you can have any type of music…so long as it's techno.
RA pick: An hour spent in the company of Frequency 7 should blow those festival cobwebs away.
June 12 - June 14
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Fancy something removed from the usual assortment of European festival jaunts? Now in its sixth year, Athens' annual Synch Festival has gathered enough forward momentum in recent years to present itself as a viable option for those looking to cast the net a little further afield. As is always the case, the emphasis will be placed upon a collision of music and art, set upon the backdrop of a tasteful urban setting. The talk of the town this year will be of the performance from 3 Chairs, AKA Theo Parrish, Marcellus Pittman and Rick Wilhite, who will be treating attendees to a DJ set on the Friday night. Saturday meanwhile looks to be the busiest night for not-to-miss performances, with Squarepusher, Matthew Herbert, Mathew Jonson, Fennesz and Junior Boys all doing it live under the cloak of an undoubtedly balmy Athenian evening.
RA pick: Don’t pass up an opportunity to spend time with 3 Chairs.
June 11 - June 13
Summer Club Incheba
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Boasting a newly constructed beach location close to the Danube river bank in Bratislava, the ninth annual Wilsonic Festival will once again pit the cream of the world's live electronica against a pool of fresh eastern European talent. The event begins in earnest on the Thursday as a selection of the young Hungarian bands will take to stage, offering attendees a chance to scope out the site, free of charge. The subsequent two days will feature a nicely assorted troop of live acts, with Moderat, Junior Boys, Noze, Rustie and Hudson Mohawke catching the eye on an altogether pleasing bill.
RA pick: It will be interesting to see what an Eastern Europe crowd makes of Hudson Mohawke’s twisted mind.
June 18 - June 20
Thursday (Day) | Friday (Day) | Friday (Night) | Saturday (Day) | Saturday (Night)
The crown jewel of the European festival circuit is back for its sixteenth edition, once again placing the Catalonian capital at the very epicenter of the electronic music world for three days. The announcement of Grace Jones' Friday night headlining slot came as little surprise given the scene's current appetite for disco dalliance and Orbital heading up the Saturday night bill only compounded the retrospective feel. Mary Anne Hobbs will take up her time-honoured role as the first lady of Sonar, as her Presents… stage will once again resonate to the sounds of the freshest broken beats. Elsewhere expect showcases from Raster Noton, Ed Banger, Ghostly International, Red Bull Music Academy, Ostgut Ton and Sunday Best, alongside night performances from Late of the Pier, Richie Hawtin, Animal Collective and Fever Ray. Factor-in the veritable orgy of other shindigs taking place across the city's beaches, boats and roof-tops, and you've got yourself the first truly essential festival of the European summer.
RA pick: Joker embodies the event’s forward thinking nature.
Header photo credit: Merlijn Hoek