10. Iceland Airwaves
October 14 - October 18
If, like us, you find it almost impossible to make any sort of foreign excursion without a music-related motive, then here’s your shoe-in for a visit to Reykjavík. Iceland Airwaves has been proudly boosting the country's cultural rep since back in 1999 and will celebrate a decade of service by stirring their usual blend of local talent and international indie acts. This year's line-up looks to have a been a little bruised by the economic woes that have plagued the country over the last twelve months (previous years have featured such luminaries as Flaming Lips, Bloc Party and The Rapture) but you’ll still have Kings of Convenience, Metronomy, The Field and Trentemoller to get excited about. The city's awe inspiring natural aesthetics (think lush lava plains and waterfalls) only sweeten the deal.
RA pick: With this sort of backdrop The Field should make even more sense.
October 21 - October 26
Looking for a "conscious" festival experience? Neither are we, but Graz's Elevate does provide the intriguing mix (or collision) of politics and the arts over five consecutive days and nights. Speakers, lecturers and the event's discussion theme are yet to be announced, but thankfully the music program is all present and correct. Tempting you over to Austria's second city then, will be a bountiful UK bass contingent boasting Kode9, Cooly G, Jackmaster and Bass Clef, who will be joined by the likes of Byetone, Martyn, Omar-S and Portable. Don't forget to pack your thinking cap.
RA pick: Raster Noton's Byetone usually evokes the sort of head scratching that will be encouraged at this one.
08. I Love Techno
Flanders Expo Centre
Does rubbing limbs with 35,000 European lunatics, knee-deep in big room house, techno and electro sound like your idea of festival bliss? Ghent's annual I Love Techno slog is pretty much the heavyweight champion of vast indoors raves and has been booking some of the planet's biggest underground acts since the event's inception way back in 1995. There has been something of a musical diversification process taking place in recent years, so in addition to traditional techno mainstays Dave Clarke, Laurent Garnier and Carl Craig, expect performances from Crookers, Deadmau5, The Bloody Beetroots and The Subs.
RA pick: Vitalic. See what Pascal has been up to for the last few years.
07. Lake of Stars
October 15 - October 18
Our one and only African festival jaunt of the year takes us to the glistening shores of Lake Malawi, home of the annual Lake of Stars since 2004 when Chibuku Shake Shake's Will Jameson first took the Liverpool club night to the water's edge. As wholesome, charitable fun goes, LOS really takes some beating: In addition to generously donating to various local charities, the event pledges to pump tourist cash into the local economy, while raising awareness of Malawi as a viable travel destination. The line-up is usually based on tried and tested Chibuku favourites and this year is no exception with The Maccabees, Sway, Joe Goddard, Tayo and Ali B all making the trip south of the equator. Opportunities for that oft-discussed trip to Africa won't surface more gift wrapped.
RA pick: Snap out of the "international headliners" mindset and take-in what the locals have to offer.
06. San Francisco LovEvolution
San Francisco, United States
The United States' largest single day dance event is once again set to chug down San Francisco's Market St. in the name of music, artistic expression and, you know, love. Hefty attendances numbers from previous years have meant that 2009's version will entail a $10 entry fee; although the parade—at least in the minds of the city's party savvy—has become a secondary attraction to the various weird and wonderful club nights that surround the event. It is worth mentioning however, that sometime SF native Lee Burridge will be hosting a float (undoubtedly in addition to a bash elsewhere) in association with listed that boasts Danny Howells, Craig Richards and Bill Patrick among its deranged passengers. As always, check your local listings for details of goings on elsewhere over weekend.
RA pick: Lee Burridge. San Fran's adopted son can always be relied upon to get a party started.
October 22 - October 31
October appears to be the month that Europe drags its festivals into the realm of academia and fitting neatly into this theory is DEAF or Dublin Electronic Arts Festival if you dislike acronyms. We would go as far as to say that music plays second fiddle to the various photography, video and art exhibitions that take place across various locations and ten consecutive days, although there will by no means be a shortage of audio to get wrapped up in. Highlights include Underground Quality's Jus-Ed getting down at Kennedys on the Thursday, Brummie techno don Surgeon playing the same venue on the Saturday, and Luke Slater turning out as Planetary Assault System at Andrews Lane theatre on the Sunday.
RA pick: Bibio plays a laptop/DJ set as part of Warp's takeover of the Button Factory on the Saturday.
04. Movement Torino
October 30 - October 31
Pala Olimpico Isozaki
Day 1 | Day 2
The organizers behind this year's Movement Torino are crowning the event with the dubious title of "World's Best Halloween Indoor Music Event"; we'd prefer to describe it as a more concentrated European alternative to Detroit's three day Movement bender, but both work. The Motor City connection is cemented at the official warm-up party as Omar-S heats an as yet unannounced location, before the attention switches to the colossal Pala Olimpico Isozaki for two days of stadium sized techno. Friday welcomes Luciano, Derrick May and A Mountain of One, while Saturday shakes to the sounds of Ricardo Villalobos, Stacey Pullen and Mike Huckaby. Fans of big rooms and big sounds should really not miss this.
RA pick: Mike Huckaby is perhaps one of the Motor City's more understated forces but should still represent to the fullest.
October 23 - November 8
This year's Dis-Patch could quite easily have been labeled the "Vladislav Delay show." The Finish producer will come under the spotlight as part of the event's Artist in Focus series, which not only means up to five performances under various guises and projects, but the recording of the debut Vladislav Delay Quartet album in the aging studios of Radio Belgrade. Juxtaposing Delay is Lillevan Pobjoy as the festival's Artist in Residence, while music men Pan Sonic, Kode9 & The Spaceape, Mika Vainio and T++ all weigh in on the audio end of things. Dis-Patch officially spreads itself over three weekends, although for those toying with the idea of making the trip, the bulk of the action takes place between October 29th and November 8th.
RA pick: Sasu, in whatever guise you like.
October 20 - October 25
Poland continues to stake its claim for a place among Europe's premier festival destinations, and perhaps the most intriguing of the nation's offerings is the seven day Unsound Festival, which, like many of this month's mentions, is about much more than club nights and banging beats. Trailblazing the week day schedule is sometime RA scribe Phillip Sherburne who hosts a workshop on music journalism and presents a panel discussing Manifestos on Electronic Dance Music, Marc Silver and Ben Frost exhibiting works at the week-long Systems event, and Ableton developer and Monolake man Robert Henke discussing music making systems. Meanwhile on the 'floor, Omar-S, Martyn and Dettmann & Shed (under their Deuce moniker) spin for Detroit Mutations and The Bunker on the Friday, while 2562, Untold, Kode9 & Spaceape and Zomby play at RA's hook-up with Bass Mutations on the Saturday.
RA pick: Dutch dubstepper 2562 is on the verge on dropping another heavyweight LP on Tectonic.
01. Amsterdam Dance Event
October 21 - October 25
Take a splash of Miami, a hint of Sonar and perhaps a touch of C/O Pop and you get something approaching the Amsterdam Dance Event. Around 700 DJs and 40 venues make-up the event, which is unquestionably considered among the most vital annual gatherings in the name of electronic music. There is, of course, also the genuine opportunity for some proper industry hobnobbing, as ADE is the self-styled king of the business-focused electronic music conferences. And how to summate the five day torrent that is ADE's club nights? Well, we'll give a quick mention to own soiree at Trouw with Agoria, Guy Gerber and Seth Troxler on the Saturday, and then throw the names Francois K, Pendulum, Boys Noize, John Digweed, Richie Hawtin, Gaslamp Killer, Laurent Garnier, Carl Craig & Radio Slave and Maurice Fulton at the wall and see what sticks.
RA pick: Aside from our own? Try Remote Area's back-to-back showdown at Melkweg on the Sunday.