July 16 - July 18
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Changing up the format this year, 2010 will mark a first time expansion for Lovebox Weekender, which is beefing up its program from two to three days, and will be the first year festival founders Groove Armada don't appear on the bill. Nevertheless Lovebox still retains its mix of pop, dance and indie, with a definitive slant on UK electronic and urban styles. Pop/grime poster boy Dizzee Rascal takes on Day 1, as does a triple-serve of UK bass via Toddla T, Joy Orbison and MJ Cole. Day 2 is heavy on pop hybrids, with Mark Ronson's big band, Toro Y Moi's glo-wave stylings, Midnight Juggernauts, and Bryan Ferry's Roxy Music picked as the legacy act of choice, while the final day winds up(wards) on a party tip with Grace Jones, Hercules & Love Affair, Horse Meat Disco and Hot Chip rolling out the dance fare.
RA pick: House heads hit the Rizla Arena on Sunday for Larry Heard.
09. Love Family Park
There's something to be said for knowing what you're good at and sticking with it. Love Family Park has become the ol' reliable of the German house/techno festival calendar, bringing a core of Cocoon-affiliated artists—Sven Vath, Richie Hawtin, Ricardo Villalobos—plus regular additions Karotte, Loco Dice and Magda to the meadows of Mainweisen Hannau. With all of the aforementioned confirmed for the festival's 15th anniversary this year, several more Deutsche heavy-hitters—Matthias Tanzmann, DJ Hell, Nick Curly and Reboot—will provide the soundtrack for 18,000 grass-stomping revelers. Extras this year come in the shape of a "moist and merry meeting point," with water curtains providing relief from the mid-summer heat, and a firework display topping off the 12-hour rave.
RA pick: Love Family's daddy, Sven Vath, will likely be on entertaining form.
08. Global Gathering
July 30 - July 31
Long Marston Airfield
Day 1 | Day 2
For all Global Gathering's rambunctious charms—of which there are many—you'll likely find yourself scanning the line-up for the non-trance/hard house/electro house acts as a matter of precedence, so hey, we'll save you the hassle. On the first evening (Friday) of the two-day, 50,000 capacity event, Loco Dice, Steve Lawler and Marco Carola will all entertain in what's being billed as the Electric arena, and will be competing against Faithless, 2ManyDJs, Sasha and Steve Angello for attendees' undivided attention. Carl Cox, FWD>> & Rinse, and Bedrock all curate tents on the Saturday, with Booka Shade and Dubfire playing for the big man, Caspa and Joker rinsing it out for the dubstep powerhouses, and James Zabiela and Joris Voorn spinning for Diggers. As the nine previous editions of GG have shown, the festival is a full-blown bastion of rave, so if a gentle re-entry back to reality is required post-party, we recommend chilling in Shakespeare's hood, AKA the lovely nearby surroundings of Stratford-upon-Avon.
RA pick: If last year's Glastonbury was anything to go by, Dizzee Rascal's headlining performance on the Saturday will be bonkers.
July 24 - June 25
Day 1 | Day 2
The Tomorrowland experience would probably be best summarized by flicking through this gallery from last year's event. Open grassy spaces, smiling faces, fireworks and a lot of people. As you can also probably tell from the shots, the team behind the long-running Belgian party place a fair bit of emphasis on visual presentation, so don't be surprised if you're faced with the odd gurning goblin while shuffling around De Schorre. Musically speaking, the options are there in abundance. Saturday offers everything from muscular techno (Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, Ben Klock, Marcel Dettmann), UK bass music (Roska, Zomby, James Blake), big names (Joris Voorn, Richie Hawtin) right through to drum & bass (Grooverider, Friction). Sunday is not looking too shabby either, as Michael Mayer, Gui Boratto and Robag Wruhme headline a Kompakt stage, and Josh Wink, Loco Dice and Sneak vs Derrick Carter do likewise for Ovum.
RA pick: Carl Craig vs Radio Slave. It will be intriguing to hear how Matt Edwards performs alongside one of his heroes.
Monegros Desert Festival 2010? Here are some numbers: 40,000 people, 16th year, five stages. Impressive. And the line-up's not too bad either. Sitting at the summit of the bill are Aussie drum & bass deserters Pendulum, but we're most intrigued by the booking of mad-cap speed rapper Busta Rhymes, who lines up alongside 2ManyDJs and Laurent Garnier as headliner. So crazy it might just work? We'll see. On the techno front, the likes of Dave Clarke, Jeff Mills, Richie Hawtin, Ben Sims and Adam Beyer will all throw down, while Luciano, Mathew Jonson, Paul Ritch and Marco Carola vs Loco Dice will see to fans of (slightly) less hectic sounds. The desert-based event takes place in the province of Huesca, halfway between Madrid and Barcelona, so make sure to bring your desert hat, desert sunglasses and favourite pair of desert socks.
RA pick: Let's say The Bug featuring Flowdan for the techno alternative.
05. Exit Festival
July 9 - July 11
Novi Sad, Serbia
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4
Disproving the maxim that you can't please everybody all the time, Exit Festival has unveiled another eye-widening line-up that confirms why it's one of Europe's biggest summer drawcards. Bona fide marquee acts like Mika and The Chemical Brothers will draw in a fair portion of the expected 200,000 attendees to the festival's medieval fortress location, while Faith No More and Suicidal Tendencies will elicit more than a few headbanging moments. For the electronic-inclined, the Dance Arena stage will be off to a high-octane start with Crookers, Boys Noize and Erol Alkan on Thursday, followed by Josh Wink celebrating 15 years of Ovum and Ricardo Villalobos on the Friday, and will be brought to a block-rocking conclusion with Pendulum and Chemical Brothers on Sunday.
RA pick: 8-bit madness from Joker on RA's "Bristol Takeover" Happynovisad Stage.
04. 10 Days Off
July 16 - July 26
A test of stamina or a time to pick and choose? Either way, Ghent's 10 Days Off festival will be plugging away for a near ten consecutive days for this, their 16th edition. In a wider cultural sense, the events are actually part of the Gentse Feesten, which includes another three festivals spread across Ghent, making it the largest of its kind in Europe. Full details of the days and line-ups are yet to be released, but if the first wave of announcements is anything to go by, 2010 should be just as strong as in years past. Continuing to diversify from its techno roots, attendees can anticipate hearing some UK bass music (Joy Orbison, Benga), progressive (John Digweed, Guy Gerber) electro (Fagget Fairys, Felix Da Housecat) and US house (Kerri Chandler), while 2000 And One, Efdemin and Thomas Brinkmann represent the slightly more traditional fare.
RA pick: See if the direction Efdemin took on his latest album is indicative of a change in his DJ sets.
July 16 - July 18
From last year's dirty dozen to 2010's lucky number 13, Melt! hits an angst-free puberty with another line-up that finds an easy compromise between bands and beats. The post-apocalyptic former coal mine Ferropolis, a couple of hours outside Berlin, will again provide the memorable setting for the festival that gives punters the option of dipping in for the day, or bashing in tent pegs and staying for the entire three-day stretch. Delphic and The XX are lined up to showcase their indie chops, with Jamie XX also making a second solo appearance on the Selektor Stage curated by Modeselektor, alongside Four Tet, Mala and Bonaparte. House and techno heads will be serviced by Booka Shade providing tidbits of their new album, the folklorish Detroit combination of Carl Craig & Mike Banks and the Ostgut family road trip, which will see Berghain and Panorama Bar's residents swap their own indoor industrial space for Melt's outdoor one.
RA pick: Massive Attack's moody electronica + Ferropolis' industrial wasteland = synergy.
02. Garden Festival
July 2 - July 11
For the second year running, Garden Festival will take place over two consecutive July weekends. And for the fifth year running, it will unite a close-knit group of DJs, live acts and clubbers in the picturesque Croatian village of Petrcane. The sounds they come to emit and absorb are those of a house and disco ilk, in keeping with the event's irresistible sunshine vibes. Performances on dry land take place across a main stage, Tiki Bar and Barbarella's Discotheque, while the sea faring soirees (or Argonaughty Boat Parties) set sail twice daily. Although Garden has never really concerned itself with snagging huge headlining names, attendees should be pretty pleased with a pool of artists which includes 2020 Soundsystem, Hercules & Love Affair, Dixon, Metro Area's Darshan Jesrani and Henrik Schwarz. After last year's ocean adventure, RA couldn't resist heading back to Petrcane for 2010, and this year will invite Berliners Sebo K and Seth Troxler to pull up our anchor.
RA pick: The last time we saw Seth Troxler on a boat, he looked a little bit like this. Don't expect this one to be any different.
July 23 - July 25
As the age old adage goes: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And that's certainly the case with Wales' premier electronic music festival, Freerotation, which sees their crack team of residents—including Move D, Soulphiction, Lakuti, Shackleton and Portable—return to the 19th century guest house for their fourth consecutive year. Other previous guests helping to lay on the veritable feast of house, techno and dubstep are Sven Weisemann, Pigon (with Efdemin and RNDM also set to play solo), Ramadanman, Kowton, XDB, Wbeeza and Andy Stott, though regular attendees will be pleased to know that there are also plenty of fresh faces this time around. DJ Bone and Jus-Ed will both be flying the flag for the United States, Juju & Jordash will jet in for their second ever UK appearance, and Mike Dehnert and Tama Sumo will represent Berlin's respective techno and house sounds. A festival run by the heads for the heads, Freerotation has steadily garnered a reputation as one of the best electronic music weekenders around, so if you haven't managed to persuade one of their members to invite you yet (tickets can only be purchased by Freerotation members, ensuring that the festival's regular patrons don't miss out), you better get on it sharpish.
RA pick: After missing the festival last year due to issues with Cardiff Airport's immigration department, DJ Bone's energetically mixed techno is sure to be a heavily anticipated highlight.