10. Electric Picnic
September 3 - September 5
Co Laois, Ireland
Described as Ireland's answer to Glastonbury, Electric Picnic will sprawl out for its seventh consecutive year on the grounds of Stradbally Hall, a large estate owned by none other than... Bill Cosby. While G-rated punch lines and funky knit sweaters sadly aren't an official feature of the festival, warm fuzzies will likely be provided by this year's trio of beloved reformed acts: Massive Attack, Leftfield and Roxy Music. The inclusive programming will provide something for almost everybody over the festival's three days, with nerd-dance from LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip, Robyn's pop mastery, Fever Ray's gothic soundscapes and straight up danceable festival fodder from Laurent Garnier, Joker and Caribou.
RA pick: The roots of indie-dance Liquid Liquid for equal parts punk and funk.
09. Stop Making Sense
September 3 - September 5
Strength in numbers? It seems the very first edition of Petrcane, Croatia's Stop Making Sense festival is all about harnessing the power of the (mainly London-based) collective. Secretsundaze, Need2Soul, Sud Electronic, Warm, Optimo & Sub Club, Fact and Allez Allez will all be journeying to the Croatian coast at the beginning of September; and (hopefully) so will their respective fans and followers. The Detroit trio of Theo Parish, Carl Craig and Juan Atkins are the biggest draw names DJs-wise, while Patrice Scott, Keith Worthy, Kyle Hall, Tama Sumo, Mark E and Rebolledo will all capably swell the ranks.
RA pick: With the closure of their long running club night earlier this year, 2010 seems to be Optimo appreciation year.
08. TodaysArt Festival
September 24 - September 25
The Hague, Netherlands
TodaysArt Festival proclaims to be solely concerned with the new, the uncharted and the ever-evolving dialogue between music, art and technology. That their choice of headliner this year is a legacy Detroit techno project from the early 1990s seems to contradict their very purpose. But when that legacy project involves everyone's favourite alien, Jeff Mills, and 'Mad' Mike Banks recreating their seminal X-102 album Discovers The Rings Of Saturn, we can all happily agree to ignore the plot holes. Elsewhere the envelope of musical innovation is pushed with genre-hopping artists like 2562 and Actress, multidisciplinary work from Mika Vainio, fascinating propositions like Conrad Schnitzler's Kassetten Konzert and two Hawtins for the price of one—Matthew's ambient stylings and Richie's Container collaboration with Raster-Noton—all presented at a variety of venues around The Hague.
RA pick: Nerd out planetary style with Mills and Banks.
September 17 - September 18
Oftentimes the feel of a festival is dictated by those artists straddling the top few places on the bill. And whilst the headliners for Rework's sixth edition—Sven Vath, Miss Kittin, Autechre—will no doubt take to the task with aplomb, it's perhaps the details that make Reworks an intriguing prospect. A strong contemporary arts presence is one of the event's central themes, while the location—the Vilka Complex in the historical sector of Greece's second city, Thessaloniki—provides its own intrinsic interest. Among the proffered 70 acts over two days a strong emphasis will be placed on native live acts and DJs who will join the likes of Agoria, Heidi, Fischerspooner, Moderat and Byetone.
RA pick: Ison of Actor One for the Hellas flavour.
06. Electric Zoo
September 4 - September 5
New York, USA
Day 1 | Day 2
Tales of city events always seem haunted by the ghosts of fallen festival comrades who disappeared without a trace after their first year, defeated by space and sound restrictions, poor planning, or the apathy of spoilt-for-choice city folk. Made Event are obvious pros, and are smartly sticking with the same formula of Electric Zoo's successful 2009 debut: net plenty of big names with common denominator appeal then plug the holes with some spicier selections. Hence this year's sophomore effort will see ATB and The Chems sharing the Main Stage with the Switch/Diplo dancehall project Major Lazer on the Saturday, and Boys Noize noising it up between Armin Van Buuren and Moby the following day. The cross pollination continues to the other three stages with Richie Hawtin, Kaskade, Above & Beyond and John Digweed all taking up marquee space at various points on the grassy expanses of Randall Island Park, alongside niche experts like Dixon, Aeroplane and Flying Lotus.
RA pick: Jon Hopkins' wall of sound electronica should keep the Riverside Stage spellbound.
05. Outlook Festival
September 2 - September 5
Fort Punta Christo
An abandoned 18th century fort and the biggest names in bass music: sounds like a recipe for structural damage. Punta Christo—the third Croatian venue for Outlook Festival in as many years—is located near to the town of Pula and is being described by the organizers as "a discovery from a lost world." Four stages will be erected amongst the fort's grounds (including a 300 capacity dungeon) while the nearby beach will host daytime activities and a place to launch boat parties from. Roots Manuva, Skream, Mad Professor, Mala & Coki, The Bug and Joker have been shepherded into the headliners pen, but from top to tail the lineup is looking, erm, heavy. Shackleton, Distance, Scuba, 2562, Mary Anna Hobbs, Headhunter, Floating Points and Ramadanman are among those also performing during four days of sun and bass—you're really not going to want to miss this if UK strands of dance music have been doing it for you these past few years.
RA pick: Witness Roots Manuva boss the main stage.
September 22 - September 26
Seattle is becoming less and less an unlikely outpost for quality electronic music. Credit for that must go to the tireless Decibel Festival, which turns eight this year. They'll celebrate in style with a wide-ranging selection of international and local artists that have been seemingly cherry-picked from 2009 and 2010 RA features: Kyle Hall, Untold, Oneohtrix Point Never, Ben Frost, The Sight Below, Dinky, Starkey, Mount Kimbie. Decibel takes advantage of multiple venues throughout the Seattle area—utilizing parks, recital halls and, this year, a cruise ship. But while niggles emerged last year about how far away the venues were from one another, the organizers promise a more centralized four-day festival experience in 2010. With this many artists we like, we'd travel all the way to Seattle to see them.
RA pick: Carl Craig, Kevin Saunderson and Monty Luke celebrate 25 years of Detroit techno.
03. Green & Blue
Cocoon's annual Green & Blue pool party will set down its towel and deck chair in a different location in 2010, only this year with the added bonus of combining an open air techno party with that other favourite German summer pastime: lounging by the lake. Waldsee Langen's 300 metres of sandy beach, forest greenery and crystal clear water will be joined in unholy union for a day with Cocoon's usual suspects: Papa Sven and Ricardo. Also entertaining the masses from sun-up to sundown will be Joris Voorn, Michael Cleis and Kollektiv Turmstrasse on the Green Floor, while Karotte, Steve Bug and Guy Gerber will keep things moving over on Blue Floor. And if all that roasting in the sun and burning up the dancefloor gets a bit much, a refreshing dip in the lake is not only possible, it's encouraged. Just be wary of the strange figure lurking in the trees.
RA pick: Johannes Heil dropping live versions of tracks from his hot-off-the-presses album Loving.
September 9 - September 12
Robin Hill County Park
Isle Of Wight, UK
We doubt when Bestival founder Rob da Bank first "had a dream to one day create his vision of how the modern day festival should be" that reverie would stretch to what the event has come to represent in 2010. Again sold-out months in advance, the festival has successfully tapped into the British public's latent desires for wacky behaviour since 2004, and in terms of the here and now, is one of the newest pillars of the UK festival circuit. The all important fancy dress theme this year is "fantasy" (think Star Wars and Harry Potter not BDSM), while the main stage—hosting headliners Flaming Lips, The Prodigy and Dizzee Rascal—has been moved after grumbles from regulars. Hot Chip, SMD, LCD Soundsystem, Plastikman, Four Tet and Fever Ray are among those charging the electronic music undercurrent, although we strongly advise sampling the length and breadth of what Bestival musically has to offer.
RA pick: Fat Freddy's Drop: A good time band for a good time festival.
September 18 - September 20
When we asked Peter Van Hoesen to talk to us about Labyrinth, he was a silent for a second, then looked down to his arm and said, "Goosebumps." That's the general take you hear from those that have attended the Japanese festival, this year entering its tenth edition. The line-up includes a number of newcomers to the event, reflecting a broadening of the tightly curated festival's remit. Dubstep gets a look in via Shackleton, and Scuba will indulge his house and techno side with a set under his SCB moniker. The big appeal, though, lies in some returning favorites. Peter Van Hoesen will DJ and play live, while—this year—Function will (only) take to the decks. And, of course, there's Donato Dozzy. He's set to celebrate his 40th birthday as he plays what promises to be one of the festival's highlight sets. Goosebumps.
RA pick: Convextion produced one of our favorite records of the '00s. Expect the same intense techno here when he plays live.