10. Field Day
In truth it didn't look as though Field Day would reach its second event, let alone its fifth. A shaky start to life back in 2007 left many attendees reeling from poor sound and organisation. But as the years have passed the complaints have receded, to the point at which Field Day is now considered among the UK's key inner-city festivals. In fact, the reason people gave the event a second chance at all was its superlative lineups. Field Day assembles hipster oddities, blog faves, tasteful pop and on-the-money dance in Victoria Park each year and spreads 'em out across mulitple stages and tented arenas. In 2011 the highlights are extensive, but from an electronic music perspective know that Matthew Dear, James Blake, Carl Craig presents 69, Actress, Pearson Sound and Four Tet vs James Holden are all in the offering.
RA pick: Carl Craig presents 69. His debut live set under the alias at Movement was described as "moving."
09. Sonne Mond Sterne
August 12 - August 14
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
The 15th edition of the German heavyweight delivers another sonic banquet to Bleilochtal's sandy banks. Moby, The Chemical Brothers and Swedish House Mafia are among the mainstage meat this year, with the likes of Carl Cox, Chris Liebing, Miss Kitten and Ellen Allien joining the weekend's electronic big hitters over in the Circus arena. A glut of showcases spilling across the remaining six stages—and one boat—ensure that drum & bass, breaks and more niche 4/4 appetites are satiated via Sonne Mond Sterne staples Cocoon, Freude am Tanzen and electro-specialists Dusted Decks, in addition to Berlin's Bar 25, who make their SMS debut this year.
RA pick: No time for seasickness with Mathias Kaden, Hometrainer and Acid Pauli at the helm of Saturday’s SMS boat party.
08. South West Four
August 27 - August 28
Day 1 | Day 2
This image does a nice job of encapsulating the South West Four experience—it's the type of festival at which girls feel compelled to jump on someone's shoulders. One of London's largest summer offerings has been taking on the ultra-competitive August Bank Holiday market for seven years now, and again this year will stretch out across two days, attracting ravers in their droves down to the grassy surrounds of Clapham Common. SW4 stalwarts Digweed and Sasha will naturally be there, augmenting the Ministry of Sound and We Love showcases respectively. Underworld headline the Saturday with an exclusive London appearance, followed closely by Sven Vath and the Cocoon crew, which includes Loco Dice, Tiefschwarz and a guest appearance from Ovum owner Josh Wink. Union holds the mainstage reins on Sunday and presents a mixed bag of bass with Pendulum, Magnetic Man and UK rapper Wretch 32, while Hawtin, Modeselektor, Andy C, Joker and Simian Mobile Disco continue the miscellany.
RA pick: Techno fans should head over to the Drumcode arena on Sunday for a label showcase headlined by Mr Beyer himself.
August 10 - August 13
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4
Last year's Øyafestival highlight had Brandt Brauer Frick performing with classical percussionists and ballerinas at the Museum of Contemporary Art. This year? Pantha Du Prince and Norwegian composer Lars Petter Hagen will unveil The Bell Laboratory, an orchestral piece exploring the former's fondness for pealing sounds, with 64 giant bells of the watchtower variety. While Øyafestival certainly likes to indulge its highbrow tastes, it has a canny knack of combining the fine arts with the finest pop arts and off-the-radar underground champions. This year's lineup shows a preference for indie bands like Noah and the Whale, and boasts a coup in the shape of the reformed Guided By Voices, in their only European appearance. They're also bringing in some heavy hitters, albeit modestly, as Kanye West and Pulp share the same font size as Matthew Dear, James Blake and Hercules & Love Affair. The Øya club night will make use of 30 venues around the city of Oslo, but the majority of the eco-friendly gathering takes place on the lakeshore of the Medieval Park over five days, and offers the option of literally swimming between the festival's four stages to the bravest (and fittest) punters.
RA pick: As expected, you can expect the unexpected from Aphex Twin.
06. Stop Making Sense Festival
August 12 - August 14
The Pinija Hotel surely hasn't seen this much action since its 1970s heyday. Croatia's new dominance as Europe's music-festival-slash-holiday destination of choice has been well documented, but this particular spot and its surrounding complex on the peninsula of Petrcane will have already seen four festivals—Garden, Electric Elephant, Soundwave and Suncebeat—by the time the Stop Making Sense crew closes out the summer season. Although there will be areas of crossover with all of the aforementioned gatherings, Stop Making Sense marks itself out with a strong affiliation to tried and tested London club nights such as Need2Soul, secretsundaze, Benji B's Deviation, and Trouble Vision. This year's lineup will again inhabit the on-site circular nightclub, outdoor stages and daily boat parties, and alongside repeat appearances from Optimo and Keith Worthy, and fresh faces Martyn and Jerome Sydenham, it will also boast the inclusion of New York's masters of Sunday afternoon sessions, Body & Soul.
RA pick: Francois K hopefully dropping "Time & Space" during his Sunday afternoon main stage set.
05. Flow Festival
August 12 - August 14
Suvilahti Power Plant
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
One the beauties of being active on the world festival circuit, or indeed the electronic music scene at large, is transcendence. Take Finland's Flow Festival as an example. Under which other circumstances would you find yourself in Helsinki, exploring the site of a historic power plant, mingling with thousands of like-minded individuals? Flow has been operating at the Suvilahti site since 2007, and this year will again blend names of international renown with selections of local talent, setting them against a backdrop of visual arts and urban spaces. Two of the most famous rappers on the planet, in the form of Kanye West and Q-Tip, will headline their respective days, while Röyksopp, Ariel Pink, Empire of the Sun, Sly & Robbie and The Human League compound the crossover appeal. A carefully curated mixture of more underground club fixtures pads-out the bill below the headliners, with Matthew Dear, Ben Klock, Marcel Dettmann, Oni Ayhun, DJ Koze, Pearson Sound and Danny Krivit among those jetting in to the Finnish capital.
RA pick: We'd love to know what Kanye makes of Berghain pair Klock and Dettmann.
04. Voltt Loves Summer
Sheer diversity has ensured that Voltt Loves Summer makes our list this month and every August previous. Hosting just over one dozen artists performing across a 13-hour period, the festival has become known as one of Amsterdam's finest, taking over the 5,000-capacity NDSM Docklands on an annual basis for more than five years. This time around, you can take your pick from the array of house, dubstep and techno on offer, the variety of which leaves most festivals of Voltt Loves Summer's size in its wake. In terms of the personnel, Magda and Loco Dice will both be on hand to hold down the big rooms sounds, while DJ Pete and Vainqueur, Actress and Scuba will each bring their own dub, techno and house concoctions.
RA pick: DJ Koze has been in fine form of late. Expect things to get weird when he steps to the decks.
July 30 - August 27
You wouldn't think ambiguity would make for the best festival marketing ploy, but in the case of KaZantip their penchant for question marks has led to genuine intrigue. "What is KaZantip?" asks the PR surrounding the event. Well, the first thing they'll tell you is that it's not a festival. And by "they" we mean the KaZantip Republic president, which in itself raises more questions than it answers. Then there's this video, which talks about a non-existent state, independence from the rest of the world's laws, and shadows that "don't give a shit." And continuing with the equivocations, the organisers are keeping this year's bill close to their chest for the time being. What we can tell you for sure is that the event lasts for a month, takes place on the Black Sea coast in Crimea, Ukraine, and a jolly good time will be had by all.
RA pick: We'd like to pick the president's brains on matters of foreign policy.
August 5 - August 7
If you're not among the lucky 3000 who scored tickets for this year's Nachtdigital, you may want to stop reading now. Or at the very least, you should try to blink away the sad, jealous tears first. For each of its 14 years, the Dresden festival's most valuable stock in trade has been its intimacy. It's proven a particularly attractive draw for those who don't fancy digging a tent out of a muddy trench each morning (the accommodation consists mostly of cabins); those who prefer not to navigate a festival site the size of a small city (it's all enclosed in one holiday park); those who are indecisive in the face of clashing set times (there are only two stages); and those who just generally prefer a bit more of a personal touch (free water for everyone!). The lineup is similarly small but perfectly formed, with a Dial mini showcase featuring Isolee, dreamy sounds from Fairmont and Gold Panda, a pinch of bass with Ikonika and Shackleton, tougher fare from Shed and Dasha Rush, and the fascinating prospect of both Monkey Mafia and Robag Wruhme being in the same place at the same time. Do we smell a Wighnomy reunion?
RA pick: Kassem Mosse's hypnotic live set.
01. Burning Man
August 29 - September 5
Black Rock City
Marco Walker & Rae Rae.
Need we say more?