10. Wavefront Music Festival
July 5 - July 7
Day One | Day Two | Day Three
The full beachside dance music experience right in the heart of the Midwest. A newcomer on the American festival scene, Wavefront is just now in its second edition, but it's already grown a lot, with an entire day added to this year's program. The lineup at the Montrose Beach blowout is not only bigger, but also more diverse, looking beyond EDM and reaching into less mainstream house and techno. Big room names like Crookers and Justice hobnob with Seth Troxler and Apollonia across four stages, which host a total of more than 100 artists.
RA pick: Expect the most savage techno of the weekend from Matthew Dear as Audion.
July 24 -July 30
The Garden Tisno
Ten days after The Garden Festival and Electric Elephant clear out, The Garden Tisno in Croatia comes to life again for SuncéBeat. Run by the crew behind Southport Weekender, the intimate festival pulls together a spotless cast of house and disco artists to soundtrack seven days of parties on the Adriatic Coast, with icons like Moodymann, Joe Claussell and Derrick Carter booked alongside more contemporary favourites like Motor City Drum Ensemble. Not a bad way to kill a week in July.
RA pick: This kind of laid-back setting is where eclectic selectors like Gilles Peterson really shine.
8. Love Family Park
Love Family Park is about as super-sized as house and techno gets in Germany. Taking over the picture perfect fields just off the River Main, this 12-hour party is not for the faint of heart, but if you're happy to wrestle your way to the main stage through 15,000 other attendees, you'll be aptly rewarded. Love Family Park is one of the county's most popular summer rituals, and has the heavyweight lineup to match. This year's bill features the usual suspects (Sven Väth, Ricardo Villalobos, Loco Dice) plus some great additions to the family (Nina Kraviz, dOP, Tale Of Us). Things kick off at 10 AM, so don't forget your sunscreen.
RA pick: Nina Kraviz's rowdy house should go down a treat.
Started by Groove Armada as a club night at 93 Feet East over a decade ago, Lovebox has come a long way, and has brought tens of thousands of people with it. Their idea of dance music is impressively broad—curators for this year's stages range from Noisey (Flying Lotus, SBTRKT, The Gaslamp Killer) to RBMA (DJ Harvey, Prins Thomas, David Rodigan) to Hot Creations (Jamie Jones, Lee Foss and friends, naturally). Best of all, you don't even have to go outside the city for this particular rave-up—the festival happens smack bang in the middle of London's Victoria Park.
RA pick: You never know what you're going to get with Wiley, who plays Annie Mac's stage on the Friday.
6. Monegros Festival
As time goes on, the festival format gets tweaked more and more. You've got your week-long holidays in Croatia, your heady "arts and media" conferences, your urban multi-venue extravaganzas and so on. That's all well and good, but in a way it's hard to beat the original model of just a ton of people going bonkers in a field. That's what you get with Monegros Festival: dozens of artists and tens of thousands of people losing it for one night in the middle of the desert. This year's thudding soundtrack comes from a typically varied cast of heavyweights, from Marcel Dettmann to Underworld.
RA pick: Minimal don Marco Carola was made for this kind of thing.
05. 10 Days Off
July 18 - July 29
19 years is a long lifespan for a festival. That's how long Ghent's 10 Days Off has been around, so they must be doing something right. Originally an outlet for techno alone, the annual event now welcomes acts from across the electronic music spectrum, with house, bass and more experimental sounds all heavily represented. This year, the lineup has a slight UK twist courtesy of Jackmaster, Dusky, Bicep and a host of other Brits set to make the trip to Belgium. Space Dimension Controller, Matthew Dear and Hudson Mohawke are just some of the other highlights from the wide-ranging bill.
RA pick: Lindstrøm and Todd Terje's back-to-back routine always hits the spot at festivals.
04. Hideout Festival
Island of Pag, Croatia
When Hideout Festival first appeared in 2011, they were jumping into a crowded market: there are more than a dozen other festivals on the Island of Pag alone, to say nothing of Croatia in general. But the people running this thing—The Warehouse Project and Electronic Music Group—know what they're doing, so it's no surprise Hideout became a hit. Now in its third year, the festival is still making big strides, with more boats, more pool parties and a fourth venue brought into the mix, plus four days of pre-parties leading up to the main event. The lineup, as usual, has something for everyone, running the gamut from Four Tet and Hessle Audio to Loco Dice and Seth Troxler.
RA pick: With Jackmaster at the helm, the Numbers boat party should be a lot of fun.
July 12 - July 14
The only real criticism to be made about Freerotation is that it's very hard to get in. There's a membership system, and even members can get shut out—the venue only has room for about a quarter of them. This means a lot of gnashing your teeth and hitting refresh the day the tickets go on sale, and inevitable disappointment for would-be attendees. But this is a necessary evil. Once inside, Freerotation is extraordinary—less a festival and more a three-day house party at an old hotel in the Welsh countryside. The music is diverse—deep house, disco, UK bass, techno—but tied together by one important quality: it's strictly for the heads.
RA pick: The Hessle Audio back-to-back-to-back blew the roof off last year.
02. Melt! Festival
July 19 - July 21
Day One | Day Two | Day Three
Few festivals nail it quite the way Melt! does. Unique location? Check: Ferropolis, a hulking display of industrial machinery, provides an awe-inducing backdrop (there's a lake to swim in, too). Smart programming? Check: the sprawling bill is refreshingly different from other festivals on the summer circuit, blending indie (DIIV, Atoms For Peace), hip-hop (Azealia Banks) and every possible mutation of dance music. There are big names (James Blake, Flying Lotus), old school picks (Tricky) and even a few Berlin underground favourites (Henning Baer, Discodromo). With more than 100 acts over three days, Melt! is a rare delivery of both quantity and quality.
RA pick: The Knife's divisive new live show has left some audiences dazzled and others just confused—go and see it for yourself.
01. Garden Tisno Festivals
July 3 - July 15
The Garden Tisno
If there's a science to summer festivals, these guys have it sussed. Croatia, the beach, boat parties, open-air clubs, and a fine medley of top-tier house, disco and bass—what more could you really ask for? See Floating Points on a boat, dance to Chez Damier in a seaside breeze, find Joakim playing on a "secret island"—it's all quite whimsical even by festival standards. Thanks to the ongoing partnership between The Garden Festival and Electric Elephant, you can carry on this happy lark for a solid 12 days if you feel so inclined. Lots of festivals are doing the Croatia thing these days, but these two do it better than most.
RA pick: DJ Nature is playing both festivals, and for good reason.