10. Cape Town Electronic Music Festival
February 7 - February 9
Cape Town, South Africa
Though its local scenes have been in rude health for years, South Africa is only now emerging onto electronic music's global stage. Cape Town Electronic Music Festival is part of this process. Their first event, in 2012, featured only local artists—this year, Richie Hawtin came into the mix, joining South African icons like Black Coffee onstage and in workshops and panels. At this point the 2014 lineup is still under wraps, but we're excited to see this festival continue growing apace.
RA pick: In the words of Richard Marshall, the seaside Breakwater Garage venue is "reason enough to make it out to the festival."
9. Laneway Music Festival
January 9 - January 26
Brisbanee | Melbourne | Sydney | Adelaide | Perth
Nine years since its humble beginnings as a small gathering in Celedonian Lane, Melbourne, St Jerome's Laneway Festival is one of Australia's most respected annual music events. But as much as it's grown, its policy has remained the same, mostly booking artists from outside the rock and dance circles that are so common at festival across the country. Indie has always been Laneway's focus, though each year has seen a good batch of synth- and laptop-wielding acts as well. Kicking off in late January, the 2014 edition will see Four Tet, Jamie xx and Mount Kimbie join the likes of Chvrches, Danny Brown and a slew of Australian bands on a five-date tour that touches down in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.
RA pick: Mount Kimbie have influenced countless Australian acts, and this will be their first time in the country since 2011.
08. Sydney Festival
January 9 - January 26
The main attraction of Sydney Festival is Sydney itself. The 18-day event takes place in the height of summer at some of the city's best venues, from the Sydney Opera House to the Town Hall to Hyde Park. Musically, the lineup is broad: expect blues, folk, soul, funk, disco, jazz and more, with Chaka Khan and Sun Ra Arkestra among the highlights. On the electronic side of things, organisers have teamed up with Aussie labels Modular Records and Future Classic, both of whom will be hosting events. Juan Atkins, DARKSIDE and Andrew Weatherall head up the international contingent, and there's a solid cast of local talent as well, including Roland Tings and Canyons.
RA pick: Andrew Weatherall rocking the old-school Spiegeltent in Hyde Park.
January 16 - February 8
Vieux-Port de Montréal
You'd think a city known for its crippling winters wouldn't be the best place to throw a huge outdoor festival right in the thick of the season, but that's not how Igloofest sees it. A highlight of Montreal's party calendar, the festival unfolds over four weekends in January and February. This year's lineup is still TBA, but past editions have hosted everyone from Joy Orbison to Chris Liebing to Buraka Som Sistema. Just remember your thermal underwear and you'll have a good time.
RA pick: In these conditions, there's no better dance floor drink than spiked hot chocolate.
06. Day Zero - Year One
January 11 - January 12
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
We're sure the world actually ending at the peak of last year's Day Zero in Mexico would have been epic as hell. But the continued existence of earth as we know it did have its perks—for instance, a second Day Zero. This year the lineup is a little smaller, and the party has been pushed back a few weeks from the winter solstice, but the spirit remains the same. Mathew Jonson, Tiga, Thievery Corporation and, of course, Day Zero mastermind Damian Lazarus will all be coming down to Playa Del Carmen for another freaky all-night marathon. Who knows—maybe the Mayans were just running a year behind schedule.
RA pick: Tiga on a pyramid in January should go down marvellously.
05. Astropolis L'Hiver
January 23 - January 26
Brest Commercial Port
One of France's oldest music festivals, Astropolis has roots in the country's early '90s love affair with techno. It's historically been a summer event, though since 2012 they've been throwing winter editions, too. Held in Brest on the tip of France's North Western coast, Astropolis takes over theatres, music halls and clubs across the city. This year's programme boasts a strong UK contingent—Andy C, Elijah, Skilliam and Boddika are all on the bill—alongside homegrown talent like Brodinski, Acid Arab and Aufgang.
RA pick: Acid Arab's Eastern-flavoured club tackle.
04. Sónar Stockholm
February 14 - February 16
Sónar is one of electronic music's strongest festival brands, and the Spanish giant's latest global conquest sees them heading to Stockholm for the first time. Taking place in the beautiful Münchenbryggeriet concert hall over two nights, it's more intimate than their blowouts in Barcelona, but still pretty hefty, with three stages and 30 artists. The curation is very much Sónar's spectrum-spanning style: James Holden will rub elbows with Paul Kalkbrenner and Evian Christ, along with a wealth of local acts to discover.
RA pick: You can't go wrong with James Holden live in an old concert hall.
03. Let Them Eat Cake
For the discerning electronic music fan, there's no better Australian New Year's Day rave than Let Them Eat Cake. The Melbourne festival made its debut in January this year with a lineup that brought together house, techno, hip-hop, disco and more. Its second edition is no different, locking in a diverse, international-heavy batch of acts for another session in Werribee Park. On the RA stage, we've got James Holden, DJ Koze and Julio Bashmore, while more syncopated sounds will be supplied by the likes of TOKiMONSTA, Mark Pritchard and EPROM. The party starts at 11 AM, so don't forget your sunscreen.
RA pick: There's never a good reason to miss house oddball DJ Koze.
January 24 - February 2
CTM Festival is a triumph for weird music. Here you've got a rambling cast of artists with basically no commercial potential playing at some of Berlin's most popular venues, and people lap it up. Queues run long, clubs fill up, and all for something as unapologetically challenging as drone metal gods Sunn O))) (one of last year's big name headliners). 2014 marks the festival's 15th anniversary, but instead of going large, they're sticking to their guns: the lineup so far includes Porter Ricks, Mika Vainio and an Opal Tapes showcase. In a world where success too often means compromise, there's something truly reassuring about that.
RA pick: With all the praise Charles Cohen has been getting lately, you'd be crazy to miss his performance with Rabih Beani (AKA Morphosis).
01. The BPM Festival
January 3 - January 12
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
For residents of the Northern Hemisphere, BPM Festival is an oasis—a week of beach parties in the middle of winter, a dose of Ibiza well into the offseason. It also has a lineup that's positively staggering: Dixon, DJ Harvey, Green Velvet, Visionquest, Matthew Dear, Tale Of Us and more than 100 others. A ten-day rave holiday first thing after New Year's might sound like a tall order (not least in terms of days off). But if you can swing it, BPM Festival is pretty hard to beat.
RA pick: Against the backdrop of a seaside sunset, Lee Burridge's All Day I Dream party should be pretty magical.