10. Golden Plains
March 8 - March 10
Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre
Golden Plains has a reputation for doing things a bit differently. While so many festivals these days are branded to the gills, this three-day camping event ditches big sponsorships and rows of market stalls and gets to the heart of the matter: curating a solid, eclectic lineup and cultivating as pure a vibe as possible. Gold Panda, Flying Lotus, Mark Pritchard and Tornado Wallace are some of this year's electronic heavy-hitters, and they'll share the bill with acts like Public Enemy, Cut Copy and Yo La Tengo.
RA pick: Mark Pritchard's genre-spanning bass music is sure to get things rumbling.
March 28 - March 30
El Tarter, Andorra
Capitalising on the increasingly popular combo of winter sports and clubbing, ElectroSnow returns to the Andorran Pyrenees for its second edition. Inviting revellers to ski by day and party by night, the festival will play host to a small but varied selection of house and techno artists across its two stages. From the tripped-out house of Ricardo Villalobos to the full-frontal club fare of Simian Mobile Disco, everyone should find something to get down to. And with two nights of music, skiing and accommodation for the price of a standard UK festival ticket, ElectroSnow really gives you bang for your buck.
RA pick: This might be your only chance to see Objekt spinning splintered techno against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks.
08. Horizon Festival
March 8 - March 15
Bansko Ski Resort
There are plenty of mountain music festivals making the most of the colder months, but Horizon is one of the better newcomers. This one has a well-curated lineup that ranges from Kerri Chandler to KiNK, and takes place in some pretty unique venues (Loefah played in a strip club last year). With music this good, the skiing and snowboarding is basically a bonus.
RA pick: KiNK's live set, which won the hearts of many at last year's festival.
07. Unsound Adelaide
March 6 - March 8
Day One | Day Two | Day Three
Lonely Planet list Adelaide as one of the world's top ten travel destinations for 2014, a sign that one of Australia's most overlooked cities is finally getting some time in the spotlight. One of the reasons for this is cultural events like the annual Adelaide Festival, part of which will be curated by Poland's Unsound this year. The respected avant-garde festival will host three events at two of the city's most striking venues—Adelaide Town Hall and The Old Queen's Theatre—with the likes of Emptyset, Cut Hands and the Moritz Von Oswald Trio featuring Tony Allen onboard.
RA pick: It may sit awkwardly with Adelaide's increasing hotspot status, but Jed Kurzel's chilling score for Snowtown (a film about a series of gruesome murders committed not far from the city) promises to be gripping.
06. Ultra Music Festival
March 28 - March 30
OK, we know what you're thinking: David Guetta? Avicii? Armin Van Buuren? But whatever your own musical allegiances may be, there's no denying that Ultra does what it sets out to do in truly spectacular fashion. With its top-notch production, striking location (nestled between downtown Miami and Biscayne bay) and, yes, its programming, this colossal event sends thousands of people home extremely happy every year. And contrary to popular belief, it's not all about massive drops: Claude VonStroke, Lee Burridge, Maceo Plex and Tale Of Us are just a few of the seasoned selectors playing this year's edition.
RA pick: Trentemøller live should bring a refreshing dose of darkness to the weekend.
March 5 - March 9
It's a big year for MUTEK: the Montreal festival turns 15 in 2014, and its Barcelona outpost is now in its fifth edition. MUTEK.ES has just the sort of lineup that sets these festivals apart, running the gamut from contemporary classical composers (Nils Frahm) to techno purists (Marcel Dettmann) to bass adventurers (Kode9), plus a lot of artists whose sound could never be so easily summed up (Andy Stott, Laurel Halo). Sprinkled amongst the international acts are A/V performances, workshops, panel discussions and a clutch of Spanish artists spread across four days in a variety of Barcelona venues.
RA pick: At a heady festival like this, party-rockers like Scratcha DVA always go down a treat.
04. 5 Days Off
March 5 - March 9
It's not hard to understand why 5 Days Off is one of Amsterdam's most popular and longest-running festivals. It runs on a failsafe formula: take control of two of the city's best venues—Melkweg and Paradiso— and curate a series of mouth-watering lineups. This year's offerings are as varied as ever, from the mellow tones of DARKSIDE's opening set through to the high-octane charge of Rustie on Day 3. Showcases come from the Netherlands' most raucous homegrown talent, with Speedy J's Electric Deluxe label and drum and bass trio Noisia stepping up to the plate.
RA pick: What better way to offset the club-ready carnage than with the emotive sounds of Nils Frahm?
03. Miami Winter Music Conference
March 21 - March 31
Miami's been through a lot of changes these past few years—not the city itself, mind you, but the sprawling, decentralized, conference-not-conference that swarms over it each year. Some of the classic parties have disappeared (Sunday School, Freaky Tikki) and the overall buzz of WMC isn't what it once was. That said, the ten-day marathon still pulls some of the best lineups that happen in any one city in the US all year. Even with most events still unannounced, this year already boasts parties from Visionquest, Minus, CLR, Crosstown Rebels and more.
RA pick: Get Lost, the annual Crosstown Rebels hootenanny, is never one to miss.
02. Bugged Out Weekender
March 7 - March 9
Bugged Out is one of the UK's venerable clubbing institutions, but its annual festival is relatively new—2014 marks its third edition. This year the three-day event will take place in Southport, a place synonymous with the term "Weekender." The lineup does what Bugged Out does best, combining dingy, strobe-lit dance music with brighter, bouncier fare. Party favourites like Erol Alkan and Andrew Weatherall feature on a lineup that's nearly all heavy-hitters: Carl Craig, Dixon, Kerri Chandler, Seth Troxler and Sasha are all set to spin.
RA pick: Todd Terje performing his new live show in the UK for the first time.
March 7 - March 17
SXSW has been a watershed moment for countless rock bands over the years, but recently it's become a place for cutting-edge dance music as well. It's a truly sprawling event, comprising hundreds of events with thousands of artists. You'll spend lots of time running from one show to the next, missing acts you'd planned to see but finding amazing new ones you didn't. RA will be hosting another showcase this year—keep an eye out for details on that one.
RA pick: If you're a carnivore, it's worth waiting in line for Iron Works BBQ.