10. The Peacock Society
July 11 - July 13
Parc Floral De Paris
The Peacock Society is a newcomer to Paris's festival circuit (2014 is the second edition), and it's already making a splash. The two-day event brings together an impressively varied cast of DJs and live acts—this year's bill joins the dots between Ron Morelli, Kerri Chandler, Darkside and Perc—and plops them in an idyllic setting: Parc Floral De Paris, the city's stunning botanical garden. So in other words, a midsummer weekend spent lounging around a park in Paris, soundtracked by the likes of Omar-S, Tale Of Us and 1-800 Dinosaur (AKA James Blake, Dan Foat and Airhead). What more could you really ask for?
RA pick: Local badboy Jeremy Underground Paris will know exactly how to play this one.
Moscow's beloved Arma17 may have closed earlier this year, but that doesn't seem to be stopping them. The crew behind the former club have teamed up with Moscow's Stereotactic agency for Outline, an outdoor event that expands their past open-air efforts into a full-on festival, going for two full days and nights on a manmade island in the Moskva river. For anyone familiar with Arma17's booking style, Outline's lineup should come as no surprise: Ricardo Villalobos, Ben UFO and Nina Kraviz are just some of the heavy-hitters booked to play. If you ever need a break from all that 4/4, there are more experimental acts too, such as Stellar OM Source, Shadowlust and Re:ECM, Villalobos's avant-garde live act with Max Loderbauer.
RA pick: Moritz Von Oswald dropping earth-shaking dub with live vocals from longtime partner Tikiman.
08. Welcome To The Future 2014
Welcome To The Future is not only one of Amsterdam's oldest festivals—it's also one of its greenest. Having started at local club Paradiso in 1993, the one-dayer has since outgrown the city's boundaries, and now happens annually at the Het Twiske parklands. A gaggle of household names are spread across its seven stages, with Loco Dice, Chris Liebing and Scuba among the highlights. Techno fans have sets from Planetary Assault Systems, Function and Rødhåd to look forward to, while Better Lost Than Stupid, AKA Matthias Tanzmann, Davide Squillace and Martin Buttrich, will make sure the grooves stay housey and heavy. It's worth noting that all the food served is organic, the stages are constructed from recyclable materials and the main generators are partly run on vegetable oil.
RA pick: Hard to argue with Ricardo Villalobos on the Studio 80 stage.
07. Audioriver 2014
July 25 - July 27
When someone says "beach festival," Poland might not be the first place that springs to mind. As it happens, the Eastern European country is home to one of the genre's finest events: Audioriver. Now in its ninth year, the three-day house and techno bash remains in its original spot by the banks of the Vistula River in the medieval city of Plock. As always, Audioriver packs a lineup that caters mostly to big-room sounds, with Loco Dice, Erol Alkan, Booka Shade and Maetrik leading the charge. Little Dragon and Trentemøller will both play live, along with Special Request, Akkord and Kangding Ray.
RA pick: Dancing to DJ Koze with your feet in the sand sounds like a couple of hours well spent.
06. Lovebox 2014
July 18 - July 19
This year Lovebox has been trimmed from three days to two, but its lineup is no less staggering. As with past years, the London event brings together a sprawling cast of DJs and live acts that covers just about every sound people in the UK capital like to dance to, from house, techno and disco to drum & bass and garage. Hosts for this year's stages include The Hydra (Madlib, Joy Orbison), Soundcrash (Bonobo, Mount Kimbie), Crack Magazine & Krankbrother (Scuba, Visionquest, The Martinez Brothers) and many more.
RA pick: With its perfect balance of grit and polish, Moderat's live show should be a hit.
July 3 - July 7
Now in its 20th edition, Astropolis is one of France's oldest electronic music festivals, and it's clear they know exactly what they're doing. Located in Brest, a seaside city on the country's northwest coast, the four-day event treats its crowd to a stunning panorama of electronic sounds. Its programme runs the gamut from seminal acts like The Orb, Jeff Mills and Model 500 to contemporary innovators like Machinedrum and Pearson Sound. The action is split among a slew of unconventional venues—punters can expect to dance in a fort, in a manor and by the sea. It's no mystery why Astropolis lures in more than 10,000 punters from France and around the world each year.
RA pick: It's not every day you get a chance to see rave pioneers like LFO play live.
June 30 - July 3
Pag Island, Croatia
Having just popped onto the scene in 2010, Hideout was a latecomer to world of Croatian festivals, but it had no trouble elbowing its way into this crowded market. In a way this isn't surprising. Spread across Zrcé Beach and the nearby town of Novalka, Hideout's location is, to quote Matt Unicomb's glowing review from 2012, "nothing short of breathtaking." With beach and boat parties bookending the main event, attendees get intimate dance floors as well as that big festival buzz. And at the risk of stating the obvious, the bill really packs a wallop: this year's programme has everyone from Tessela to Loco Dice to Running Back boss Gerd Janson.
RA pick: In the sun and the salty air, Jackmaster's party-rocking style really comes into its own.
03. Melt! Festival
July 18 - July 20
When a festival's attendance numbers creep into five figures, it can be hard for it to maintain a special personality and overall vibe. Not that Melt! Festival ever had this problem. Set at Ferropolis, a "cutely dystopian" site outside Leipzig, the annual German event pulls in more than 20,000 revelers each year, and it's absolutely brimming with weird flavor. Attendees are treated to a wide range of DJs—from Dixon to Jeff Mills to Maya Jane Coles—as well as indie bands and experimental acts (Metronomy, Fuck Buttons) plus a classy selection of big name headliners (Portishead, Moderat). Throw in an endless gaggle of tents and smaller stages, a lake to swim in and some fire-breathing machinery on the horizon, and you've got one of the most unique large-scale festivals out there.
RA pick: Syrian wedding singer Omar Souleyman is an irresistible curveball.
02. The Garden Festival / SuncéBeat / Stop Making Sense
July 2 - July 10 / July 23 - July 30 / July 31 - August 3
The Garden Tisno
"[The Garden Tisno] sits on a perfectly calm bay that rolls into green hills and lavender-scented grounds. It would be a lovely place to visit anytime of the year, but when you combine it with some top-notch parties, you can see why so many punters return again and again." Stephen Titmus wrote that on RA last year, and it pretty much sums up the allure of Tisno and its three flagship events: The Garden Festival, SuncéBeat and Stop Making Sense. Festivals in Croatia are dime a dozen these days, but no one does it better than these three, all of which deliver a soothing, seaside holiday, brought to life by brilliant DJs. Each has its distinct personality: SuncéBeat, an offshoot Southport Weekender, mines the middle-ground between house and soul, (Kerri Chandler, Prosumer, Gilles Peterson); Stop Making Sense is intimate, but with oomph (Nick Höppner, Gerd Janson, Mr. Ties); The Garden Festival is the full monty, with dozens house, techno and disco artists spread across a nine-day programme (Levon Vincent, Ben UFO, Tim Sweeney, Craig Richards). With boat parties, beach parties and all manner of summertime vibes, each of these is truly extraordinary.
RA pick: Even with so many amazing artists on offer, the real headliner here is the Adriatic Sea.
July 11 - July 13
It's hard to know exactly how to fit Freerotation into this list. On the one hand, it's an event so small it doesn't feel like a festival per se—around 700 people come each year, less than 1/3 of what you get at fabric on a full night. And thanks to its size, not everyone who wants to gets to go, a reality that causes heartache among would-be attendees as well as the festival's organizers. Still, it would seem ridiculous to give Freerotation anything lower than the top spot here. From the depth and authenticity of the music that's played, to the genuinely moving friendliness of the crowd, to the spectacular and slightly absurd venue that is Baskerville Hall (an old hotel in the Welsh countryside), Freerotation is unique and unforgettable, a highlight of the year for the punters, the artists and the organizers, all of whom jell into one cozy group within hours of the tents being pitched. In the end, there really is no denying that it's the best electronic music festival happening in July. Many people will tell you, and quite persuasively, that it's the best anywhere all year.
RA pick: Voices From The Lake are a titillating addition to Freero's tight-knit family of artists.
You can see our full festival listings for July right here.