10. South West Four
August 23 - August 24
The formula behind South West Four is as simple as it is effective: take dozens of huge name artists and put them onstage in London's Clapham Commons over a bank holiday weekend. Promoters promise "heavy hitter after heavy hitter," and they're not kidding—the lineup presents a staggering cast of respected crowd-pleasers, from A-list names like Sasha and Digweed to underground favorites such as Boddika, Maya Jane Coles, Eats Everything and Maceo Plex. All in all, it's a surefire way to end your summer with a bang.
RA pick: Audion vs Tiga is a clear highlight on day one.
09. Eastern Electrics
In six short years, Eastern Electrics has risen from being a pioneering force in London's warehouse party scene to becoming one of the UK's biggest clubbing brands. For 2014, EE returns to the festival game, taking over the beautiful, sprawling grounds of Hatfield House for one day of dance-driven gaiety. Rinse FM, Red Bull and mulletover will all host stages, showcasing the likes of Loefah, Derrick Carter and Mano Le Tough, respectively. On the off-chance the British sun shows its face (or maybe even if it doesn't), this should be one of the best parties on the circuit this year.
RA pick: Mumdance and Pinch's back-to-back set will provide a refreshing dose of non-4/4.
August 18 - August 22
Pag Island, Croatia
A taste of Ibiza without the price tag? That's something like what Sonus offers, albeit with more unique personality than that might suggest. Now in its second year, the festival takes over Croatia's Zrće Beach for five days at the end of August and dishes out a pretty much uninterrupted stream of punchy house and techno beats. Its no-nonsense lineup combines the sun-kissed sounds of acts like Jamie Jones and Seth Troxler with more warehouse-minded DJs like Marcel Dettmann and Chris Liebing. The action is split between two clubs, the beach and, of course, boat parties—because what would a Croatian festival be without a bon voyage?
RA pick: DJ Gregory's live set as Point G should mix his strong new material with some bona fide classics.
August 1 - August 3
Nachtdigital is the kind of thing that usually sells out before the lineup is even announced, and it's not hard to see why. The intimate camping festival brings together 2,000 punters in an idyllic stretch of countryside in Cavertitz, Germany. The lineup is as impressive as it is understated, favoring regulars and cult favourites over marquee names. In addition to longtime staples like Dixon and Robag Wruhme, this year's bill boasts Optimo, Karenn, Donato Dozzy and Dutch Italo/electro maven I-F among others. There are lakes, beaches, glowing domes and heady records playing well past sunrise. What more could you ask for?
RA pick: Donato Dozzy's dreamy techno is sure to nail the vibe at this one.
06. Tauron Nowa Muzyka
August 21 - August 25
Katowice's Tauron Nowa Muzyka made a big impression on us last year. Plenty of festivals find oddball locations for themselves, but it doesn't get much cooler than the depths of an abandoned mine. And the soundtrack is about as diverse as it gets: in addition to festival pros like Dixon and Ben UFO, you've got Mouse On Mars, Neneh Cherry and Kelela to shake things up. Adventurous, well-curated and under-hyped—festivals like Tauron Nowa Muzyka are all too rare these days.
RA pick: Nils Frahm's soothing tones will be a great way to wind things down on Sunday night—in an old porcelain factory no less.
05. Beacons Festival
August 7 - August 10
North Yorkshire, UK
Rather than rolling Mediterranean beaches, Beacons calls the beautiful hills of the Yorkshire Dales home. And they make the most of it, with a high street's worth of gourmet food, a coffee shop, countless installations and other activities to help you whittle away the time while you take a break from the music. Assuming, of course, you ever need or want to take a break: with a bill that includes DARKSIDE, Jon Hopkins and Daniel Avery, along with smart curveballs like The Fall and Dâm-Funk, there really shouldn't be a dull moment.
RA pick: Joy Orbison's garage-inflected beats seem like the ideal soundtrack for the gorgeous English landscape.
August 20 - August 30
You gotta hand it to Kazantip—they know how to take things in stride. Military coup a few miles from the festival site? No biggie. Forced to change dates and move the whole thing to a different country? It's all good. Somehow they even kept their banging lineup mostly intact, and word has it the new site in Anaklia, Georgia is breathtaking. The thing is, as wacky as their philosophy may seem, these guys aren't kidding—the merry cast of characters behind Kazantip have an infectiously utopian worldview that informs every aspect of the festival (sorry, "republic"), from the outfits to the art installations to the incredible banter among the citiZens. With all that in mind, it almost feels like a footnote that the bill includes artists like Ricardo Villalobos, Dixon, Ron Morelli, Helena Hauff and so many others.
RA pick: This cartoonish hootenanny has "Zip" written all over it.
03. Burning Man
August 25 - September 1
Black Rock City
What is it we're really looking for when we go to festivals? Yes, music is often the main draw, but that doesn't tell the whole story. In virtually all cases, there's something else we're after, something that justifies the hours of travel, sleepless nights, myriad discomforts and quantities of money spent. We're after a profound experience, something that will stay with us for the rest of our lives and maybe even provide some kind of spiritual transcendence. Enter Burning Man, a festival that's short on confirmed artists and long on life-changing moments. Set in the lunar landscape of Nevada's Black Rock Desert, Burning Man teems with mind-bending eccentricities, human and otherwise. No other festival represents a more dramatic break from reality, and few have made such a lasting impact on so many people.
RA pick: We're tempted to suggest the Orgy Dome, but for propriety's sake let's stick with the legendary Robot Heart.
August 27 - August 31
Fort Punta Christo
A crumbling fort, a lush beach, endless opportunities to drink on boats cruising the Adriatic, thousands of twentysomethings having the sexiest summer of their lives: Dimensions Festival is quite the proposition before you even mention the music, which this year surpasses an already-killer first two editions. After an opening performance from Caribou, DARKSIDE and Nils Frahm—in a 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheater, no less—Dimensions spends four long nights presenting top-tier acts from house, techno and beyond on some of the best soundsystems out there. Getting to Pula can be a trek, but from a Theo Parrish live set to top Croatian Petar Dundov to DJs from Ostgut Ton, Hessle Audio and L.I.E.S., this year's festival is hard to miss.
RA pick: Gonna have to go with Nils Frahm in the Roman amphitheater on this one.
August 1 - August 3
In just a few years, Dekmantel have gone from plucky upstart to a powerhouse European promoter. (They run a pretty killer label, too.) Last year saw them step up with their own festival, taking place in a forest on the outskirts of Amsterdam. For a certain kind of dance music lover, the lineup for the second edition of Dekmantel Festival is ridiculously, cheek-puffingly good. In fact it’s hard to think of any other events that bring together such an extensive collection of underground favourites: DJ Harvey, Jeff Mills, Moodymann, Theo Parrish, DJ Koze, Levon Vincent, Nina Kraviz—and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
RA pick: In a lineup flush with quality, Shackleton remains a singular talent.
You can see our full festival listings for August right here.