10. Berlin Festival
September 5 - September 8
Like Berlin itself, Berlin Festival is unfussy, relatively cheap and full of personality. The lineup is a grab-bag of indie and electronic music, bringing together local icons like Ellen Allien and DJ Koze with a diverse cast of international favorites such as Warpaint and Darkside. The setting is Flughafen Tempelhof, a historic, early 20th-century airport whose sprawling runways are a simple but impressive stage for the festival's goings on. As an extra touch this year, the music will be going non-stop for the programme's full 48 hours. As the chill of autumn creeps in, the festival offers one last taste of Berlin's summer buzz.
RA pick: Moderat will have the hometown crowd eating out of the palm of their hand.
September 4 - September 7
Robin Hill County Park
Isle Of Wight, UK
As its popularity skyrocketed in recent years, Bestival has come to officially mark the end of the British summer. It's got all the makings of the perfect closing party: a vibrant musical programme, fancy-dress and a youthful, feel-good energy that few other festivals can match. With ten editions behind them, Rob Da Bank and co will storm into the new decade with their usual brand of eclecticism, welcoming heavyweight rap acts (Outkast, Busta Rhymes) alongside indie favourites (Beck, Wild Beasts) and the odd leftfield newcomer (1-800 Dinosaur). However, with "Desert Island Disco" as this year's chosen theme, it's dance music that will dominate the landscape once again. Sven Väth, Horse Meat Disco, Damian Lazarus, Skream and Dusky are just a few of the acts onboard.
RA pick: What better way to bid farewell to the summer than dancing to Caribou in the open-air?
September 19 - September 21
To the backdrop of continued economic turmoil in Greece, Reworks has been careful to evolve without sacrificing the things that make it so appealing. This year sees the Thessaloniki festival celebrate its tenth anniversary with its most ambitious offering yet. The programme is spread over four days, with an opening concert featuring Max Richter and the Symphonic Orchestra Of Thessaloniki at the city's Opera House. What follows promises to be more dance floor-focused, with Ben Klock, Nina Kraviz, Dennis Ferrer, Magda and Henrik Schwarz all billed.
RA pick: Max Richter's opening concert will get Reworks off to a classy start.
September 25 - September 27
The Hague, The Netherlands
For its tenth edition, TodaysArt is moving to Scheveningen Haven's harbor and seaside. Don't expect many other changes, though—for adventurous electronic music the festival remains one of Europe's key events. The three-day program features club nights complemented by heady installations, exhibitions and concerts. It's the sort of festival where you can chin-scratch to Charlemagne Palestine, Mika Vainio and Eric Thielemans, then let loose to the likes of Underground Resistance, The Gaslamp Killer and James T. Cotton. They'll be offering camping this year as well, making TodaysArt one of the few places in the world you can take in Ben Frost before sleeping under the stars.
RA pick: Ben Frost's A U R O R A will be bruising but oh-so-satisfying.
06. New Forms Festival
September 18 - September 21
New Forms has always had a thing for unusual spaces, but this year they've outdone themselves. For its 15th edition, the intimate, experimental-leaning event will take place at Science World, a large geodesic dome on the banks of Vancouver's False Creek. In addition to a Sunday afternoon outdoor party like the city's never seen, New Forms '14 should offer its considerable lineup of visual artists a whole new kind of canvas to work from. And the music? A bill that offers Visionist, Hieroglyphic Being, Helena Hauff and Jacob Korn shows that New Forms is as on point as ever.
RA pick: Jesse Kanda doing visuals for Arca's weirdo hip-hop in The Dome should be a treat.
05. Festival No. 6
September 5 - September 7
From Croatian islands to Japanese forests, the festival season can take punters to some beautiful places. It's hard to imagine a more scenic festival backdrop, though, than Portmeirion, which looks like a fishing village plucked from the Italian coast and dropped in North Wales. The magical setting is certainly a big sell, but so is the lineup—from veterans like Laurent Garnier, Danny Krivit and Andrew Weatherall to recent favorites such as Jon Hopkins, Julio Bashmore and Awesome Tapes From Africa, No. 6 offers an impressive spread. You could theoretically ignore the bands and focus on DJs, but we're guessing headliners Pet Shop Boys will bring together revelers of all musical stripes.
RA pick: A DJ set from Prosumer is sure to turn the vibe up to 11.
04. Unknown Festival
September 8 - September 13
It's rare enough to find a music festival that sells all its tickets ahead of time, let alone one that does so in its first year. In this case, though, it's hardly surprising. Unknown is the brainchild of two of the UK's powerhouse promoters: The Warehouse Project and Sound Channel. Returning to Rovinj in 2014, the week-long event will once again promise something for everyone, whether you're after the stellar house and techno of Dixon, John Talabot and Seth Troxler, or something altogether more stage-worthy (Moderat, Mount Kimbie, Jungle). There's plenty on offer for the deeper heads, too, with Lord of The Isles, Capablanca and Hunee all on board. Croatia boasts an ever-increasing wealth of festivals during the summer season, but few are as well-rounded as Unknown.
RA pick: It's hard to look past a sun-soaked foray into disco, house and soul courtesy of DJ Harvey.
03. Outlook Festival
September 3 - September 7
Fort Punta Christo
Outlook is a bass music fan's dream, and the best Croatian pilgrimage of the year for those who prefer their basslines rowdy and their tempos high. Not that it's all about dubstep and drum & bass. Alongside names like dBridge, Calibre, Pinch and Youngsta, you've got Floating Points, Andrew Ashong, Fatima and even Busta Rhymes. The past, present and future all get equal representation, with sets lined up from veterans like Source Direct, Goldie and Doc Scott as well. Taking place at the tried-and-test Fort Punta Christo, you can always expect Outlook to deliver.
RA pick: It's hard to imagine a better time and place to see dubstep pioneers Digital Mystikz.
September 24 - September 28
After last year's tenth anniversary victory lap, Decibel is starting to reap the rewards of its reputation as one of America's best dance music festivals. For 2014, it's made a big move to Seattle's world-famous Experience Music Project, which will host a beefed-up conference program during the day and two new nighttime venues. Given Decibel's commitment to upgrading every space with proper sound and visuals, we can expect great things. With big international names like Marcel Dettmann, Pete Tong, Scuba and Steffi, the lineup gets more international every year, but still offers a glimpse at the small but strong dance music scene in one of the US's most underrated cities.
RA pick: Atom TM's HD/AV set looks pretty unmissable.
September 13 - September 15
Much of Japanese culture is driven by a healthy obsession with excellence. Labyrinth, though run by an American (Russ Moench), exemplifies this phenomenon. The Funktion-One soundsystem is often described as the best you'll hear anywhere. The location, high up on a leafy mountainside in Niigata, is extraordinary. And the music itself is off the charts, with a small and carefully selected cast of techno and experimental artists all bringing their A-game (some are known to spend months working on their sets). Few festivals are organized with as much love and attention to detail as Labyrinth, which is precisely what makes it one of the world's best.
RA pick: To see Donato Dozzy at Labyrinth is to see an artist utterly in his element.
You can see our full festival listings for September right here.