10. South West Four
August 29 - August 30
Few festivals pull out the big guns the way SW4 does. The annual weekender plans to book over 100 DJs and live acts for its 12th edition this August, all of whom will be spread across five stages at Clapham Common in London. As in years past, the lineup charts a wide swath of the electronic music spectrum: names announced so far run the gamut from A-list superstars like Fatboy Slim and Eric Prydz to underground heavyweights like Dixon, Tale Of Us and Todd Terje. If you're looking for big crowd-pleasers on big stages in the UK capital, you can't do much better than SW4.
RA Pick: A back-to-back set from Carl Cox and Loco Dice should suit the festival's colossal scale.
09. Flow Festival
August 14 - August 16
Though quality Northern European festivals are by no means in short supply, Flow still stands out. It's been taking over the disused Suvilahti power plant each year since 2007, and now stands as Finland's best-known annual music event. The reasons for Flow's success are simple: striking venue, great organisation and solid bookings. As usual, this year's event presents a mixture of electronic and indie talent. Confirmed DJs include Dixon, Seth Troxler and Nina Kraviz (all playing as part of RA's three-day Backyard takeover), while Florence + The Machine, Pet Shop Boys and Róisín Murphy feature among the live acts.
RA Pick: Local experimental techno hero Vladislav Delay on Flow's pristine soundsystem.
August 16 - August 20
Pag Island, Croatia
There's always been plenty of variety in Croatia's summer festival calendar, but until Sonus came along there were no large-scale events targeted at fans of subtler house and techno sounds. If you're planning on visiting Croatia this summer and like your music loopy, Sonus is where you'll want to be. A huge crew of minimal-minded selectors includes regulars like Ricardo Villalobos, Zip, Rhadoo and Sonja Moonear, along with lesser-known favourites such as Binh, Barac and Dan Andrei. Those after tougher sounds are taken care of as well: Rødhåd, Chris Liebing and Sven Väth are all on board.
RA Pick: Berlin favourite Binh is getting more attention by the day, so here's your chance to see what all the fuss is about.
August 12 - August 15
Viana Do Castelo
Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Portugal has recently emerged as a dance music destination, and one of the reasons for this is events like Neopop. Held annually in the small fishing town of Viana Do Castelo, the techno and house festival turns ten this year, celebrating with a heavy-hitting who's who of big dogs and lesser-known favourites. You've got techno purists like Shifted, Rødhåd, Robert Hood, Vril, Oscar Mulero and Abdulla Rashim, while the likes of Chris Liebing, Marco Carola and Sven Väth promise to grab the headlines. And if it's house you're after, there's plenty of that, too—Move D, Mano Le Tough and The Martinez Brothers all have slots.
RA Pick: Token boss Kr!z is the dark horse on this lineup.
06. Festival Forte
August 27 - August 29
Castelo de Montemor-o-Velho
Sometimes the venues make the festival, and Coimbra's Castelo De Montemor-O-Velho sounds like a prime example. The sprawling Castelo de Montemor-o-Velho dates back to 1088, roughly 50 years before Portugal was declared an independent state. Since 2014 it's hosted Festival Forte, a three-day rave dedicated to the best in local and international techno. There are heavyweights—Ben Klock, Marcel Dettmann, Paul Kalkbrenner—but the real fun should revolve around a strong cast of the genre's more leftfield characters, such as Adam X, Regis, Donato Dozzy and Vatican Shadow.
RA Pick: Function in a 900-year-old castle, anyone?
05. Tauron Nowa Muzyka
August 20 - August 23
Poland's Tauron Nowa Muzyka is an experimental festival, but not in a stuffy, academic kind of way. The focus is on music that's both adventurous and fun. In 2015 you'll be able to enjoy the moving piano exploits of Nils Frahm (a highlight of last year's edition), the jagged selections of Objekt, the modern soul of Fatima & The Eglo Band, and DJ Koze, well, being DJ Koze. Add to that great sound, a unique location (the depths of Katowice's disused mines) and cheap tickets, and you've got one of Europe's most compelling small music festivals.
RA Pick: Danceable and abstract, Dopplereffekt nicely capture the Tauron Nowa Muzyka vibe.
04. Berlin Atonal
August 19 - August 23
There are really only two words you can utter upon entering Berlin Atonal's home base, Kraftwerk Berlin: "Fuck me." In a city with plenty of impressive spaces for music, this former power plant is arguably the most awe-inspiring. And the Tresor-affiliated experimental music festival doesn't just occupy the building—it really uses it. Standard-issue house and techno would turn into a garbled mess amidst Kraftwerk's epic proportions, but the immersive, edgy sounds you'll hear at Atonal resonate perfectly. A Northern Electronics showcase, a new A/V set from Shed and a collaboration between Kangding Ray and Mogwai's Barry Burns are all part of the bill this year, and we can't imagine a better place to catch any of them.
RA Pick: Shackleton is one of the best live performers in electronic music, and we're intrigued by his new show, Powerplant.
July 31 - August 2
Like it or not, underground dance festivals are big business these days, complete with brand sponsorships, sophisticated promotional campaigns and ever-soaring ticket sales. All of which only makes it more reassuring that something like Nachtdigital is still possible. This lakeside rave began 18 years ago as the work of a bunch of scrappy teenage DJs. By now it's grown into a two-day festival, and though never without a few big-ish names (Joy Orbison, Ben UFO, Pachanga Boys), its DIY spirit remains. The décor is homemade, the site beautiful but modest, the capacity capped at around 2,000. The festival overall feels like a massive family reunion, albeit one soundtracked by the likes of Monolake, Neel, Traxx and the Giegling crew. No wonder Nachtidigital sells out in minutes every year.
RA Pick: Helena Hauff's back-to-back set with I-F should be overflowing with raw gems.
August 26 - August 30
Fort Punta Christo
After three momentum-building years at Fort Punta Christo in Pula, Croatia, Dimensions Festival has sold out for the first time. If you've been before, it should be no mystery why the festival has become a hot ticket: the lineup is flawless, the site is gorgeous, the soundsystems are killer, the boat parties are pure vibes and the crowd is up for every twist and turn the long weekend takes. Regarding that lineup, Dimensions has outdone itself again, mixing a strong stable of regulars (Mala, Hessle Audio, Moodymann, Surgeon) with highly regarded veterans (Goldie, Danielle Baldelli), label showcases (Giegling, Rush Hour) and excellent DJs from across the spectrum.
RA Pick: Be sure to catch live sets from Four Tet and Floating Points at the opening concert.
July 30 - August 2
Whatever Dekmantel put their minds to, it seems to be quite brilliant. So far the Amsterdam collective has focused its efforts on music—parties, festivals, records, podcasts—mixing deep passion with acute business nous. This year they'll host the third edition of Dekmantel Festival, with over 150 acts billed at Amsterdamse Bos, a forest on the outskirts of the city. As with previous editions, the DJ lineup is ridiculous. But in 2015 they'll go one better, offering more options beyond DJ sets, like electronic pioneer Manuel Göttsching (who's playing the festival's opening concert) and funk legend Roy Ayers.
RA Pick: Motor City Drum Ensemble's set at Dekmantel Festival 2014 has become the stuff of legend—don't bet against him repeating the trick this time round.