10. CTEMF 2015
February 3 - February 8
Cape Town, South Africa
House music in South Africa has gotten a lot of attention lately, but of course it's always been there, rumbling away in township parties and nightclubs for decades. This long overdue recognition has dovetailed with the arrival of Cape Town Electronic Music Festival, a conference and event series that brings international icons together with South Africa's homegrown talent. This year will be the festival's fourth edition, and while the lineup is still under wraps, past appearances by Dixon, Richie Hawtin, Benga and national exports like Portable and Black Coffee should give you an idea of what to expect.
RA pick: Workshops tend to take a backseat at festivals like this, but the connections CTEMF fosters between international artists and local upstarts is one of the festival's best aspects.
09. St. Jerome's Laneway Festival
January 31 - February 7
Various Cities, Australia
11 years since its start as a one-day party in Melbourne, Laneway is one of the best touring festivals in Australia, bringing a well-selected cast of international and local artists to Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and its home city each year (not to mention their events in New Zealand and Singapore). As usual, this year's lineup presents a rich tapestry of indie and electronic music, connecting the dots between house and techno artists like Caribou and Jon Hopkins with the likes of Future Islands, Flying Lotus and FKA twigs.
RA pick: As an Australian indie-electronic outfit, Seekae suit Laneways to a T.
08. Sydney Festival
January 11 - January 25
Sydney Festival brings together a vast range of art forms—theatre, visual art, modern dance, you name it—but the music alone would be enough to keep anyone busy all month. The 19-day programme is full of eye-catching events: Ben Frost and Tim Hecker at the Sydney Opera House? Don't mind if I do. Pat Mahoney, Alexis Taylor, Luke Jenner, Gotye and Sinkane playing the music of William Onyeabor? Go on then. And whenever you feel like getting loose, the festival village in Hyde Park hosts party-friendly acts like Leon Vynehall, Oneman and Nightmare On Wax.
RA pick: You can't help but wonder how Ben Frost's brutal ambience would sound in the Sydney Opera House.
07. Sónar Reykjavik / Sónar Stockholm
February 12 -14 / February 13 - 14
Reykjavik, Iceland / Stockholm, Sweden
It's easy to get the feeling that Sónar is taking over the world. Though the annual festival in Barcelona remains its beating heart, its satellite events get better and better every year. Take their editions in Stockholm and Reykjavik, which happen back-to-back in February. Both are forces to be reckoned with, packing in the kind of diverse and forward-thinking lineups that have long been Sónar's calling card. Todd Terje will play in Reykjavik, SHXCXCHCXSH in Stockholm. Both cities will play host to Nina Kraviz, Paul Kalkbrenner and Randomer among others.
RA pick: SOPHIE is playing both events—see what he/she's got up his/her sleeve.
06. Day Zero
January 10 - January 11
For the mystically-inclined, Day Zero has it all: coal-walking, fire-dancing, Mayan rituals and glowing pyramids that shoot lasers. With Crosstown Rebels boss Damian Lazarus as its ringleader, this 22-hour hootenanny (originally celebrating the 2012 Mayan apocalypse) puts a heavy cosmic spin on the all-night rave experience. This year's lineup presents another well-selected cast of Crosstown Rebels friends and family, including Mathew Jonson, DJ Three, Laura Jones and Ali Love, plus Lazarus playing live with The Ancient Moons.
RA pick: In the midst of all this weirdness, DJ Harvey should feel right at home.
05. Astropolis L'hiver
January 22 - January 25
Astropolis has been one of France's strongest electronic music festivals since the '90s, and now its winter version is catching up with it. Across its four-day programme, the fourth edition of Astropolis L'hiver presents an impressive cast of DJs and live acts at venues across the seaside city of Brest. Planetary Assault Systems and Perc form part of a striking techno contingent, bumping elbows with eclectic selectors like Moodymann and Andrew Weatherall. That Model 500 are returning after playing Astropolis last summer should tell you all you need to know.
RA pick: You can always count on Jackmaster to make a room pop off.
January 17 - February 8
An outdoor party in the coldest stretch of the Canadian winter, complete with a one-piece ski-suit contest—it doesn't get much more Quebecois than that. But Montreal's annual Igloofest has more than just local flavor going for it. Only a certain type of DJ can make it possible to have fun in temperatures such as -22ºC (we don't care how good your one-piece is), and its precisely this kind of artist that Igloofest delivers in spades. This year's programme enlists party-rockers like Cassy, Gui Boratto and Justin Martin, Luciano and Loco Dice over 12 nights at Quai Jacques-Cartier.
RA pick: Midland and Paul Woolford, who are billed for a back-to-back set, will have a staggering number of good records between the two of them.
03. Bugged Out Weekender
January 16 - January 18
Butlins Bognor Regis Resort
West Sussex, UK
At this point you know what to expect from Bugged Out. The UK promoters have been at it since '94, throwing momentous parties and weekend-long festivals that combine superstar acts (Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers) with a close cast of regulars. The Chems return for a DJ set at this year's edition, which will take place at Bugged Out Weekender's traditional home of Butlins holiday resort in Bognor Regis (following a year at Pontins in Southport). Other highlights from the predictably massive lineup include Ben UFO, Four Tet, Leon Vynehall and MJ Cole. 21 years in, these guys are still near the top of their game.
RA pick: Erol Alkan is never more at home than when he's DJing at Bugged Out.
January 23 - February 3
Berlin's music scene has a heavy experimental streak, but few events shine a light on it the way CTM does. Every winter, the week-long festival books dozens of avant-garde acts in theaters, clubs and art spaces across the city, luring out a certain black-clad crowd who otherwise may never find themselves at a place like Berghain (one of CTM's perennial venues). This year's programme continues the festival's uncompromising ethos with performances from Atom™, OAKE, Lawrence English and Alec Empire. There will be plenty to dance to as well, thanks to the likes of Palm Trax, Mumdance and Simian Mobile Disco.
RA pick: The Bug is never anything short of cataclysmic.
01. The BPM Festival
January 9 - January 18
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
It's hard to argue with what BPM's offering up: ten days of seaside parties in balmy Mexico during what are (for anyone in the Northern Hemisphere) the darkest depths of winter. And that's before you even get to the lineup, which is staggering as usual. Over 375 DJs have been booked for BPM 2015, with parties from Innervisions, Hot Creations, Apollonia, Visionquest, Circoloco and dozens of others. Eight years since it first arrived, BPM is among the biggest electronic festivals worldwide, and it gets stronger every year.
RA pick: In this breezy, sun-kissed setting, Lee Burridge's All Day I Dream party should be sublime.
You can see our full festival listings for January and February right here.