March 20 - March 29
A dozen or so acts will play this year's edition of STRP, and the way they contrast and complement one another shows how inspired the Dutch festival is. Over an 11-hour session at Klokgebouw (a former Philips factory), thrillingly unconventional beats will come from the likes of Clark, 2562 and The Gaslamp Killer, while Underworld provide some more classic sounds. The short-but-sweet programme includes a number of acts at the bleeding edge of current dance music, such as Objekt, Karenn and Kaytranada.
RA pick: It's hard to think of a better place to see Factory Floor than a, erm, factory floor.
March 6 - March 7
Despite its position within the global scene, London is without a definitive dance music conference. LEAF, or the London Electronic Arts Festival, is looking to fill that void, teaming up with powerhouse promoters London Warehouse Events to present two days of "conversations, concerts and clubs." Of the talks, interviews with Nile Rodgers and DJ Harvey on the Friday stand out, while Saturday's all-day session with Luciano, Sasha, DJ Harvey, Tale Of Us, Chris Liebing and festival founder Rob Da Bank looks set to tear the roof of Tobacco Dock, one of the capital's most-talked about new venues.
RA pick: Modeselektor's live show is never anything short of explosive.
08. 5 Days Off
March 4 - March 8
There's no denying that 5 Days Off is one of the best things on the Dutch clubbing calendar. A consistently up-to-date and wide-ranging booking policy matched with two of the country's best clubs, Melkweg and Paradiso, makes for a string of truly fantastic events year after year. As usual, this year's bill is teeming with top-tier talent: concerts will be headlined by the likes of FKA twigs, Tropics and Dorian Concept, while Surgeon, Anthony Parasole, Bicep, Octave One and others soundtrack the action after midnight.
RA pick: Don't pass up a chance to catch the all-conquering FKA twigs.
March 27 - March 29
When Ultra's continued existence in downtown Miami came under threat last year, the controversy drew international attention. That's a testament to just how huge the festival is: Ultra is essentially the ideal when it comes to big-budget EDM events. You'll hardly find more awe-inducing production or more stacked lineups anywhere else in the world. But here's a little secret, and part of what keeps a diverse crowd of tens of thousands of people coming back to Bayfront Park every year: the festival is savvier than you might think. Apollonia, DJ Tennis and Cashmere Cat rub elbows with Skrillex and Steve Aoki, meaning you can have your cake and get hit in the face with it.
RA pick: See how Dixon woos the masses with his cinematic strands of house.
March 7 - March 13
Bansko Ski Resort
Snowy dance festivals are ten a penny these days, but something about Horizon separates it from the rest: its size. Held in the town of Bankso in southwestern Bulgaria, the week-long event prides itself on its all-abilities skiing, easy-to-navigate site and imaginative use of local spaces (Kerri Chandler in a wood-panelled restaurant, anyone?) Because of its cosy, family vibe, it's also the kind of festival that artists like to stick around for, so expect to find yourself in good company as you dance to the likes of to DJ EZ, Om Unit and KiNK.
RA pick: See what Moodymann busts out in the snow-capped mountains of Bulgaria.
05. Unsound Adelaide
March 12 - March 15
Unsound's ongoing presence in Adelaide comes at a time when the city is emerging from the shadow of Sydney and Melbourne as a cultural hub in its own right. The festival's third edition is the biggest and broadest edition to date. Taking place at the impressive Freemasons Hall across three nights, the bill proudly delivers the bold and adventurous music Unsound is known for. As well as some singular UK acts—Shackleton, Forest Swords and The Bug are all confirmed—there will be performances from experimental favourites like Vatican Shadow, Container, Mika Vainio and Hieroglyphic Being.
RA pick: Adelaide has a small army of Detroit techno heads—expect them to be out in force for Model 500's live show.
March 4 - March 7
Mutek has had a pretty good thing going over in Montreal for the last 15 years or so, and Barcelona's already got one of the world's greatest electronic music festivals to its name. But MUTEK.ES easily holds its own, not least with this year's exceptional lineup. There's a mixture of experimental and floor-filling sounds, with lots of variety within each camp. You can take in the chilly early-'80s curios of Veronica Vasicka, the cornea-searing lasers of Robert Henke's Lumière II show, or get loose to clubbier sounds, both sunny (Talaboman) and pitch-black (The Zenker Brothers).
RA pick: At once groovy and brainy, electronic improvisers Magic Mountain High always hit the sweet spot.
03. Miami 2015
March 19 - March 29
Miami isn't a festival, it isn't a conference, it's not even an event series—it's a cultural phenomenon, once officially linked to the annual Winter Music Conference but now totally decentralized. Similar festivals require countless hours of planning and coordination to come fruition; Miami simply happens. In the second half of March each year, thousands of DJs from around the world flock to this neon-lit corner of America for an endless medley of parties, swarming the city's nightclubs, rooftops, boats and hotel pools. If you've got what it takes to make it through the whole week, there's nothing else like it in the world.
RA pick: Apollonia all night long at Trade sounds about right.
March 13 - March 22
Last year was a tough one for SXSW. The annual music, media and technology extravaganza was marred by tragedy, and a planning firm suggested last fall that they'd consider leaving Austin if it wouldn't grant them near-exclusivity on events there during that week. SX (pronounced "south-by") has grown by leaps and bounds throughout its history, and no event of its current size and influence will be free of challenges. Which is to say, if you've been lusting after the epic showcases, internet-melting starpower and delicious tacos, make this your year. There's no better time and place to glimpse of the state of independent music in America.
RA pick: Did someone say "delicious tacos"?
March 13 - March 15
Butlin's is Bloc.'s spiritual home—their London adventure in 2012 turned out to be more of a, shall we say, learning experience than anything else. But now Bloc. is back, and with one of those earth-shatteringly good lineups they've always done so well. Scanning the names on this year's flyer, it's hard to imagine encountering even a single moment of bad music at any point over the weekend. I mean, really: Jeff Mills, Autechre, Levon Vincent, Livity Sound, Rødhåd, DJ Bone, Objekt—it's a veritable orgy of amazing electronic music, and any room you stumble into is bound to be at least slightly badass. And don't act like the ball-pit isn't tempting in its own right.
RA pick: '80s dance punk outfit ESG have had an immeasurable influence on most artists playing Bloc. Don't miss this rare chance to see them.
You can see our full festival listings for March right here.