10. Annie Mac Presents Lost & Found Malta
April 3 - April 6
"Having attended festivals all my life, I did not enter into this project lightly." So said Annie Mac about her new festival in Malta, Lost & Found. The BBC Radio 1 DJ says she's been working on the event for the past ten years, with help from UK institutions like Sound Channel and Warehouse Project. Little wonder, then, that Lost & Found should make such a strong showing in its first year: the weekend brings dozens of house and bass heavyweights (Carl Craig, Eats Everything, DJ EZ, Kerri Chandler) to boat parties, poolside dance floors and "open-air raves," all set against the sun-kissed backdrop of Malta in spring.
RA Pick: David Rodigan's reggae selections should suit the seaside atmosphere.
April 24 - May 2
In the vast expanse of European festivals, Donau is something of an overlooked gem. This intimate and avant-garde event takes place over two weekends in Krems, a small city just outside Vienna. Its bill brings together a concise but varied cast of boldly experimental artists, from electronic acts such as Autechre, Arca, Powell and James Holden to the likes of Grouper, Nils Frahm, Stars Of The Lid and Battles. Hosting this year's label showcases are UK ambient institution Touch and the esteemed cassette
imprint Opal Tapes.
RA pick: You'd be crazy to pass up a chance to see post-rock legends Godspeed! You Black Emperor.
08. Caprices Festival
April 9 - April 12
Moubra Tennis Center
Crans Montana, Switzerland
Since Caprices first launched in 2004, dance music has played second fiddle to stadium-sized rock and pop. But this year that's all set to change, as the Swiss ski festival slims down from a week to a weekend and moves to Moubra Tennis Center, a smaller, clubbier venue in the heart of the local village. A raft of big-league house and techno names will herald in this new era. Solomun, Dixon and DJ Tennis will bring the big melodies, while Sven Väth, Ricardo Villalobos and Chris Liebing promise to keep pulses racing well into the early hours.
RA pick: Something about Zip at a Swiss ski resort feels too good to miss.
07. Electron Festival
April 2 - April 6
All things told, Geneva is a sleepy city during Easter. The streets are quiet and there's a general air of things being taken down a notch. Except, that is, if you're anywhere in the vicinity of Electron. The annual festival jolts Geneva out of its slumber, taking over some of its best venues (many of which are clustered along the Rhône) with a broad range of electronic music, from party-focused fare (Boys Noize, DJ Funk) to leftfield sounds (Etienne Jaumet, Planningtorock) to ballsy techno (Inigo Kennedy, Rødhåd, Oscar Mulero). Strolling through the empty city between these performances, you get the pleasant sensation of having Geneva to yourself.
RA pick: DJ Koze will warp minds in Palladium on the Friday night.
April 16 - April 19
Communikey might be North America's finest boutique techno festival. It takes place in Boulder, Colorado, a medium-sized city with a disproportionately large dance music community that it shares with Denver. As a result, the festival's lineup is full of local talent, as well as an impressive cast of artists from overseas. Charles Cohen, Neel, Paula Temple, Segue and Orphx are just a few of the artists tackling this year's theme of "Inner Space // Outer Space," where "the true final frontier actually rests within ourselves."
RA pick: Check out Paul Fleetwood for a taste of Colorado's local scene.
05. DGTL Festival
April 4 - April 5
There's something nice, stately even, about arriving at a festival by boat. And that's exactly how punters begin their weekend at DGTL, before settling into the rugged surroundings of a disused shipyard in Amsterdam. There's no shortage of European festivals with an industrial backdrop, but DGTL's attention to detail makes it one of the best. The sound is impeccable, and the lineup doesn't pull any punches. More than 80 acts will play this year, including masters of the trade like Move D, Dixon and Motor City Drum Ensemble.
RA pick: John Talabot's back-to-back set with former Trouw resident Job Jobse's should bring out the best in both DJs.
April 6 - April 11
Snowbombing is all about breadth of experience. The music is key, of course, but so is the skiing, the fancy-dress and the thrill that comes with, say, partying in an igloo. Throw in one of the world's most up-for-it crowds and you've got an atmosphere so raucously fun it's no wonder people return religiously year-on-year. As for the lineup, it's the same drill as ever in 2015, with the likes of Carl Cox, Basement Jaxx and Skrillex rubbing shoulders with Carl Craig, Âme, Henrik Schwarz, Erol Alkan, Modeselektor, Eats Everything and many more.
RA pick: Few artists are better suited to Snowbombing's rambunctious vibe than Jackmaster.
April 30 - May 3
Mamaia Nord, Romania
17 editions in, we think we know what Romania's most famous festival is all about: partying. And after-partying. And after-after-partying... you get the idea. The soundtrack to all of this is mostly smooth minimal house, supplied by some of the style's leading names, many of them homegrown. Alongside a huge cast of regulars—Raresh, Petre Inspirescu, Dan Andrei, Cristi Cons and Praslea—organisers brought in the likes of Richie Hawtin and Recondite to provide a counterpoint to the bare-bones house that defines most of the bill. Few events of this size are steeped in subtle sounds the way Sunwaves is, which makes it one of Europe's most singular festivals.
RA pick: Catch local hero Raresh spinning on home turf.
April 10 - April 12 / April 17 - April 19
Empire Polo Club
Ever since Daft Punk's game-changing performance there in 2006, dance music has been part of Coachella festival's soul—these days, you could spend a good chunk of the weekend dancing to artists like Tale Of Us, DJ Harvey, John Talabot and J.E.S.+S. (Jackmaster, Eats Everything, Seth Troxler and Skream). But it would be a mistake to home in too closely on this corner of the sprawling lineup. Part of what makes Coachella a runaway hit is the incredible variety of the artists on offer: in a ten minute walk across the festival's grassy expanse, you could hear everything from Tame Impala to FKA twigs, Jack White to Raekwon and Ghostface, Steely Dan to Drake. Throw in the desert oasis location and you start to see how this thing sells out twice every year.
RA pick: It's all too easy to picture Panda Bear's melodies echoing across the polo field.
01. Time Warp
April 5 - April 6
Yep, it's Time Warp time again. Even if you've never been, you probably know the drill: Väth, Cox, Hawtin, Villalobos, Mannheim. The one-night megarave is known for sticking to its guns year after year, but 2015 still has plenty of fresh faces. Mammoth techno—what Time Warp does best—gets the biggest boost, with Rødhåd, Steve Rachmad (appearing as Sterac) and Matthew Dear's Audion live show. But no matter how many times you've seen them, you can't say no to huge-room sets from Laurent Garnier, Dixon, Luciano and the rest. Time Warp is homecoming for some of Europe's biggest DJs, and they're sure to bring their A-game.
RA pick: Rødhåd has a way with festival stages—see what he brings to the table.