10. The Bay Festival
July 24 - July 26
Every now and then a festival comes along that catches the eye. The Bay Festival has been running out of Nice in southern France since 2013, but for its third edition the weekender's been given a full makeover, including a change of location. The new setting, Corsica's Bay of San Ciprianu, looks nothing short of spectacular. The lineup, too, is a considerable improvement on previous years, with Marcel Dettmann, Ben UFO, Jeff Mills, Ben Klock, Nina Kraviz, Tale Of Us, Âme, DVS1 and Robert Hood lining up alongside French favourites Bambounou, French Fries and François X.
RA Pick: John Talabot's breezy, emotional house should wring the most out of the breathtaking surroundings.
July 24 - July 26
Many of Poland's best-known electronic music festivals specialise in leftfield sounds, but there's still plenty of room for more traditional house and techno on the country's summer calendar. The tenth edition of Audioriver, a 25,000-person festival held annually in central Poland, will host a typically heavy-hitting cast of big-name DJs and live acts in late July. A stacked techno contingent includes Ben Klock, Marcel Dettmann and Karenn, while Tale Of Us, Fur Coat and John Talabot are among the house acts confirmed. On the live front, Hercules And Love Affair, Graze and a resurgent Audion are all locked in.
RA Pick: Audioriver is one of the first stops for Tiga's new live show, and you'd be silly to miss it.
08. Stop Making Sense
July 16 - July 20
The Garden Tisno
Some festivals are too big. Heaving crowds, schedule clashes and long queues can sour a weekend. Stop Making Sense has none of these problems. It has adopted a less-is-more approach, booking just the right number of crowd-pulling DJs—Jackmaster, DJ Koze, Skream, Levon Vincent, Anja Schneider, Martyn and Nick Höppner will all spin this year—without overdoing it. Throw in its dazzling location at The Garden Tisno on Croatia's Dalmatian coast and you've got a festival primed for people who believe good things come in small packages.
RA Pick: The Black Madonna is on a tear at the moment—don't miss her Sunday night set at the Beach Bar.
July 17 - July 18
Lovebox has always been a celebration of the music London loves. Like the capital itself, the Victoria Park festival represents a mish-mash of sounds and styles, while attracting a crowd as diverse as the people who walk the city's streets. This year you've got Rudimental and Snoop Dogg headlining the Friday and Saturday respectively, with main-stage support from Cypress Hill, Hot Chip and Jessie Ware. On an electronic tip, there's everything from Squarepusher, Bonobo and Nils Frahm to Gilles Peterson, Kerri Chandler, Ben UFO, Greg Wilson, Skepta, Kaytranada and Hercules & Love Affair.
RA Pick: Running all-day long across the weekend, there'll be ample opportunity to sink your teeth into 2ManyDJs and James Murphy's Despacio soundsystem.
06. The Peacock Society
July 10 - July 12
Parc Floral De Paris
Where Weather Festival is a full-on rave, The Peacock Society offers Parisian punters a more refined festival option. Taking place in the lovely Parc Floral De Paris, the festival presents a young crowd with big name DJs like Loco Dice, Dixon and Seth Troxler, plus a well-selected crew of locals, such as Geena, D.K. and Marcelus. There's a strong live element too, with a varied cast of acts, from Flume to Vril to Answer Code Request, taking to the stage.
RA Pick: DJ Pete going back-to-back with Adam X.
July 18 - July 20
Mountain Park Tsunan
Ultra-deep techno blasting through the woods in middle-of-nowhere Japan—that could only mean The Labyrinth, right? Not so fast. We're actually talking about rural, a festival that scratches a similar itch a few months earlier. This year is heavy on techno mind-scramblers like Function, Cio D'Or and the legendary DJ Nobu, but there's plenty of variety as well. Top-notch London selector Jane Fitz and Golden Pudel resident Helena Hauff should stretch the musical remit to extremes, while live offerings range from Shawn O'Sullivan's gritty techno to the mutant drum & bass of up-and-comer Ena. If the open-air gets too intense, you can head inside for performances from a cast of Tokyo-based DJs.
RA Pick: Don't miss Jane Fitz, one of the best under-the-radar house selectors out there.
July 30 - August 1
Norbergfestival is for the adventurous music fan. Held at a sprawling disused iron ore mine outside the tiny town of Norberg in southern Sweden, it feels like a sound-art exhibition as much as it does a music festival. Alongside summer-friendly styles like dub and ambient, you'll find drone, noise, drum & bass and a range of 303-wielding acts. As usual, a huge local contingent will be paired with a solid cast of floor-focussed internationals, which this year includes Perc, Max Cooper and Lena Willikens. Norbergfestival is among Scandinavia's most unique musical experiences, making it an essential visit for those who like their sounds avant-garde.
RA Pick: Let your hair down with Salon Des Amateurs resident Lena Willikens.
July 10 - July 13
Some small festivals feel more like weddings or family reunions than regular gigs. Freerotation is one those events, not least because it takes place at Baskerville Hall, a cozy hotel in the Welsh countryside (which, as it happens, is often used for weddings). With just a few tweaks to the lineup every year, it's a beloved annual ritual for everyone involved, which only adds to the superb quality of the music being played: all the artists are looking forward to it all year, and they all bring their A-game. This time, Peter Van Hoesen, Call Super and Lowtec are some of the artists joining the fantastic cast of regulars and residents (Move D, Shackleton, the Hessle Audio crew, founders Steevio and Suzybee and many others).
RA Pick: Voices From The Lake were a crowd favourite in 2014—see what Neel and Donato Dozzy play separately this year.
July 17 - July 19
Melt! is one of the most well-rounded big-tent festivals happening in Europe all summer, and their 2015 lineup proves it. In the shadows of epically proportioned heavy machinery, you can catch indie sensations (alt-J), pop royalty (Kylie Minogue) and influential veterans (Giorgio Moroder). But the festival's trump card has long been its dance music, which can run as deep as the offerings at staunchly underground nightclubs. Top selectors like Marcel Dettmann, Nina Kraviz and Rødhåd rub shoulders with headsy acts like Kettenkarussell, Nozinja, Roi Perez and Steffen Bennemann. And a strong contender for Melt!'s best stage is the Sleepless Floor, a dusty, never-ending open-air infamous for sucking in ravers before they've reached the festival's main gate.
RA Pick: Head High is sure to deliver a ravey punch.
01. The Garden Festival
July 1 - July 9
The Garden Tisno
All good things come to an end, music festivals included. In a year that also saw the final edition of Southport Weekender, we now bid farewell to The Garden Festival. It's not an exaggeration to say this weeklong party changed the course of European festivals. If it weren't for Nick Colgan and Dave Harvey's dream, festival-goers might not be flocking to Croatia by the thousands every summer. This breezy, sun-kissed event established a new kind of festival: a casual string of boat parties, festival stages and club nights spread out over a week on the idyllic Dalmatian coast. It will be sad to see it go, but with an eight-day programme that includes everyone from Ben UFO to Tim Sweeney to Seth Troxler, it will be outrageously fun as well.
RA Pick: If there was ever a time for DJ Harvey to pull out the big guns, this is it.