April 28 - May 1
Laboral Ciudad De La Cultura
L.E.V has been gracing the northern shores of Spain for a decade now, uniting music and visual art in a way that leads to some properly immersive festival experiences. This in mind, Monolake seems like a natural choice for the Gijón festival's landmark tenth edition. The German artist will appear once with a "deliberately non-visual" set based on his recent 12-inches in four-channel surround sound, and again for an audio-visual installation called Fall. Fellow sound scientists like Biosphere and Pole are confirmed as well, along with techno and ambient artist Dasha Rush, who will deliver a glacial A/V performance called Antarctic Takt.
RA Pick: J.G. Biberkopf's live show makes grime sound like a decaying ecosystem.
09. Chamonix Unlimited Festival
April 7 - April 11
Sitting beneath the summit of Mont Blanc, not far from France's borders with Switzerland and Italy, Chamonix Valley is one of Europe's oldest and most impressive ski resorts. It's also home to Chamonix Unlimited, a house and techno festival that sweeps the region at the end of the skiing season each year. For four days at the beginning of April, a closely selected cast of house and techno artists will play in unique venues around Chamonix. In 2016, Nina Kraviz will host a трип label showcase by the valley glacier Mer De Glace, while Maceo Plex sets up shop in gondola station. Recondite, Agoria, Seth Troxler and Chris Liebing are just a few of the other acts confirmed.
RA Pick: Nina Kraviz's трип label has been on fire lately—don't miss its mountainside showcase.
April 29 - May 1 / May 5 - May 7
With each passing year Donaufestival emerges further from the shadows of bigger experimental events like CTM and Unsound. At first glimpse the festival's home—Krems, an unassuming city near Vienna—could be seen as a disadvantage, but organisers make good use of historic venues like Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche, a repurposed 13th century church. And this year's lineup shows that when it comes to programming, Donaufestival punches above its weight. Mogwai, Pantha Du Prince, Shackleton, RP Boo, Babyfather, Laurel Halo, Omar Souleyman, Hieroglyphic Being, DJ Koze and Congolese band Mbongwana Star will all perform in 2016, confirming the festival as an important part of the experimental music calendar.
RA Pick: Expect Pantha Du Prince to play some music from his eagerly awaited new album.
April 7 - April 10
There's a unique thrill to raving at the top of a mountain. Maybe it's partly to do with the effects of altitude on the brain, but the experience of dancing some 2,000 meters above sea level with a panoramic view of the alps is always going to feel extraordinary. That's exactly what you get at Caprices Festival, a three-day party spread across three stages at the Swiss ski resort Crans-Montana. As usual, the lineup this year is packed with seasoned party-rockers, from tech house jocks like Eats Everything and Tale Of Us to the more minimal sounds of Mathew Jonson and Romanian DJs Praslea and Raresh.
RA Pick: Ricardo Villalobos was a highlight of last year's festival—see what he brings to the table this time around.
06. Fasma Festival
April 7 - April 9
Greece's Fasma Festival brings a considerable dose of sonic darkness to sunny Athens during it's three-day program, but there's more to their bookings than pitch black electronics. In addition to the likes of Ancient Methods and Claudio PRC, there will be incantatory throat singing from Russia's Phurpa and droning strings from PAN-alumni Mohammed. Actress and Lee Gamble bring the mutated dance floor sounds, and resurgent drum & bass master Source Direct will surely push the tempo above 140 BPM. If you find yourself in need of a nice house groove, Virginia will have you covered.
RA Pick: Unit Moebius' deeply bizarre take on hardcore house and techno is a certified mind-melter.
April 3 - April 8
Festivals take many forms in 2016, but when you boil it down, nearly all of them aim to deliver the same thing: a proper knees-up. That simple idea hasn't been lost on the team behind Snowbombing, who have spent the last 16 years transforming Austria's Mayrhofen ski resort into a week-long party that extends from the igloo dance floors at the top of the slopes to the aprés ski parties down below. But beneath its wacky facade, Snowbombing is serious about music. This year the likes of Jamie Jones, Sven Väth, Skepta and Marcel Dettmann will all make the trip.
RA Pick: If it's good vibes you're after, few do it better than soulful house don Kerri Chandler.
04. Rewire Festival
April 1 - April 3
The Hague, Netherlands
Rewire is a festival that places itself firmly on the vanguard of electronic music—and, for that matter, indie, experimental, neo-classical and a number of other genres. Taking place at venues across The Hague—including unconventional choices like Lutherse Kerk (a Lutheran church) and Electriciteitsfabriek (a disused power plant)—the three-day event presents a truly rich blend of cutting-edge sounds, with an impressive number of special commissions and one-off collaborations: Xiu Xiu will play the music of Twin Peaks, Vessel will team up with Black Rain and Pete Swanson, James Holden will play live with the African Gnawa musician Maalem Houssam Guinia. On top of all that, you've got performances from Ben UFO, Lena Willikens, Dean Blunt, Animal Collective and dozens of others.
RA Pick: Mica Levi and Stargaze performing the exquisitely unnerving soundtrack to the 2013 sci-fi film Under The Skin.
03. Rainbow Disco Club
April 29 - May 1
Higashi Izu Cross Country Course
Last year Rainbow Disco Club moved from its waterfront home to Izu, a seaside spot about two-and-a-half hours outside Tokyo. And while it may have lost its sweeping views of Tokyo's harbor, it acquired a newly laid-back feel. In 2015, revellers soaked up the music and the sun on the site's expansive lawns, with many also enjoying a dip in nearby hot springs. Rainbow Disco Club's lineup is short but sweet. This year sees one of last year's highlights, the Rush Hour all-stars, returning with a slightly different formation, with main man Antal joined by San Proper, Hunee and local hero Soichi Terada.
RA Pick: Much of the local buzz is focussed on Andrew Weatherall, and rightly so—the UK legend's Japan appearances are few and far between.
02. Time Warp
For thousands of techno fans across Europe, the first week of April means only one thing: Time Warp. The Mannheim giant excels when it comes to the basics—venue, sound, lights—but what really gives it its edge is the standing it holds among dance music's top-tier performers. If you're Sven Väth, Seth Troxler or Dixon, Time Warp is where you show your peers, and 20,000 punters, that you deserve your place in the big leagues. Those three will all perform this year, lining up alongside Laurent Garnier, Loco Dice, Ricardo Villalobos, Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox and many more.
RA Pick: The first time you play Time Warp is a landmark moment for any DJ, so expect Apollonia to bring something extra special.
April 28 - May 1
Mamaia Nord, Romania
It's hard to think of a festival more integral to a scene's development than Sunwaves. Make the trip to this Romanian party and you'll find crystal clear sound, extended DJ sets and after parties (and after-after parties)—things that go hand-in-hand with the fertile Romanian house and techno landscape that Sunwaves has helped to foster. Local heroes such as Rhadoo, Raresh and Petre Inspirescu bring their A-game when they step up to the decks, and guests from abroad—Ricardo Villalobos, Zip, Sonja Moonear—are treated like royalty by an open-minded crowd begging them to get weird. Held on a picturesque beach on the Black Sea, Sunwaves is a pilgrimage all fans of stripped-back house and techno need to make at least once.
RA Pick: Hard to argue with Ricardo Villalobos spinning to a tent full of minimal fanatics.
You can see our full festival listings for April right here.