In the mood for a festival this July?
Into the Valley
Dalhalla Rättvik, Rättvik, Sweden
July 28 - July 31
Sweden's love of experimental festivals is well established. But until Into The Valley launched last year, there wasn't a major event that focused on more traditional house and techno. For their second time around, organisers have locked in another heavyweight cast of international DJs for sets in the impressive Dalhalla amphitheatre in central Sweden. Minimalists like Zip, Raresh, Ricardo Villalobos and Sonja Moonear line up alongside festival favourites such as Dixon, Ben Klock, Four Tet and Nina Kraviz for three days and nights of music. If you're a dance music fan in Sweden, Into The Valley should be high on your priority list.
RA Pick: Janina has been a Berlin favourite for years, so don't miss the chance to catch her playing from a festival stage.
Victoria Park, London, UK
July 15 - July 16
London can be a grind, which goes some way to explaining why Lovebox remains one of the UK capital's favourite festivals. The Victoria Park event has always put fun first, booking DJs, bands and live acts that specialise in playing party music to big crowds. Just look at this year's lineup: Friday has Major Lazer, Diplo, Stormzy and a Samba-themed takeover from Elrow, while Saturday has main-stage performances from LCD Soundsystem, Jungle and George Clinton. If you're after something headsier then hit the fabric tent on Saturday. It's the London club's first festival partnership, and they're bringing Ricardo Villalobos, Zip, Jackmaster and Craig Richards along for the ride.
RA Pick: Lovebox will be the only chance to catch LCD Soundsystem in London this year.
Nicola Valley, Merritt, Canada
July 8 - July 11
Bass Coast is one of many forest campout festivals that happen every summer in BC. What makes it special is its size and scope: attendance is capped to keep things intimate, yet it boasts an ambitious lineup highlighting ongoing mutations in bass music while increasingly opening up to techno and house. There's also a dedication to local talent, with Western Canadian stalwarts returning year after year, which gives Bass Coast a strong communal vibe. Chances are you'll leave the festival with a few new friends, whether you make them on the dance floor, during a dip in the river or in one of the many interactive installations.
RA Pick: Todd Edwards should unite Bass Coast's house and bass music camps.
Yunomaru Highland, Tomi, Japan
July 16 - July 18
For 2016, Rural festival is moving to the Yunomaru Kogen ski fields north-west of Tokyo, a sweeping landscape checkered with fields of blooming azaleas. The festival's combination of natural beauty, intimate size, open atmosphere and smart bookings makes it a strong choice for the discerning Japanese electronic music fan. Fis's organic sound environments should be a good fit for the natural surrounds, while Neel, DJ Nobu and Sendai are all veterans of Japanese forest raves who know exactly how to cast sonic spells over small crowds. Loop techno don Takaaki Itoh makes a welcome addition, but with selectors like Solar, Jane Fitz and Pearson Sound also on board, you can be sure there's more to Rural than hypnotic techno.
RA Pick: Felix K and Ena's new live set is hard to describe for all the right reasons.
Brockwell Park, London, UK
July 9 - July 10
If you're going to crack a festival market as competitive as London's, then collaboration is key. Sunfall is the brainchild of Dimensions and Phonox, two UK clubbing brands that excel in their respective fields, namely running first-rate festivals and club nights. They might approach promoting from different angles, but their expertise intersects at their tastes in music, sharing a love of eclectic club sounds with a soulful core. Omar-S, Ben Klock, Jamie xx, Jeremy Underground, Donato Dozzy, Moodymann and Shackleton are just some of the names locked in for the Brockwell Park one-dayer, which will continue after dark at venues like Electric Brixton and Corsica Studios.
RA Pick: LA jazzman extraordinaire Kamasi Washington is a nice curveball.
July 28 - July 31
Every year since 1999 the sleepy mining town of Norberg, around two hours from Stockholm, is taken over by pleasure-seeking youths with niche tastes. The festival uses the tools at its disposal—an old barn and an unkempt mineshaft included—to host a smorgasbord of music, from breakcore to ambient, with lineups that aim to both educate and entertain. Always careful to balance international headliners with native talent, if you're curious about Sweden's dark and noisy underground scene this is an ideal gateway. Add in trimmings such as bathing in a red lake, delicious smorgastarta ("sandwich cake"), sound installations, workshops and one of the most impressive—if slightly terrifying—stages around, and it all makes for one of the best Scandinavian weekenders you'll find.
RA Pick: For pure club dystopia, be sure to check into Stockholm's STAYCORE label showcase.
Baskerville Hall, Hay-On-Wye, Wales
July 8 - July 11
As the sad recent passing of Sammy String, one of the festival's resident DJs and stage managers, showed, Freerotation is based on the bonds of a small community. Steevio, who runs the festival alongside his partner, Suzybee, pointed out in his tribute that he and Sammy had been involved in the free party scene together since the early '90s, and to this day Freerotation feels shaped by the spirit of such events. The festival is produced by a very small core team, and is still run as a not-for-profit—even though, due to its glowing word-of-mouth reputation, it could sell out several times over were it to move to a larger venue. The usual cast of regular artists (Hessle Audio, Move D, Shackleton, Leif, Portable, JuJu & Jordash etc.) and new faces (DVS1, Laurel Halo, Bill Kouligas, Pender Street Steppers, Altern-8) will return to Baskerville Hall along with 600 punters to celebrate ten years of one of the world's best small festivals.
RA Pick: In the space of two years Objekt has become a cult favourite at a festival that's full of them.
The Peacock Society
Parc Floral De Paris, Paris, France
July 13 - July 17
The number of people dancing on shoulders isn't a sure-fire way to tell if a big festival set is going well, but it's a decent place to start. During his performance at last year's Peacock Society, Laurent Garnier might have looked out across the vast crowd, seen the number of elevated bodies, and allowed his usual look of stern concentration to melt into a smile. That set is a great example of the experience Peacock Society specialises in—a full-on warehouse rave with a touch of flair. The event is returning to the indoor/outdoor Parc Floral, which, after several editions of the festival there, should guarantee the usual charged atmosphere. Garnier is back in the headlining slot, and he's joined by fellow heavy hitters like Tale Of Us, Sven Väth, Helena Hauff, Steffi, Maceo Plex, Kerri Chandler, Four Tet and Floorplan. They'll all be soundtracking what's become one of the best big-room experiences on the international festival circuit.
RA Pick: Hotly tipped Serbian DJ Tijana T plays RA's stage on the Wednesday night.
Mozal, Moscow, Russia
July 2 - July 4
Picture a 118-year-old disused factory in Moscow, a post-industrial playground made of steel and brick that was once used to manufacture escalators for the city's metro system. Sounds like a cool spot for a festival, right? That's where this year's edition of Outline is happening. And judging by the festival's previous form—the wonderful 2015 edition was held at an old mechanical plant—this new location is reason enough to visit Outline. So far only a few acts have been announced (Magda, Veronica Vasicka, The Residents), but when the crew behind Moscow's much-loved (and much-missed) nightclub Arma17 are handling things, you can be sure there will be a quality mix of house, techno, electro and more.
RA Pick: It's hard to think of something better suited to the surroundings than Veronica Vasicka's angular selections.
Ferropolis, Gräfenhainichen, Germany
July 16 - July 17
From a dance music perspective, one of Melt!'s integral components is the Sleepless Floor. It's the German festival's quirkiest attribute, a stage that runs 24 hours a day throughout the entire weekend and features some of its biggest-name DJs. It's also outside of the festival grounds and is free for anyone who makes the journey to the open-air mining museum Ferropolis. But if you do venture inside Melt!'s massive lakeside site, you'll be treated to one of Europe's finest large-scale festivals, with wonderful stage design and a small city's worth of activities. What we like most about Melt! is that it's a mainstream festival that doesn't treat dance music like a sideshow: alongside headliners like Tame Impala and M83, you've got the likes of Maya Jane Coles, Ben Klock and Mano Le Tough playing on stages with stellar soundsystems that go until sunrise. And when the festival does come to a rest at 7 AM, well, you've always got the Sleepless Floor.
RA Pick: Modeselektor are the kind of act made for Melt!—techno with a pop-friendly twist.
See our full festival listings for July right here.