Here are our favourites from around the world in September.
Kasteel Van Horst Holsbeek, Belgium
September 9 - September 11
You could argue that Kasteel Van Horst, a castle in Holsbeek, Belgium, is Europe's oldest dance venue. Back in the 17th century, Flemish nobles went there looking for a night out. Some 400 years later, it became home to Horst, a small festival that combines modern club sounds with visual art, workshops, lectures and the like. Now in its third year, Horst continues to refine its quality-over-quantity approach: this year's bill is as concise as it is diverse, offsetting party-rocking house and disco (The Black Madonna, Leon Vynehall, Mister Saturday Night) with the likes of Machinedrum and dubstep originator Mala. Three days of deep music at an idyllic lakeside setting—it's hard to argue with what Horst offers up.
RA Pick: Back for the second year in a row, expect Awesome Tapes From Africa to have his awesomest tapes at the ready.
Portmeirion, Wales, UK
September 1 - September 4
Few events embody the term "boutique festival" as much as Festival No.6. Happening each year in the picturesque riverside setting of Portmeirion in Wales, it presents things like theatre, fine dining, book readings and Swedish spas alongside performances from a wide range of indie and electronic artists. But even amidst so many different cultural offerings, the bill of DJs and live acts is worth the price of admission alone. This year, Midland, Ben UFO, Craig Richards, Optimo and Fatima Yamaha are just a few of the artists on the festival's well-assembled late-night programme.
RA Pick: You never want to miss Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnston doing A Love From Outer Space.
The Hague, Netherlands
September 22 - September 25
Entropy, the new multi-pronged audiovisual show from Drexciya and Dopplereffekt member Gerald Donald, is too complex for most music festivals. Not TodaysArt, a Hague festival that specialises in interdisciplinary work. At this year's edition, Donald is collaborating with two astronomers to present a multimedia show combining lectures, visualised astronomical data and new music from the Drexciya and Dopplereffekt member. DJ Earl's footwork, complete with accompanying dancers, sits side by side with crossover electronic acts like Pantha Du Prince and Nosaj Thing. There's a darker side to the bill as well, with SØS Gunver Ryberg and Paula Temple providing their signature strains of bleak mechanics.
RA Pick: Klara Lewis's powerful audiovisual live shows will suit TodaysArt to a tee.
The Source Music Resort, Marrakech, Morocco
September 16 - September 18
As recently as 12 months ago, the idea of Helena Hauff, Objekt, Hunee and Margaret Dygas playing at an electronic music festival in Marrakech would've seem farfetched—those kinds of artists rarely come to Morocco, and certainly not all together at the same time. Oasis only launched last year, but a lot has changed ahead of the second edition: it has a new home (The Source, a music-focused resort near Marrakech with views of the Atlas Mountains) and a lineup that's more adventurous than its first showing. For local DJs and punters this presents a unique opportunity to check out artists who have never played in Morocco before. For foreign guests, it's a chance to kill several birds with one stone—tick Morocco off your bucket list and catch some quality music in a wonderful location.
RA Pick: Floating in a pool listening to Motor City Drum Ensemble sounds like the ticket.
Outside London, UK
September 2 - September 5
RA's Dominic Kocur described the crowd at Fiend Maneuvers as "one huge extended family" when he visited the festival two years ago. It's added room for an extra 300 people since then, but with a current capacity of 800, Field Maneuvers is still about as small as UK festivals get. Looking at its lineup, though, you wouldn't guess this was the case. Year after year—the festival is now in its fourth—Field Maneuvers has locked down a killer selection of top-tier house and techno talent, combining international heavyweights with more underground word-of-mouth favourites—all to be enjoyed with a few hundred newfound friends. Ryan Elliott, Ben Sims and The Black Madonna are some of the bigger names this time around, sharing the bill with local heroes like Bake, Elgato, Andy Blake and Jane Fitz.
RA Pick: Sweden's Kornél Kovács has a glistening house sound perfectly suited to such intimate settings.
September 14 - September 18
Changes are afoot at Reworks, Greece's best-loved electronic music festival. It's been extended to five days (from the usual three) for the first time, and has announced Reworks Agora, a new programme of workshops, panels and talks. Held across a number of quirky Thessaloniki venues (including the labyrinth-like Mylos multicultural complex), Reworks has been a beacon of stability in the midst of nation-wide economic woes. Its lineups are typically drawn from the tried-and-tested upper echelons of house and techno—David August, Anja Schneider, Ben Klock and Michael Mayer all play this year—so you can always trust it to bring the goods.
RA Pick: Be sure to catch Kobosil's first set in Greece.
Fort Punta Christo, Pula, Croatia
August 31 - September 4
Soundsystem music of all flavours and eras has a home at Outlook festival. The daylight hours are dominated by dub and reggae soundtracking the gorgeous Croatian coastline, and the soundsystems at the various stages around the site are second to none. Over the years, Outlook has turned into something of an institution for fans of syncopated, sub-heavy music, but the combination of setting, curation and production expands its appeal far beyond the heads. Pillars of UK dance music history are in abundance: Goldie leads a drum & bass clinic on the Metalheadz boat cruise, while Mala, El-B and DJ Q represent the finest that dubstep, 2-step and bassline have to offer. But it's not a victory lap for the heroes of yesteryear. Young guns like Novelist and Stormzy make appearances too, and RA's boat party features the cream of grime's new crop in the form of Kahn and Neek.
RA Pick: Detboi is becoming one of the fiercest producers in drum & bass.
The Garden Tisno, Croatia
September 1 - September 5
These past couple of years have seen a renewed appreciation for the digger DJ—the kind of person who peppers their sets with unusual music from across the globe. Selectors is a festival that celebrates these DJs. It's a Dekmantel operation, and like everything the Amsterdam collective puts its name to, it's at heart a Dutch affair, which means they've lined up some of their home country's best crate diggers—think Intergalactic Gary, Antal, I-F, Tako and Young Marco—alongside other heads like MCDE, Lena Willikens, Sassy J and the Invisible City Sound System. And it's all happening at The Garden Tisno in Croatia, a safe bet for the cosy-yet-sunny atmosphere that Selectors is gunning for.
RA Pick: The current generation of diggers owe a lot to the likes of Nick The Record and Beppe Loda, so be sure to check them out.
Camp Kennybrook, Monticello, New York
September 16 - September 18
First things first: Sustain-Release isn't actually a festival, at least not according to its organizers, Aurora Halal and Zara Wladawsky. It's easy to see why they'd want to avoid that term. Far from a big, expensive, multi-stage party, Sustain-Release is an intimate three-day event at Camp Kennybrook, a summer camp in Upstate New York. Its bill includes international acts—Lena Willikens, Shanti Celeste, Dr Rubinstein—but is deeply rooted in a community of young DJs and producers who live (or have lived) in New York, like Anthony Naples, DJ Richard and Lovers Rock founder Ital (who also helps run the event). In his glowing review of last year's edition, Matt McDermott said Sustain-Release felt "like a group effort to which everyone contributed... driven by a core crowd of close friends and co-conspirators." That's about as close to a rave ideal as you're likely to get these days, which is probably why Sustain-Release has made such a splash.
RA Pick: As a key inspiration for the crew behind Sustain-Release, DJ Sprinkles might be their most significant booking.
Naeba Greenland, Niigata, Japan
Labyrinth has a reputation for bringing out the best in the artists it books. There are a few reasons why this happens. First, there's the setting—a woody, candle-lit slope in the mountains of Japan's Naeba Greenlands—which is sure to put anyone in a poetic mood. Then there's the extraordinary attention to detail, from the legendary Funktion-One soundsystem to the meticulously assembled running order, which, with only one stage, forms a kind of tasting menu of techno and ambient sounds. Then there's the boundless enthusiasm of the crowd, classic catnip for any performer. But perhaps the main reason Labyrinth's artists always bring their A-game is this: for them, as much as for anyone else there, this is one of the best weekends of the year. They look forward to (and prepare for) it for months on end, and savour every moment when it finally arrives. And so, by the time it's their turn to step up to the teepee, they've never been more in the mood.
RA Pick: For Japan's best techno festival, who better than Japan's best techno DJ? We're talking about DJ Nobu, of course.