Here's a run-down of our favourites from around the world in October.
Theatro Circo Club, Braga, Portugal
October 28 - October 30
Braga, a city in the northwest corner of Portugal, is home to fewer than 150,000 people, but it still has its fair share of electronic music connoisseurs—at least if Semibreve is anything to go by. Run by a group of local musicians, the three-day event is part of that class of European festivals that aim to present lesser-known and forward-thinking artists to audiences who might not have discovered them otherwise. Rather than stacking the bill with established names from the festival circuit, organisers bring acts like Andy Stott, Nidia Minaj, Tyondai Braxton and L.I.E.S. boss Ron Morelli to the century-old Theatre Circo for a weekend of enlightening performances.
RA Pick: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's serene live set, heard from a cosy theatre box ten metres above the stage.
HAU, Berlin, Germany
October 11 - October 16
As time goes on, more and more festivals try to incorporate non-musical elements into their programming, from panel discussions to multimedia art. Few do it as seamlessly as 3hd. The Berlin festival is a true hybrid, with visual works, installations and exhibitions as well as musical performances. You can take part in unique events such as a workshop with algorithm-wrangler and tea connoisseur TCF, who'll encourage collective thinking by creating a track in collaboration with attendees. 3hd is heavy on artists with distinctive visions, like Inga Copeland, Kara-Lis Coverdale and Aïsha Devi, but it's not all such heady fare: UNiiQU3, DJ Paypal and 食品まつり a.k.a foodman will all dish out modern takes on dance music.
RA Pick: AGF's intimate electronica is criminally underrated.
October 5 - October 9
In an age of citywide festivals full of workshops, lectures and the occasional boat party, roBOt keeps things simple. At this year's edition of the Bologna event, the main decision you'll need to make each night is which of two venues you'll be attending. There's the historic Palazzo Re Enzo, which usually hosts roBOt's most experimental acts, and there's the Bologna Fiere exhibition centre, which is where you'll likely do most of your dancing. (Finding the best penne in a city teeming with outstanding food might be a bit more difficult.) Organizers are still keeping the lineup under wraps, but take our word for it: this year's bill will be as heady as anything they've done in the past.
RA Pick: Palazzo Re Enzo, a palace built in the 13th century, is always one of roBOt's most dazzling attractions.
Mana Wynwood, Miami, USA
October 7 - October 9
The people behind III Points say they started the festival partly to defy the common view of their city. "Our artist community was thriving but the perception of Miami was stereotypical to South Beach bottles and model culture," they said. "We created III Points as a home and voice for the 'other' Miami." Now in its fourth year, the festival brings a truly eclectic cast of artists to Mana Wynwood, a multi-purpose venue on the edge of downtown. This year's bill balances house and techno DJs (Dixon, Black Coffee, Leon Vynehall, Maya Jane Coles) with performance-oriented live acts (Jessy Lanza, M83, Junior Boys, LCD Soundsystem). They're not afraid to get weird, either—Oneohtrix Point Never and Andy Stott should nicely offset the swaying palm trees. "Other" Miami, indeed.
RA Pick: Flying Lotus is DJing at this one—see what records he's messing with these days.
FAF-Building, Odense, Denmark
October 6 - October 9
Denmark's electronic music scene orbits the capital of Copenhagen, but for the last decade, locals have had to venture to the island of Fyn to catch one of the country's key festivals, Phono. The volunteer-run event takes Odense's FAF silo, an obelisk sitting at the end of a canal, and turns it into a musical petri dish. Raime will continue their transformation into a fully-fledged live band on the Saturday evening, while the unpredictable pairing of Sensational and Kruton make for a wildcard option on the Friday. Late-night, floor-focussed experiences are available too, with Trevino and perennial Detroit underdog Anthony 'Shake' Shakir DJing into the early hours.
RA Pick: Japanese industrialists Group A are sure to shock and awe.
Dom Im Berg, Graz, Austria UK
October 20 - October 23
In a year of widespread political turmoil, many festivals give people a chance to escape life's complex realities. Austria's Elevate, however, confronts these issues head-on, making political discourse a central part of its programming alongside DJs and live acts. That means in 2016 you can listen to weighty discussions about European economics and migration before catching performances from the likes of FunkinEven, DVS1, Lena Willikens, Luke Vibert and Lone. And it all goes down in a truly original venue: Dom Im Berg, a cavernous collection of tunnels and rooms carved into a mountain in the middle of Graz.
RA Pick: DJ Earl's furious footwork backed by two dancers inside an Austrian mountain? Say no more.
October 22 - October 23
From Maximum Joy to Massive Attack to dubstep and its offspring, Bristol has one of the richest musical traditions of any city in the world. It seems only right, then, that it should have a festival like Simple Things. Throwing together artists like Death Grips, Warpaint, Powell and Metronomy, Simple Things presents a cornucopia of sounds befitting of its city's tastes. There is, of course, a healthy DJ contingent as well, though it, too, is impressively varied—Tim Sweeney, Nina Kraviz, dBridge and Lena Willikens are just a few of the highlights. It all happens in a one-day whirlwind at four venues around the city, then finishes the following evening with an extraordinary encore: a concert from the master of synth-suspense, John Carpenter.
RA Pick: The Teklife showcase with DJ Spinn, Traxman, Jackie Dagger and Feloneezy.
Mexico City, Mexico
October 19 - October 23
As this film shows, Mexico City is home to a small but passionate community of electronic music lovers. For them, MUTEK.MX is a window to the global scene, a rare opportunity to catch their favourite artists on home turf. This year's edition—the 13th—will offer plenty of that, with appearances from Richie Hawtin, µ-Ziq, Holly Herndon, Powell, Jlin, Rabit, The Field, Aïsha Devi and Space Dimension Controller. But hosting international stars is only part of the five-day festival's MO. It's also a platform for Mexico and Latin America's next generation of DJs, producers and visual artists to show they can hold their own with the world's best. 2016's ones-to-watch include AAAA, Gaspar Peralta and Ecuadorian duo Nicola Cruz & Fidel Eljuri.
RA Pick: Murcof is Mexico's biggest electronic export and one of the most ambitious artists working in experimental music.
October 16 - October 23
"You don't come to Unsound only to underline what you know," the Polish festival say on their website—you go there "to discover." Coming from anyone else that would sound like a platitude, but with Unsound it's undeniably true. While other lineups reflect who's popular now, Unsound hints at who we'll be talking about next year. The program is spread over a full seven days at venues around Kraków, a quaint city on the Vistula river that's long been one of Poland's cultural hubs. The music is ambitiously varied but weirdly cohesive—this year's theme, Dislocation, connects the dots between techno (Paula Temple, Dr. Rubinstein) experimental (Senyawa, Emptyset) and, among other things, the traditional funeral music of Tajikistan (Samo). Few events can can claim to be so genuinely adventurous.
RA Pick: Australian post-punk heroes Severed Heads on the Friday night at Hotel Forum.
Amsterdam Dance Event
October 19 - 23
Amsterdam treats electronic music with the respect it deserves. The Dutch capital was among the first European cities to elect a night mayor—someone dedicated to fighting for local nightlife—and its authorities understand the widespread benefits of 24-hour licensing. This healthy situation is thanks in no small part to Amsterdam Dance Event, an annual conference that, beyond offering a week of exceptional music in an impossibly fetching canal city, helps bring credibility to our scene. 2016 marks the 21st edition of the industry gathering, which in the last two decades has managed to cultivate a serious atmosphere without forgetting that the world it serves is inherently fun. During the day, artists and industry professional hobnob at panels, discussions and workshops. At night, 1,500 DJs and live acts appear at events hosted by many of the world's most respected labels and promoters, from heavy-hitters like HYTE and Cocoon to underground outfits like Nachtdigital, the beloved German festival. Amsterdam will be buzzing, just as it is every year.
RA Pick: Naturally it's the RA party at RADION, which is happening on the Saturday night with Onur Özer, rRoxymore, Actress, map.ache and more.
You can see our full festival listings for October right here.