Here are our favourites from the final months of 2016.
Festival Novas Frequencias
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
December 3 - December 9
At the height of summer in Rio De Janeiro, Festival Novas Frequências nurtures a sound nicely at odds with the city's sun-kissed atmosphere. Since 2011, this scrappy upstart has pursued a noble goal, presenting daring lineups built entirely from acts who'd never before played in Rio. The festival's five venues offer a range of different experiences, from Oi Futuro Ipanema, a 100-capacity seated theatre, to Leão Etíope Do Méier, a public square in the middle of the city. In 2016, Festival Novas Frequências adds another arrow to its quiver: Galpão Gamboa, a pair of adjacent three-story buildings that will host a 16-hour program of installations, A/V performances, concerts and parties. As for the lineup, it's mostly still under wraps, though the handful of acts announced so far—Mr. Mitch, J. G. Biberkopf, Xiu Xiu, Rabih Beani—give you an idea of what to expect.
RA Pick: Cosmogonia, a collaboration by Vincent Moon, Priscilla Telmon and Rabih Beaini (AKA Morphosis).
Le Mouton Noir, Verbier, Switzerland
December 9 - December 11
It's not every day you get to rave 2,200 metres above sea level. Polaris, a Swiss festival now in its second year, presents us with this rare opportunity. The event takes place at Le Mouton Noir, an après-ski spot in the Alps above Verbier. Last year's edition made a strong impression, with a cast of party-rocking DJs, and they look set to do the same again in 2016: the bill so far includes Dixon, Moodymann, Lil Louis, Richie Hawtin and Quenum. With selectors like that backdropped by a stunning panorama of snowcapped mountaintops, Polaris packs a punch.
RA Pick: It would be unwise to miss a DJ dubbed "the godfather" of a festival, which in this case would be Luciano.
Cabaret Sauvage, Paris
November 2 - November 6
While most electronic music festivals are all about DJs, Transient embraces live performance. The Parisian festival is heavy on French acts, shining a light on the underbelly of a city gaining ever-more relevance on the international club scene. Most of the action takes place in a giant, velvet-hued tent that looks like the setting for a debauched Toulouse Lautrec painting. The bill includes a spate of collaborative audiovisual sets from experimental titans Mika Vainio, Franck Vigroux, Plaid, The Bee, Ryoichi Kurosawa and Novi_Sad. Some of techno's finest DJs, such as Xhin and Luke Slater, will be spinning as well.
RA Pick: Few artists can match the intensity of Container's live set.
Le Guess Who?
TivoliVredenburg, Utrech, Netherlands
November 10 - November 13
The first edition of Utrecht festival Le Guess Who? took place within a single venue, Tivoli Oudegracht, and featured just 11 artists, all of them from Canada. A lot has changed since 2007. Spread across 13 venues, this year's lineup is mammoth and internationally-reaching, but still maintains a firm dedication to leftfield acts from across the musical spectrum. Wilco, Julia Holter, Savages and Suuns are onboard as co-curators for 2016, and the bill stretches from Jlin, DJ Nigga Fox and Laurel Halo right through to Laaraji, Tim Hecker and Raster-Noton's Kyoka.
RA Pick: Jessy Lanza's silky R&B.
Fabra I Coats, Barcelona, Spain
November 10 - November 12
In 2016, it's not unusual for a festival to position itself between experimental electronic music and digital media. It is rare, though, for one to offer a workshop inside a giant dome equipping participants with the tools to make their own 360-degree lighting installations. It's touches like this that set Barcelona's Mira Festival apart. The not-for-profit event is heavy on audio-visual performances and special collaborations. Go-to lighting designer MFO appears on three occasions, teaming up with Roly Porter and Tim Hecker along the way. A/V techno experts Lakker play the aforementioned dome. Lee Gamble and Dave Gaskarth will continue their Foldings project, which offsets Gamble's collapsing soundscapes with manipulated satellite imagery from the European Space Agency. Amidst all these hybrid projects are live sets from two of dance music's most enigmatic figures: Gesloten Cirkel and Zomby.
RA Pick: Jlin's tense footwork should nicely suit the occasion.
November 9 - November 13
When you think of France and electronic music, you probably think of Paris and Lyon. But a new scene is bubbling up in Saint-Étienne, thanks in part to a young promoter called Positive Education. After several years of throwing parties, the team launched their own festival in 2015. This year, they've more than doubled the size of the lineup, pulling together names from across techno, jungle, experimental, new wave and house. There's a solid cast of international stars—Cabaret Voltaire, Surgeon, Kowton, Peverelist, Alessandro Cortini, Hodge, Randomer—but the real strength is the homegrown talent, which includes Bambounou, The Hacker, Low Jack, In Aeternam Vale and Antinote's Zaltan.
RA Pick: Lyon's Brothers From Different Mothers label is having a moment, so don't miss this chance to catch Judaah, Pilotwings and co. out in full force.
Victorian Bush, Australia
November 17 - November 20
The "bush doof" has long been vital to party culture in Australia, and few doofs command as much respect and anticipation as Strawberry Fields. Every November, the festival descends on a swath of wilderness near the border of Victoria and New South Wales for a weekend of DJs and live acts in a setting as naturally stunning as it is surreal, thanks to the party's large-scale art installations and conceptually designed stages. Trance, the traditional bread and butter of bush doofs, has over the years ceded ground to house, techno and disco—highlights from this year's bill include Moodymann, Bradley Zero, Move D and UR DJ Assault Squad—but the festival's hippie-inspired ethos remains.
RA Pick: Tornado Wallace on home turf.
Alsisar Mahal, Rajasthan, India
December 9 - December 11
Whether they're coming from overseas or within India, most people who attend Magnetic Fields arrive at the festival site via Delhi in trains or cars. That journey alone is an adventure, taking you deep into the Rajasthan desert. The destination is Alsisar Mahal, a grand 17th-century palace-turned-hotel that serves as Magnetic Fields' HQ. The palace grounds are immaculate and its rooftop offers spectacular views, especially at sunrise and sunset, of the surrounding town and the arid landscape beyond. It's a magical setting for a festival. For its fourth edition, Magnetic Fields has put together a lineup that carefully balances international names (Floating Points, Dorian Concept, Roman Flügel, Pinch) with Indian artists like Oceantied and Prateek Kuhad.
RA Pick: Call Super, a DJ with plenty of tricks up his sleeve, will be headlining the Resident Advisor afterparty inside the palace.
Cumuruxatiba Beach, Brazil
December 26 - January 3
This year Mareh is relocating from its island home, Boipeba, to Cumuruxatiba, a tiny beachside community in Bahia on the coast of Brazil. As much as RA's Matt McDermott enjoyed the "surreal" journey to the site last year, holding the festival on the mainland, as opposed to a roadless island, should make things easier for organisers, DJs and festivalgoers. But you can fully expect Mareh's core offering—a New Year's celebration in tropical paradise soundtracked by disco—to remain firmly in place. In addition to Brazilian mainstays Carrot Green, Selvagem and Gui Scott, this year's programme features some choice international acts, including Hunee, Joakim, Lexx and the Amsterdam digger Mr Mendel, whose wonderful edit of Brazilian tune "A Gira" by Trio Ternura is bound to get a few airings.
RA Pick: Expect Hunee to arrive in Bahia with a bag full of tropical jams.
Club To Club
November 2 - November 6
Club To Club is a cornerstone of electronic music in Italy, and a strong contender for the country's best festival overall. Taking place each year in Torino, the five-day programme coincides with the city's Contemporary Art Week, which underlines its avant-garde spirit. Though DJs and dance floor moments are in no short supply, this is an event dedicated to adventurous and exploratory sounds. Just have a look at the lineup, topped this year by Autechre, Arca and the mighty Swans. Many of electronic music's best and brightest will play the festival's 16th edition, including Andy Stott, Laurel Halo, Jessy Lanza and ambient luminary Tim Hecker, while Motor City Drum Ensemble and Laurent Garnier lead the DJ bookings. Beyond the music, Club To Club offers a unique glimpse of Turin itself, with performances in former Fiat factories as well as Reggia Di Venaria, a 17th-century royal palace
RA Pick: Nan Kolè and DJ Lag bringing the South African sound of gqom to Lingotto Sala Gialla.
See our full festival listings for November and December right here.