We take a look at some of the best festivals happening in July.
Gunnersbury Park, London, UK
July 13 - July 14
When thousands of Londoners watched Frank Ocean's headline performance in Victoria Park on a warm summer evening last July, no one would have guessed that Lovebox would be saying goodbye to its long-time home. But with this year's shakeup of the London festival circuit, Lovebox has a new venue for 2018: West London's Gunnersbury Park. One thing that hasn't changed is the festival's ability to balance dance music winners (Peggy Gou, Bicep, Annie Mac, Motor City Drum Ensemble) with crowd-pulling headliners, who this year include Childish Gambino, N.E.R.D and Skepta.
RA Pick: Everyone's eyes will be on man-of-the-moment Donald Glover, AKA Childish Gambino.
Parc des Etangs/Vijverspark, Anderlecht, Belgium
You know you're in safe hands with a techno institution like Fuse at the helm. The Brussels club has been at it for two decades now and can claim a legitimate part in Belgian techno history. There are "guaranteed no fireworks" at the second edition of Crossroads—this is a team placing emphasis on substance over style. Which isn't to say Crossroads is without flair: it takes place under a motorway outside Brussels with a lineup that nods to wormhole techno (Jeff Mills), electro (Helena Hauff), narcotic minimal (Praslesh) and sunshine house (Tornado Wallace) without breaking a sweat.
RA Pick: DJ Nobu traversing the void.
Freqs Of Nature
Militärflugplatz, Brandenburg, Germany
July 4 - July 9
Freqs Of Nature has described as a playground for adults, which feels like an appropriate description. Organisers enlist hundreds of volunteers to build highly detailed arenas that border on the otherworldly, dividing a former Russian airbase into six stages covering techno, experimental, bass, ambient and psytrance. Whether you're raving to a backdrop that feels like something out of The Jungle Book or dozing at a sleep concert inside a massive hanger, Freqs Of Nature is a unique festival experience. And with techno hypnotists like Mark Ernestus, Dasha Rush and Mike Parker on the bill, you can expect things to get trippy.
RA Pick: Cio D'Or is back after a break from DJing—see how the loop techno veteran earned her legendary reputation.
The Peacock Society
Parc Floral De Paris, Paris, France
July 6 - July 8
As long as the Earth spins on its axis, people will gather together in large numbers and lose themselves to loud dance music. That simple yet powerful truth is the guiding principal of The Peacock Society, a festival that is all about stripping back the rave experience to its fundamental elements: good people, massive venues, booming sound and brilliant music. Everything about the Paris event is executed to a ridiculously high standard, not least the lineup, which this year includes the usual mix of giants (Laurent Garnier, Richie Hawtin, Solomun, Tale Of Us), heads (RPR Soundsystem, Dr Rubinstein, DJ Nobu) and intriguing back-to-backs (Joy Orbison and Kornél Kovács, KiNK and Gerd Janson).
RA Pick: If you haven't had the full Amelie Lens experience, this is the place to do it.
July 26 - July 29
Norberg is the last word in Scandinavia's experimental, interdisciplinary festival scene. Since 1999, they've turned a decommissioned mine and power station into a playground for outré electronics, working with a minimal intervention ethos to emphasise the stark grandeur of the site. The evocative setting reinforces the programming, which is often thought-provoking and always daring. This year is marked by a trove of Nordic artists pushing a face-melting brand of hardcore techno, trance and noise, with Fast Forward's Schacke, Sella Turcica and Ida Engelhardt among the highlights. But there's a host of sounds from further afield, too, with Nkisi, Ziúr and N.M.O. presenting three distinct takes on hyper-modern dance.
RA Pick: Amidst the noise, Lucy Railton's modern concrète will glimmer like a jewel.
July 6 - July 9
Like all great festivals, Bass Coast keeps its local scene close—as Andrew Ryce once put it, it remains "doggedly committed to nurturing its local community while earning its place on the world stage." Taking place each year in the natural landscapes of British Columbia, the event deftly blends international acts—Ikonika, dBridge and Mala being a few of this year's—with ones from closer to home, like Silent Season, DJ D.Dee and Daega Sound. And yet, in another clear sign of a great festival, the music is only part of the picture: set in the natural splendor of the Nicola Valley, filled with elaborately costumed people who all seem to know each other by the end of the weekend, Bass Coast is not just a festival, but an annual ritual.
RA Pick: Few artists will be more in their element here than Canadian disco selector Dane.
Baskerville Hall, Hay-on-Wye, United Kingdom
July 6 - July 9
Beloved as it is, Freerotation sometimes gets a bad rap, mischaracterized as an exclusive playground for artists and music industry people. Nothing could be further from the truth. Steevio, who runs the event with his partner Suzybee, found occasion to explain this in our comments section earlier this year. A non-profit run by "working class people from the free-party scene" which offers a flat fee for all artists and sets aside a third of its tickets for first-time attendees, Freerotation is as close to a rave ideal as you're likely to get these days. That's before you even get to the exceptional music programming, which this year combines regulars like Leif, Move D and the Hessle Audio crew with eye-catching newcomers like Mathew Jonson and Stanislav Tolkachev.
RA Pick: After last year, all eyes will be on DJ Bus Replacement Service.
Uchiyama Farm Camping Site, Nagano, Japan
July 14 - July 16
rural has taken place at several different locations these past ten years, but most regulars agree that Uchiyama Camping Village, located high in the mountains of Nagano prefecture, is the most idyllic. As with other Japanese festivals like Labyrinth and Rainbow Disco Club, rural has a distinct style of curation—in this case a mixture of techno, UK bass and ambient. Newcomers this year include Vladimir Ivkovic and Antenes, while Jane Fitz and Solar return after impressing at previous editions. Japanese artists Akiko Kiyama and Ena will debut their live collaboration at the festival, while DJ Nobu will be appearing for the eighth year in a row.
RA Pick: Antenes performing with her modular rig constructed from telephone switchboards, to a backdrop of mountain peaks.
Bygrave Woods, Newnham, United Kingdom
July 5 - July 8
What started in 2009 as a small gathering of friends is now one of the UK's best-loved small festivals. Held over four days at Bygrave Woods in Hertfordshire, Farr Festival combines world-class music with the tranquil surrounds of the Farr Forest, originally planted in the 1980s as an orchard for wild animals. This year will be the festival's biggest yet, hosting five stages soundtracked by some of the best DJs around. Like all great festivals, Farr's organisers prioritise the comfort of their guests—who they lovingly dub "Woodland Warriors"—and have arranged just the thing to help dancers reenergise after a long night of raving: hot tubs.
RA Pick: Willow's DJ sets dazzle as much as her productions.
Ferropolis, Gräfenhainichen, Germany
July 13 - July 16
If you want to understand why the Germans are considered some of the best in the world at throwing parties, take a trip to Melt! Festival. As you gallivant about Ferropolis, the lakeside "city of iron" that's been its home since 1999, you'll be bowled over by how fun and easy everything is. Every tiny detail has been fine-tuned to maximise the experience, something that's extremely rare for an event of this size. How many other 20,000-capacity festivals would run The Sleepless Floor, an outdoor stage with exceptional sound and killer bookings that's free to all comers, festival pass or not? For those with a wristband, the rest of the site features several striking stages showcasing the best in contemporary pop, hip-hop, rock and dance music. The xx, Tyler, The Creator and Florence + The Machine are this year's headliners, backed up by the likes of Fever Ray, Modeselektor, IAMDDB, Lanark Artefax, Ellen Allien, Inga Mauer, George Fitzgerald and many more.
RA Pick: Nina Kraviz was born to play in the shadow of Ferropolis's awe-inspiring cranes.
See our full festival listings for July right here.