We see what's looking good around the world in August.
Forte Santiago da Barra, Viana do Castelo, Portugal
August 9 - August 12
Whether it's atmospheric techno or laid-back disco, most records sound better by the sea. That helps explain why Neopop, an annual festival at the stunning Castelo Santiago Da Barra, is one of Portugal's most-loved events. Its lineup skews towards techno, this year taking in heady acts like DJ Nobu and Paula Temple, but there are also plenty of housier sounds on offer, with Ricardo Villalobos, Solomun and KiNK just a few of the artists locked in. For a summertime rave with the coastal breeze at your back, look no further than Neopop.
RA Pick: Freddy K, a revered Italian techno veteran whose crates are full of psychedelic bombs.
Suvilahti Power Plant, Helsinki, Finland
August 10 - August 12
If past reports are any indication, Flow Festival's "carefully curated selection of restaurants" would probably be enough to lure people in each each year. But ultimately they're only one of many things this Helsinki event does exceptionally well. Taking place in Suvilahti Power Plant, a sprawling complex possessed of extraordinary venues like Bright Balloon 360° Stage, Flow Festival presents an exquisite blend of classy pop music and more niche sounds. This year's marquee names include the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Patti Smith and Ms Lauryn Hill, while over on RA's Front Yard stage you've got Zip, Moodymann, Egyptian Lover and Detroit In Effect among others. Throw in a few "steaming plates of pearl barley risotto" and you're laughing.
RA Pick: The dazzlingly enigmatic Fever Ray.
Kraftwerk Berlin, Berlin, Germany
August 22 - August 27
It's now been five years since the rebooted Berlin Atonal festival began programming music at Kraftwerk, the colossal space above Tresor. While its brand has taken an increasingly international turn, the sound and aesthetic of the event has remained remarkably consistent. Synergies of techno, industrial and fathoms-deep ambient remain the programme's bedrock (it's no surprise, then, that the Downwards school of Regis, Surgeon and Samuel Kerridge are returning again in 2018). Flecks of colour are creeping into the mix, too. Beatrice Dillon, Hiro Kone and Lucrecia Dalt are just a few of the acts playing live this year, while Veronica Vasicka, Courtesy and Helena Hauff set the tone for the DJ lineup.
RA Pick: Giant Swan are a force of nature onstage.
Zrce Beach, Pag Island, Croatia
August 19 - August 23
For a few days in August, Zrće Beach becomes the best place in the world to hear minimal dance music. Many of the style's top names, which this year include Raresh, Nicolas Lutz, Binh and Sonja Moonear, descend upon Kalypso, a tropical-themed beach club with a soundsystem perfectly tuned for stripped-back beats. Whenever you're after something more immediate, heavy-hitting house and techno can be found nearby, with Chris Liebing, The Martinez Brothers and Sven Väth all confirmed across Zrće Beach's other clubs. Where much of the year Zrće Beach hosts rowdy crowds and big sounds, Sonus offers something more refined.
RA Pick: Sonja Moonear's tough minimal sets Kalypso on fire.
August 22 - August 26
MUTEK is a longtime staple of the electronic music festival circuit, but 2018 sees the franchise trying to buck old habits. It's joined the Keychange initiative, and is launching with a two-day symposium promising "provocative and practical content" for empowering women in creative spheres. It's also making a point of representing the staggering breadth of female artists working in electronic music today. Young talents like Charlotte Bendiks, Caterina Barbieri, Machine Woman and RAMZi all take wildly different approaches, but represent some of the best of electronic music in 2018, female or otherwise.
RA Pick: Expect an intense but beautiful live set from JASSS.
August 15 - August 20
Waking Life describes itself as a place where "the boundaries of time and space are limitless." That may sound fanciful, but it's a genuine aim of the festival's organisers, a young, energetic team determined to build something that will last. The painstakingly crafted festival site helps conjure an otherworldly atmosphere. So, too, does Waking Life's secluded location near Crato, a gorgeous medieval town around three hours' drive from Lisbon. Minimal techno and melodic house are staples, but this year you'll also be able to hear singular acts like DJ Marcelle, Vladimir Ivkovic and Kamaal Williams.
RA Pick: Donna Leake's dreamy selections will sound even better by Waking Life's glittering lake.
Fort Punta Christo, Pula, Croatia
August 29 - September 3
Hats off to the Dimensions team and their restless spirit. In the seven years they've been running their festival in Croatia, they've never stopped looking for ways to improve and expand—as if hosting thousands of ravers across multiple days in a 200-year-old fort wasn't enough. 2018's hot new addition is Zerostrasse, an underground network of tunnels near the main site built in the first world war. Resident Advisor will host the only two events down there, featuring the likes of Volvox, Josh Cheon, Batu and Anastasia Kristensen. Of course, that's just a pinprick of the total programme, which sees everyone from Kraftwerk, Nina Kraviz, Nils Frahm, Jlin and DJ Stingray play in moats, on boats and inside a 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheatre.
RA Pick: Ilian Tape's man of the moment, Skee Mask.
Amsterdamse Bos, Amsterdam, Netherlands
August 1 - August 6
Is this year's Dekmantel lineup its most out-there yet? Long gone are the days when the Amsterdam outfit focused on house, disco and techno. This year's festival is a smorgasbord of electronic music's many types of talent: think crowd-pullers (Four Tet, Jamie xx, Helena Hauff), experimental heroes (Yasuaki Shimizu, Tangerine Dream, Laraaji), cult favourites (Xosar, Tolouse Low Trax, Gesloten Cirkel) and bubbling talent (JASSS, Or:la, Dazion). And if you're inconsolable that Dekmantel favourites Hunee and Antal aren't on the bill this year, fear not: there's always the Dekmantel-run Selectors festival, which takes place in Tisno, Croatia, three weekends later.
RA Pick: Powder, who's so in-demand right now she's quit her day job in Tokyo to focus on music full-time.
Bungalowdorf Olganitz, Cavertitz, Germany
August 3 - August 8
Seen at any other time of year, the site of Germany's Nachtdigital festival would seem perfectly unremarkable: a lake, a cluster of bungalows, a patch of sand one would never imagine to be the main dance floor for one of Europe's best festivals. But for that first weekend in August, this stretch of countryside between Leipzig and Dresden becomes a world unto itself, transformed by Nachtdigital's 200 or so volunteers into a kind of ravers' summer camp. Following last year's 20th anniversary edition, the beloved DIY party enters its third decade with the same plucky spirit that always set it apart, bringing adventurous artists like rRoxymore, Beatrice Dillon and Demdike Stare to its sun-dappled spot in Saxony.
RA Pick: If Ben UFO is coming all the way out there just for an ambient set, you know he'll have something special prepared.
Houghton Hall, Kings Lynn, United Kingdom
August 9 - August 12
Every now and then, a festival comes along and sends shockwaves through the scene. Sure, Houghton sounded amazing on paper—four days of music curated by Craig Richards at a country house in the woods—but no one could have predicted the reports would be so gushing. In his review, Stephen Titmus called it a "surreal rave utopia," a perfect storm of excellent music, breathtaking surroundings and minimal phone signal. For 2018, Richards and the team behind Gottwood Festival, who produce Houghton, will look to build on year one, without deviating too far from the winning formula. Many of last year's acts will return, including Ricardo Villalobos, Andrew Weatherall, Sonja Moonear, Magda, Margaret Dygas and Nicolas Lutz, while the likes of Jane Fitz, Zip and Objekt make their debuts. Just as he did in 2017, Richards will play multiple sets. "Everyone who performs will be given a chance to shine," he said, "and everyone who attends will be treated to the best of everything."
RA Pick: We'd be lying if we chose anything other than Craig Richards back-to-back with Ricardo Villalobos.
See our full festival listings for August right here.