Here are ten of our favourites from around the world in September.
Boston, United States of America
September 23 - September 30
For any dance music fan from an American city outside the major hubs, Boston's club scene will have familiar elements: a tight network of dedicated heads throwing small events, doing their best to work around the obstacles of a city not suited to their culture. But the city has always found a way to throw killer parties, 2 AM curfews be damned. Together Festival shows this scene punching well above its weight, presenting a week-long series of intimate and inspired events (in September this year, instead of May) at venues across Boston and neighbouring Cambridge and Somerville. Floorplan, Palms Trax and Jon Hopkins kick off the lineup announcement for the festival's ninth edition.
RA Pick: Modern luminary Jon Hopkins is sure to be a highlight.
Alter Schlachthof, Eupen, Belgium
September 7 - September 9
With a minimum of fuss, Belgium's Meakusma has become a leading light in Europe's experimental festival circuit. Its curators show an understanding of how dance music intersects with the avant-garde, something that many festivals gesture towards without fully achieving. The latter side of this year's programme is particularly inspiring, featuring pivotal abstractionists like Christina Kubisch and Asmus Tietchens alongside free-jazz titans Peter Brötzmann and Heather Leigh. Pair this with Lena Willikens, Jay Glass Dubs and a Timedance showcase, and you've covered a fascinating spectrum of contemporary music, danceable and otherwise.
RA Pick: Post-industrial pioneers Steven Stapleton and Christoph Heemann bring out the best in each other.
London, United Kingdom
August 31 - September 3
As festivals get bigger, slicker and pricier, it's important to appreciate the outfits keeping it low-key. The team behind Field Maneuvers, a weekend-long event that channels the spirit of free '90s raves, is one such crew. After five successful years, the festival has retained its cosy feel, bringing acts like Ben Sims, Ryan Elliott and Jane Fitz to play for dancers who seem to know every person in the crowd by the time Monday morning rolls around. This year's lineup is as good as ever, with slots for rRoxymore, K-HAND and Dr. Rubinstein, along with a new 24-hour ambient cafe.
RA Pick: You can always expect a spellbinding set from Jane Fitz.
Nile Discovery Beach, Jinja, Uganda
September 6 - September 9
Putting on a festival in Uganda is no easy task. As Nyege Nyege's founders explained last year, party essentials, from portaloos to CDJs, are in short supply on the shores of the Nile. But the festival's global reputation is growing fast, thanks to its position at the heart of a blossoming electronic music scene in East Africa. At its 2018 edition, you'll be able to hear everything from Tuareg wedding music to Kenyan lingala, as well as international guests like Juliana Huxtable, Jlin and Errorsmith, plus Nyege Nyege favourites Kampire, Otim Alpha and Nihiloxica.
RA Pick: Tanzanian singeli music will again be well-represented, with one of the genre's pioneers, Rehema Tahiri, playing Nyege Nyege for the first time.
Fix Factory, Thessaloniki, Greece
September 20 - September 24
It's hard to get to the top. It's even harder to stay there. The team behind Reworks, Greece's best-loved dance music festival, knows this well, having steered their event through some of the most trying economic conditions imaginable during its 14-year lifetime. They've done it the simple way, by putting on great parties with great DJs in great locations. Fix Factory, a harbourside concert and club space, again hosts the action, which this year means sets from high-flyers like Nina Kraviz and Mano Le Tough alongside locals like Ison, Tendts and Future Of Matter. A trip to Reworks means the same things it did back in 2005: good weather, good music and good times.
RA Pick: Daphni's sunny house and disco.
Fellah Hotel, Marrakech, Morocco
September 14 - September 16
Oasis's lineup has been impressive from its first edition in 2015, when it booked DJ Harvey to headline. Still, this year's programme has a depth of talent that eclipses its previous events: Avalon Emerson, Ben Klock, Carl Cox, Rødhåd, Gideön, Peggy Gou, Powder, Larry Heard and Honey Dijon are just a few of the eye-catching international acts, while Moroccan DJs like Unes, Kali G., Fassi, LasriZ and Amine K bring the local flavour. Pleasingly, the festival is expanding its overall offering, this year collaborating with The Museum Of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) to "bring a genuine slice of Moroccan art, history and culture" to the grounds of the Fellah Hotel in Marrakech.
RA Pick: DJ Koze soundtracking a dance floor with the Atlas Mountains on the horizon will be as dreamy as it sounds.
Kasteel van Horst, Holsbeek, Belgium
September 7 - September 9
Sadly, all great things come to an end. After this year's fifth edition, HORST, a cosy celebration of art, music and architecture in the Belgian countryside, will call it quits. That means there's only one more chance to experience this smart young festival, which goes down at Kasteel van Horst, a 15th-century castle that, according to last year's review, "belongs in a children's fairytale." For the finale, the team is going all out, extending the event by one day and adding a third stage. The lineup is massive, featuring the likes of Josey Rebelle, DJ Sports, Hunee, I-F, DJ Bone, Octo Octa and DJ Python. Also watch out for the stage designed by Atelier Bow-Wow, one of Tokyo's most forward-thinking architecture firms.
RA Pick: Who better to soundtrack HORST's closing moments than Motor City Drum Ensemble.
Fort Punta Christo, Pula, Croatia
September 5 - September 10
Few events represent UK soundsystem culture better than Outlook Festival. Just look at this year's mammoth bill: Andy C, David Rodigan, J Hus, Goldie, Digital Mystikz, DJ Storm, Slimzee, Stefflon Don... The list goes on and on, spanning eras and genres. But a lineup is nothing without the infrastructure to bring it to life. Fort Punta Christo, a rocky, sun-kissed paradise on the Adriatic Coast, is home to several of the world's best arenas for sub-heavy dance music, from Mungo's Hi Fi and The Moat to the 2,000-year old Roman amphitheatre in Pula. Put simply: if you love jungle or hip-hop, grime or drum & bass, Outlook is a must.
RA Pick: Jump aboard our boat party with Pinch, Hops, Orson and more on Saturday afternoon.
Naeba Greenland, Niigata, Japan
September 22 - September 24
What's left to say about techno's most beloved boutique festival? Since evolving from a secluded psytrance haven into the pinnacle of modern techno, Labyrinth has inspired other festivals the world over. From the spiral portal sound of residents Donato Dozzy and Peter Van Hoesen to the flawless production, thoughtful crowd and stunning mountainside location, the Labyrinth blueprint remains a symbol of excellence that has inspired a generation of newcomers since it came of age almost a decade ago. As ever, no lineup has been announced yet, but rest assured that the organisers craft one of the world's top festival experiences, year in, year out. For some, the journey to Japan's Naeba Greenland has become an annual pilgrimage, and it remains a rite of passage for any techno fan.
RA Pick: It's almost a cliché to recommend Donato Dozzy at Labyrinth, but the Italian maestro has been on top form as of late.
Camp Kennybrook, Monticello, United States of America
September 13 - September 16
Rave promo text isn't something that usually gets a lot of love, but the writeup for this year's Sustain-Release is worth a read, especially if you want a sense of what makes this weekend-long party special. From basketball, canoeing and "a dubby BBQ in the woods," to "rapid-fire rave euphoria" from artists like DJ Nobu, DJ Stingray, Legowelt and Mama Snake, this end-of-summer ritual at Camp Kennybrook in Upstate New York has a vibe that's entirely its own, and that, for some, hits the rave sweet spot better than just about anything else out there. On the one hand, it's distinctly DIY, with drinks served over wooden fold-out tables and a basketball court as the main stage. But it's also exquisitely curated, meticulously programmed and near flawlessly executed, a triumph for independent events. Just five years in, Sustain-Release is already at the top of its game.
RA Pick: The thought of Josey Rebelle closing the Bossa stage with no fixed end time on Monday morning is enough to give you goosebumps.
See our full festival listings for September right here.