We see what's happening around the world in October.
Shi Fu Miz Festival
Sai Yuen Farm, Hong Kong, China
October 27 - October 28
October comes as a relief in Hong Kong, marking the beginning of the mild season following a hot and humid summer. A nice time of year, in other words, to spend a couple days dancing to breezy house and disco by the beach, which is exactly what you do at Shi Fu Miz, a festival hosted by Hong Kong creative agency FuFu and La Mamie's from France. Taking place at Sai Yuen Farm, a camping park on the southwestern tip of Cheung Chau, the two-day festival combines international artists like Ben UFO and Josey Rebelle with DJs from across East Asia, like Hong Kong's Mr. Ho or DJ Bowlcut and Airbear from Seoul.
RA Pick: Bradley Zero does well in such sun-kissed settings.
Messe Düsseldorf, Germany
October 13 - October 14
Awakenings and Time Warp make for a fearsome alliance. Both have been dominant forces on the European techno circuit for years, each becoming synonymous with gargantuan warehouse venues, eye-popping production and stacked lineups. Based in Amsterdam and Mannheim respectively, they've chosen to meet in the middle—Düsseldorf's Messe hall is a typically cavernous setting, which will see stars from both camps sparring over the course of a single evening. New school names like Charlotte De Witte and Amelie Lens face off with old hands Ricardo Villalobos and Adam Beyer, mixed with a dash of purist techno from the likes of Rødhåd and Marcel Dettmann.
RA Pick: The ascendant Charlotte De Witte is sure to bring her A-game.
Theatro Circo, Braga, Portugal
October 26 - October 28
Despite its unassuming size, with each passing year Semibreve becomes harder to ignore. In fact, the beautiful but intimate confines of Braga's city centre and the modest crowd sizes are a big part of Semibreve's appeal—you quickly recognise faces, and the consistent strength of the performances heightens the sense of shared experience. Who better to reinforce that feeling than reclusive geniuses like Grouper, who's making a rare trip to Portugal for the occasion? Add this to rising acts like Caterina Barbieri and Sarah Davachi, and you've got one of Europe's strongest festivals for experimental music.
RA Pick: Robin Fox's mind-bending laser show.
Lingotto Fiere, Turin, Italy
October 12 - October 13
Movement Torino is one of Italy's favourite electronic music festivals, and for good reason. Each edition assembles a star-studded lineup of house and techno acts past and present, who descend upon the massive Lingotto Fiere complex for two nights of high-energy raving. As the sister festival to Movement Detroit, a US dance music institution, Movement Torino welcomes a strong Motor City contingent, which this year includes DJ Bone, Derrick May and the Underground Resistance project Depth Charge, alongside a raft of European heavyweights like Solomun, Amelie Lens and Nina Kraviz.
RA Pick: Sparks will fly when Mark Flash and Mike Banks link up as Depth Charge.
Østre, Bergen, Norway
October 27 - November 4
Bergen, a city of half a million people (Skatebård and Erlend Øye among them), has long punched above its weight. Ekko Festival is a case in point. Now in its 15th year, it books just 30 or so artists for a weeklong series of 200-capacity club nights, and yet its curatorial vision is tight enough to make it a key node of electronic music in Scandinavia. This year's programme includes one of the most careful selections of international guests you'll find at any festival all year, with Deena Abdelwahed, Karen Gwyer, JASSS, Marie Davidson, Hieroglyphic Being and Legowelt joining a cast of local DJs and live acts.
RA Pick: Leftfield Norwegian synth pop duo Smerz.
October 11 - October 13
People outside of Spain might not have heard of Vitoria-Gasteiz, but the Basque capital is a hidden gem, with well-preserved medieval streets, two cathedrals and a strong tradition in the arts. Since 2015, Mugako, one of the country's leading techno and experimental events, has been attracting ravers and music nerds from all over Europe to enjoy intense, provocative performances at one of two striking venues: Artium, the Contemporary Art Museum Of The Basque Country, and Kubik, a 500-capacity club with an electric atmosphere. It helps, of course, that the lineups have been consistently excellent. This year there's a nice spread of eye-grabbing headliners (Blawan, Skee Mask, Avalon Emerson back-to-back with JASSS) as well as intriguing domestic talents (Parallax, Alicia Carrera).
RA Pick: It has to be JASSS and Avalon Emerson's five-hour set.
October 12 - October 14
No Bounds is, according to Joe Muggs, a festival built around Sheffield's "very particular and special appreciation of electronic music." Given the Steel City's storied past—Cabaret Voltaire, Warp Records etc.—that's a pretty enticing prospect. But the city-wide event, run by Liam "Lo Shea" O'Shea, isn't about rehashing former glories. With dozens of artists spread across eight venues (including a swimming pool), it's a three-day smorgasbord of bleeding-edge music and art, spanning everything from killer club DJs and in-your-face live acts to avant-garde choirs and underwater installations. Highlights this year are too many to mention, but here's a taste: Batu, Demdike Stare, Paula Temple, Volvox, object blue and DJ Storm.
RA Pick: Hope Works is the heart of No Bounds, and on Saturday night RA is taking over the industrial venue alongside the likes of Daniel Avery, Giant Swan, rRoxymore and Machine Woman.
This year, Bristol's Simple Things festival is taking a new approach, splitting its one-day programme into two parts: a daytime portion, spread across the city, focused on live acts, and a six-room nighttime event at Lakota geared towards electronic music. After dark, the impressive DJ lineup includes electro specialists Helena Hauff and DJ Stingray, smartbar favourite Eris Drew, recent Art of DJing subject Jane Fitz and the London-based digger Mafalda. The live programme has plenty on offer too, whether you prefer to sweat (Giant Swan) or sway (Slowdive).
RA Pick: Tirzah, the artist behind one of the year's most charming pop records.
October 17 - October 22
As cities across the globe struggle to maintain sustainable nightlife cultures, envious glances are cast toward Amsterdam. The city is home to 24-hour club licenses, a pro-dance music night mayor and a rich network of nightclubs, DJs, record shops, labels and festivals. The foundational slab for this thriving culture is Amsterdam Dance Event, which for 23 years has been welcoming industry professionals from across the globe to the Dutch capital for a week of parties, workshops, panels and more. With each passing year, the statistics become more staggering: in 2018 more than 2,500 artists will perform to an estimated 400,000 people across 200 locations. At this year's daytime conference you can catch Vladimir Ivkovic and Lena Willikens chatting about their favorite records and a panel about the importance of ear protection hosted by Dave Clarke, and an entire programme devoted to sustainability, innovation and social change (ADE Green). The nighttime schedule, meanwhile, makes use of every party-primed space in Amsterdam, from De School to Central Station.
RA Pick: We're back at RADION on Saturday night for the third successive year.
October 7 - October 15
"What does it mean to be present in a world of media saturation, where reality can be virtual or augmented, intelligence made artificial? How should we exist in an age of self display, anxiety, cryptocurrencies, robotic technologies, data harvesting, discriminative algorithms, disinformation, social media bots and conspiracy theories?" Every edition of Unsound ponders weighty questions like these, both in its daytime talks and, more subtly, its music programme (this year is specifically probing the idea of "presence"). But as intellectually charged as it may seem, the festival provides an experience much dreamier than its conceptual side might suggest. Unsound happens just as autumn takes hold of Kraków, and its venues are mostly connected by short walks down cobblestone streets. The eight-day programme is expertly paced, with a week of film screenings, panels and evening concerts followed by a weekend of long nights at Hotel Forum, a multi-room venue that becomes home to countless mutations of club sounds from around the world. But perhaps the most valuable part of Unsound is the environment of boundless creativity it creates. Safe in the assumption that their audience will follow them, artists go further than they would anywhere else—an exciting prospect when the lineup includes names like SOPHIE, Powder, Deena Abdelwahad and Olof Dreijer.
RA Pick: A tribute performance to the late Jóhann Jóhannsson, who skipped the 2016 Academy Awards to play at Unsound Adelaide.
See our full festival listings for October right here.