We run through ten of our favourites happening around the world in March.
Beat Hotel Marrakech
Fellah Hotel, Marrakech, Morocco
March 29 - April 1
What if you could have a piece of Glastonbury in a place with no need for rubber mud boots? That's what you get at Beat Hotel Marrakech, a four-day hotel party that grew out of one of the most memorable dance floors at the UK's largest festival. The Beat Hotel opened as a Glasto stage in 2011, taking inspiration from the Paris hotel where William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg liked to stay. Now they're transporting that bohemian hot-spot across the Strait of Gibraltar. The lineup boasts UK heroes like Andrew Weatherall, Gilles Peterson and James Holden, plus more recent breakthroughs like HAAi and Peach. The venue is a boutique resort dotted with palm trees 15 minutes outside Marrakech.
RA Pick: Hunee's impeccably sunny, feel-good tunes.
Zorlu Performing Arts Center, Istanbul, Turkey
March 8 - March 9
For the third year running, Sónar returns to Istanbul's Zorlu Center, the largest performing arts center in Europe. This setting will allow artists like Modeselektor and Ben Frost to play live sets limited only by their own creativity—the latter will present his "Widening Gyre" show on a 360° stage. Tried-and-true acts like Laurent Garnier and DJ Stingray will no doubt deliver, but Sónar İstanbul also looks further afield. Gqom king DJ Lag and Tunisian producer Deena Abdelwahed bring a borderless feel befitting a festival on the crossroads of Europe and Asia.
RA Pick: Deena Abdelwahed bringing her RA-recommended album, Khonnar, to life.
Knoxville, United States of America
March 21 - March 24
Knoxville, Tennessee may not spring to mind as a world leader in experimental music. But during Big Ears Festival, it becomes just that. For the past decade, Big Ears has booked 20th-century avant-garde artists alongside stand-out contemporary acts; for every Kara-Lis Coverdale or Yves Tumor, there's a trailblazer like Harold Budd. This year's concoction is particularly generous, offering inspired jazz from the Art Ensemble Of Chicago, vocal acrobatics from Joan La Barbara, and the works of Alvin Lucier interpreted by Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O'Malley.
RA Pick: Carl Stone, a massively underrated electronic music pioneer who's only now getting his due.
Days Like This
Victoria Park, Camperdown, Australia
Days Like This, a one-day event at Sydney's Victoria Park, is a beacon of hope for a scene struggling against a government that wishes it didn't exist. Bringing over 20 world-class local and international acts to green inner-city parklands for its third edition, Days Like This is one of Australia's best events for house and techno. Dancers seeking the heavy stuff can look forward to sets from Charlotte de Witte, Dusky and Sven Väth, while those after deeper tunes can enjoy Four Tet and tINI. Gates open at midday, so don't forget your sunscreen.
RA Pick: Melbourne resident CC:DISCO will rock Victoria Park.
March 6 - March 10
For the tenth year running, MUTEK's trademark programme of electronic music and audiovisual performances unfurls across Barcelona. MUTEK.ES is a thoughtful repose before the city's storm of summer festivals, with a lineup sure to please anyone who wishes to be challenged by music. Warp artist Kelly Moran and rediscovered synthesist Michele Mercure make MUTEK debuts, while Gábor Lázár and Low Jack explore oblique club sounds. Of course, a large component of MUTEK is the Nocturne parties, where Donato Dozzy, Substance and Maayan Nidam will keep the thinking person's rave going 'til dawn.
RA Pick: Two instrumental forces in UK club culture, Kode9 and Mala, reunite for a back-to-back session at Nitsa.
Pitch Music & Arts
Moyston, Victoria, Australia
March 8 - March 11
For years, when it came to underground house and techno, it felt like Europe had all the fun. That's changing for Australians, thanks to festivals like Pitch Music & Arts. Boasting what's arguably the biggest lineup in the southern hemisphere, the camping festival will bring some of the scene's most popular names to a picturesque location near the Grampians Mountains a few hours west of Melbourne. Over four days, there will be sets from a who's-who of house and techno, with DJ Harvey, Avalon Emerson and Roman Flügel among the dozens of acts confirmed.
RA Pick: Dr. Rubinstein's hypnotic techno and acid should suit the psychedelic surroundings.
London, United Kingdom
March 28 - March 31
New festivals don't usually rank so highly in this list, but Re-Textured is an exception. Why? Start with the lineup, which spans Nina Kraviz, Cabaret Voltaire, Batu, Jan Jelinek, Andy Stott, Aurora Halal, The Orb, Lena Willikens, Blawan and dozens more. Then there's Krankbrother, the team behind the event, who, with more than ten years experience running parties all over London, are better equipped than most to throw a four-day festival across multiple clubs (Village Underground, E1 London) and concert halls (Queen Elizabeth Hall). (RA will be hosting a couple nights as well, with Shackleton, Silvia Kastel and Gesloten Cirkel among others.)
RA Pick: Fatima Al Qadiri and Aïsha Devi bringing their powerful live shows to the magnificent Queen Elizabeth Hall.
February 27 - March 3
This year, Elevate is celebrating its 15th edition, which is a major milestone for any festival, let alone one pushing outer-reaches electronics and thought-provoking political discourse in a city like Graz. Never one to shy away from difficult topics, this year's theme is Truth, with the festival posing the question, "what happens to a society that no longer accepts facts?" Coincidentally, another deep-thinking institution—Hyperdub—has its own 15th birthday at the festival, featuring Lee Gamble and Nazar. The rest of the bill is as open-minded as the discourse programme, covering everything from Sunn O)))'s drone metal to Jayda G's disco and house.
RA Pick: As the artistic director of Paris's Groupe de Recherches Musicales, Kassel Jaeger is uniquely qualified to deliver sonically fascinating live performances.
Pontins, Southport, United Kingdom
March 14 - March 18
Do you consider the word "tasteful" to be a pejorative? Does 130 BPM seem sluggish? Do you own a collection of differently colored wigs? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to consider attending Bangface. The four-day festival of breakcore, techno, drum & bass and the like is one of the UK's most notorious raves, both for its music and its mischievous atmosphere. The 2019 lineup pairs long-time hardcore heroes (2 Bad Mice, Luke Vibert, Hellfish) with sets from relative newcomers like Clouds, Iglooghost and GFOTY, offering up a rainbow panorama of styles and sounds. The venue, a run-down holiday park in Southport, England, enhances the demented fairy-tale feeling. Get ready to get weird.
RA Pick: In a sea of high-tempo breakbeats and bass, Remarc stands out as an original junglist badboy.
The Hague, Netherlands
March 29 - March 31
Some festivals reinforce the status quo. Others challenge it. And a select few, such as Rewire, make it their mission to completely turn things on their head. The Hague event, which features hundreds of concerts, talks, workshops and screenings spread across venues like churches, factories and abandoned spaces, disrupts conventions by pushing artists and audiences out of their comfort zones. But the aim isn't just to shock and surprise. Above all else, Rewire is about highlighting the very best in adventurous music, which, in 2019, means everything from DJ sets by Laurel Halo and Kampire to live performances by Tirzah, Tim Hecker and guitarist Refree, one of the leading lights in Spain's new flamenco movement.
RA Pick: The Nyege Nyege Tapes showcase, featuring Otim Alpha, Kampire and the Dar Es Salaam duo Bamba Pana & Makaveli.
See our full festival listings for March right here.