We round up our favourites from around the world in April.
Durham, United States of America
April 25 - April 28
Many festivals try to take on music, art and technology in a rigorous and meaningful way. Few do it as well as Moogfest, which combines world-class electronic bookings with a music gear marketplace and a genuinely stimulating daytime component—all in the unlikely setting of Durham, North Carolina. The lineup is more focused than ever this year, balancing ambient and electroacoustic shows with house and techno parties scattered around town. Don't miss Tim Hecker's performance with the Konoyo Ensemble, which transforms traditional Japanese gagaku music into an intense drone experience. Or Lucrecia Dalt, whose performances weave abstract pop narratives. For late-night dancing, Mor Elian, Suzi Analogue and Matthew Dear are all rock-solid options.
RA Pick: Blow off steam with the scuzzy rave sounds of Minimal Violence.
La Seine Musicale, Paris, France
Between 2014 and 2016, Weather was one of Paris's best festivals, booking no-nonsense lineups that assembled heavy-hitters alongside niche favourites. It returns in 2019 after a brief hiatus, during which organisers tried to "reinvent" themselves. The aim? To showcase more French and emerging artists. Weather LSM makes good on that promise, finding slots for up-and-coming acts like Casa Voyager’s Driss Bennis, Gigsta and Deena Abdelwahed. They share the bill with established names such as Alva Noto, KiNK and Lanark Artefax.
RA Pick: Octo Octa and Eris Drew's back-to-back should light up La Seine Musicale.
April 19 - April 21
One of the most welcome developments in festival land recently has been the worldwide emergence of more intimate events. Inner Varnika, the end-of-summer bush festival that takes place in Western Victoria, is one of the best of the bunch. The concept is simple: one stage, one brain-melting lineup. This year's bill includes LNS, DJ Bone, Bjørn Torske, Mafalda and domestic luminaries Tornado Wallace, Lauren Hansom and Sleep D. Coupled with a young, up-for-it crowd, it's a formula that delivers indelible moments of musical freedom, time and time again.
RA Pick: András & Instant Peterson dishing out unknown Australian gems.
Inkonst, Malmö, Sweden
April 24 - April 28
The press text for this year's edition of Intonal opens with a series of gags that hit close to the bone. Offering ironic strategies for how to run a festival, they suggest "Don't bother actually listening to new stuff," "don't forget to analyse those likes" and "bring in the same artists as the other big festivals from the same almighty booking agencies." Against the odds, Intonal has bravely resisted these trends for five years now. The lineup avoids hyped DJs in favour of risky but more rewarding fare, such as Pan Sonic's Ilpo Väisänen, Oliver Coates and electro pioneers Aux 88.
RA Pick: Limpe Fuchs, a living legend of Germany's experimental music scene.
Harpa, Reykjavik, Iceland
April 25 - April 28
Part of the reason for Sónar's success in Barcelona is the complementary relationship between the festival and its home city—at this point, the two feel inseparable. The same goes for Sónar Reykjavik, the longest-running of the satellite editions. Iceland's singular identity courses through the three-day event, not least in terms of the programming, which does a great job spotlighting the best acts from the country's impressively broad talent pool. This year, catch the bold pop of Auður, the thumping techno of Exos or the trippy minimal house of Thorgerdur Johanna. These three, plus plenty more, will join a raft of international guests at the striking Harpa Concert Hall, with slots for Orbital, Gas, Avalon Emerson, Objekt, Yves Tumor and Richie Hawtin.
RA Pick: upsammy's otherworldly rhythms should be a great match for Reykjavik's extraterrestrial landscapes.
NDSM Docklands, Amsterdam, Netherlands
April 20 - April 21
DGTL Amsterdam is one of the slickest top-tier festivals in Europe. Its high production values, which range from the finely tuned soundsystems to the decorations covering the arenas, are some of the best you'll experience, making it an essential visit for anyone who likes raving to big tunes in big spaces. The lineup is also top-notch, with superstar DJs like Rødhåd, Moodymann and Maceo Plex locked in for 2019.
RA Pick: Be sure to soak up DMX Krew's bright techno and electro.
Sunwaves Beach, Navodari, Romania
April 25 - May 1
Sunwaves is the first and last word in narcotic, indefatigable house. The Romanian seaside marathon has become a yearly pilgrimage for locals and an ever-increasing set of international visitors drawn to the festival's signature sound, hedonistic atmosphere and relatively affordable cost. Despite celebrating 25 editions this year, the festival is impervious to change, doggedly sticking to what it does best, namely coaxing out special sets from connoisseurs like Arapu, SIT and Cezar.
RA Pick: The annual guest of honour, Ricardo Villalobos.
Rainbow Disco Club
Higashi Izu Cross Country Course, Shizuoka, Japan
April 27 - April 29
Rainbow Disco Club is a family-friendly event dedicated to the joys of dancing to disco, house and techno in the sunshine. For proof of the tight community that's sprouted up around the festival, look no further than this year's lineup. The Rush Hour Allstars (Antal, Hunee, San Proper, Masalo) make a triumphant return, DJ Nobu goes back-to-back with Wata Igarashi, and Japanese Balearic disco legend Kenji Takimi makes an appearance as well. But the familiar faces that matter most are scattered throughout the open field. It's the beaming festival regulars that make RDC one of the world's premiere open-air discos.
RA Pick: Few do disco in the sunshine better than DJ Harvey.
Huting, Hualian, Taiwan
April 26 - April 29
House and techno is a spectrum. At one end you've got the body-rocking stuff that's all about drums and drops. At the other end you've got Organik, a Taiwanese festival for people seeking transcendent musical experiences in a stunning natural setting. Taking place on a beach at a family camping park, it draws comparison to other boutique events like Freerotation or Nachtdigital, with its limited tickets (they capped at just over 1,000 last year) and heady musical program. This year they've got Ben UFO headlining, plus plenty of live sets (Dorisburg, Tolouse Low Trax) and a smattering of party-rocking DJs like Bézier and Mama Snake. If you've always wanted to visit Taiwan, why not also attend one of the most exciting independent festivals out there?
RA Pick: Düsseldorf's Tolouse Low Trax makes slow, freaked-out music that sounds like nothing else.
Maimarkthalle, Mannheim, Germany
April 6 - April 7
It's practically unheard of for a music festival to reach its 25th anniversary, so what is Time Warp's secret? World-beating artists? Dazzling sound and production? A loyal crowd? Yes, but there's more to it than that. The key ingredient is the team's unwavering dedication to a simple yet singular vision: one night, one enormous venue, dozens of the biggest house and techno artists of the moment. This helped transform Time Warp from just another mega rave into a dance music institution. As ever, the winning formula will shift slightly in 2019 to accommodate the latest crop of heavyweights. Helena Hauff, Peggy Gou, Baba Stiltz, Charlotte de Witte, Amelie Lens and Joy Orbison are all making their debuts this year, joining a long list of titans and diehard regulars at Mannheim's Maimarkthalle, from Carl Cox, Ricardo Villalobos, Nina Kraviz and The Martinez Brothers to Jamie Jones, Margaret Dygas, Adam Beyer and Sven Väth.
RA Pick: It's got to be Helena Hauff back-to-back Nina Kraviz.
See our full festival listings for April right here.