Here are ten of the best festivals happening around the world in August.
August 24 - August 25
Now in its third year, Brave! Factory Festival is an ambitious project from the team behind Closer, a Kyiv club that's among the best in Europe. The festival is similarly excellent, with a focus on immersive stage design, quality soundsystems and classy music. As in the past, this year's lineup spans a mix of new and old-school sounds, with electro and techno pioneers like Detroit In Effect, Model 500 and Anthony Rother sharing the bill with contemporary tastemakers such as Evan Baggs, Jane Fitz and Marcel Dettmann.
RA Pick: Go down the rabbit hole with Rhadoo.
Zrce Beach, Croatia
August 18 - August 23
Sonus's core remit has remained steady since its first edition back in 2013. It still represents the full spectrum of European minimal house, from the big-room kicks of Apollonia to the un-ID-able obscurities of Binh. But in the past few years, heavier strains of techno have steadily crept into the mix, with the likes of Dax J, Kobosil and Amelie Lens bringing nosebleed intensity to this year’s six-day party on Croatia’s Adriatic coast. Those looking for more groovy sounds need not worry, however—house fans could not be in safer hands than those of DJs like Seth Troxler, DJ Koze and Dorian Paic.
RA Pick: You'd be crazy to miss Zip back-to-back Ricardo Villalobos.
14 August - 19 August
Portugal's Waking Life portrays itself as a watery, fever dream of a festival, where surreal installations, lighting and the bucolic setting are as much a part of the experience as the music. But if the point is to fully escape the humdrum, the bookers have programmed the perfect soundtrack. From credible big names (Four Tet, Seth Troxler) and cutting-edge club sounds (Forest Drive West, Ben UFO) to ambient and experimental acts (Gigi Masin, Oren Ambarchi), Waking Life has it all. There's also a focus on deep house and techno that goes hand in hand with the festival's emphasis on inner spirituality. This global contingent, spanning from Maayan Nidam and Terrence Dixon to Wata Igarashi, will keep the five-day festival humming along on its own trippy trajectory.
RA Pick: The one-of-a-kind tones of Aleksi Perälä.
Suvilahti Power Plant, Helsinki, Finland
August 9 - August 11
Helsinki's Flow Festival is a celebration of good taste. The three-day event, which draws 75,000 people in a city of less than one million, takes place in a former power plant, though it's the world's first carbon-neutral festival. The headliners are eye-catching names from across the spectrum, with slots for Cardi B, Earl Sweatshirt, Erykah Badu, Robyn, Stereolab and The Cure in 2019. Meanwhile, the DJs skew underground, from the universally respected (Theo Parrish, The Black Madonna) to the emerging (Ash Lauryn, DJ Python—both of whom are playing RA's Front Yard stage). All these factors combine to make Flow a particularly refined big festival experience.
RA Pick: Spiritual jazz royalty Pharoah Sanders Quartet close out the festival at Nordea Globe Balloon on Sunday night.
Kraftwerk Berlin, Berlin, Germany
August 28 - September 1
Each year, Berlin Atonal seems hell-bent on securing as many world premieres as possible, pushing live acts and visual artists to present something fresh in the festival's staggeringly large Kraftwerk complex. The calibre of musicians showcasing new work this year is impressive—dBridge, Alessandro Cortini, Nkisi, Shackleton and plenty more are all debuting projects you won't have heard anywhere else. What's more, Objekt will be showing off his new live set, while the DJ programme offers tantalising back-to-backs such as Phuong Dan and Zozo, and Jon K and Elena Colombi.
RA Pick: Félicia Atkinson's delicate electroacoustic pieces should make the most of Kraftwerk's long reverb.
August 20 - August 25
Founded in 2000, MUTEK is the original festival for technology fetishists. Dedicated to imagining musical futures that remain beyond the reach of human capability, the Montreal event balances high-tech party music with audovisual spectacles and intense live shows. For its 20th anniversary edition, it's expanded to six days, with an international lineup that includes Jan Jelinek, Nicola Cruz, Nkisi, Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones, Drew McDowall and Wajatta, the duo of Reggie Watts and John Tejada. They've also booked plenty of unmissable Canadian and Canada-based artists, like Gene Tellem, Loscil, Dust-E-1 and Tim Hecker, who will perform alongside The Konoyo Ensemble. Plus, it's a great time to visit Montreal before the temperatures drop.
RA Pick: Drew McDowall and Florence To performing the 1998 Coil album, Time Machines, in full.
Amsterdamse Bos, Amsterdam, Netherlands
July 31 - August 5
Since launching in 2013, Dekmantel has grown from a boutique open-air event into an international dance music brand. (This isn't even their only festival in August—they've also got Dekmantel Selectors in Croatia). But rather than watering down their lineups to appeal to the masses, their bookings actually get more adventurous every year. At this year's flagship edition in Amsterdam, they've got a ton of boundary-pushing live performers, from Vatican Shadow and Planetary Assault Systems to newcomers like RAMZi and Yves Tumor, not to mention jazz legends such as Mulatu Astatke and Pharoah Sanders Quartet. DJ highlights include familiar faces (Motor City Drum Ensemble, Donato Dozzy, Jeff Mills) alongside first-timers (Skee Mask, Yu Su, Eris Drew). As usual, the gigs are spread out across a few venues: the festival's main location, the idyllic Amsterdamse Bos, as well as local clubs for nighttime parties and Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, the classical music hall where Dekmantel host seated concerts to kick off the long weekend.
RA Pick: Lucy and Rrose's Lotus Eater live show will rearrange your brain chemistry.
Houghton Hall, Kings Lynn, United Kingdom
August 8 - August 11
It only took one edition for Houghton to be considered among the UK's best festivals. By all accounts, year two was even better. So what to expect from 2019? Well, it would be crazy to change the winning formula too much. Staples like Ricardo Villalobos, Andrew Weatherall, dBridge, Ben UFO, Jane Fitz, Sonja Moonear, Horse Meat Disco, Margaret Dygas and festival curator Craig Richards are all returning, joined by a list of debutantes, from Four Tet and Biosphere to Maayan Nidam and Mark Ernestus, who will perform solo and alongside N'Dagga Rhythm Force. As if that wasn't enough, the whole thing is set in an 18th-century Palladian house with a lake, a sculpture park and endless nooks and crannies to explore.
RA Pick: Maayan Nidam's exquisite loops, played live. (She will also DJ.)
Fort Punta Christo, Pula, Croatia
August 28 - September 2
Over the past eight years, Dimensions Festival has helped make Croatia's Fort Punta Christo one of dance music's most iconic locations. Leafy, visually striking and decked out with massive speaker stacks, the 19th-century fortress has hosted tens of thousands of ravers over the years, many of whom call Dimensions their favourite event of the year. This year's edition is the last at Fort Punta Christo, as the festival sets its sights on a new location. For the finale, the team has locked in a typically excellent lineup, with Helena Hauff, Paula Temple, Batu, Zip, Call Super and Vladimir Ivkovic among dozens of top-tier acts confirmed.
RA Pick: From the record van to the festival stage, don't miss don't miss Berlin-based digger duo The Ghost.
Bungalowdorf Olganitz, Olganitz, Germany
August 2 - August 4
After 22 years, Nachtdigital is hanging up its boots. To some, this might seem premature—why stop a party at the height of its pomp?—but for the team, the time is right. ("We feel a desire for change," they told Resident Advisor.) Plus, it's always best to leave on a high. Dubbed Nachtdigital Mint, this year's swansong will see 2000-odd lucky ravers treated to three days of top-rate techno, house, electro and ambient in a lakeside setting as cosy and beautiful as any in Europe. Highlights include Batu, Helena Hauff, Powder, Sonja Moonear, Aleksi Perälä, Oceanic, DVS1 and Marie Davidson. Come Sunday afternoon, when all the remaining punters, artists, staff and volunteers have gathered by the lake for the very last dance, emotions will be running wild. Expect plenty of tears, hugs and, in classic Nachti style, crowd-surfing.
RA Pick: We don't know who's playing yet, but don't miss the closing sets by the lake on Sunday.
See our full festival listings for August right here.