Looking for a festival in September? We round up our favourites.
Boston, United States Of America
September 25 - September 29
Boston's Together Festival is going through some changes—last year it moved from May to September, and this year it shrinks from eight days to five—but the core of what makes it great remains the same. Dedicated crowds, small venues, good sound. That's what draws big artists like Daniel Avery and Midland back again and again. The tenth edition should also be an emotional one, featuring one of the final editions of Make It New, a weekly party that has been running every Thursday since 2004.
RA Pick: There will be tears in the room when Daniel Avery plays the third-to-last edition of Make It New.
September 25 - September 29
New Forms Festival returns after a few years off with a visionary new set of curators—Ascetic House's JS Aurelius, Pittsburgh's Lauren Goshinski (AKA Boo Lean) and Seattle artist CCL—all of whom have experience working with forward-thinking electronic music in smaller markets. They'll carry on the festival's multidisciplinary, cross-genre approach, and its focus on young, exciting artists, many of whom have never played Vancouver before. The lineup offers a tasty snapshot of electronic music in 2019, with acts like Giant Swan, LSDXOXO, DJ Marcelle and Afrodeutsche.
RA Pick: London's Sherelle making her debut across the pond.
Sutakako Camping Ground, Nagano, Japan
September 20 - September 23
With room for only a few hundred attendees, Japan's rural is the most intimate festival on this month's list. But the lineup, which combines top-tier international talent with local favourites, is befitting of an event five times its size. This year, Function, Patrick Russell and Jane Fitz are among those travelling from abroad, sharing the bill with beloved locals like Wata Igarashi and DJ Nobu. And don't let the lush, green surroundings fool you—expect to hear some of the deepest, most psychedelic music around.
RA Pick: Let Function take you on a trip.
Alter Schlachthof, Eupen, Belgium
September 6 - September 9
The city of Eupen is peculiarly European. While it's technically Belgian, it's changed hands innumerable times across history. Lying right on the Germany–Netherlands border, it's long been home to Belgium's German-speaking community. Meakusma has woven the fabric of the city into what they do, quietly becoming the sort of event that doesn't scream for attention but resonates profoundly with both attendees and performers. Balancing DJ sets from the likes of Ben UFO and Parris with properly experimental fare from minor deities like Charlemagne Palestine, it's a unique event with a powerfully independent MO.
RA Pick: If you've not seen him live before, Eli Keszler will recalibrate your idea of what drummers can do.
Fellah Hotel, Marrakech, Morocco
September 13 - September 15
How many festivals can honestly say they've helped transform a country's dance music scene? Oasis, which launched in 2015, put Morocco on the map as an international clubbing destination, paving the way for a handful of other festivals. It's grown from a cosy affair into a national event—last year's edition was broadcast live on TV and radio. 2019 will build on this growth, with another lineup sure to turn heads at home and overseas. Joining the likes of Four Tet, Jayda G, Dixon, Moodymann and Josey Rebelle at Marrakech's plush Fellah Hotel are a clutch of rising domestic acts (Kosh, Driss Bennis, Bassam) who mustn't be overlooked.
RA Pick: Kosh's live set of dreamy techno and electro, as heard on the excellent Casa Voyager.
August 30 - September 1
In 2013, five friends scraped together £50 each to buy a domain name and "some other bits and bobs" so they could start selling tickets to their dream party. Seven years later, Field Maneuvers is one of the UK's best-loved small festivals, a yearly must for hundreds of ravers, young and old, who love nothing more than dancing in a field to everything from techno and hardcore to disco and vintage tech house. This year's lineup represents the usual smorgasbord of sounds, with slots for Luke Slater, The Black Madonna, Eris Drew, Teki Latex, Giant Swan, Or:la and Mark Archer, who will engage DJ Hectick in a jungle back-to-back. As one of the FM team recently put it, "We don't do snooty, we do party."
RA Pick: Eris Drew's spiritual rave music is the perfect fit for Field Maneuvers.
September 13 - September 15
Last year's HORST culminated with DJ Lefto getting on the mic during his six-hour set to remind the crowd, "This is the last HORST—make it count!" That said, it seemed highly unlikely that HORST wouldn't return in a different capacity, so it's no surprise to see the crew back in action, setting up station in a new location: a former military site in the Brussels suburb of Vilvoorde. Thankfully, some things haven't changed, such as the up-to-the-minute lineup (SPFDJ, Sherelle, upsammy) and the dedication to art and architecture, which this year takes the form of a new series of workshops known collectively as The Lab.
RA Pick: Craig Richards locking horns with Joy Orbison.
Nile Discovery Beach, Jinja, Uganda
September 5 - September 8
Nyege Nyege Festival is as good an argument as any that electronic music is still a vital art form in 2019. Over the past five years, the Ugandan festival has gone from a scrappy, 1000-person event to a 300-performer, six-stage juggernaut endorsed by the Ministry Of Tourism. Acts from Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya form its creative nucleus, and this year, the likes of DJ Kampire, MCZO & Duke and Jay Mitta share the stage with Josey Rebelle, Bill Kouligas and BADSISTA. This is what cultural exchange looks like.
RA Pick: Juan Atkins, one of techno's founding fathers, should light up Nile Discovery Beach.
Fort Punta Christo, Pula, Croatia
September 4 - September 9
Some festivals (like, say, Labyrinth for techno heads) are pilgrimages for fans of certain sounds. Anyone into dubstep or drum & bass should have Outlook at the top of their list. Held annually at Fort Punta Christo in Croatia, it brings together the most important names in both styles (and many more) to spin on some of the fattest speaker stacks you'll ever encounter. Many attendees have been coming for years, a reflection of the special place it holds in the hearts of bass music fans. 2019 will be the final edition at Fort Punta Christo, so expect sets from titans like Chase & Status, Goldie and Mala to feel extra special.
RA Pick: See what classics Goldie serves up live.
Camp Kennybrook, New York, United States Of America
September 13 - September 16
What began as an intimate campout for the Brooklyn techno scene is now an eye-watering showcase of international talent. Still, Aurora Halal's upstate New York gathering has maintained its family feel, keeping its membership-based ticket policy and dedicating key slots to the New York scene whose momentum has made Sustain-Release a crucial gathering. Along with regulars like Halal & Relaxer, DJ Python and DJ Healthy, year six embraces the new wave, including up-and-comers AceMo & MoMA Ready, French rave revisionists J-Zbel and New York native LSDXOXO.
RA Pick: DJ Marcelle at the festival's annual Saturday afternoon pool party.
See our full festival listings for September right here.