Arnhem, The Netherlands
This is a rave on the bank of the Rhine River, gathering top club nights from around the Lowlands across seven stages. Mono from Club 11 host a stage smack bang under the city's John Frost bridge while first-time invites GZG are putting dancers in a greenhouse. It's Dutch so there's plenty of love for good old-fashioned techno (Derrick May, Josh Wink, Joey Beltram, The Advent), a sprinkling of house (DJ Sneak, Dennis Ferrer) plus homegrown stuff (2000 and One, Steve Rachmad, Secret Cinema, Darko Esser, District One), with locals outnumbering internationals by 4 to 1. Last year a famed TV fitness instructor lead a hundred-strong aerobic workout so expect something equally goofy this time. - Tami Fenwick
RA pick: Sure, his older stuff is better than his new stuff, but Paul Kalkbrenner's trancey live sets always do the business.
Hordern & Entertainment Quarter
This collaboration between Ibiza titans We Love and Aussie club kings Sounds outdoes even its parent party by thumbing its nose at Hell-ish electro, party house and breaks and gunning instead for Nordic disco (Lindstrom), electrohouse (Stephan Bodzin), minimal (Marc Houle, Gaiser, Davide Squillace) and recent tech house converts (Ellen Allien, Dubfire, Steve Lawler). More indie rave than kiddie rave, this year will be louder than ever with bands like !!!, The Whip and Van She as well as local noiseniks Bang Gang DJs sure to get the fluro kids pogoing. If big crowds aren't your thing, make your way to The Cross for the afterparties where most of the internationals rock up for encores. As the locals say, this will be heaps good. - Tami Fenwick
RA pick: Bonde Do Role's frontwoman Marina has a fat mouth on her, but this is a good thing.
June 27 - 28
Friday | Saturday
Tickets for the UK’s largest festival are actually still available this year. Now whether that’s down to the debacle of last year’s mudfest, or Jay-Z being at the top of the bill (as Noel Gallagher would have it), we’re not sure, but it does make it easier for the less organized among us to indulge. Dancewise, the festival is concentrating mostly on established local talent this year with UNKLE, Fatboy Slim, X-Press 2, James Zabiela, The Count and Sinden, Nick Warren and Stanton Warriors headlining the two dance tents, while foreign electronic imports include Booka Shade and Hercules & Love Affair. But this one is not just about the lineups, or the bleeps, it’s all about the Glasto experience. - Jeremy Armitage
RA pick: Noisy indie band Battles for the win.
June 5 - 8
Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday
Bristol’s Venn Festival is big on variety, and also big on unusual locations. The music runs the gamut from indie to experimental to dance, and the locations include planetariums, skate parks and the mysteriously named “Scout Hut”. The big electronic night is happening at Motion Skate Park on Saturday, where dub techno legend Moritz von Oswald will spin, joined by Peverelist (dubstep) and October (techno). Elsewhere in the various concrete pipes and tunnels scattered about the park will be mysterious French disco dancers Black Devil Disco Club, Arnaud Rebotini from Blackstrobe and Errorsmith among others. Those of an astronomical bent would also do well to check out Mexican ambient artist Murcof at the local planetarium on opening night. – Jeremy Armitage
RA pick: Recent RA podcaster Pole spinning dubstep, techno and in between.
Taico Club is a laidback Japanese festival which finds the middle ground between avant rock and dance music. Held over 24 hours in a picturesque field in Nagano, the fest features rock from girl trio Afrirampo, indie guitarist Jim O’Rourke, and legendary Japanese band Vooredoms (aka Boredoms). On the dance side there is a large crew from Border Community (Nathan Fake, James Holden, Petter), house from Osunlade, acid from Luke Vibert as well techno from Daniel Bell and Fumiya Tanaka. If the big cities have been grinding you down, and you’re looking for a chilled way to kick off the summer, Taico Club is just the ticket. Onsite camping encouraged. - Jeremy Armitage
RA pick: Minimal pioneer Daniel Bell is the safest bet in techno.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
That ringing in your ears could be caused by the cumulative effect of so much ferocious techno in one place, or by the fact that the early birds have already snapped up all the tickets to this annual rager at press time. The next Awakenings-associated party isn't until October, so get your pals to upload their shitty mobile phone videos to Awakenings' Youtube channel, and rage on in spirit. They'll be witnessing, at what some call "the best techno party in the world": Boris Werner & Carlos Valdes, Villalobos, Hawtin, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Monika Kruse & Gregor Tresher, and loads more class-A talent. Live performances are plenty, including the likes of Alex Under, Christian Smith & John Selway, and The Advent, of course – Rachel Shimp
RA pick: Dutch heroes Rejected will play their first-ever live set.
Naturbühne Blauer See
Now in its eleventh year, Blauersee is a party by the lake held in Ratingen, Düsseldorf. As always, headlining is Sven Väth, who makes a point of dressing up like a maniac for BlauerSee each year – previous years have seen an Indiana Jones Väth, a Robin Hood Väth and a James Bond Väth take to the decks. The party is divided into techno and house stages with Väth, Marco Carola and Tobias Becker playing the former, and Ricardo Villalobos, Steve Bug and Raresh spinning the latter. The party starts at 10 a.m. and continues on till night, after which revelers head back to Düsseldorf for the inevitable afterparty. - Jeremy Armitage
RA pick: Ricardo Villalobos. Sorry, Sven.
June 13 - 15
Dancing on the beach? Pshaw. How about dancing among the cauldrons and chimneys of the Old Athens Gasworks, known as Gazi, which now houses the Technopolis industrial museum and cultural center? Synch's fifth year (and first located there) serves up its best and broadest musical lineup yet, with big names including Andrew Weatherall, Yo La Tengo, Happy Mondays, Stereolab and Roisin Murphy. Dozens of Grecian acts, peddling everything from psychedelia (Fantastikoi Hxoi) to Italo boogie (Discomputer System), meet the propulsive rock of Liars and Holy Fuck, while Kode9 and Headhunter keep things future-flavoured. A heaping side of new media, from open-source art-making opportunities to an exhibition of vintage gaming gear, will satisfy orbs as well as ears—and OK, the beach is never far away. - Rachel Shimp
RA pick: The Field's new live performance as a three-piece band…scheduled before Juan Atkins!
Friday | Saturday
June 6 - 7
Less than an hour away from Vienna, Wilsonic puts Bratislava at the centre of the Central and Eastern European electronic music world for two days every June. Post-Eastern Bloc Bratislava has hosted the festival since 2000 at a spectacular location on the banks of the Danube, a plane/train ride well worth it for those in the area. This year Wilsonic mixes talent from Slovakia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Czech Republic, Poland and Lithuania with big-name international artists such as Apparat, Nôze, Clark and Jeff Milligan making appearances. On the experimental front B.Fleischmann, Fennesz and Soap&Skin line up for an Austrian showcase. - Janet Leyton-Grant
RA pick: Friday’s dubstep showcase pitches Deadbeat and Neil Landstrumm against 2562 and Skream.
June 19 - 21
Sonar by Day - Thursday | Sonar by Night - Thursday | Sonar by Day - Friday | Sonar by Night - Friday | Sonar by Day - Saturday | Sonar by Night - Saturday | Off-Sonar parties
Draconian nightlife laws may prevent most Americans from partying "the European way," so it's no wonder the energy they—and everyone else with good taste and a little cash—unleash on Barcelona every summer. Sonar is SXSW-sized, with its own orbit of mini-fests and parties – expect upwards of 80,000 attendees for the fest's big 15. There's a lot going on in the cinema this year, including a screening of the new Soulwax film Part of the Weekend Never Dies. Showcase-wise, Ed Banger is going from strength to strength, competing with Minus, Dial, and an Osaka Invasion for prominence in 2008, but they could all be bested by the BBC, cramming Flying Lotus, Mala, Shackleton and badass babe Mary Anne Hobbs under one roof. The concert lineup is a mile-long wish list from Hercules and Love Affair to Quiet Village to Ben Watt to Congolese drone-masters Konono no.1. Ready? Caffeine, condoms, cigarettes, cookies (you gotta eat something)—check. - Rachel Shimp
RA pick: Detroit legend Theo Parrish spinning to the hordes at Sonar by Night on Friday.
Top photo credit: Ch. Bilios
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