October 22 - 25
London, United Kingdom
The Netaudio Festival is "dedicated to the sounds of the Internet," which may go some way in explaining why it's never been held in the same place twice. Last year, Netaudio was in Berlin. Two years before that, Bern and Cologne. 2006's edition was held in London, but not at The Shunt. Confused? We are. Either way, this year's edition will feature the likes of Quarion, Appleblim and Freerotation founder Steevio along with his partner-in-crime Suzybee. Unlike many other festivals, though, we're guessing the emphasis isn't so much on dancing as it is on finding the right means to make people dance: There will be booths from Ableton, Cycling '74 and other outlets each night which will undoubtedly be showcasing the latest in music technology.
RA pick: Lackluster's melancholic IDM is a treat.
Helvetia Polo Club
São Paulo, Brazil
How do you follow-up a festival that had Tiesto as its headliner in 2007? Get Markus Schulz to bring the same brand of stadium-ready trance, of course. The DJ/producer wows them in much the same way as T and will be keeping the groove going after similarly-inclined sets from Miguel Migs, Marco V, Judge Jules and Mauro Picotto. With more than 25,000 expected at this year's shindig, would you expect anything less?
RA pick: We still hold a candle for Sebastien Leger's "Hit Girl," but maybe that's just us.
Los Angeles, California
The buzz these days in America is all around Los Angeles. With three solid crews in place and throwing parties on a regular basis, the city has undoubtedly undergone a small renaissance of sorts. It's the local alternative rag LA Weekly, however, that puts on this festival, ironically showcasing some of the more mainstream electronic fare that the city's denizens go in for. That, of course, means plenty of hooks from the likes of Cut Copy and The Presets, as well as a healthy dose of overdriven bass from Surkin and Frenchman and Institubes fave Para One. We can't fault 'em for going for the crowd pleasers, of course, but after a headliner of Justice last year, we can't help feeling a bit disappointed.
RA pick: The live disco of Hercules & Love Affair should get this outdoor festival that takes over the area around LA's City Hall hopping.
07. Lake of Stars
October 10 - 12
Sunbird Livingstonia Beach
You'd be hard-pressed to find a festival with a greater cause in mind than Lake Of Stars. The event, which serves to "raise money for a developing economy and charities and help raise the profile of Malawi as a tourist destination," will be donating money to the MicroLoan Foundation this time around, which provides "small loans, business training and continuing guidance to groups of women in sub-Saharan Africa." But even with a whole host of musicians on their way down to the southern Africa country to see the beauty and tragedy of this country firsthand, we're sure that the organizers could always use another donation or two. You can make one here.
RA pick: Getting off your butt and giving to a good cause.
It's fun to watch a festival grow over the years. Looking over the previous two lineups for Soulshine, you'll notice that there are few big names attached to the event. The fifth edition of the annual party, though, boasts none other than Kevin Saunderson as a headliner, with Freeform Five and Bad Company headlining the two other stages. Not bad for a festival that began with only one stage in 2004. With Jackattack & Vertigo's last duo set ever also on the docket, Soulshine is primed to continue its growth this year—and to become one of Belgium's essential fall festivals.
RA pick: Have big fun with Kevin Saunderson.
05. Iceland Airwaves
October 15 - 19
Admittedly, you need to look a little bit harder to find the electronic at the annual Iceland Airwaves festival, but—then again—you have to look a bit harder in Reykjavik. So stop complaining. You're in one of the most beautiful capital cities in the world. Junior Boys, Simian Mobile Disco and Pnau will all bringing their varied versions of electronic music to the island nation, but it's probably a losing battle. Then again, this is the country that gave us Björk, so they may be on to something after all. Either way, once you set out for an area outside of Reykjavik to take in a view or two of the alien landscape, any issues should melt away immediately.
RA pick: Grab an Icelandic hot dog and enjoy the orchestral indie of Final Fantasy. His last album was called He Poos Clouds and it's a stunner.
October 18 - 25
Set up camp in Poland for a week, because the Unsound Festival isn't one for forcing clubgoers to make choices: Instead, the festival chooses a human-size festival that allows the intrepid to see just about everything it has to offer. Everything means a taste of the experimental too: Noted electronic artists like nsi. and Jan Jelinek will be helping to soundtrack Andy Warhol's transfixing slow-motion documentaries Empire and Kiss, but there'll also be plenty of time to get down with dOP, Noze, Pinch, Thomas Melchior and Bruno Pronsato get into town. There won't be any philosophical underpinnings to their sets: Just straight-up banging dance music.
RA pick: Get to Melchior early to check out Galoppierende Zuversicht's absolutely ridiculous live show.
October 22 - 27
Ireland's Dublin Electronic Arts Festival focuses just as much on the arts as the electronics part. If you're an excited clubber looking for a hedonistic festival, you might be best served elsewhere in Europe. That said, for the discerning chin-stroker, there are genuine moments of excitement on tap. Laurent Garnier, Model 500 and the Moritz von Oswald Trio (Maurizio, Vladislav Delay and Max Louderbauer) will all be making appearances, but the vibe here is also decidedly academic. The legendary White Noise will perform their masterpiece of early synth wizardry An Electric Storm live, while Luke Vibert will undoubtedly unleash some favorite vintage synthesizers of his own.
RA pick: Hometown heroes Chymera and John Daly at the Button Factory on Friday, October 24th.
San Francisco, California
The SF LoveFest parade isn't quite the awesome spectacle of Berlin and Zürich's similarly ridiculous showcases, but we're sure that if you haven't put your assless chaps in storage forever, you may find a use for them on October. Honestly, though, what we're more interested in is the surrounding parties that go on in advance and after the main event, where you can get weird with Lee Burridge, properly welcome the Dirtybird crew back into town after their European vacation or enjoy the soulful sounds of Mark Farina. Sure, the parade is something that you should be sure to check out, but just be sure to look a little bit further once you get there. You won't be disappointed.
RA pick: Lee Burridge will undoubtedly set the tone for the weekend at his Get Weird party.
01. Amsterdam Dance Event
October 22 - 25
It claims to be the world's biggest clubbing festival. And, with over 700 DJ's and 40 venues in play over the course of its four days, who are we to argue? ADE began its life as an industry event and has grown to become one of the most important dates on any self-respecting European clubber's calendar. You name it and they've got it. Trance? Try Armin van Buuren and Paul van Dyk. Minimal? How about Richie Hawtin? House? How does Henrik Schwarz, Layo & Bushwacka!, Dennis Ferrer or Erick Morillo sound? If you can't find someone you're interested at ADE, you're probably at the wrong website.
RA pick: Aside from *cough* our own party? Try out Francois K at Sugar Factory for his Wave Music event.
RA Guide: Amsterdam Dance Event 2008
Need more festivals? Check out our full international festival listings.
Top photo credit: MV Galleries