International music festivals in 2012


Songwriting’s guide to some of the best music-based fun and frolics to be had in Europe and beyond this summer


Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the fields… and on the beaches, in the streets and just about anywhere else you can think of! Yes, that’s right, festival season is upon us… so here’s a Songwriting guide to some of the best outdoor events coming up in Europe and beyond over the next few months.


When? 27 June-8 July
Who/what? The Beach Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chicago, Iron Maiden, The Roots, Scorpions, Thievery Corporation, ZZ Top, David Gray and Death Cab For Cutie are some of the bigger names on a highly eclectic line-up
Where? Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
How much? Three-day pass $36, or pay per event
Camping? No

When? 28-30 June
Who/what? New Order, Franz Ferdinand, Gorillaz, Dry The River, Gogol Bordello, Plan B and more
Where? Zagreb, Croatia
How much? Three-day ticket
Camping? Yes (£16 surcharge)

Montreal International Jazz Festival
When? 28 June-7 July
Who/what? One of the world’s biggest jazz festivals, but with a line-up that’s not limited strictly to jazz: as well as Chick Corea. Stanley Clarke and the Duke Ellington Orchestra, this year can catch artists as diverse as Billy Bragg, Rufus Wainwright, Ben Harper, Al Stewart, Meshell Ondegocello, Fishbone and Canada’s techno heroine Misstress Barbara.
Where? Montreal, Canada
How much? Priced per-event, with many free events and various package deals available
Camping? No

Montreux Jazz Festival
When? 29 June-14 July
Who/what? This long-running festival has a lot more than just jazz on offer, with Ed Sheeran, Little Feat, Alanis Morissette, Katie Meluah, High Flying Birds, Erykah Badu, Bobby Womack, Van Morrison, Chic, Anita Baker and Emeli Sandé all appearing this year in venues across the city.
Where? Montreux, France
How much? Priced per-event, with some events free
Camping? No


Heineken Open’er
When? 4-7 July
Who/what? Björk, Bon Iver, Friendly Fires, Gogol Bordello, The XX, Dry The River, Franz Ferdinand Mumford & Sons and more
Where? Gydnia, Poland
How much? Four-day ticket £72
Camping? Yes (£16 surcharge)

Heineken Jammin’ Festival
When? 5-7 July
Who/what? Red Hot Chili Peppers, New Order, The Cure, Gorillaz, Evanescence, The Prodigy, Crystal Castles and more
Where? Milan, Italy
How much? Adult three-day ticket €175
Camping? No

When? 5-8 July
Who/what? One of Europe’s biggest music festivals. This year’s line-up includes Bruce Springsteen, Bjork, Bon Ivor, The Roots, Jack White, The Cure, Dry The River, The Vaccines, Alison Krauss, Bellowhead, The Cult and many more
Where? Roskilde, Denmark
How much? Four-day ticket €240
Camping? Yes

North Sea Jazz Festival
When? 6-8 July
Who/what? With plenty of worldwide jazz artists on offer, the North Sea Jazz Festival also hosts jazz-influenced artists such as Van Morrison, Jill Scott, Nile Rodgers, Robert Cray, Rufus Wainwright, Lenny Kravitz, Maceo Parker, Rumer, D’Angelo and Aloe Blac.
Where? Rotterdam, The Netherlands
How much? Three-day all-in ticket €275
Camping? No

When? 12-15 July
Who/what? Bob Dylan, The Stone Roses, New Order, Dizzee Rascal, Crystal Castles, At The Drive-In, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Little Dragon, The Horrors and many more
Where? Costa Azaha, Spain
How much? Four-day ticket £155
Camping? Yes

Mike Batt at French House Party 2024

When? 12-15 July
Who/what? One of the biggest names on the European festival scene, Exit leans heavily towards the dance/electronica side of things musically, but does also feature bands and artists as diverse as New Order, Guns N Roses, Gossip, Little Dragon, Suicidal Tendencies and Erykah Badu!
Where? Novi Sad, Serbia
How much? Adult four-day ticket £95
Camping? Yes (£25 surcharge)

Optimus Alive
When? 13-15 July
Who/what? Stone Roses, Radiohead, The Cure, Florence + the Machine, Caribou, Noah and the Whale, Mazzy Star, Warpaint, Metronomy, Justice, The Kills and Tricky, performing Maxinquaye with Martina Topley-Bird
Where? Lisbon, Portugal
How much? Three-day ticket with camping £103
Camping? Yes

Vancouver Folk Festival
When? 13-15 July
Who/what? Now in its 35th year, this festival has lots of folk and roots artists from around the world, including the Barr Brothers
Where? Jericho Beach Park, Vancouver, Canada
How much? Weekend pass $150
Camping? No

Paléo Festival Nyon
When? 17-22 July
Who/what? Switzerland’s biggest music festival, with a varied line-up that includes Lenny Kravitz, Garbage, Bloc Party, The Kooks, Sting, Justice, The Cure, Franz Ferdinand and, for those who don’t like their ears very much, David Guetta
Where? Nyon, Switzerland
How much? Sold out, but there’s a ‘ticket market’ on the website so you might get lucky!
Camping? Yes

Slottsjfell Festival
When? 19-21 July
Who/what? A small-ish (30,000-capacity) event that nonetheless attracts some big names, including this year New Order, Friendly Fires, Noah & The Whale and Tortoise.
Where? Tønsberg, Norway
How much? Adult three-day ticket €225
Camping? Yes

Vielles Charrues
When? 19-22 July
Who/what? Bob Dylan, The Cure and Bloc Party head a line-up that also includes Sting, Kasabian, Portishead, Justice, Garbage, M83, Gossip and more
Where? Carhaix, France
How much? Adult three-day ticket €105

Afisha Picnic Festival
When? 21 July
Who/what? A one-day event starring Franz Ferdinand, Little Boots and The Drums
Where? Moscow, Russia
How much? €39
Camping? No

When? 25-28 July
Who/what? Mostly Swedish artists, but had to be included in this round-up as it’s one of your few chances this year to see the legendary Patti Smith in action. Hives and Glasvegas also appear.
Where? Östersund, Sweden
How much? Adult four-day ticket €130
Camping? Yes


Arenal Sound
When? 2-5 August
Who/what? Rock, indie and dance festival starring Kaiser Chiefs, Two Door Cinema Club, The Wombats, Crystal Castles, The Ting Tings and Digitalism
Where? Playa En Arenal, Castellon, Spain
How much? Adult four-day ticket €60
Camping? Yes

When? 5-12 August
Who/what? One of the biggest festivals in Eastern Europe. This year’s line-up includes Stone Roses, The XX, Paolo Nutini, The Vaccines, Noah & The Whale, Lamb, Bebel Gilberto, Glasvegas, Placebo, Crystal Fighters, Ministry, Saint Etienne, The Roots, Maximo Park, Korn and many more.
Where? Obudai Island, Budapest, Hungary
How much? Week pass €225
Camping? Yes

When? 16-18 August
Who/what? The biggest event on Belgium’s festival calendar plays host this year to Foo Fighters, Bjork, Stone Roses, Black Keys, Bloc Party, The Shins, Mark Ronson, Dizzee Rascal, Maximo Park, Keane and many more.
Where? Hasselt, Belgium
How much? Adult three-day ticket €155
Camping? Yes

When? 17-19 August
Who/what? Foo Fighters, Bloc Party, Feist, Kasabian, The XX, Black Keys, Ed Sheeran, tUnE-yArDs, Nicholas Jaar and more
Where? Biddinghuizen, Netherlands
How much? Adult three-day ticket €185
Camping? Yes

Monterey Jazz Festival
When? 21-23 August
Who/what? The world’s longest-running jazz festival has been going since 1954. Over 500 jazz artists can be seen at this year’s festival, which takes place on eight stages.
Where? Monterey, California, USA
How much? All-inclusive five-day passes start at $225
Camping? No, but chalets and RV parking available

Rock En Seine
When? 24-26 August
Who/what? As the name suggests, this is a rock-oriented event, with Placebo, Bloc Party, Green Day, Bombay Bicycle Club, Little Dragon, Black Keys, The Shins, The Waterboys, Eagles of Death Metal and more
Where? Paris, France
How much? Adult three-day pass €109
Camping? Yes, but all camping spaces now sold out

Chicago Jazz Festival
When? 30 August-2 September
Who/what? A long-running event born out of a 1975 tribute concert to Duke Ellington, who died that year. Unlike some of the other ‘jazz’ festivals listed, here you CAN expect jazz, jazz, and more jazz, and not much else. This year’s headliners are Alain Toussaint, Roy Haynes and Dianne Reaves.
Where? Chicago, Illinois, USA
How much? Free
Camping? No

Strawberry Festival
When? 30 August-3 September
Who/what? ‘Fall’ leg of a twice-yearly, family-oriented bash that also has a spring event. KD Lang and John Hiatt head a line-up full mostly of down-home folk, blues and acoustic acts.
Where? Camp Mather, California, USA
How much? Adult four-day ticket $200
Camping? Yes

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