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The Report

The Best Music Festivals To Book For Summer 2018

From Bulgaria to Morocco, here are 12 places to party this season

  • Meadows In The Mountains, Bulgaria. Photograph by Mr Jack Pasco, courtesy of Meadows In The Mountains

The most wonderful time of the year is fast approaching. No, not Wimbledon or the World Cup, but those wonderful summer months when you pack your bags and spend a weekend dancing in a field/park/on a beach to your favourite bands. And while most festivals are fun, they are certainly not all born equal. Some discernment and a little bit of nous are needed when choosing where to party. To help you pick the right festival for you, scroll down to read our exhaustive guide.

Primavera Sound

  • Primavera, Spain. Photograph by Mr Mick Habgood, courtesy of Primavera

Barcelona, Spain
30 May–3 June

Barcelona’s indie giant is the grandaddy of city festivals, a rockist Nirvana-on-Sea where there is never a dull artist in the line-up (and which downsizes and moves to Porto in Portugal the following weekend). This year, the returning Arctic Monkeys are a headline draw, as is Björk’s visionary Utopia show and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, whose gothic intensity can make any arena feel like a spine-tinglingly intimate saloon. There’s rap star power from A$AP Rocky, Mr Vince Staples and Tyler The Creator, while a growing electronic village towards the beach features live shows and DJ sets from the holy trinity of Four Tet, Floating Points and Daphni and is where hometown hero Mr John Talabot’s lustrous late-night mixes are always a highlight. Adding some extra class this year are mère-fille team Ms Jane Birkin and Ms Charlotte Gainsbourg, who will be performing separately (and fingers crossed together) over the weekend.

What to wear

  • Our Legacy Mudride Distressed Denim Jacket

  • You As Gus Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt

Worldwide

  • Worldwide, France. Photograph courtesy of Worldwide

Sète, France
30 June–7 July 

Mr Gilles Peterson’s festival is now in its 13th year, spreading over the picture-perfect port town of Sète in the south of France for a week of discerning DJs and live acts. It is anchored by the broadcaster’s penchant for electronic, jazz, hip-hop and global beats and, as a result, attracts a dedicated, music-focused crowd who bounce between the two beach stages during the day and, at night, the amphitheatre Théâtre de la Mer, which looks out onto the Mediterranean. For 2018’s edition, there’s a strong Detroit presence from low-slung house eroticist Moodymann and smooth vibe consultant Amp Fiddler, plus Four Tet’s latest, all-twinkling live show, US avant-jazzists BADBADNOTGOOD, Mr Seun (son of Mr Fela) Kuti and Argentinian folk experimentalist Ms Juana Molina.

What to wear

  • AMI Twill Blouson Jacket

  • Lanvin Slim-Fit Flocked Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt

Meadows In The Mountains

  • Meadows In The Mountains, Bulgaria. Photograph by Mr Jack Pasco, courtesy of Meadows In The Mountains

Rhodopes Mountains, Bulgaria
7–10 June

The insiders’ boutique festival of choice, this free-spirited event lives up to its name with a secluded location, nestled in a mossy mountain range that punctures the clouds. It shares an eco-conscious, leave-no-trace ethos with Burning Man and encourages a similar combination of community and glittered debauchery across the weekend. The DJ line-up is kept under wraps until nearer the time, but previous years have presented up-and-coming names in house, techno, disco and bass and, on the Friday night, a choir of local babas and Kukeri dancers (essentially a troupe of Bulgarian mystics) who bless the mountain and open the festival. Stick around until the Monday for the festival’s Orpheus Pool Party at a neighbouring hotel, where a Jacuzzi, spa and poolside beats will help you to decompress.

What to wear

  • Blue Blue Japan Camp-Collar Printed Lyocell Shirt

  • Yuketen Crus Woven Leather Sandals

Houghton

  • Houghton, UK. Photograph by Mr Jake Davis, courtesy of Houghton

King’s Lynn, UK
9­–12 August

Houghton sprung onto the festival calendar last year and is already a sell-out, thanks to its taste-making curation by London nightclub Fabric’s creative director and long-time resident DJ, Mr Craig Richards. Considering the oeuvre of the world-class venue, you can expect that the programming here has the same quality and electronic focus: house, drum and bass, disco, techno, the outer edges of bass music. It also means he can lure the likes of elusive Chilean minimal hero Mr Ricardo Villalobos, Mr Richie Hawtin’s right-hand woman Magda and party-house playboy Mr Seth Troxler to the Norfolk woodland for the weekend. Mr Nathan Fake’s latest epically lit live show will be a highlight, as will Lebanese beatsmiths Mashrou’ Leila, while elsewhere in the stately grounds you’ll find a Mr Damien Hirst exhibition, restaurants and a new audiophile record shop. Want to go? Find a friend with tickets and then pray they get the summer flu.

What to wear

  • A.P.C. Kerlouan Cotton-Gabardine Chore Jacket

  • Converse 1970s Chuck Taylor All Stars Canvas High-Top Sneakers

End Of The Road

  • End Of The Road, UK. Photograph by Ms Eleanor Hardwick, courtesy of End Of The Road

Blandford, UK
30 August–2 September 

This folksy Dorset wonderland is the closest a UK festival gets to idyllic. Peacocks roam the festival ground, dodging families with fairy-lit prams and the masses trying to find the forest’s secluded disco ship when the bands clock off. The smaller Garden stage is adorned with foliage and is one of the best places to catch alternative acts before they nudge overground and make it onto “best of” lists everywhere (last year it was Mr Moses Sumney, Ms Nadine Shah and Perfume Genius). In stark contrast to the largely male-dominated bills of most festivals, this year’s event is headlined by alt-pop high priestesses St Vincent and Feist, alongside the newly reunited Vampire Weekend. Comedy, secret sets and a live podcast from funnyman Mr Adam Buxton add variation and there’s late-night entertainment in the form of an al fresco silent disco. Just make sure you bring a wearable blanket. The temperature is trouser-flappingly cold at night.

What to wear

  • Outerknown Checked Organic Cotton-Twill Shirt

  • Nudie Jeans Slim Adam Garment-Dyed Stretch Organic Cotton-Twill Trousers

Outlook

  • Outlook, Croatia. Photograph by Mr Dan Medhurst, courtesy of Outlook

Pula, Croatia
5–9 Septemeber

Partying on the Croatian coast has practically become a rite of passage in the summer months, but that doesn’t mean it has got stale. Outlook takes place in a 150-year-old abandoned fort in Pula and has been tirelessly dedicated to sound-system culture since 2007. This year, alongside its usual array of deep and dubby beats and treats, it’s bringing over stars of the UK’s fizzing melting-pot rap, grime, dancehall and bashment, including Stefflon Don, AJ Tracey, J Hus and grime godfather Wiley. For the first time, too, the festival will be opening an underground nuclear bunker near the fort so you can truly party like it’s the end of the world.

What to wear

  • OrSlow Striped Slub Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt

  • Norse Projects Aros Slim-Fit Garment-Dyed Cotton-Twill Shorts

Oasis Festival

  • Oasis Festival, Marrakech. Photograph courtesy of Oasis Festival

Marrakech, Morocco
14–16 September

Morocco is no longer just a destination for winter sun, souks and world music but for high-end raving, too. The jewel in the crown is the Oasis Festival in Marrakech in September, which unfolds around the leafy grounds of a luxury boutique hotel with the Atlas Mountains in view. Up-market relaxation is key – lounging by the pool, smoking shisha at sunset, dining on food from the city’s contemporary food scene – which might sound at odds with the halcyon festival spirit. But this is a festival conceived for grown-ups. It has a champagne bar to boot. A sign of its gold seal, its small size and laid-back atmosphere attract world-class DJs looking to unwind after the summer. A season’s worth of Ibiza headliners are on the bill, including Mr Carl Cox, DJ Koze, Ms Honey Dijon, Mr Larry Heard, The Black Madonna and Ms Peggy Gou.

What to wear

  • Junya Watanabe + Carhartt Printed Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt

  • Noah Pleated Cotton-Twill Chinos

All Points East, Field Day, Mighty Hoopla, Lovebox and Citadel

  • Field Day, London. Photograph by Mr Max Miechowski/Fanatic Live, courtesy of Field Day

London, UK
May–July

With Glastonbury having a fallow year, why not leave the tent at home, book that Airbnb you’ve always wanted and string London’s multitude of day festivals together instead? New for 2018 is All Points East in Hackney (25 May–3 June), which has taken over Victoria Park with a gluttonous bevy of bands, including LCD Soundsystem, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The xx, Björk, Beck, Phoenix, St Vincent and Ms Patti Smith. Field Day, meanwhile, has relocated to Brockwell Park in south London (1–2 June). It is headlined by Ms Erykah Badu and features the capital’s new and exciting jazz scene, followed by something you never thought you’d see – boy band 5ive in a field at LGBTQ pop hoedown Mighty Hoopla (3 June). A month later, in Gunnersbury Park, west London, hip-hop heavyweights Wu-Tang Clan are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their debut album, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) at Lovebox (13–14 July), while the next day you can expect a field of flower crowns at Citadel (15 July) when Aussie psych princes Tame Impala top the bill.

What to wear

  • Mr P. Striped Cotton, Linen and Silk-Blend Shirt

  • Pilgrim Surf + Supply Cheyne Slim-Fit Cotton-Twill Drawstring Shorts

        

Festival essentials

  • Battenwear Embroidered Linen and Cotton-Blend Bucket Hat

  • Pop Trading Company Shell Passport Pouch

  • Ray-Ban Round-Frame Gold-Tone Sunglasses

  • Hampton Sun SPF15 Gel, 118ml

  • Timex Navi Harbor Stainless Steel and Nylon-Webbing Watch

  • Marvis Set of Three Toothbrushes