By Kelly Griffin –
It’s the ultimate music lover’s dream: take a year off to travel the world, chasing the sun and attending the world’s biggest and best music festivals. For those of us in the real world, even if we can only attend one of these festivals once in our life, the memory will undoubtedly last a lifetime. Here are five of the best festivals to experience in 2016.
When: 30 January
Kick off the year at the impeccably cool, indie music gathering Laneway Festival at The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay. This year’s line-up has to be the festival’s best yet, with Grimes, Purity Ring, Beach House and The Internet playing alongside local heroes Cashew Chemists, Intriguant and Riot in Magenta.
While the Singapore arm of the Laneway juggernaut is a slightly pared down version of the Australian line-up, it has the benefit of being held in the lush, green surrounds of the Gardens by the Bay, with plenty of space for the 10,000-odd crowd to bask in the golden sun while checking out the world’s most exciting new acts.
Where: California, USA
When: 15–24 April
Held in the Californian desert, Coachella attracts indie-music lovers, sun worshippers, fashion bloggers and cool A-list Hollywood celebrities. It is the music festival to see and to be seen at. Last year’s headliners included AC/DC, Drake and Jack White, while Leonardo DiCaprio, Kendall Jenner and Paris Hilton were just some of the stars seen letting loose in the crowd.
The 2016 line-up is yet to be revealed, but you should head to this art and music festival that takes place over two weekends, for desert camping, good vibes, great music and a bit of celeb spotting.
Where: Somerset, UK
When: 22–26 June
Glastonbury is the mother of all festivals; it’s the Shangri-la for any serious music lover. Retaining the ‘70s hippie vibe that inspired its inception, Glastonbury hosts the world’s biggest pop acts like Beyoncé and Jay Z alongside history’s greatest, like Leonard Cohen, David Bowie and Paul McCartney. Beyond the big names, the five-day festival showcases artists across the whole gamut of genres, and features secret parties, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and other arts – spoiling festival goers with choice.
All 118,200 tickets to the 2016 Glastonbury festival sold out in a record time of 30 seconds, but if you didn’t nab one, don’t despair. The festival will hold a resell where you can safely pick up legitimate last-minute tickets (and avoid scalpers). While the line-up is yet to be revealed, festival organiser Emily Eavis has said the 2016 headliner “couldn’t be any bigger”. Adele, Coldplay, Muse and the Stone Roses are hotly tipped to fill the place.
Where: Boom, Belgium
When: 22–24 July
Every late July, the world’s biggest DJs and electronic producers descend on the appropriately named Belgium town of Boom for a weekend of monumental electronic dance music (EDM) madness. Described by some revellers as ‘the happiest place on earth’, Tomorrowland is a party like no other. Past jaw-dropping stage designs have included active volcanos, exploding butterflies, mind-blowing laser shows and fireworks displays synced to DJ’s live shows. DJs have been known to create exclusive tracks and remixes especially for their Tomorrowland set – that’s how highly regarded the festival is for EDM junkies.
There are sister festivals in Brazil and the USA, but the original Belgium festival is arguably the biggest, the best and loudest party on earth. Again, the 2016 line-up is yet to be revealed, but the festival will not disappoint.
Fuji Rock Festival
Where: Yuzawa, Japan
When: Last weekend in July
Held in a stunning mountain setting, this three-day camping festival hosts over 200 Japanese and international rock heavyweights across 14 stages. Although the 2016 line-up is yet to be revealed, past performers have included the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine (RATM), Foo Fighters, The Strokes, The Cure, Muse and The Stone Roses. The festival attracts crowds of around 100,000 head-banging rock lovers – who also happen to be one of the friendliest and most laidback festival crowds you’ll encounter.
The festival offers attendees a chance to relax in an onsen (hot spring), wander through the forest or take the 20-minute cable-car ride up the mountain for stunning views of the festival below. It will take place in Mt Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture, which is nowhere near Mt Fuji but is as spectacular. Hot tip: arrive for the Thursday night opening party of the festival, which is free entry and includes bon odori (traditional Japanese folk dance) and a fireworks display.