One of the most significant aspects of the dance music world is the festival experience. These gatherings play an important roll in EDM, serving as a place where people can celebrate music and embrace peace, love, unity, and respect. Over the past two decades, these festivals have developed from small, back-alley warehouse parties to some the biggest social events on the planet, bringing people together from every nation to dance to the same beat.
We examined a handful of the most promising dance music gatherings from around the world and have presented you with a list of fourteen of the biggest players on the international festival calendar. Many of these festivals have been running for years, even decades, and they have had plenty of time to iron out the kinks, build a fan-base, and earn their legendary status.
For any true EDM fan, here are 14 festivals to cross off your bucket list.
What could be better than spending three days on a luxury liner cruising the Caribbean with a roll-call of dance music’s biggest names spinning ‘til dawn? How about a beach party on a private, white-sand island in the Bahamas? In addition to the already incredible festival-meets-5-star-holiday experience, partiers have the opportunity to rub shoulders with their favorite DJs for the entire cruise, whether it be partying with Tiesto or playing poker with Zedd - you choose.
Nature One is a European open-air festival, and it features many renowned DJ’s from all over the world. If you happened to miss out on TomorrowLand this year, don’t worry; Nature One is a very suitable replacement. Take a look at this year's aftermovie and we are sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Boasting some of the world's best DJs and stage productions, not to mention located in the beautiful city of Miami, ULTRA Music Festival is the world's premier electronic music festival. Amidst the parties, excitement, and chaos of Miami Music Week, there are no questions as to why Ultra is one of the most talked about festivals in the entire world.
It's a no-brainer for many that this one would make the list. TomorrowLand is an undeniable must-attend festival for generation-Y, as it is one of the biggest dance music spectacles on the planet. Thanks to the star-studded DJ lineup, world-class production, and fairytale-like vibes, to not attend TomorrowLand at least once in your lifetime is undoubtedly an opportunity missed.
If you’ve been looking for a reason to pack your bags and head to Australia for a summer down-under, this is it. Stereosonic is the country’s biggest festival, touring nationally across two weekends, hitting each city for two days of madness. With a lineup boasting the biggest names on the planet playing amongst an incredible atmosphere and great people in the Australian summer sunshine, this festival continuously creates a memorable experience.
ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL
EDC combines the world's most renowned dance music talent with cutting-edge production to create an unparalleled experience of sight and sound. No longer simply an electronic music festival, Electric Daisy Carnival has grown into a one of a kind, full entertainment experience that you will have to encounter for yourself to believe.
This one for the Trance fans - Sensation is the kind of festival that not only brings great music to the people, but also looks to create an unparelleled atmosphere and spectacle to its events. All attendees dress in white and spend the night in an adult wonderland, where pyrotechnics, lasers, dancers, and some of the world’s most esteemed trance and progressive house DJs come together to make it a night to remember.
Hard Events is one of best festival brands currently operating in the States, and L.A.’s Hard Summer is right where it all began. With a reputation for delivering diverse, super-cool line-ups that are enough to make any dance fan weak at the knees, it’s hard not to resist the urge to visit this one.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is an annual two-weekend, three-day music and arts festival held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. The event features many genres of music, including rock, indie, hip hop, and electronic dance music, as well as art installations and sculptures. For many music fans, it a showcase of the who’s-who in the global music world.
Kazantip is more than just a festival, it's an adventure. The event's amazingly twisted metalwork sculptures and weird little bars dotted around the site contribute to its rich political theme, setting up a "Republic" with ministers and a "PreZident" that is guarded by military-style "Typhoon" guards (they look mean, but they don't bite). If that wasn't enough, it stretches over a whopping five to six weeks in the Ukraine’s summer. Most people pop in for a few days or a week, but if you’re really hardcore you could very well do the full six week challenge.
The evidently unique event genuinely goes beyond being a great party—which it is—to create something that feels even more significant than your standard EDM festival.
Over the past 20 years, Sónar has become recognized worldwide as the gold standard of electronic music festivals while still presenting plenty of popular indie rock. It is particularly popular within the realms of house and techno, but also dipps into electro, dubstep, bass, and beyond. Sonar is an event for dance music fans that want to steer away from the typical mainstage "EDM" festival.
Exit is an award-winning summer music festival that is held in Serbia. It was officially proclaimed as the 'Best Major European festival' at the EU Festival Awards - beating even Tomorrowland. Exit has quickly established itself as one of Europe’s best dance-music destinations due to its expert curation and its unique venue—Novi Sad’s Petrovaradin Fortress. Filling the grounds surrounding this Medieval structure, Exit presents many of the world’s best DJs and producers speckled amongst equally huge rock acts.
If you’re looking to go the extra mile for dance music, then it’s all about Sunburn. The dance festival is set on the beaches of Candolim in Goa, India in December, with world-class headliners and music that literally goes 24 hours a day. On top of the festival, there’s everything else that goes on: flea markets, fire jugglers, a massage centre and spa, rock climbing, and “slippery football," but we’ll leave that one up to your imagination.
AMSTERDAM MUSIC FESTIVAL
Brought to you by ID&T and ALDA Events, Amsterdam Music Festival cumulated into a mind-blowing spectacle only last year. The 2013 edition of AMF proved that the only limit to music is the imagination - dance music industry workers along with the worlds biggest DJs and EDM lovers from over 63 countries united for the world's biggest EDM Conference, Amsterdam Dance Event, and further celebrated the festival in the weekend after. ADE also happens to host and celebrate the DJ Mag Top 100 all week, so you know there is a lot of artists and shows to see while you're there. For a hardcore EDM fan - this is definitely something worth witnessing.