Music Festival Circuit
This article is a travel topic
Not only can attending a music festival in another country be an opportunity to hear some fantastic music, but it can be a unique way to really get an understanding of the people of the country you are visiting and to make new friends that will last a lifetime.
Compiling a list of every major festival in every country would be close to impossible, and many of the best experiences can be found at smaller festivals, so keep an eye out in the local music press for what is happening in the country you are visting.
Due to the distributed nature of the population many music festivals in Australia are single day affairs that tour the nation as oposed to the 3-5 day long camping festivals of Europe. Some of the best include:
- Field Day - Sydney, New South Wales - 1st of January. Dance music festival held in Sydney's Domain park every year on New Years Day.
- Future Music Festival - Tours Nationaly - Feb-March. Formally known as two tribes until one of the two companies running it pulled out, this is the flagship event of Melbourne based Future entertainment. Primarily dance music acts, with the occasional notable exception (e.g. Frandz Ferdinand in 2010)
- Southbound - Busselton, Western Australia - January. European style camping festival near the holiday town of Busselton. One of the most family friendly festivals in the country.
- The Big Day Out - Tours Australia and New Zealand - Jan-Feb. An Australian institution since it went nationwide in 1993, the BDO stops off in every Australian state and New Zealand. Huge variety of music from folk to heavy metal to experimental electronica.
- Evolve Music and Awareness Festival - Antigonish, Nova Scotia - July -
- Folly Fest - Gagetown, New Brunswick - June-July
- Halifax Pop Explosion - Halifax, Nova Scotia - October
- Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival - Fredericton, New Brunswick
- Montreal Jazz Festival - Montreal, Quebec - June-July
- NXNE - Toronto, Ontatio - June
- Osheaga  - Montreal, Quebec - July-August
- Ottawa Bluesfest - Ottawa, Ontario - July
- Pemberton Festival - Pemberton, British Columbia - July
- Shambhala - Salmo, British Columbia - August
- Sunseekers Ball Music & Arts Festival - Chance Harbour, New Brunswick - August
- Reggae SumFest - Montego Bay - July
- Allgood Music festival-(Marvins mountain top, Wv) July
- Bonnaroo - Manchester, Tennessee - June
- Burning Man  - Black Rock City, Nevada - Aug-Sept
- Coachella - Indio, California - April
- Folks Festival - Lyons, Colorado - August
- Jazz Fest - New Orleans, Louisiana - April/May
- Jazz Jubilee - Sacramento, California - May
- Lollapalooza  - Chicago - August
- Monterey Jazz - Monterey, California - September
- Mountain Jam(Hunter Mountain, Ny)- June
- Newport Folk Festival - Newport, Rhode Island - July
- Newport Jazz Festival - Newport, Rhode Island - August
- Pitchfork Music Festival  - Chicago - July
- Rochester International Jazz Festival - Rochester, New York - June
- Rock the Bells - San Francisco, San Bernardino, New York City, many others
- RockyGrass - Lyons, Colorado - July
- Rothbury Music Festival - Rothbury, Michigan - July
- Simply Music, Simply Mushrooms - Morgantown, Indiana - April
- SXSW - Austin, Texas - March
- Telluride Bluegrass Festival - Telluride, Colorado - June
- VooDoo Music Experience - New Orleans, Louisiana - October/November
- Wakarusa - Mulberry, Arkansas - June
- Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival - Winfield, Kansas - September
- RainForest Festival
- Pukkelpop - Kiewit - August
- Roskilde - Roskilde - Late June/Early July - Large camping festival about 30 mins by train form Copenhagen. Attracts a young crowd from all over Europe and the rest of the world. Campsite opens the Monday before the festival, with lots of smaller local acts playing in the days leading up the the main event. Very good facilities. With a wide variety of music there should be something to cater for everyone.
The largest music festivals of the country:
- Dance Valley — Spaarnwoude
- Defqon.1 — Biddinghuizen or Almere
- Heineken Dance Parade — Rotterdam
- Lowlands - Biddinghuizen
- Mystery Land — Hoofddorp
- North Sea Jazz — Rotterdam
- Parkpop — The Hague
- Pink Pop - Landgraaf
- Sensation — Amsterdam
- Uitmarkt — Amsterdam
- Zomercarnaval — Rotterdam
- Zwarte Cross — Achterhoek
- Freedom Festival - Elvas - Aug
- Montreux Jazz Festival - Montreaux - July
No country in the world is served better for music festivals than the UK. Here is but a small sample of what is on offer
- Bestival - Isle of Wight - Early September . Once considered a 'boutique' festival due to it's smaller size this festival has grown considerably in recent years. Holding the record as the worlds largest costume party, dressing up is a must.
- Escape into the Park - Swansea - 13 June 2009 . An annual pop and dance extravaganza held late summer. Capacity 25,000. £41:50.
- Glastonbury - Glastonbury - June. Needs no introduction. Even if it sells out the year before do not despair because there are many tickets returned and they will be available in the April before the festival. Typically it runs 3 out of every 4 years.
- Leeds  - Leeds - 27-29 August 2010. Tickets: £180 for weekend (including camping & parking), or £75 for any day (no camping included) - rock and indie
- Reading - Reading - 27-29 August 2010. Tickets: £180 for weekend (including camping & parking), or £75 for any day (no camping included) - rock and indie 
- Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts - Swansea - 8-17 October 2010 - Tickets: concerts are paid for individually - classical and jazz - the second largest festival of its kind in the UK. 
- Womad - Malmesbury, Wiltshire - 23-25 July 2010. Tickets: £125 for weekend  - music, art and dance
The first thing you're going to need is a ticket. There is large demand for tickets to many of the major festivals with some selling out in a matter of hours, so get your tickets as soon as possible. Some festivals require you to register before you buy the tickets, so make sure you've done this before the tickets go on sale. If you have missed out on tickets or are strapped for cash it may still be possible to get into the event by voluenteering to work at the event as this is how many festivals find a lot of their staff. You will usually be expected to work a few hours a day doing small tasks like collecting rubish or directing traffic. This can usually be arranged so that you will get to see most of the acts you want to see.
The usual rules regarding drugs and alcohol apply, only more so. As a general rule a festival like Glasonbury is not a safe place to take start taking drugs, despite its reputation. Remember that the purities of drugs differ from country to country. For example if you usually need 3 pills of ecstacy in the UK to achive your desired high you may be supprised to find that a single pill at an Australian festival would be more than enough for you. Americans should note that European beers are generaly stronger than US beers and people from other countries should note that American "light" beers are not necessarily lower in alcohol content, rather light may mean low calorie. Beyond that follow the usual rules: listen to what your body is telling you, know your limits and make sure your friends are looking out for you.
Also if you've come from a cooler climate like Northern Europe or North America to a festival in somewhere like Spain or Australia you'll be more prone to dehydration when in a mosh pit or raving for long periods of time, so keep a bottle of water on you at all times.
The vast majority of the attendants to music festivals decide to camp on site, and most attendants consider it a vital part of the experience. If you want to be close to the action you're going to have to get in early to get a camping site close to the music. However you may want to consider the fact that the closer you are to the music the louder it will be and the less chance you will get a good nights sleep if you decide you've had enough. Remember that even though music on the main stages may have finished, there may be sections of the festival that will keep playing music until late into the night. Some festivals have special camping areas for families with young children.
If you don't feel that you can't live without the creature comforts getting a hotel room near the festival is an option, but keep in mind that if the festival is high demand will be large not just from the festival goers but from the festival staff as well so prices will be high. Also you should consider how far away you are from the festival and the amount of time every day to get in. A better option, if the festival provides facilities to do this, may be to get a motor home and stay there, giving you significantly more comfort and privacy than camping while keeping you relativly close to the action.