Dig out your neon shirts, your camping tents and cut-off shorts because not only has summer arrived but festival season is here! Excited? Only at a festival is it perfectly acceptable to dress up as a magical creature, not shower for a week and share a tent with a stranger. While perhaps not the best life choices, they are the 'bread and butter' of festival fun. Festivals are a wonderfully weird phenomenon, but let’s not forget about the music! Whether you are a house music junkie or a pop princess, there is a festival out there for you. One of the greatest aspects of these summer festivals is that they lure music’s biggest artists to perform on the same stage. Where else could you see Kanye West share a stage with The Who? Throngs of young people as well as the young-at-heart pour into festivals across the world every summer to revel in their musical magic. We have highlighted the top five best festivals in Continental Europe that are just around the corner.  Sonar, Barcelona, Spain.

1. Sonar/ Barcelona, Spain/ June 18-20/ Tickets: 195

Sonar’s creators founded this revolutionary festival as the “Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art.” Since its inception in 1994 Sonar has propelled electronic music and multimedia from the fringe of society onto the world stage. This is not your average festival. Sonar brings together the most avant-garde musicians, artists, producers, filmmakers and technology experts. And what emerges is a vibrant, innovative and yes, electrifying platform for ideas and art to be created, shared and taught. Past acts at Sonar have included iconic performances from Bjork, Beastie Boys and LCD Soundsystem. Since the late 1990’s Sonar has set the bar for what music festivals can achieve. Sonar has been replicated in many major cities worldwide, but none compare to the original in Barcelona. Throughout the month of June the city vibrates with excitement in anticipation for the festival. Then, for three days, Sonar can be felt in every corner of the great city. There are art installations, activities for children and scholarly lectures on electronic media on top of the incredible musical performances. This year more than 150 artists will perform including: The Chemical Brothers, Skrillex, FKA Twigs and Hot Chip. EDM music is the main attraction but Sonar is more than just music, it is a glimpse of the future. To purchase tickets to Sonar please click here. (They are more expensive at the door!)  The Garden Festival, Tisno, Croatia.

2. The Garden Festival/Tisno Croatia/ July 1-8/Tickets: (Almost) Sold Out (See Below)

The beaches of the shimmering Adriatic Sea provide the perfect backdrop for this wild and energetic festival. Every summer, for the past nine years, thousands of 20-somethings have flocked to the Garden Festival to camp, dance and party for eight perfect days and nights. This year will be the very last Garden Festival but undoubtedly the best yet. The music-obsessed crowds here are friendly, laid-back and eager to live it up. The Garden Festival leaves the flash and pyrotechnics for bigger venues and opts instead for four humble stages and sandy dance floors. It is the continuous live music and DJ sets all day and night, the 20 boat parties over the course of the week and the good vibrations that make this festival better than most. This year’s line-up boasts some of the best international house and EDM acts including: Optimo, Nightmares on Wax, Ben UFO and Joy Orbision. Week pass tickets are completely sold out. For those who want to experience the Garden Festival’s last hurrah daily passes and the Garden Festival/Electric Elephant double-whammy passes are still available. To purchase tickets click here.  Sziget Festival, Budapest, Hungary.

3. Sziget Festival/Budapest, Hungary/August 10-17/Tickets: 249Massive is an understatement when describing Hungary’s Sziget Festival. This festival eats your festival for breakfast and is still hungry for more. Coming from humble beginnings in 1993 Sziget now attracts over 350,000 people from all over the globe. There are 200 daily musical acts and 50 different venues, making Sziget truly larger than life. Sziget is held in the heart of Budapest on a charming island known as the, “Island of Freedom.” The festival caters to practically every musical genre out there, so no one is left out of the mix. The festival always attracts the biggest headliners. This year the headliners include: Kings of Leon, Avicii, Florence and the Machine, Robbie Williams, Ellie Goulding and Kasbian among dozens of others. Between the incredible music, colourful amusement park, huge dance floors, hypnotic light shows, a circus and a theatre, it is no wonder Sziget is one of the top festivals in the entire world. To find out more about Sziget click here.  Tomorrowland, Boom, Belgium.

4. Tomorrowland/Boom, Belgium/ July 24-26/ SOLD OUT

Boom, the aptly named host city for this fantasy-fuelled festival turns into the ultimate party playground during Tomorrowland. There are no two ways about it, Tomorrowland is one huge party. Here, fest-goers range from the free-spirited to the freaky and everything in between. The other half of the festival is known as DreamVille, and is where attendees can choose to sleep. This festival campground turns into more of an alternative community equipped with shops, cafes and even its own bakery. Lights, pyrotechnics, special effects and the mystical backdrop of the whole event make Tomorrowland an out of this world phenomenon. The festival attracts the biggest DJ’s and electronic music artists in the business. This year the line-up includes: Alesso, Avicii, David Guetta and Carl Cox. To find out more about Tomorrowland click here.  Festival Internacional de Benicassim, Spain. (Photo: vincebudapest.hu/en/2014/06/16-zenei-fesztival-3-stilusban/)

5. Festival Internacional de Benicassim/Benicassim, Spain / July 16-19/ Tickets: 160 (4 Day)

This is mouthful of a festival, let’s call it FIB for short. FIB has stayed consistently popular among crowds and musicians alike for over two decades. FIB is held in Valencia near the town of Benicassim and stretches along the gorgeous waters of the Mediterranean. Devoted to pop, rock and electronic music since 1995 FIB is still a musical haven for young people today. The scorching temperatures during the day mean that the music plays from dusk to dawn. During the day festivalers can find relief from their hangover in the cool waters and enjoy the lively beach atmosphere. Attendance this year will probably loom at just over 50,000 people, most being well tanned and gorgeous Spaniards, followed closely by sun-seeking Brits. Camping is recommended since accommodation fills up quickly, but in this kind of feel good environment camping is half the fun. The awesome lineup this year includes: Blur, Portishead, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mark Ronson and Florence + the Machine among many more. To purchase FIB tickets or to learn more about it click here.  

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