Whether you're seeking quirky locations, unique themes, alternative line-ups, awe-inspiring creativity and art programming, or an LGBTQ+ friendly oasis, we've got you covered. Check out the below list for our round-up of unique music festivals in Europe in 2023, plus some festival dates in 2024 to look forward to...
20-23 July, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, United Kingdom
The worst kept secret in the UK’s summer festival calendar has long held a reputation for its all-embracing anything-goes ethos. Set across Cambridgeshire’s sprawling countryside, naked lake swimming, losing your inhibitions and being one’s true self are equally encouraged.
Offering unlimited dancing for everyone with an inner child who remembers what it’s like to have fun, HÄUS OF DONS’ leading a battle of the boybands, dance-offs and catwalks is just one of many highlights.
Elsewhere, hosting their own stage (but this time for all four days), record label and inclusive promoter HE.SHE.THEY will welcome a stellar line-up of queer DJs, including Elkka, Horse Meat Disco, Sherelle, Tygapaw and Syreeta. So shake off your societal shackles and embrace this progressive party place.
20–24 July, Bromyard, United Kingdom
Founded by a fun-loving family and their friends - aka pretty much everyone who had a guitar to play or a joke to tell - and situated around a ramshackle Tudor farmhouse in the rural Herefordshire countryside, Nozstock’s aim was to “bring play to everyone, in whatever form”. Catering to all ages with activities that little ones can enjoy as well as entertainment for teens, students, seasoned party-starters and grandparents, the vast programme will host headline performances from The Wailers and Fat Freddy’s Drop as well as comedy, arts workshops, spoken word, games, after-dark experimental cabaret and late-night disco.
28–31 July, Ferropolis, Gräfenhainichen, Germany
Taking place in a lakeside industrial park a few hours outside of Berlin, the fifth and largest edition of WHOLE Festival - which began as a collaboration between Berlin collectives Buttons, Pornceptual, and Cocktail D’Amore as a way to expand the local scene - once again aims to connect queer collectives from all over the globe under one banner of creativity, passion, pleasure, and above all, good music.
3–6 August, Recreatiegebied Maasplassen, Roermond, Netherlands
The theme for this year’s Solar Weekend - 'wild life' - should hint at the type of event this Dutch four-dayer is. With a little bit of everything, the electronic festival is filled with all sorts of adventures – ranging from huge water gun battles, fairground rides and merry-go-rounds to theatre and sport.
Of course, there’s no shortage of great DJ talent either, including Bad Gyals Club, Bassjackers and Jengi (of viral ski baby fame). The house-meets-EDM summer vibes of Mr. Belt & Wezol, and Dynamic Dutch duo Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, are sure to compliment the scenic setting of Maasplassen, too.
5–6 & 12-13 August, Zeedijk, Bruges, Belgium
Get ready to dive into a summer aquatic wonderland when this double weekender celebrates its 10th anniversary. With 2ManyDJS, Bedouin, Dixon, Enrico Sangiuliano, Mind Against, Sedef Adasi, TDJ and Yade Lauren lined up to step behind the decks, there’ll be no shortage of house and techno. This year’s theme - ‘Sea, Sand & Sun’ - is interesting, too; inspired by shimmering shells, dewy sun-glossed skin and all things ocean, why not dress for the occasion?
2 September, Gashouder Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The first immersive wellness festival to take place at Amsterdam’s iconic Gashouder, prepare to be transported into a euphoric state at this three-hour retreat.
Although the huge industrial setting is more commonly used to host techno raves like Awakenings, this “multi-sensorial Sanctum ritual of unity and self-discovery” promises to “empower your body and expand your mind by achieving a natural high through the power of mindful movement, electrifying music, renowned artists and wellbeing experts”.
9-10 September, Kasteel Van Humbeek, Grimbergen, Belgium
Taking place in the woods of the Belgian castle of Humbeek, where unforgettable experiences await all who enter. But, while the setting is historic, the experience is future-facing, with the team this year embracing metaverse, crypto and NFT technology.
As well as DJ sets from music icon Moodymann, Desiree and Farrago, The Oracle stage will give attendees an opportunity to explore their inner selves and discover new understandings via a series of workshops that “cater to an individual's emotional, cognitive, social, and physical well-being”. Meanwhile, The Voodoo Market offers a place where festival-goers can immerse themselves in “a beautiful world of unique objects, fabrics, and artisanal crafts”.
2024 festival dates
28-30 June 2024, Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
What better way to kickstart your summer than by enjoying some of the finest electronic music in a stunning location? Set in the lush green gardens and by the water that surrounds a castle, join a community of like-minded dancers and create ever-lasting memories together. And, with new camping chill-out zones and a sixth stage introduced this year, there’s more space than ever before. Good times are coming, and everyone's invited.
9-11 May 2024, Asiat Park, Belgium
Since launching in 2014, Horst Festival has spent years building a reputation for properly uniting art and music. The festival's three-day 2023 programme of music and architectural mastery was expansive enough to have something to offer pretty much anyone with a passing interest in electronic music and visual arts.