1. Panorama Festival, NYC
Panorama was my first foray into international festivals and was hands down one of the best weekends of my life. The inaugural year was held at Randall’s Island Park in New York and boasted a lineup that was almost face melting in its awesomeness; think LCD Soundsystem, Kendrick Lamar, Arcade Fire and Sufjan Stevens. Literally dead. This year takes it to another level with Frank Ocean, Solange, Tame Impala and alt-J just to name a few. Best of all, it also features the Lab, a huge exhibition space with digital art, insane installations and a 360-degree dome theatre in case you need to take a break from the epic tunes. In the words of Liz Lemon, I want to go to there.
2. Primavera Sound, Barcelona
The first time I heard about Primavera Sound was 2016 when my roommate said “Hey, do you know Radiohead is headlining Primavera Sound this year?” This was followed by me being sad that I was in Sydney and not in Barcelona, which is the case for 99.9% of my life. Primavera Sound has been around for 16 years and is considered an ‘unmissable’ event, in which case I expect my complimentary ticket in the mail because clearly, I can’t miss it now can I? With a 2017 lineup featuring Arcade Fire, Frank Ocean, Aphex Twin, Bon Iver and Solange, the only thing that could make this festival better would be having it in a beautiful city filled with unique architecture, perfect selfie backdrops and incredible cultu- OH WAIT. This is one to put on the bucketlist for sure.
3. Reading and Leeds, UK
What’s better than one festival with a kick ass line up? Two festivals with the same kick ass line up in two locations, because the fine folks at Reading and Leeds understand that travel is hard and sometimes you can’t afford to jet cross country to get your boogie on. Reading and Leeds has a rich history of hosting some of the world’s most prestigious rock artists (think Nirvana, Rolling Stones, Metallica and Pink Floyd), but that doesn’t mean it’s all rock and roll; this year’s lineup boasts Kasabian, Eminem (*dies*), Muse and Aussie legend Flume. Time to hop across the pond for a spot of tunes methinks.
4. Fuji Rock Festival, Japan
I’ll be honest, researching this one almost made me immediately cash in my annual leave and bounce. Music aside (I can’t believe I’m saying that), the experience of this festival is what did it for me: catching a cable car up a mountain into a picturesque forest, to a festival that feeds your soul as well as your eardrums? Yeah, I thought so. Fuji Rock Festival is all about getting out of your little bubble, seeing the bigger picture and getting in touch with your inner forest dweller. The lineup this year includes Aphex Twin, Bjork, LCD Soundsystem, Lorde, Major Lazer, Queens of the Stone Age and the XX; pair that with copious bowls of ramen and some mystical fog over those mountain peaks and I am a goner. This is a festival that will make your Instagram followers green with envy. Get it? Green? Like trees? Cause it’s in a forest? I’ll see myself out.
5. Splendour in the Grass, Australia
I couldn’t possibly have a list of top festivals without the cherry on top being home grown and near to my heart. Splendour in the Grass is as Australian as a kangaroo holding a meat pie; held in three locations over New Year’s Eve, it pulls incredible acts each year like The Cure, The Strokes, At The Drive In, James Blake and Sigur Ross, while also showcasing some ripper homegrown talent to boot. This year’s lineup is still a delightful mystery, but we are shivering in anticipation for what 2017 will bring. If some of the bands don’t rub you the right way, Splendour is also home to the Tipi Forest, a techno orgasm of lights, sounds and interactive art. Also, last year there was a giant inflatable pink poop emoji. How bloody Aussie.
Look, at the end of this list I was hoping to have something profound to say, like how music is a global language that we can all connect through and how travelling out of our comfort zone helps us see things from a different perspective, but I’ll be totally honest; I’m just filled with music lust and am going to go cry into a specially curated Spotify playlist of these tasty bands. Let me know in the comments below what your favourite festival is, just because I’m not torturing myself enough!
Until next time x