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Beyond Glastonbury: Your Guide To Euro Music Festivals

Where to go, who to see and what to wear for the top events on the festival circuit

Lana Del Rey

Courtesy of Universal Music Canada

Sure, in North America, we have loads of fab festivals (Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, SXSW) but I’ve discovered that there’s a whole other level of festival culture in Europe. Even without the famous Glastonbury, which is taking a year off, there are festivals every other weekend–as well as an unwritten dress code of sorts for each. Here’s what I’ve learned so far, along with some of my picks for upcoming festivals to check out.

Sónar
When: June 14 – 16
Where: various areas around Barcelona
The Lineup: The Roots, deadmau5, Hot Chip, Friendly Fires, Austra, Metronomy, Squarepusher, Simian Mobile Disco, and Lana del Rey—and that’s not all.
The Vibe: Electronic music-heavy, though the lineup is much more commercial these days than when the three-day festival started in 1994 (its still-official name: International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art).
The Look: Hot-weather cool, though the Spanish do seem to have a special knack for dancing at music festivals in four-inch heels. Opt for a flowy top by Sass & Bide (worn over a skimpy bikini top that you won’t actually wear at the beach, of course), a stretchy tube skirt by LNA, and aviators.
You’ll also like: Benicassim.

Lovebox
When: June 15 – 17
Where: Victoria Park, East London
The Lineup: Floripa, The Prototypes, Hot Chip and more. Don’t miss the Sunday headline act–the incomparable Grace Jones.
The Vibe: East London hipster, all the way.
The Look: If we’re blessed with good weather, expect cut-off denim shorts from Topshop, fringed tank tops (called “vests” here in the UK), also from Topshop (or Miss Selfridges, another cheap and cheerful chain owned by Sir Philip Green), and armfuls of homemade friendship bracelets. If it’s rainy—which, really, is much more likely—the uniform still applies: just add Hunter boots.
You’ll also like: BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend.

Ibiza 123 Festival
When: July 1 – 3
Where: Ibiza
The Lineup: Three nights, three headliners (Sting, Elton John, and Lenny Kravitz), plus plenty of other acts ranging from the established (David Guetta, Tiesto, Fatboy Slim) to the fresh (Azari & III, M83, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs).
The Vibe: Located on the “sunset strip”, which is quite literally, a row of swanky cafés, clubs and bars where everyone gathers to watch the sunset (home to Café del Mar, naturally), expect a slighter older crowd—but one that still likes to party.
The Look: Club kid, grown up: think Isabel Marant’s tie-dyed jeans over homemade ones, T by Alexander Wang or Helmut Lang jersey tank, Zara necklace, and a slouchy Stella McCartney Falabella bag.
You’ll also like: TW Classic Festival, Belgium.

Port Eliot Festival
When: July 19 – 22
Where: St. Germans, Cornwall, UK
The Lineup: Tracy Chevalier, Michèle Roberts, and Jessica Hynes are among the writers who will be performing (which is really anything they can imagine up and care to do in front of crowds of people).
The Vibe: Cultured, well-educated, fun-loving, and family-friendly: this is a literary-meets-music festival, with an outdoor cinema, oh-so-British flower show, and food and fashion components, too.
The Look: A maxi dress (something by Matthew Williamson or Etro will do) makes it easy to sit around in lush, green gardens, while Converse mean you’ll stay comfortable and The Row for Linda Farrow sunglasses show off your fun personality. Bring a fisherman’s sweater or big, wool blanket to throw on if it gets chilly.
You’ll also like: Wilderness Festival, Oxfordshire.

Mallorca Rocks
When: All summer long
Where: Mallorca, Spain
The Lineup: Tuesday night gigs include Azealia Banks, Kasabian, Plan B, and Tinie Tempah. The second-last gig is traditionally a ‘heritage’ band, and this year is no different, with New Order hitting the outdoor stage.
The Vibe: More “rock ‘n roll” than house music-led, the crowd here is mostly British, young, and loves to dance. Thursday nights are “W.A.R.” (We Are Rockstars) DJ-ed events, with Mark Ronson and Zane Lowe heading up the first of each month.
The Look: Bandeau and bustier tops, floral jumpsuits, the shortest shorts you ever saw, flat sandals, and cross-body mini bags. Basically: plenty of sun-kissed skin.
You’ll also like: Ibiza Rocks.

Festival No. 6
When: Sept. 14 – 16
Where: Portmeirion, Wales
The Lineup: Primal Scream, Local Natives, Spiritualized, New Order, and newcomers like London’s Jessie Ware.
The Vibe: Debuting this year, Festival No. 6 promises to be classy and idyllic, set amongst mountains, forests, and a coastal Welsh village. It oozes nostalgia and quirk (there will be street theatre, installations, impromptu performances, and activity hubs with clay pigeon shooting and archery)—in a good way.
The Look: Wear a patterned Vanessa Bruno dress with a pair of amazing laser-cut leather flats by Ancient Greek Sandals and a scarf by We Are Owls. If it gets chilly, throw an Equipment shirt or holey Phillip Lim knit over your ensemble (the former if heading to a gig; the latter if off to a film screening).
You’ll also like: Port Eliot, Cornwall.

Read more of Rebecca Tay’s Letters From London

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