25 Festivals to Discover Before You Die

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Right now, we’re right in the thick of our festival season, with a revolving door of A-list names making the long haul down here. What about when the weather takes a turn for the chilly, though?

If you frequent inthemix, you will have seen stories about the biggest players on the international festival calendar: the likes of Tomorrowland, Hideout, Global Gathering, Glade, Coachella, Bestival, Creamfields, Burning Man, Glastonbury, Sonar, Ultra Music Festival and Exit. Look a little further off the beaten track, though, and you’ll find an ever-widening list of festivals – from the intimate to the epic – worth booking a holiday around. From a very long list, we’ve got it down to 20 festivals you should put on your radar. Needless to say, we might’ve missed your favourite discovery. That’s what the comments section is for.

#25 Transahara

WHY: You don’t get much more “off the beaten track” than the Sahara Desert. Enter Transahara: a five-day festival smack bang in the middle of Morocco’s Sahara Desert. Make the pilgrimage and you’re looking at a lengthy trance, techno, house and minimal line-up; but the focus is on the whole shebang rather than recruiting big names.

Music’s as much as the focus as art, culture and getting in touch with your mind, body and soul (BYO harem pants). It’s an intimate experience with a spectacular setting: capacity is capped at 1000, so there won’t be many people ruining your view of the endless sand dunes. And to get your Lawrence of Arabia on, you’ll only be set back about $200 for the five-day pass. Bragging rights come free.

WHEN: Five days in early April
WHERE: Sahara Desert, Morocco
WEBSITE: nomadstribe.com

#24 Life Festival

WHY: With the backdrop of Belvedere House Park and Gardens, on the edge of a forest in the Irish countryside, Life Festival is like a period drama with a four-four soundtrack. The boutique festival is simply “about forward thinking music”, and in 2013 the line-up includes a Two Fingers DJ set from Amon Tobin, Seth Troxler, Floating Points, Modeselektor and Midland. If you like your festival thrills on the intimate side in a picturesque setting (Ireland also boasts the mammoth Oxegen Festival, a very different proposition), this is a weekender worth roaming to. All you have to hope is that the weather behaves.

WHEN: 24-26 May 2013
WHERE: Belvedere House, County Westmeath, Ireland
WEBSITE: life-festival.com

#23 Welcome To The Future

WHY: Dutch powerhouse ID&T needs no introduction when it comes to throwing next-level events. The ID&T résumé includes colossal festivals like Tomorrowland and Mysteryland, the ever-expanding Sensation empire and ENERGY at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, all with a meticulous approach to production, theming and sound.

One of the more ‘boutique’ sized festivals in the ID&T family is Welcome To The Future, a one-day marathon of techno and house in the Het Twiske park. Similar in format to Awakenings festival, Welcome To The Future’s mainstage in 2012 boasted Josh Wink and Steve Bug back-to-back, plus hometown heroes 2000 And One and Daniel Sanchez closing it out. There’s a killer techno stage as well and a capacity that suits the vibe. A gem worth discovering in Holland’s crowded festival itinerary.

WHEN: 27 July 2013
WHERE: Het Twiske, nearby Amsterdam
WEBSITE: welcometothefuture.nl

#22 ZoukOut

WHY: With chewing gum outlawed and swearing on-stage a big no-no, Singapore might not seem like the most obvious place to let loose at a festival. But for over ten years, ZoukOut’s been showing the world how much fun a city can have while still adhering to a bunch of odd laws. For 2012, ZoukOut recruited big guns like Avicii, Above & Beyond, Major Lazer, Knife Party and a heap more making ‘Singapore debuts’ for what’s become one of best dance festivals in Asia, run by the world-renowned Zouk club. Set on the ‘Surreal Seaside’ (read: private beach), Zoukout runs til 8am – so there’s no shortage of festival-ing over the two days. Did we mention tickets won’t break the bank?

WHEN: Two days in early December
WHERE: Siloso Beach, Singapore
WEBSITE: zoukout.com

#21 Ten Days Off

WHY: It’s all in the name: this is a 10 day stretch of epic all-nighters at the Vooruit Arts centre in Ghent, Belgium, each July. Beginning in the ‘90s as 10 Days Of Techno, 2013 will be the 19th edition of Ten Days Off, although no line-ups have yet been announced. Last year went large with an elite cast of house and techno talent, including Pachanga Boys, Richie Hawtin, Etienne de Crecy, Maceo Plex, John Talabot and DJ Harvey. The bonus of a spread-out ‘festival’ like this one is the prospect of extended sets – not something you get all that often.

WHEN: TBA, usually July
WHERE: Vooruit Arts Centre, Ghent, Belgium
WEBSITE: 10daysoff.be

Topdeck trips – the best way to explore Europe between attending the world’s biggest music festivals.


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katiecunningham said on the 12th Feb, 2013

I will go to all of them pls.


ha2a said on the 12th Feb, 2013

Holy Ship looks sooo epic


jurgenoldraver said on the 12th Feb, 2013

missing a few festivals, but i don`t blame the lack of knowledge at InTheMix Office.

Lets start with Ozora, Boom, Universo Paralello, Festivals that have been around for years, and many many of my australian friends attend every edition


JackT said on the 12th Feb, 2013

There'll always be ones missing from any list!


DTrancer said on the 12th Feb, 2013

summadayze and future music not make the list?


james223 said on the 12th Feb, 2013

No defqon or decibel ?


Digitalgrub said on the 12th Feb, 2013

Some awesome festivals here to check out! Surprised that Boom or Ozora didn't make the list though.


lawlietskyy said on the 12th Feb, 2013

How could you forget lebosonic? Surely you must go to one before you die, purely for the lulz.


mj86 said on the 12th Feb, 2013

agree with some of the comments, no OZORA or Boom!?


w8_2008 said on the 12th Feb, 2013

Definitely heard great things about Kazantip, particularly from Marten Hrger himself, but having been to Tomorrowland, it definitely belongs in the Top 2 - it's a great benchmark for all festivals, especially in Australia, to look-up to.


forlackofabettername said on the 12th Feb, 2013

Will definitely be checking some of these out. Surprised that Boom didn't make it, given how much I've heard about it from friends and other festival goers


mxgloria said on the 13th Feb, 2013

Articles like this is why I m broke.
I <3 you ITM


susanrveal said on the 13th Feb, 2013

What a great read!! One day!! onnne day!! lol ;)


scottyk82 said on the 13th Feb, 2013

Promoters in Australia - take note. You useless under production fucks!


Borman_fvp said on the 13th Feb, 2013

You should see Kazantip. This is more than a festival


User_259709 said on the 14th Feb, 2013

I agree with everyone else - no ozora, no boom & what about luminosity ??


Feslov said on the 14th Feb, 2013

Life festival lineup is spot on! A must this summer!


a2thetack said on the 14th Feb, 2013

thought tomorrowland would make the list for sure


kevinth said on the 15th Feb, 2013

If only I had the money to go..... :(


MRGIGANTOR said on the 15th Feb, 2013

These all look amazing, but where is Tomorrowland??? That should at least be in the top 5!


maso_majik said on the 18th Feb, 2013

I was lucky enough to be in Serbia in 2011 when Exit was on.. definiately get your tickets well ahead of time... nevertheless to say, it was EPIC! :)


Bombalia said on the 18th Feb, 2013

Congrats ITM on steering away from the "mainstream" global festivals (Global Gathering, EDC, Ultra and now add Burning Man). I don't read this as a countdown, I read this more as a bucketlist!


a2thetack said on the 18th Feb, 2013

Bpm was the best 10 days of my life


SANDSHREW said on the 19th Feb, 2013



Roy_O said on the 20th Feb, 2013

How did Exit not make it onto this list? I know how kaZantip made it to No. 1. :)


AnahataPhotog said on the 21st Feb, 2013

Boom, Coachella, Bonnaroo, Shambhala, MFM.


JackT said on the 22nd Feb, 2013

For those asking about Tomorrowland, Exit et al, those omissions are explained in the intro :)


felicia158 said on the 22nd Feb, 2013

I believe that the editor of this article, or did a bad home work or knows nothing about some of the best festivals in the world!! Universo Paralello (Brasil), BOOM Festival (Portugal), Ozora (Hungary), man.....absolutely unforgivable...


babbibelle said on the 25th Feb, 2013

I think I just peed myself.


Morphee said on the 25th Feb, 2013

Glad Snowbombing made it... highlight of my 2012 for sure!


PrimetimeBeats said on the 27th Mar, 2013

How can you guys not have Burning Man or Shambhala on this list!?! They are both widely considered to be the best of their kind and I understand its not of the same variety of the European inspired festivals but for the list being titled "Festivals to Discover Before You Die" I'm sorry but I believe they belong in the top 10. Being a multi-year Shams vet I can vouch to this and Burning Man looks even more life expanding. Much luv


Yvonne21 said on the 10th Apr, 2013

Holy ship! But where's Tomorrowland? Got to admit it's one of the best festivals ;)


Mindfull-1 said on the 10th Apr, 2013

It's getting lame these big festivals. Just due to the fact that people who've been or are going wear it like a 'cool badge' and most of the time those who go on about it the most are not usually much chop to party with.

Sometimes then go on to express disdain that isnt even as close to wonderously epic as this festival. All the while leaving you wondering if they are actually this awesome party machine or just someone who lives vicariously through hype. Because people who know partying know big festivals never really rank that high on the party scale.


LCS264 said on the 10th Apr, 2013

Where is Fusion festival on this list?


dj_lui_raptor said on the 18th Apr, 2013

I agree with jurgenoldraver.. Ive been to boom n ozora.. 7 days of non stop headonism.. and definitely should be in this list.


Onijin said on the 19th Jun, 2013

KaZantip gets my vote!


kanni said on the 21st Jun, 2013


hope I can go soon =)

DJ Rod Vieira

DJ Rod Vieira said on the 5th Aug, 2013

Where's the Dream Valley Festival? It was voted the best in Brazil last year (its first), 50.000 people and DJs such as Hardwell, Guetta, Calvin Harris, Sharam, Nervo, Justice, Magda, Hot Chip, Dubfire and many more