European Music Festivals Guide 2016: How To Buy Tickets

Sonar Festival
The Chemical Brothers open Sonar Music Festival on June 18, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. Xavi Torrent/Getty

Summer might seem far away, but it's never too early to start dreaming of lazy days spent lounging in fields listening to the world's greatest bands. Whether you're a fan of Glastonbury's muddy fields, revel in the raw indie atmosphere of Reading, or prefer the sun soaked surroundings of Barcelona's Sonar Festival—there's something for everyone. So, dig out your favorite ironic band t-shirt, purchase a pop-up tent, and swot up on this year's headliners.

Our handy guide will help you find the perfect festival for you.


The stunning beach resort of Benicassim couldn't be farther from the half-empty fields and unknown bands that define most teens' first experience of festival life. The distinctive mix of cutting-edge live and electronic music acts means it regularly attracts a hipster crowd seeking sun, sea and sounds.

Where: Benicassim, Spain

When: July 14-17

Headliners: Kendrick Lamar, Major Lazer, Jamie XX

Tickets: £76 ($110) four-day passes are available now.


Founded by BBC Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank, this Isle of Wight bash marks the end of the festival season for many revelers. After increasing its capacity two years ago, it now attracts a crowd of 79,000 fancy dress-clad fun-seekers. This year's headliners include 1980s New Romantic stalwarts The Cure alongside, Hot Chip, Madonna and Major Lazer. Don't forget to pack glitter, face paints and, more often than not, wellies.

Where: Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight

When: September 8-11

Headliners: The Cure, Major Lazer, Hot Chip

Tickets: £190 ($275) general admission tickets are on sale now.

Florence Welsh
Florence Welch of Florence And The Machine performs live on the Pyramid stage during the first day Glastonbury on June 26, 2015. Florence was a late headline replacement for the Foot Fighters after Dave Grohl broke his leg. Jim Dyson/Getty Images

British Summer Time

Is a festival really a festival if it's not on concurrent days? Whether you call it a festival or a series of gigs, the line-up will stand toe-to-toe with any this summer. With Take That topping the bill you can guarantee a road block.

Where: Hyde Park, London

When: July 2, July 8, July 9.

Headliners: Florence + The Machine, Kendrick Lamar, Mumford & Sons, Take That

Tickets: £65 ($95) general admission tickets are on sale now.

Radio 1's Big Weekend

The BBC's Radio 1 playlist still has the power to make and break pop music careers, which is why the station is able to attract the world's biggest stars to this annual shindig. This year's regal setting provides a suitable backdrop against which pop kings and queens such as Coldplay and Ellie Goulding can strut their stuff.

Where: Powderham Castle, Exeter

When: May 28-29

Headliners: Coldplay, Chase & Status, Bring Me The Horizon, Craig David, Ellie Goulding

Tickets: Information on how to get tickets will be released on March 21.

We love this! This is how @CraigDavid announces he's performing at #BigWeekend 🙌🙌

— R1 Breakfast with Nick Grimshaw 2012-2018 (@R1Breakfast) February 1, 2016

Reading and Leeds Festival

A rites of passage for any young indie fan looking to spend a weekend burning down burger vans and worshipping bands they will come to hate when they go mainstream.

Where: Branham Park, Leeds and Richfield Avenue, Reading

When: August 26-28

Headliners: Foals, Disclosure, Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Tickets: A weekend ticket costs £213 ($310), and can be purchased here for Reading and here for Leeds.


Though Glastonbury can no longer claim to exclusively attract the world's biggest acts, it still has that unique ability to create a 24-hour entertainment utopia, allowing visitors to seamlessly wander from rocking out to Kanye West to a quiet talk with the Dalai Lama.

Where: Worthy Farm, Somerset

When: June 22-26

Headliners: TBC

Tickets: All 135,000 tickets sold out in October 2015, but organizers will make any returned or cancelled tickets available in the spring.

Crowds gather at the FIB Benicassim Festival on July 17, 2015 in Benicasim, Spain. Acts this year will include Kendrick Lamar and Major Lazar Gaelle Beri/Redferns

Outlook Festival

If you've never partied to the world's best DJ's in an abandoned Roman fort then you've been doing it all wrong. Spend the days swimming off your hangover in the sea, before preparing to have your mind, and ears, blown by the best bass music sounds. Now, in its seventh year it attracts a dedicated crowd of aficionados.

Where: Pula, Croatia

When: Opening concert will be held on August 31, with the festival lasting from September 1-4

Headliners: Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, Andy C, Stormzy, Joey Bada$$, Noisia, Kano

Tickets: £30 ($45) for the opening concert and £133 ($195) for the entire festival. On sale now.

Sonar Festival

A festival for "music and digital art," Sonar does exactly what it promises, offering the best of the electronic and dance scene. This three-day extravaganza is now in its 22nd year and while the Barcelona festival is its flagship event it boasts spin-offs around the world. A must for those seeking to combine a city break with festival fun.

Where: Fira Montjuic, Barcelona

When: June 16-18

Headliners: Jean-Michel Jarre, Fatboy Slim, James Blake, Stormzy

Tickets: Tickets are available and prices range from 125-270 euros ($139.97-$322.23). Buy them now.


Only Tomorrowland can rival Glastonbury for the demand for tickets it inspires. This is in part down to the stunning promotional videos the organizers create that get thousands of people swearing they will buy a ticket next year.

Where: Boom, Belgium

When: July 22-24

Headliners: TBC

Tickets: Sold out in 40 minutes. 130,000 people are currently on the waiting list.

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