Sun, Sea, and Sound

Love Music

If you happen to love music and travel (let's face it, who doesn't?!), you may want to consider combining the two for your next getaway. Every year, more and more Brits are grabbing their sleeping bags (and their passports) and heading to Europe to some of the best music festivals on the continent, and in some of the most beautiful places, too. What could be better?! There's a festival for whatever your taste, be it indie, rock, folk, dance... the list goes on!

So, if spending your days browsing markets/soaking up the local culture and history/lazing on the beach, then spending your nights watching some of the world's greatest live acts around sounds like something you're into, you should definitely think about packing up the essentials and hopping on a plane/ferry/Eurostar/whatever mode of transport takes your fancy.

There are so many amazing European festivals to choose from, so, to make life a little easier, I've hand-picked the best ones to aid your decision-making (thank me later)...

If you fancy yourself as an indie/alternative rock fan, then Benicàssim should be your port of call. Known in Spain as FIB (Festival Internacional de Benicàssim), this 4 day music festival is held every July on Spain's east coast, between Valencia and Barcelona. Past head liners have included; The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, Bastille, and Primal Scream. Expect to pay around £150 for a weekend camping ticket.

Other popular indie/alternative rock festivals include; the Coke Live Music Festival in Poland, Dour festival in Belgium, Hultsfed festival, Sweden, Lowlands festival in the Netherlands, and Forbidden Fruit, Ireland.

Dance music more your bag? Head to Hungary's Balaton Sound. Short listed for a European Festival Award, Balaton Sound takes place over four days in July in Zamárdi, Hungary, a town in the charming Somogy county. A weekend ticket costs around £106. Past headliners include; The Prodigy, Wu-Tang Clan, Crystal Castles, and Avicii, and Calvin Harris.

Other European festivals for dance fans include; Summerburst Sweden and Amsterdam Open Air festival.

If you're a bit of a hardcore metal-head, you should be heading to Wacken Open Air festival. Held in August in Wacken, Germany, close to the town Itzehoe in Schleswig-Holstein, this three day festival is for the serious metal heavyweights. Past head liners have included the likes of Alice Cooper, Anthrax, Mötorhead, and Rammstein.

Want more of a musical mixed bag? Well, there's plenty for you to choose from, too. Electric Picnic, Ireland is a combination of rock, folk, and arts, with the beautiful backdrop of Irish countryside. My Bloody Valentine, Arctic Monkeys, and Björk have all performed here. Gurten festival, located in Bern, Switzerland takes place on a picturesque wooded hilltop, with the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins, Emeli Sandé, Volbeat, and Hurts all headlining in the past. Another popular festival for all music tastes is Hove Festival in Trømoya, Norway. Tromøy is the largest island in Southern Norway, and Kings Of Leon, Frank Ocean, Paramore, Two Door Cinema Club, and Cee Lo Green have all performed in this idyllic setting.

If this post hasn't convinced you that leaving the country to enjoy some of the greatest performances is worth your while, or if those purse strings are just that little bit too tight, you can find some amazing live music far closer to home... right under your nose, in fact. York has a thriving live music scene and some fantastic local acts and venues to wet your musical whistle. The Barbican, Fibbers, and The Duchess are all popular venues with well-known acts, as well as up-and-coming local talent.