10 best electronic music festivals for independent artists
- 29 July 2022, Friday
After a few difficult years in 2020 and 2021, live performances and festivals are fully buzzing again in 2022 and 2023, with the most popular being electronic music and EDM festivals. Are you an electronic music artist yourself and want to know about the greatest festivals out there? Keep reading then to check out our list of the best electronic music festivals from all around the world.
Top 10 international electronic music festivals
1. Donaufestival in Krems, Austria
Taking place for the first time in 1988, the Donaufestival is a multi-genre festival of music and performance, focusing on electronic music, experimental music, post-rock, rap, hip hop, and ‘Diskurs-Pop’. The event is traditionally held annually over two weekends in April or May and takes place in the picturesque Austrian city Krems situated on the Danube river.
Known for showcasing new and exciting acts of music, video, and performing arts (including spoken word and theater and digital theater performances), Donaufestival may be a great place for independent musicians seeking to perform their works of art. Some of the most renowned artists performing at the festival include British experimental band Current 93, Welsh musician and founding member of the Velvet Underground, John Cale, American songwriter and singer Will Oldham, Australian multi-genre producer, and composer JG Thirlwell, and German electronic artist Robert Henke, who is also a co-creator of the Ableton Live music software.
2. SunceBeat Festival in Tisno, Croatia
Described as ‘loving and carnivalesque with a unique family vibe and a boutique affair’ and the ‘lovechild of the Southport Weekender festival in the UK’ (focused on house and soul), SunceBeat Festival is a Croatian music festival dedicated to house, techno, disco, as well as R&B, funk, and soul. The event debuted in 2010 and is held every summer, located in a legendary Tisno Garden resort on the Adriatic Sea.
As a boutique festival, SunceBeat carefully curates its acts to represent the quality and a wide variety of the international music scene. During the 13 years of its existence, the festival has brought in renowned artists, including American DJ Larry Heard, German house DJ Prosumer, South-African producer Black Coffee, or DJ Harvey, one of the first promoters of US disco, garage, and house sound in the UK.
3. Dekmantel Festival in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
The Dekmantel Festival is a Dutch electronic music festival taking place in the capital city of Amsterdam. Described as cutting edge, innovative and experimental, the five-day-long affair curates some of the most influential and creative acts in a broad array of electronic tunes and subgenres, including house, techno, drum & bass, and many more.
Organized annually in August, Dekmantel attracts around 25,000 visitors and is located in an enormous Amsterdam Bos park, that’s three times the size of Central Park in New York and where it spreads across six large stages. This year’s edition will take place from the 3rd-7th of August and some of its headliners will be British musician Jon Hopkins, German DJ, and producer Helena Hauff, UK Garage artist DJ EZ, and British electronic musician Joy Orbison.
4. Distortion in Copenhagen, Denmark
Although not as known as other European electronic festivals, such as Tomorrowland or Awakenings, the Distortion festival is considered one of the largest gatherings in Europe, having more than 100,000 annual visitors. The concept of the festival is quite simple - turning the city of Copenhagen into one big party for five days and nights, celebrating its nightlife and dance music.
The general idea of the festival is to support ultra-mobility through Copenhagen while partying and boogying to the loud music in its streets. The week-long festivities taking place in June begin with 20-40 parties centered around the districts of Nørrebro and Vesterbro. Nights are dedicated to ‘Distortion Club’, a modern international take on club music played in local nightclubs and venues, as well as other one-off locations, like swimming pools, under bridges, in museums and galleries, and warehouses. The most well-known acts performing at those venues include English electronic duo Simian Mobile Disco, American DJ and producer Diplo, and genre-bending French singer/songwriter Sebestien Tellier. The festival is then concluded with a so-called ‘Distortion Ø’ festival with up to ten stages. The main musical focus of the festival is on hip hop, world music, trap, techno, and experimental music.
The festival took place for the first time already in 1998 and became a 5-day-long musical gathering two years later. Yet, it remained a rather small, disorganized, and not really legal occasion until 2007, targeting mostly the local underground art scene. After getting more than 2,000 attendees at a single street party, Distortion decided to go professional and became an official festival in collaboration with the Copenhagen City Council and the local police.
5. Butik Festival in Tolmin, Slovenia
As the name already suggests, Butik Festival is a boutique music event located in Slovenia, on two converging river banks along the Soca river near the town of Tolmin. Dedicated to great house, techno, funk, and other electronic music, the festival offers a cleverly curated line-up, showcasing both well-known and undiscovered artists.
Having debuted in 2019, the festival is pretty new on the electronic music festival scene and enjoyed great success in its inaugural year. After being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, Butik came back with a 4-day-long festival program in 2021 and 2022. This year, it took place from 14th-17th July and brought some excellent electronic musicians, including Andrey Pushkarev, Dutch musician Roger Gerressen, and Berlin-based artist Cinthie.
6. Meadows in the Mountains in Polkovnik Serafimovo, Bulgaria
Meadows in the Mountains is a unique, atmospheric music festival nestled in the heart of the Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria, close to Bulgaria’s Greek borders. Devoted to nature, community, restorative culture, spirituality and conscious education, intimacy, and creativity, the festival presents a range of both local and international DJs and other acts in the fields of experimental music, deep house, UK garage, psychedelic ethno rock and other sub-genres of electronic music.
The festival first took place in 2010 and has been organized closely with the inhabitants of the village nearby, Polkovnik Serafimovo. The camping site of the festival has been set up looking like a Star Wars village - for every tent sold, 20 trees are planted to support regenerating the forest - and in addition to that, the party-goers have an exclusive option to stay as a guest with a traditional Bulgarian family. What started off as a 4-day-long event with around 50 attendees has grown into one of the most well-known festivals in Eastern Europe with more than 1,000 participants.
The 10th edition of the festival took place from the 2nd-5th June 2022, with some of the most prominent headliners being Alabaster dePlume, Dr Banana, Anna Wall, and others. The next edition will be held from the 1st-5th June 2023.
7. Dimensions Festival in Tisno, Croatia
Dimensions is another Croatian festival taking place in the city of Tisno and its idyllic Garden Resort, in addition to its second location - Barbarellas Discotheque. Unlike SunceBeat, however, Dimensions has been here for a while now celebrating its 10th anniversary in September 2022. Targeting mostly lovers of electronic music sub-genres, the festival traditionally puts together a greatly curated setlist of international house, techno, electro, breaks, minimal, drum & bass, and disco music artists.
The five-day-long music celebration brings a variety of events in multiple locations, with the main festival site being situated in the Garden Resort. The Barbarellas Discotheque is just a short drive from the Resort and is described as ‘one of the world’s most unique nightclubs’. Additionally, the party-goers can enjoy various boat parties, as well as 3-hour long cruises on the Adriatic sea.
8. Love International in Tisno, Croatia
Love International is the third Croatian electronic festival on our list, located once again mainly in the Tisno’s Garden Resort, and is held annually in July. The week-long electronic music affair, attracting more than 2,500 party-goers, enhances the magical experience by encouraging artists to experiment with and celebrate the wide variety of sounds and music styles. These range from disco, techno, and house, through to funk, dubstep, reggae, and even Balearic beat.
Just like the Dimensions Festival, Love International spreads across multiple locations, including intimate beach festival sites, open-air clubs, boat parties, as well as the Olive Grove, the Barbarellas Discotheque, Secret Island Party, and the Garden Resort main stage.
9. Kala festival in Albania
Kala festival is a boutique festival located in Dhërmi, a beach location, near the city of Saranda in Albania. Organized for the first time in 2018, the electronic festival annually attracts more than 2,000 visitors. The during-the-day program includes wellness activities with great food and laid-back music selections while at night, DJs and other musicians provide the party goers with exclusive shows focused on house, techno, and funk.
Some of the most prominent musicians that have performed at the festival so far include DJ Harvey, English electronic music band 808 State, The Black Madonna, and the mysterious Moodymann.
10. Rhythm Büro: Natura in Ukraine
Organized in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, Rhythm Büro: Natura is a techno festival, set to take place annually during summer. It was held for the first time in 2020 followed by its second edition in 2021. Due to unfortunate conditions caused by the war, the festival has been on hiatus since then but is set to come back next year. The electronic music affair has been founded by a union of three people: Igor Glushko - a party/podcast host, and Vera Logdanidi and Olexander Pavlenko - drum & bass musicians.
Rhythm Büro has brought a quite unusual, yet simple concept of a music festival: various international musicians will perform at secret locations around the city of Kyiv with the exact address being revealed only to advance buyers a day before the performance takes place.
So far, the festival has seen acts such as Ukrainian musician Etapp Kyle, Swedish artist Abdulla Rashim, American DJ Eric Cloutier, and Ukrainian duo Woo York.
The UK-based electronic festivals
1. Alfresco Festival
Alfresco festival is an award-winning electronic underground festival that takes place annually in Tunbridge Wells, Kent in August - this year, on the Bank Holiday weekend from 25th-29th August. Situated ‘in the trees’ of the Wilderness Lane Edenbridge, the festival boasts itself with international electronic dance music acts in house, techno, or synth-pop, featuring the best DJs around the world.
The top headliners of this year’s edition will be American DJ Derrick Carter, Spanish producer and DJ John Talabot, Serbian artist Vladimir Ivkovic, and Bordeaux-born musician Dombrance.
2. Field Maneuvers
A rather small boutique electronic festival Field Maneuvers has been organized by a group of friends and has a capacity of only up to 800 visitors. Despite its size, the festival self-describes itself as ‘no frills rave’ and offers a variety of excellent international, mostly house and techno, DJs performing on high-quality sound systems.
This year, the festival will take place from the 2nd-4th of September and will bring artists including London-based DJ Josey Rebelle, American DJs/producers Eris Drew and Octo Octa playing B2B, and many more.
The Field Maneuvers' lineup for 2022
3. Love Saves the Day
Love saves the Day is considered the biggest music festival in Bristol and usually takes place in late spring in the local Eastville Park. Presenting a great mixture of dance music, from house, grime, and techno to drum & bass and dubstep, the well-known music affair elegantly showcases the genres’ diversity and for that, it’s considered one of the best music festivals in the UK. In the past, it was awarded the UK Festival Award for the best metropolitan award.
4. The List Festival
Dedicated to music and arts, The List Festival is a rather small, creative boutique festival located in The Yorkshire Scare grounds in the Wakefields. The three-day-long festivities expand across three main areas: Sin City, The Forbidden Forest, and The Lucky Cat Cabaret. Sin City presents all sorts of EDM sub-genres, like house, Balearic house, techno, and disco. The Forbidden Forest focuses on the area of the woods and its environment intended for the free and energetic dancing crowds. The last area, The Lucky Cat Cabaret, is brand new for 2022, heavily focused on ‘anything goes’ music.
This year, The List Festival will take place from the 29th-31st July and will bring some excellent acts including Annabel Fraser, Apricot Ballroom, Clandestino, Nancy Noise, and Rob Mello.
5. Houghton festival
‘Celebrating year three in year six’, the Houghton festival was first organized in 2017, taking place in the Houghton Hall & Gardens Norfolk area near the city of King’s Lynn. The UK dance festival dedicated to electronic music styles, like techno, house, and others, has quickly become very popular among its audience. What makes Houghton particularly special is its 24-hour license meaning that the music plays nonstop at the festival.
The setlist of Houghton is curated by a known British tech house DJ, Craig Richards. For this year’s edition, held from 11th-14th August, Chilean-born German electronic music producer Ricardo Villalobos, German DJ Helena Hauff, or American DJ and producer Seth Troxler are set to be some of the festival’s headliners.
The best electronic music festivals in the US
1. Arc Music Festival
The Arc Music festival, held in Union Park in the city of Chicago, Illinois, is a young electronic music festival, organized for the first time in 2021. For its second edition which will take place from the 2nd-4th of September 2022, the festival is set to bring the best global acts in house music, a subgenre that originated in Chicago back in the 1980s. A slew of prolific house artists, renowned international techno musicians, and multi-genre live performers will participate in the festival.
Some of the key headliners will be American electronic music producer Carl Craig, British house and techno DJ Carl Cox, German DJ duo Claptone, and the legendary British musician Fatboy Slim.
2. Making Time
Philadelphia's festival, Making Time, has built up a great international reputation over its 22-year-long history. Taking place in the city’s fortification and a National Historic Landmark Fort Mifflin, this year’s multiple-stage event will bring some of the greatest international musicians in electronic music providing a two-day-long, ‘transcendental futuristic sound experience’.
The massive lineup will include English electronic musician Four Tet, Berlin-based artist and DJ LSDXOXO, electronic music production and DJ duo from Belfast, Bicep, or British producer and DJ Floating Points.
The Making Time festival's lineup for 2022
Portola is a brand new, two-day-long music festival taking place in San Francisco, California. Organized for the first time this year, the two-day-long fest promises a brilliantly curated lineup full of legendary acts as well as new talents from the world of electronic music. Some of the headliners will be an English electronic music duo The Chemical Brothers, a Canadian composer Caribou, and the previously mentioned Four Tet, Bicep, and Fatboy Slim.
4. Movement Music Festival
The Movement Electronic Festival is a techno music festival held annually in the birthplace of techno, Detroit, in a local urban park, Hart Plaza. It’s been organized each year on the Memorial Day weekend (last Monday in May) since 2006 and attracts on average more than 40,000 party goers.
As a fairly big festival, Movement boasts itself with six stages, each of which has its own distinct characteristics. The Movement Stage is considered the main stage where the biggest stars are set to perform while the Waterfront Stage is the place to go for various myriad styles of music, like ghettotech, funk, hip hop, or breakbeats. The Stargate Stage is known for its wide-block parties and the Pyramid Stage is considered the perfect summer party scenery. The last two stages, Detroit Stage and Underground Stage, are brand new for the festival.
This year’s edition featured performances from British electronic music producer Chris Lake, British-Canadian DJ, and producer Richie Hawtin, or American rapper 2 Chainz.
5. Desert Hearts
Desert Hearts is an American electronic music festival dedicated to ‘house, techno, and love’. The electronic music event started as a rather intimate renegade gathering in 2012 and has thus celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, taking place at a brand new venue, Lake Perris in California.
The festival provides a multiple-day-long experience focusing on the values of unity, inclusion as well as rebellion, and celebration of creativity and individuality through art and music. This year’s festival featured sets from musicians such as Carl Craig, DJ Harvey, Anja Schneider, and Super Flu.
6. Honcho Campout
Honcho Campout is defined as a rather intimate, queer electronic music event that is held deep in the forests of Pennsylvania, in the local Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary. Dedicated to independent music, the festival is hosting artists that are devoted to activism, supporting their local communities through their labels, parties, and very own actions.
This year, the festival is being organized for the 7th time, lasting from 17th-22th August and hosting a great variety of international artists, including twin sister DJs Analog Soul, American production director Brian Siewiorek, or Berlin-based DJ Chris Cruse.
Electronic music has been for years now one of the most popular music styles at festivals causing that there are hundreds of large electronic music events organized around the globe each year. In this article, we have listed the ten best electronic music festivals, next to the top festivals of the same genres located in the UK and USA.
If you have a vision of your own and want to take it to the next level and organize your very own electronic event, you can learn more about how to do it in our article about making your own music festival.
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