Top 10 Festivals in the World

Last updated . By Olivia Cheves.

Bored of muddy fields, warm Carlsberg and the confines of this small island? The time has come to spread those festival wings and head for muddy fields new. We've done a spot of globe-trotting on your behalf to round up ten of the best festivals on Earth, from solstice celebrations to one of the world's greatest New Year's Eve parties. So if you're looking to party in a glacier, a desert or on the side of mountain, there's all that and more at one of these top 10 festivals in the world.

Want more festival news? Check out the best of the rest in our UK coverage.

Tomorrowland

Belgium, July 20th-22nd & 27th-29th July

A sprawling world of music, art, performance and general festival mayhem, Tomorrowland is a festival that needs no introduction. Held in the aptly named Boom, Belgium, you'll find the very best in international House, Techno and EDM playing across nearly 20 stages, while back in the immersive international city-state of the Dreamville campsite you'll find everything from a marketplace, to a giant water fountain and hoards of sunned-up revellers.

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Tomorrowland has a culture all its own, and some of the most storming stage scenes in the festival industry.

Burning Man

Nevada USA, August 26th - September 3rd

Black Rock City in the Nevada desert sets the stage for one of the most unique festivals in the world. A temporary community set up in the heart of the sand and dust, Burning Man blends artistic production, creativity and self-expression into a myriad of stunning festival moments, installations and innovations; this year's theme is 'I, Robot'. Topping it all off? They finish it all Wicker Man like with the burning of an erected man shaped effigy, aptly named 'The Man'. 

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'Desert Spirits' has been one of the most memorable installations to take place at Burning Man. 

Festival No 6

Wales, September 6th-9th

Once hailed by Beck as the "...coolest, most surrealist, funkiest, freakiest, best festival in the world", Festival No 6 fuses Instagrammable  scenery with great bands and quirky activities to get involved with. Perched on the side of a Welsh cliff, this fairytale festival is anything but twee, offering a host of late-night activities, including sets from world-renowned DJs like Erol Alkan, Horse Meat Disco and Honey Dijon.

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Vitamin D doses the Welsh crowd at one of the prettiest festivals on the planet. 

Secret Solstice

Iceland, June 21st-24th

Imagine a festival where the sun never sets, where every genre of music is represented, and, if you're lucky, you can party inside a glacier. Held against the gorgeous Icelandic back drop, this international festival takes place over the longest days of the year, where the sun shines all night and you can catch some of the biggest names in music, from Stormzy to Slayer, gracing the main stage.

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Decks on ice, Secret Solstice is one of the best festivals in the world thanks to its noted glacier gathering. 

Electric Picnic

Ireland, August 31st - September 2nd

Held on the grounds of the grand Stradbally Hall, Electric Picnic is one of Ireland's premiere music festivals. Known for its diverse lineups, its probably one of the only places that you'll see A Tribe Called Quest on the same bill as Duran Duran and Trinity College Dublin's prize a cappella ensemble. Alongside the musical acts, which this year include Kendrick Lamar, Massive Attack and N.E.R.D, you'll find a wealth of comedy, theatre and even cooking demonstrations to keep you entertained. 

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The cool kid of the festival game, Electric Picnic brings together some of the most diverse acts in the biz.

SXSW

USA, March 9th-18th

Texas is one of the most noted locations in America for festivals, and SXSW in Austin just happens to be one of the best of them. Whether it's film, music or media that you're looking for, SXSW is one of the best showcases of 'em around. From music festivals, to premieres and previews across a multitude of venues, SXSW will leave you senseless, somewhat delirious and knackered, but you'll sure never forget it. Be there with bells on.

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SXSW blends the best of movies, are and music into 9 whole days of mischief and fun.

Meadows in the Mountains

Bulgaria, June 7th-10th

Ever been to a festival in the far-flung reaches of a Bulgarian mountain? Nah, I haven't either, but plenty of folk flock to one every year and with good reason. A throng of foliage and flower crowns, Meadows in the Mountains is a charming and relaxed dabble, all mixed in with music by the campfire, DJs, outdoor pool parties and more. If you're looking for a properly authentic experience of this mystical mountain gathering, eschew the campsite and head to the village below where locals often offer food and lodgings for the weekend.

meadows in the mountains festival

Meadows in the Mountains welcomes floral patrons and botanical babes alike.

Electric Forest

USA, June 21st-24th & June 28th -July 1st

While Electric Forest's testament truly lies within the realm of electronic music and jam band genres alike, it's clear that their notority and classing as one of the most unique festivals in the world relies heavily on their incredible menageries of lit spaces. Almost an effigy to neons, flit through forests of nightly colour, hunker by the fire or go wild by the main stage, anything goes at this proud Michigan plug-in. This year The String Cheese Incident is leading both weekends alongside slots from Bassnectar, Marshmello, Bonobo and Thundercat.

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Colour, bulbs and flourescents come to light at this festival homage to lights and music. 

Rhythm & Vines

New Zealand, December 28th-31st

One of the world's greatest New Year's Eve parties, this festival in Gisborne, New Zealand, puts contemporary rap, hip hop and house to the front, with past headliners including Schoolboy Q and Chance The Rapper, along with sets from Giggs, Big Shaq and Felix Da Housecat. With five stages to visit over the course of the festival, you'd better make sure you're front and centre at the main stage come midnight on the 31st as fireworks and confetti rain down upon the crowd, and the entire site welcomes in the first morning of the New Year.

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For a New Year's Eve that won't disappoint, this Kiwi festival never fails to surpass expectations.

Sziget

Hungary, August 8th-15th

One of Europe's biggest music and culture festivals, Sziget is so much more than your average muddy field event. Located on a 266-acre island on the Danube, you need a special passport to get in, but once you get there you won't want to leave. Showcasing every genre of music imaginable, the Sziget main stage has hosted everyone from Placebo to Kate Nash, while it's smaller stage lineups are chock-a-block with alternative, specialist and underground artists, meaning that over 1,000 performances take place on the island every year.

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Head to Hungary for Sziget, a festival so big it functions as its own micro-country.