Festivals are a different beast in 2017. They used to be associated with drinking warm cider while watching crusty bands in your naffest clothes; now the best events are kaleidoscopic extravaganzas designed to tease out the hidden, spectacular you that doesn’t get aired in the office.
From Morocco to Norway, we pick 10 summer festivals that’ll give you true escapism from the “real world”, whether it’s through remote locations, fantastic production or a hedonistic outlook that’ll mean you won’t remember where home is anyway.
1. Trænafestivalen, Norway
Trænafestivalen is the grandaa of remote festivals, taking place on a tiny island 65km off Norway’s coast. It’s only accessible by motorboat and, as well as gigs overlooking the ocean and hot saunas, it has the kind of vast, horizon-filling sunsets that’ll get you reflecting about how we’re all “just tiny flecks of sand”.
2. Pete The Monkey, France
Pete The Monkey started life as a small party to raise funds for a monkey sanctuary in Bolivia. It’s grown, but not by much. Now 2000 people descend onto a beach in Normandy for a weekend of music, art, love and escapism sur-la-mer. This year’s theme is ‘the Amazonian playground’ so expect plenty of colourful outfits and Brazil football kits from the lazy lads.
3. Oasis, Morocco
Is it a festival? Is it a spa? Oasis twins the hottest names in house and techno with a location in a super luxury resort called The Source. Taking place in the shadow of the Atlas Mountains, its clued-up clientele spend the days doing yoga or hanging out by the pool, and the evenings having a twanging rave until sunrise.
4. Secret Garden Party, England
No day at Secret Garden Party is like another, and that’s down to the scale of its often mind-bending production. Its reputation as a playground for the ra youth of the Home Counties is only half-deserved and this year, with a ‘Sweet Dreams’ anti-celebrity theme, is the last so expect emotions amongst the madness. Tip: don’t skimp on the fancy dress. You’ll stick out.
5. Nowhere, Spain
Nowhere takes places in the barren plains between Zaragoza and Barcelona, and takes its cue from Burning Man-inspired ideals of community, no commerce and radical self-expression. You can’t buy anything on site so bring everything you need for a week in the scorching heat, as well as a very open mind.
6. Wanderlust Festivals, North America/Australia
Wanderlust started in California and now has over 60 events worldwide, including eight multi-day festivals. The latter are mostly in bucolic mountain locations across North America, though since 2016 they’ve branched out to Australia. Billing themselves as a ‘transformation’, they’re a celebration of mindful living and incorporate yoga and meditation programmes with hiking, biking, ‘Speakeasy’ lectures, music and a commitment to serving sustainable food.
June–November (various dates)
Illustration © Volodymyr Tverdokhlib/Shutterstock
7. Into The Valley, Estonia
For two years, Into The Valley has taken place in a limestone quarry in the Swedish municipality of Rättvik. This year they’re expanding and plan to have six festivals with the central event in an abandoned prison just outside Tallinn, Estonia. It’s an exercise in creating something beautiful out of something stark, and they’ve booked an impeccable techno line-up.
June 29–July 1
8. KaZantip, Georgia
If you’re looking for a month-long break from the grind and have an insatiable appetite for techno music, then the republic of KaZantip will welcome you like a long-lost comrade. The festival moves around and this year takes place in the Georgian town of Anaklia, which has risen from the ashes of war to become a vital deep-sea port.
July 14–August 14
© Yaroslavlev Valery/Shutterstock
9. Obonjan, Croatia
Obonjan styles itself as an “island escape filled with unique experiences, set amongst the crystal-blue waters and fragrant forest of Croatia”. It’s also ten weeks long, though you’re not expected to be there for all of it. Instead, weekends, weeks or months are curated by some of Europe’s most interesting creative types, like DJ Gilles Peterson, Hunger Magazine or the Croatian uber-yogis Supersoul.
June 23–September 3
10. Starmus, Norway
Escapism comes in many forms, and if islands, fields, beaches or prisons aren’t your thing, why not lose yourself in the cosmos? Starmus happens in Norway’s University of Science and Technology, and seeks to investigate our place in the universe through a celebration of arts and science. The line-up is unlike anything on Earth – expect talks from Stephen Hawking, Buzz Aldrin and Brian Cox alongside music from a bevy on artists you’ll not see anywhere else.