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Top 8 Summer Music Festivals in the World

A music festival is a timeless way to see new places, spend time with your favorite people, and hear some great live music. A good festival, of course, is more than the sum of its parts. It’s a chaotic meshing of sounds, socializing, food, unique fashion statements, creative art forms, and merchandise. Ever since Woodstock, music festivals have become a rite of passage for young people and, increasingly, people of all ages. Best of all, there are amazing festivals in all corners of the globe. Let’s look at some of the top summer music festivals in the world.

1. Lollapalooza

Grant Park, Chicago, USA

Right in the heart of downtown, Chicago, Lollapalooza is an amazing festival that’s been running since 1991. It features eight stages and more than 170 bands, covering a wide range of styles. A festival in an urban setting can either be a perk or a drawback, depending on your point of view. On the one hand, you don’t have to drive into the wilderness and set up your campsite. You have all the city amenities within walking distance. Chicago is famous for its great food (especially pizza), bars, museums, and impressive skyline. On the other hand, escaping civilization is one of the features that draws you to festivals, you have plenty of other choices.
In addition to music, Lollapalooza has a mini-festival for kids, an art market, and plenty of merch. You can buy 4-day tickets for the entire festival or single-day tickets. There are also hotel packages. Children under 10 with an adult are admitted free (up to two kids per adult).

2. FYF Fest

Los Angeles, CA, USA

This annual 3-day festival is held at Exposition Park in Los Angeles. FYF Fest has been popular on the West Coast since 2004 and is known for its edgy atmosphere and diverse selection of music, including pop, rock, rap, electronic, hip-hop, and indie. It’s a good festival choice for those with eclectic tastes.

3. Tomorrowland

Boom, Belgium

Tomorrowland is a two-weekend festival that combines electronic music and the arts with a vision for a more peaceful and environmentally sustainable future. This festival began in 2005 and attracts an enthusiastic audience from all over the world. In some ways reminiscent of Burning Man in the U.S., Tomorrowland is full of futuristic visions, art installations, and its own “city,” DreamVille.
There are several options for accommodations, from As with most festivals, there are many tiers for ticket prices, depending on when you buy tickets, what you want to experience, and how long you stay. There are quite a few creative options, at various prices for lodging, including simple tents, tiny home-like structures to luxury “mansions.”

4. Hideout

Zrce Beach, Croatia

Hideout is a good choice if you want to get an early start to celebrating the summer. Set in a remote and pristine location on the Adriatic Sea with a view of mountains, this festival is famous for its boat rides, beach parties, and a wide selection of electronic music. As the name suggests, Hideout is a place where you can escape the everyday rut and experience an idyllic world for a few days.
This is also a great festival for adventurous travelers who enjoy water sports such as jet skiing, boating, and quad biking. Festival goers have a chance to island hop and explore beautiful Plitvice Lakes National Park.

5. Electric Zoo

 New York City, USA

Electric Zoo is an end-of-summer Labor Day festival held at Randall’s Island Park, a 480-acre urban park on the border of Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx. Established in 2009, Electric Zoo has been held all over the world. The original location, however, is New York. The 2018 theme is The 6th Boro, which reveals the ambitious attempt to make the festival a permanent part of the New York City (which has five official boroughs or counties) cultural scene.
Their past lineup included DJ Snake, Above & Beyond, Galantis, and Sasha & John Digweed. Check the website for early bird tickets.

6. Wireless Festival

London, UK

If you want to visit London this summer, you may want to schedule your trip to coincide with this festival, held at Finsbury Park. Now in its 13th year, Wireless has become one of the most popular music festivals in the UK. Since Wireless is an urban festival, you have to find your own accommodations. London, however, is an easy city to navigate. If you don’t want to spring for a costly hotel, there are plenty of hostels and reasonable Airbnb options.

7. Arise

 Loveland, Colorado, USA

The Arise Music Festival, approaching its 6th year, is a diverse event held at Sunset Ranch, a 350-acre organic farm in a scenic valley. In addition to music, Arise gives participants the chance to explore a variety of classes, workshops, and art installations. Many attendees are active in political and environmental causes. One of the requirements is that you “leave no trace” –i.e. clean up and leave the grounds as you found them.
Tickets for the 3-day festival include camping. Car camping is another option. There are also camping upgrades available if you want additional amenities.

8. Montreux Jazz Festival

Montreux, Switzerland

The Montreux Jazz Festival, founded in 1967, is one of the most glamorous and popular jazz festivals in the world. The program typically includes rock, soul, and blues musicians as well as jazz greats. On the scenic shores of Lake Geneva, the setting is perfect for relaxation and boat rides as well as great music, parties, and socializing.
Montreux has a variety of venues to enjoy music and special events, such as the Auditorium Stravinski, known for its outstanding acoustics and the Montreux Jazz Club, where you can enjoy intimate performances by contemporary artists. Visit the website to find out program details. Past participants have included B.B. King, David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Radiohead, and scores of other household names as well as new performers.
You can buy an all-music pass or attend one of the festival’s many free events such as jam sessions, concerts, and film screenings.

Music Festivals Make the Summer More Fun

A music festival can be the highlight of summer vacation. If it’s close to home, it can make for an awesome road trip. The above are some of the most exciting summer festivals in the world. Some festivals don’t announce their lineups until fairly late in the season. However, keep in mind that tickets often sell out fast. So, if you want to attend one of these festivals, it’s best to buy your tickets early!
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The Way to Do Belgium if You’re a Thrillseeker

Adventure Travel Belgium

Here are some options to consider for those looking to spice up a trip to Belgium with a few exciting activities.

Biking in Belgium is not to be missed (particularly in Ghent and Bruges).

You don’t have to be preparing for the Tour de France to enjoy the pleasures of cruising around Belgium on two wheels, and it also happens to be a great way to both see the countryside and work off a few Belgian ales. A terrific option for many visitors is to tackle the Gouden Carolus route, a sensational 58-kilometer bike path that begins at Het Anker brewery in Mechelen and cruises past a series of iconic national monuments and buildings. After sipping the malty ale Het Anker is known for, visitors bike past the palace of Margaret of Austria and alongside tranquil waterways on their way to a famous single-malt whiskey distillery in Blaasveld. Travelers usually return to Het Anker to finish the route, although other paths are only 27 or 48 km for anyone not ready for the whole thing.
For a different type of eye candy, the Concrete Canvas Tour is a stunning trip through the heart of the art districts in Ghent. Known for being a hub for street artists, the back-alleys are a rolling canvas that is constantly updated with new and colorful masterpieces, which is why the Concrete Canvas Tour never looks the same twice. It’s also a very manageable 14 kilometers. If street art isn’t for you, however, Ghent has a handful of other outstanding bike routes, including a chateau route just outside the city that takes visitors past medieval fortresses and more beautiful countryside. Picking up a bike in cycling-friendly Ghent also couldn’t be easier, as you can scoop one up for a very low price at either rail station (Dampoort or Gent-Sint-Pieters).
Bruges also isn’t exactly lacking in terrific biking options either, specifically the Castle Triangle Route that connects a series of palaces and castles on a beautiful tour outside the city. Although at about 50 kilometers you might not want to do it in one day, it’s a comfortable ride with nice stops along the way that is known for being great for adventurous families. With bikes being very simple to get ahold of in Belgium and all sorts of memorable paths awaiting, the hardest part might be choosing only one or two routes.

Getting high in Brussels (literally).

It can be thrilling in itself to experience the world-renown flower carpet of Brussels, which culminates in a festival that brings about a million different flowers into the majestic Grand Place for a stunningly colorful display. But there are plenty of other ways to experience Brussels if you don’t happen to make the event, which only occurs every other summer.
An option growing increasingly popular in Brussels is to link up with a running tour (or just create your own route). A light jog can take you to all the icons of the city while you work up a sweat, allowing you to cover more ground and hone in on the places you want to come back to later on. Running tours—typically in the six to the ten-mile range—are particularly great for those who want to save time while still seeing the highlights of Brussels, and you’ll probably feel less guilty about the seconds of Belgian chocolates you’re going to be having later in the day.
But for a totally unique experience, how about hanging on an elevated platform overlooking the city and tasting creations by some of the best chefs in Belgium? “Dinner in the Sky” is a concept that first started more than a decade ago and involves being raised on a crane a few stories up from the ground, where you’ll sit with about 20 or so other diners and get served by famous chefs as you look out over Brussels. If that sounds a little too harrowing, scampering to the top of the Palace de Justice with a picnic lunch/dinner of authentic Belgian cuisine can be another easy way to rise above the crowds while enjoying the cityscape (it’s also free).
For next-level thrillseekers, joining the popular trend of “escape rooms” can be an exciting way to dive right into a unique and memorable experience. Brussels is loaded with difference escape-room adventures, which generally involves you being trapped in a room with strangers and trying to find enough clues to escape. Not for the claustrophobic, the escape-room games have all kinds of creative themes as well, including rooms devoted to classics like Alice in Wonderland. If you want to shake up your trip and meet some locals and travelers alike, heading to a Brussels escape room can be the perfect option. Many are also family-friendly and don’t take long (often around an hour), so if it turns out escape rooms are not your glass of ale, you can quickly be on to your next activity.

The dizzying world of Tomorrowland.

Belgium is also an internationally known country when it comes to summer festivals, with the enormous, electronic-music heavy Tomorrowland leading the way. Started in 2005 and held in Boom, Tomorrowland has regularly been dubbed one of the top music festivals in the entire world and is a staggering display of EDM that lasts a couple of weekends in the middle of the summer. The Extrema Outdoor is another spectacular display of EDM that has gained international fame, although Belgium has plenty of other major music festivals outside the world of electronica as well.
A much more mellow but equally as lively festival, the Couleur Café in Brussels, brings together a variety of types of music, including hip-hop, reggae, and different international flavors from all over. There are plenty of more traditional parades and concerts as well, but the vibrant and modern festivals can be a direct conduit to the contemporary pulse of the country.

No shortage of inspiring hikes.

A classic adventure experience is to pick your way through the best hiking trails of a country or city, and Belgium and its enchanting collection of old-world masterpieces are no different. Although Belgium is a terrific biking country as well, the series of excellent hikes make it an ideal place to experience at a walking pace. For the more committed hiking thrillseekers, the An derBerglanke (on the mountainside) is an intense but gorgeous glimpse of the countryside in East Belgium, taking hikers past about 14 kilometers of pristine Belgian wilderness, rivers, lakes, and even a remote castle (Reinhardstein). There are plenty of other outstanding hiking options as well, particularly in the east near the German-Belgian border.
Hiking through the many urban landmarks is another exciting way to see the most famous parts of the country. Though every major city in Belgium has a great hiking option or two, completing the 5km trek around Bruges is an easy way to see the many wonders of the classic medieval city, from the iconic architecture to the long stretches along the city’s famous canals. On the more challenging end of the spectrum for urban hikes, the trail through Antwerp should take you a full afternoon to complete (it’s about 14 kilometers) and offers the perfect showcase of the ancient port city of Flanders.

The old and the new.

The postcard-worthy medieval architecture tends to be the major selling point for Belgium, where you can find some of the unique and beautiful cities in all of Europe. But for those with an adventurous spirit, Belgium can also be a terrific place to toss away the typical game plan for an entirely different type of experience. From escape rooms and countryside bike tours to jumping into some of the biggest music festivals in the world, the Belgian way of life is an outstanding combination of the ancient and modern worlds. While you absolutely should experience all of the things Belgium is famous for (especially if you have a sweet tooth and love classic European cities), there are plenty of other ways to keep the blood pumping and mix in some thrills as you flesh out an unforgettable Belgian holiday.
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