25 Worldwide Music Festivals to Check Out in 2012

Music festivals make for some of the best weekends of the year. It is an embarrassment of riches for some fans, with conflicts of bands between multiple stages, adding to the headache the 8 beers you’ve had gave you. Not much is better than grabbing a $10 beer, a burnt hamburger, and singing along with 70,000 fans to < insert your favourite song here >.

With the summer festival season about to kick off, PeteHatesMusic highlights 25 of the very best ones worldwide. Sadly, I have only been to 5 out of the 25, but hope to add to it this summer after reading the very list I compiled. How is that for self promotion?!

There seem to be new festivals popping up all the time, a one day festival here, a random two day festival here. I tried to go with more established and popular festivals, so don’t cry if Doug’s Weekend Seaside Festival didn’t make the list. However, this list does include festivals from North and South America, Europe, and Australia.

Note that the line ups are subject to change, so do not plan your vacation around the words written here, only to see Radiohead replaced with Nickelback, thus ruining your life. Also, the capacities change from year to year, and some stats weren’t straight forward (they involved doing “math”), so take them with a grain of salt.

Let us know which ones you’ve been to, which great ones are missing, and which ones you are going to (so that I can stalk you).

Festival Name: Big Day Out
Blurb: Travelling festival, held in several cities in Australia, plus in New Zealand (until 2012)
Location: Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Gold Coast, all in Australia
2012 Festival Date: Various days from Jan 20-Feb 5 – sorry, already happened this year.
Approximate Capacity: Varies; 45,000ish
2012 Line Up: Kanye West, Soundgarden, Kasabian, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, the Vaccines, the Jezabels
2011 Line Up: Tool, Iggy and the Stooges, M.I.A., LCD Soundsystem
Website: http://www.bigdayout.com/home-2/

Festival Name: South by Southwest (SXSW)
Blurb: 10 day music and film festival at over 90 venues across town
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
2012 Festival Date: March 13-18
Approximate Capacity: Varies by venue
2012 Line Up: Nas, Santigold, Cults, Lana Del Rey, Miike Snow, Kaiser Chiefs, Com Truise, Howler, Zulu Winter, Grimes
2011 Line Up: The Strokes, Odd Future, Kanye West / Jay-Z, Death from Above 1979
Website: http://sxsw.com/

Festival Name: Coachella
Blurb: California desert festival expands to 2 weekends in 2012
Location: Indio, California
2012 Festival Date: April 13-15; April 20-22
Approximate Capacity: 75,000
2012 Line Up: Radiohead, The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg/Dr. Dre, Bon Iver, At the Drive-In, Noel Gallagher, Justice, Florence + the Machine
2011 Line Up: Arcade Fire, Kanye West, the Strokes, the Black Keys, Interpol
Website: http://www.coachella.com/

Festival Name: Camden Crawl
Blurb: England’s answer to SXSW, grab a wristband and crawl 2 miles to various pubs and venues
Location: Various venues in Camden. (Also kicking off in Dublin, Ireland for the first time ever, which happens on May 11/12)
2012 Festival Date: May 4-6
Approximate Capacity: Varies by venue
2012 Line Up: Death in Vegas, Toy, D/R/U/G/S, Rolo Tomassi, Pariah, Roska, Baxter Dury, Charlie XCX, Chew Lips, Cymbals, Keep Shelly In Athens, Kwes, Polarbear, hundreds more to be announced
2011 Line Up: SBTRKT, Dry the River, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Django Django, Hadouken!
Website: http://www.thecamdencrawl.com/

Festival Name: Sasquatch!
Blurb: 4 day, west coast festival over Memorial Day long weekend
Location: Gorge Amphitheatre, George, Washington, USA
2012 Festival Date: May 25-28
Approximate Capacity: 25,000
2012 Line Up: Jack White, Beck, Bon Iver, The Shins, Tenacious D, Girl Talk
2011 Line Up: Foo Fighters, Flaming Lips, Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, Decemberists
Website: http://www.sasquatchfestival.com/

Festival Name: Rock in Rio
Blurb: Held in Rio, Lisbon, and Madrid, alternating by years, or in multiple cities. Too lazy to change the name from “Rio” to the other cities?
Location: This year, the festival is in Lisbon, Portugal and Madrid, Spain
2012 Festival Date: May 25 – June 3 (Lisbon), June 29-July 5 (Madrid)
Approximate Capacity: Can vary, they have had over a million during the multi-day event before
2012 Line Up: Lisbon: Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band, Metallica, Lenny Kravitz, Maroon 5; Madrid: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Incubus, Lenny Kravitz
2011 Line Up: Metallica, Elton John, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rihanna, Coldplay
Website: http://www.rockinriomadrid.es/

Festival Name: Pinkpop Festival
Blurb: Originated in 1970, expanding from 1 to 3 days
Location: Landgraaf, Netherlands
2012 Festival Date: May 26-28
Approximate Capacity: 65,000
2012 Line Up: Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band, Soundgarden, The Cure, Mumford & Sons
2011 Line Up: Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon, Kaiser Chiefs, Elbow
Website: http://www.pinkpop.nl

Festival Name: Rock am Ring / Rock im Park
Blurb: Rotating Line ups between the 2 German summer festivals
Location: Nürburgring, Germany (Rock am Ring), Nuremberg, Germany (Rock im Park)
2012 Festival Date: June 1-3
Approximate Capacity: 80,000
2012 Line Up: Kasabian, Metallica, M.I.A., Soundgarden, Marilyn Manson, Skrillex
2011 Line Up: Coldplay, System of a Down, Kings of Leon, The Kooks, Interpol
Website: http://www.rock-am-ring.com/en/

Festival Name: Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
Blurb: Bonnaroo means “a good time”, which is what is had at this camping festival
Location: Great Stage Park, Manchester, Tennessee, USA
2012 Festival Date: June 7-10
Approximate Capacity: 80,000
2012 Line Up: Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers Phish The Beach Boys Bon Iver The Shins Foster the People Skrillex
2011 Line Up: The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire, Florence + the Machine, The Black Keys, Eminem
Website: http://www.bonnaroo.com/

Festival Name: Download Festival
Blurb: Heavy metal, hard rock, and punk festival in England
Location: Donington Park, Leicestershire, England
2012 Festival Date: June 8-10
Approximate Capacity: 90,000
2012 Line Up: Metallica, Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, The Prodigy, Megadeth, Tenacious D
2011 Line Up: System of a Down, Linkin Park, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie
Website: http://www.downloadfestival.co.uk/

Festival Name: Isle of Wight Festival
Blurb: A festival on an island off the south coast of England
Location: Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight, England
2012 Festival Date: June 22-24
Approximate Capacity: 90,000
2012 Line Up: Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Vaccines, Primal Scream, Enter Shakiri
2011 Line Up: Foo Fighters, Kasabian, Kings of Leon, Pulp
Website: http://www.isleofwightfestival.com/

Festival Name: Rock Werchter
Blurb: This Belgian festival is one of the biggest in Europe
Location: Werchter, Belgium
2012 Festival Date: June 28-July 1
Approximate Capacity: 80,000
2012 Line Up: Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Cure, Mumford & Sons, Elbow, Florence + the Machine, Kasabian
2011 Line Up: Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Linkin Park, Kings of Leon
Website: http://www.rockwerchter.be/en/

Festival Name: Rosklide
Blurb: One of the biggest festivals in Europe, started in 1971
Location: Rosklide, Denmark
2012 Festival Date: July 5-8
Approximate Capacity: 130,000
2012 Line Up: Bon Iver, The Cure, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Roots, Bjork
2011 Line Up: Arctic Monkeys, Iron Maiden, M.I.A., the Stokes, PJ Harvey
Website: http://roskilde-festival.dk/uk/

Festival Name: T in the Park
Blurb: Sponsored by Tennants beer, camping festival has grown from 2 to 3 days
Location: Disused airfield in Balado, Kinross-shire, Scotland; although it would be awesome if it was still used
2012 Festival Date: July 6-9
Approximate Capacity: 70,000
2012 Line Up: Stone Roses, more to come (I would assume)
2011 Line Up: Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, and Foo Fighters
Website: www.tinthepark.com/

Festival Name: Bilbao BBK
Blurb: Relatively new fesitval, which started in 2006
Location: Kobetamendi, Bilbao, Spain
2012 Festival Date: July 12-14
Approximate Capacity: 40,000
2012 Line Up: Radiohead, the Cure, Snow Patrol, The Kooks
2011 Line Up: Coldplay, Beady Eye, Kasabian, Chemical Brothers
Website: http://www.bilbaobbklive.com/2012/

Festival Name: Optimus Alive
Blurb: 6th edition of the camping festival is in 2012, and has become popular recently
Location: In Oeiras, Portugal, just outside Lisbon
2012 Festival Date: July 13-15
Approximate Capacity: 10,000 / unconfirmed
2012 Line Up: Radiohead, Florence + the Machine, The Stone Roses, the Cure, Justice, Mumford & Sons, The Kooks, The Kills, The Maccabees
2011 Line Up: Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Chemical Brothers, Jane’s Addiction
Website: www.optimusalive.com/en

Festival Name: Fuji Rock Festival
Blurb: Initial festival was held at the base of Mt. Fuji, pretty awesome
Location: Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata Prefecture, Japan
2012 Festival Date: July 27-29
Approximate Capacity: 65,000
2012 Line Up: Radiohead, the Stone Roses, more to come
2011 Line Up: Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay, Chemical Brothers, Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Website: http://www.smash-uk.com/frf12/

Festival Name: Lollapalooza
Blurb: Former touring festival has now set up at Grant Park since 2005 (expanded to Chile in 2011)
Location: Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA (plus Santiago, Chile)
2012 Festival Date: Aug 3-5
Approximate Capacity: 90,000
2012 Line Up: Not yet known
2011 Line Up: Muse, Eminem, Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys, A Perfect Circle
Website: http://www.lollapalooza.com

Festival Name: Osheaga
Blurb: Festival started in 2006 and has attracted an increasingly stronger lineup
Location: Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2012 Festival Date: Aug 3-5
Approximate Capacity: 25,000
2012 Line Up: Not yet known
2011 Line Up: Elvis Costello, The Flaming Lips, The Tragically Hip, Eminem, Death Cab for Cutie
Website: http://www.osheaga.com/en/

Festival Name: V Festival (England edition)
Blurb: 2 day festival with rotating line ups between the 2 cities. Festival expanded to Toronto and the USA the past few years
Location: Hylands Park, Chelmsford, Essex, England; Weston Park, Staffordshire, England
2012 Festival Date: Aug 18-19
Approximate Capacity: 90,000
2012 Line Up: The Stone Roses, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Killers, Snow Patrol, Tom Jones, Friendly Fires, Happy Mondays, Rodrigo Y Gabriela
2011 Line Up: Arctic Monkeys, Eminem, Kaiser Chiefs, Rihanna, Chromeo
Website: http://www.vfestival.com/

Festival Name: Leeds / Reading
Blurb: Rotating Line ups between the 2 end of summer festivals
Location: Leeds (Bramham Park) and Reading (Richfield Avenue)
2012 Festival Date: Aug 24-26
Approximate Capacity: Leeds 75,000 / Reading 87,000
2012 Line Up: Announced on March 12
2011 Line Up: Muse, My Chemical Romance, Pulp, The Strokes
Website: http://www.readingfestival.com/ and http://www.leedsfestival.com/

Festival Name: Bestival
Blurb: Best + Festival = Bestival, I see what they did! A camping festival, on south coast of England
Location: Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight
2012 Festival Date: Sept 6-9
Approximate Capacity: 55,000
2012 Line Up: Sigur Rós, The xx, Two Door Cinema Club, Justice, Hot Chip, 2manydjs, Annie Mac Presents, New order, Friendly Fires, Django Django, Death in Vegas
2011 Line Up: The Cure, Bjork, Pendulum
Website: http://2012.bestival.net/

Festival Name: Austin City Limits
Blurb: Named after PBS concert series TV show
Location: Zilker Park, Austin, Texas, USA
2012 Festival Date: Oct 12-14
Approximate Capacity: 70,000
2012 Line Up: Not yet known
2011 Line Up: Kanye West, Coldplay, Arcade Fire, Stevie Wonder, My Morning Jacket
Website: http://www.aclfestival.com/

Festival Name: Voodoo Music Experience
Blurb: Halloween weekend event of music and arts
Location: City Park, New Orleans, Louisana, USA
2012 Festival Date: Oct 26-28
Approximate Capacity: Upwards of 100,000
2012 Line Up: Not yet known
2011 Line Up: Soundgarden, The Raconteurs, Blink 182, Girl Talk, TV on the Radio
Website: http://thevoodooexperience.com/2011/

Festival #25 is actually 2 festivals. 2 festivals that sadly are not happening in 2012. Oxegen in Ireland and Glastonbury are both taking 2012 off. Oxegen is the biggest festival in Ireland, while Glastonbury is the legendary festival in England.

So what festivals are you going to this summer? Any that aren’t on this list that are among your favourites? Let us know in the comments.

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2 Responses

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