George FM's definitive list of festies you need to go to before you die

22/07/2022

By Seth Gupwell
Festivals are a massive part of Kiwi culture. We pretty much wait all year for summer to come and the beautiful run of festivals that come with it. 

As much as we love the celebrations in our own backyard, there's a whole world of front-lefts, light shows, and best nights ever out there. George listeners have sent in their must-see festies from around the world and we've put them down here for your convenience. 

Get reading and start saving because this is THE list for all the festivals you animals need to get to while you still can.

Electric Forest Festival

Held in Rothbury, Michigan, in the U S of A, the Electric Forest Festival looks absolutely insane. Loads of lights and colours, set in the woods, and people dressed as critters all over the place, it’s like if the scary part of the log flume was turned into a music festival. 

Although the festival attracts the biggest EDM fans and artists to one place (this year was headlined by Disclosure and Porter Robinson), the festival has a lot more to do than just get a boogie on.

There’s a general store, a food drive, a Ferris Wheel, a bar, a library, a hammock zone, and even a massive mess hall where you can play table tennis, ten-pin bowling, pool, and even get your hair cut - what the fuck!

Sziget Festival

Taking place over six days every August, the Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hungary is an absolute behemoth of a music festival. It's hosted on an island in the middle of the city, can host more than half a million people, and has over 1,000 performances every year, spanning across all genres of music. 

This year’s performers include Tame Impala, Steve Aoki, slowthai, and a shit ton more. 

The best thing about this festival, in my humble opinion, is the ‘Sziget Express’ - the festival’s dedicated train service. It picks up festival goers from all across Europe, meaning you get to see some beautiful landscapes, and there are DJs throughout the train as well as bars and booths for you to kick it with your friends in. Unreal 

Let It Roll

A must-attend for anyone who calls themselves a drum and bass fan. All the biggest DnB artists are at Let It Roll, as are the smaller ones you take pride in mixing and bumping behind the decks. 

Just take a look at the lineup this year and try to keep still. 

It just looks incrediblyyyyy filthy man - and I know that’s how some of you like it. 

It’s held at a military base in the Czech Republic and judging by tweets and comments of DnB heads online, it deserves a spot on this bucket list.

Someone called it "the best experience of my life", while another reckon he founds the love of his life, but left her to enjoy some banging drum and bass. 

Lost Lands

Lost Lands festival is a dream you’ve never had coming true - a dinosaur-themed, dubstep-heavy, music festival in Ohio.

Even if dubstep isn’t your thing, you’ve gotta want to get twisted with a brontosaurus towering over you and a light/laser show for the ages stretching out into the skies.

If that vision doesn’t get you hyped, just take a look at the trailer for the 2022 festival. Might be one of the best ever festival trailers I’ve witnessed. 

Shambhala Music Festival

In Canada, and unsullied by corporate sponsorship since 1999, British Columbia’s Shambhala Music Festival is the wholesome, kinda hippy, cousin to all other festivals on this list - but that doesn’t mean we don’t wanna go.

If you want a break from head-banging, voice-breaking, claustrophobic-moshpit kind of festivals, then head over to Shambhala. A place where you are encouraged to “come as you are and allow your unique, beautiful personality to shine”, Shambhala might not be what you imagine when you think of a music festival, but it’s definitely one you gotta experience. 

Expand your horizons ya dirty dogs - chillax and head to Shambhala, there is a lot to do there. Yoga, body painting, art workshops, breathwork, hoops, and a 'pyschedelics and intimate relationships' workshop. Get me round.

It's also just fun saying the word. Shambhala.

Primavera Sound

Primavera started in Barcelona, but success has seen it expand to Madrid, LA, Sau Paulo, Santiago, and Buenos Aires. That success is evident in the fact that after only 8,000 attended the festival in 2001, 21 years later, in the year of our lord 2022, over 500,000 people attended - and you weren’t one of them (neither was I).

With Tame Impala, Gorillaz, Arctic Monkeys, and Lorde all amongst the headliners, you’re probably going to enjoy at least one act at Primavera.

If the talent at the festival doesn’t entice you, take a look at the energy in the crowd during this set by Kenny Beats, they’re surrounding him, and they break a fucking hole in the floor. 

Tomorrowland

The biggest EDM festival in the world, you’ve probably heard all about Tomorrowland already, if not here are some quick-fire facts:

  • Held in Belgium
  • Final three weekends of July
  • Different theme every year
  • Around 600,000 expected to attend
  • 16 stages
  • Incredible scenes
  • Live-streaming right now

Coachella

Yeah, I know, it’s pretty basic to put Coachella on here, but how can I not? It’s the biggest and most well-known music festival on the planet. On the lineup poster, there are always massive artists about three lines downs and in tiny writing. No other festival has the draw of pure talent that Coachella does - not to mention you’ll get some sweet, sweet pics for the gram. 

There have been loooaaads of iconic performances at Coachella, too many to mention. Luckily, a couple of years ago Coachella released a lengthy video going over the most iconic Coachella performances of all time - highly recommend it.

As one commenter said, “I see acts here that I will never see at other festivals ever”, and that is the cold hard truth - if they're a trending artist, they’ll be at Coachella.

Burning Man

Despite not wanting to be called a music festival, Burning Man is a large gathering of people over multiple days where music is played and there are plenty of activities to do - which kind of makes it a music festival, and one you got to visit at that.  

It’s built on ten pillars: radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation, and immediacy. 

It ends with a massive bonfire and the vibes just honestly seem immaculate - there are glowstick bikes, there are card games, there are old geezers on normal bikes, there are massive statues and sculptures, and it is meant to be completely rubbish-free.

Rumour has it the richest of the richest also attend this festival, so it might be worth going just to see Bill Gates three days deep in a bender waiting in line for some hot chips. 

Glastonbury

Finishing off the list is the one and only Glastonbury Festival. One of the longest-running music festivals in the world with a ton of iconic performances having occurred at Worthy Farm since 1970. 

Five days of great music by titans of their respective genres. Almost 200,000 people attended the 2022 festival, which saw any and all artists hitting the stages.

I feel like artists at Glastonbury, compared to other festivals, are ones that have more staying power. Yea there’ll be the odd one-hit wonder or whatever, but it’s mostly acts that are properly dedicated to their craft and could realistically see staying relevant for decades in the future. 

For the last ten years it has been voted the best music festival by NME - need I say more. 

Honourable Mentions:
Rolling Loud - biggest rap artists perform and do crazy shit. Check out the incredible lineup this year.

Splendour in the Grass Australia - Indie music festival but with artists across all genres - why can’t more of these artists just pop over for one show?

Reading and Leeds Festival - Oldest popular music festival still going, started in the 60s. Mainly rock, indie, punk, and metal music, with hip-hop becoming more and more popular. 

Governor’s Ball NYC - A festival in the Big Apple that has great artists and even incorporates popular NY restaurants and food trucks. 

There you have it, note these down and get frothing. I hope this has done enough to quench your festie-thirst until the season hits our shores and you're front-left with your best mates just loving life. Until then.