As Australians we live for the summer festival season. The entire country shifts into party mode as we are treated to an endless procession of great bands. People are nuts for it, whether they’ve spent months whittling away at their costume or shredding at the gym. But come the chilling winter months Splendour in the Grass is the lone lighthouse signalling festival goers with it’s ridiculously good lineup and promise of mud-caked shenanigans.
The Aussie festival season may be in a lull come winter but fear not, there are plenty of amazing popular festivals you have never heard of around the globe. Why not party in a quarry?
Thankfully our sunburnt land is just a tiny corner of this big blue world, and wouldn’t you know it, they have festivals in other places too. Heck, there are festivals that are even better than our own and the average Aussie would have no clue about them since they don’t have the words ‘stereo’ and ‘sonic’. First of all there are some festivals out there that are held in some cool as shit locations. While we are more or less subjected to a choice between an empty field or stadium, have you ever been to a festival in an abandoned Polish coal mine?
Yes, it sounds like the latest slasher flick starring a lumbering axe wielding maniac and a screaming blonde virgin, but it is really a music festival. Festiwal Tauron Nowa Muzyka may seem like a backpacker’s horror story on paper but it is really a ridiculously popular rave that happens in Katowice. The party goes down between two mine shafts that were in use from 1823 to 1999. In 2005 the festival was born, and has the bragging rights of being the only outdoor festival to be hosted in an industrial area with it’s infrastructure completely intact.
Speaking of the outdoors, if you happen to be in Sweden in August be sure stop by Into The Valley. While nothing can beat the insanity of having a rave in an abandoned mine, this celebration of electronic music takes place in an old limestone quarry. With breathtaking open air vibes and the blue pool of water resting below, Into The Valley is the best open amphitheatre to take in some pulsing beats.
Of course not all festivals are about getting wasted and finding five minutes of love in your tent, and if you find yourself screaming “Won’t somebody please think of the children?” don’t worry, Chilled in a Field has you covered. This socially minded festival is held in Sussex and boasts a family friendly policy. We know what you’re thinking; plenty of daggy bands your parents like (or worse, daggy cover bands), screaming children and lights out by 6pm.
Don’t fret avid festival goer, Chilled in a Field still manages to be hip with it’s unique balance of kid friendly fun and tequila fun for the big kids. That’s right, there are several alcohol tasting to school you on your favourite poison, not to mention plenty of stalls, fun-tivities for the kids and the best dance, trance, psych rock and punk going around. Any festival that can expose kids to awesome music in a fun and safe setting is a winner in our books.
Then again you may want something a little more adventurous. Perhaps something a little more mysterious. Enter Unknown. This Croatian festival has been kicking around for a couple of years now but has already garnered an enormous amount of love. Six stages, beach hangouts, twin infinity pools and boat parties (yes, fucking boat parties), Unknown is nothing but gorgeous. The organisers are a dedicated bunch hell bent in making each event better than the last, and the promise of something special coming in 2016 is enough to make you want to book your flights to Zagreb already.
Lying on a Croatian beach with some of the smoothest electro bangers in the background sounds pretty damn lush. Or perhaps what you’re really after is a little action rather than relaxation. If that’s the case Mandrea Music Festival is the gig for you. Nestled in the foothills of the Dolomites range by the turquoise sheen of Italy’s largest body of water Lake Garda, Mandrea Music proves again that location can make a good festival a great one. The music itself is dedicated to the best reggae, dub, folk and hip-hop on the scene.
If that isn’t enough to satisfy you, or you’re just not inclined that way musically, Mandrea Music Festival is still a gig the avid adventurer needs to go to. Why? Well with the beautiful scenery you can go hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing. Not enough? How about tearing up the festival skate park, taking in a film at the cinema or sit in at a performance workshop. It’s an experience not to be missed, not only by fans of music but for fans of culture.
In fact, that is essentially what a festival is all about; culture. You have to immerse yourself in the vibe of your surroundings and soak in the best these utopia’s have to offer. A festival’s culture dictates everything about it, from the artists performing to the venue, to the kind of people who show up. In a way it’s about letting go of who you are for a day and assuming a new persona, one that is free from the mundanities of the everyday. Perhaps the best festival to do so is Træna Festival in Norway.
Some fun facts about Træna; it’s an island 65km north of the mainland, a green paradise floating in the North Pacific. The island is made up of 500 citizens, with each and every one of them turning up for the festival. Seriously, the townspeople put on a big party once a year on their pristine island, offer mountain climbing and sailing for activities and manage to attract dozens of the best European bands to get down to. As they say, Træna proves paradise doesn’t have to be in the tropics.
There are many, many more out there that are well worth a punter’s time. A music festival experience shouldn’t only be restricted to long lines for the bar in the stinking heat and spending half your time looking for mates who’ve gotten lost. Why not party in a coal mine or take the brood to see a psych rock band? The world of music is a big and wondrous place, so if you find yourself moping around the house this winter with a thirst for some killer live jams just book a one way ticket aboard the Spruce Moose for a second summer full of the best festivals you haven’t heard of.
While you’re here, have your mind blown by these song facts about classic tracks.