5. T in the Park – Scotland
T in the Park is one of the UK’s largest music festivals- showcasing talent from many genre’s over its 7 stages. Originally taking place in Strathclyde Park, Lanarkshire from its conception in 1994 until 1997, but later moving to a larger site at Balado Airfield, Kinross – the festival is one of the most anticipated on the British and indeed European festival calendar. Although Scotland is a country not exactly celebrated for it’s great weather- T in the Park retains a reputation as having one of the best party-orientated atmosphere’s available annually, usually selling out each year.
4. Isle of Wight Festival – England
Taking place on the Isle of Wight off England’s southern coast, this festival initially ran between 1968 and 1970. It was reprised in 2002 and has been expanding gradually every year since. In its early years the festival featured the likes of The Who, Jimi Hendrix (1970: one of his last performances) and Pink Floyd- with the current incarnation opting to maintain these musical themes for the most part. Although perhaps not the most popular festival in the country (or even the Isle of Wight, see ‘Bestival’)- this gathering does carry a weighted history- having acted as influence upon many future figures of musical importance.
3. Wacken Open Air – Germany
Each year some 80,000 metal music fans descend on the quiet German town of Wacken to celebrate their genre. Most of the huge amount of subgenres existing within modern metal are represented here- attributing to one of the most diverse crowds of any other festival worldwide. First held with humble intentions in 1990, the festival quickly mutated into a phenomenon- drawing in some of the biggest cult acts in the world. Staying true to its original intentions, the festival continues to do well showcasing all kinds of crazy and obscure acts- surely acting as proof that metal is one of the most stable genres there is.
2. Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival – California
A festival I’ve always dreamed of attending, Coachella takes place in the Californian desert during the month of April. Running (pretty much) annually since 1999, the festival has been celebrating all kinds of popular music with style in temperatures exceeding 110*F ever since. With headliners as diverse as Bjork, The Beastie Boys and Kraftwerk featuring over the years, the festival does not dwell on just music- instead choosing to include the arts as a whole. Featuring a number of artwork installations yearly, the festival encourages links to be drawn between the musical and visual arts.
Easily the most famous music festival ever, Glastonbury began its long journey to becoming what it is now in the early 1970’s. Based heavily around the hippy ethic of free art and expression, the festival has grown from humble beginnings into a mecca of contemporary music. Whereas the first was attended (for free) by around 1,500 people and headlined by The Kinks (1970), the most recent event in 2011 saw some 150,000 attendees descend on the Pilton Farm, Somerset site to see headliners Coldplay, U2 and Beyonce’. Either way you look at that alteration in character, it is astonishing.