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20 top European summer festivals in August 2020

Celebrations of music, art and culture across the continent are set to sizzle.

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Woman at Sziget Festival

Image source: Sziget Festival

1. Sziget Festival | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: Budapest, Hungary
  • Music genre: Electronic dance music (EDM), indie, rock, pop, rap and more.

Sziget is a must on every die-hard festival fan’s checklist. One of the largest festivals in Europe, you can expect an international lineup of the industry’s heavyweights. The 2019 event featured Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, Florence + The Machine, Twenty One Pilots and Martin Garrix.

Held on a beautiful island in the Danube River in Budapest, tickets sell out every year as everything from EDM to hard rock is played on 60+ official stages. And there’s more than just good music — check out theater shows, circus acts and art projects too.Find flights to Budapest

Image source: Leeds Festival

2. Leeds/Reading Festivals | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: Leeds and Reading, England
  • Music genre: Various — from rock and pop to indie and electronic.

The Reading and Leeds festivals occur together over a long weekend in England. Both feature rock, pop, indie, electronic and alternative music, with comedy acts, live stand-up and beatboxing thrown in as well. The Reading site is older, more renowned and is held close to easily-accessible Reading town center.

On the flip side, Leeds has more ground to move around, so you’ll truly get that festival atmosphere. While both have a relaxed vibe, they aren’t family-friendly. Expect after-parties that last until the next morning.

Last year’s lineup featured Foo Fighters, the 1975, Post Malone and Twenty One Pilots.

Find flights to England

3. Rock en Seine | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: Paris, France
  • Music genre: Rock

Since its inception in 2003, this three-day rock music festival has seen the likes of PJ Harvey, Flume, Massive Attack, Foals and Iggy Pop grace its stages. Set in historic Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, festival-goers rock out to big stars and new talents in rock, pop, electro and folk.

This year’s headliners include the Cure, Major Lazer and Jorja Smith.

Unlike other rock festivals, this one caters to families as well. It features a mini rock concert for children six to 10 years old — set apart from the adult crowds.Find flights to Paris

UntoldFestival.Europeansummerfestivals

Image source: Untold

4. UNTOLD Festival | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: Cluj-Napoca, Romania
  • Music genre: Various pop, rock and EDM

UNTOLD is Europe’s newest dance music festival, having staged its first edition in 2015. But it’s since evolved into a multigenre superstar, winning the title of Best Major Festival at the 2015 European Festival Awards.

Pumping out the best of EDM, pop and urban music from international and local artists, this city-center festival features uniquely-themed stages with a strong emphasis on Romanian culture.Find flights to Napoca

GrooveFestival.Europeansummerfestival

Image source: Groove Festival

5. Groove Loch Ness | Aug. 2020 — exact dates TBA

  • Where: Inverness, Scotland
  • Music genre: Dance

You may not find the famed Loch Ness monster here, but you will find an epic party. Party under the stars for one night only in one of Scotland’s biggest nightclubs.

This basic back-to-dance festival features one main stage that attracts the big names without losing its intimate vibe.Find flights to Inverness

Mysteryland.Europeansummerfestivals

Image source: Mysteryland Facebook

6. Mysteryland | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: Haalemmermeer, near Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Music genre: EDM

Mysteryland is one of the longest running music festivals in the world. This two-day Dutch dance festival focuses on music, culture, arts and talent and is famed for its focus on energy conservation and sustainability.

The stages at this festival are quirky and imaginative, and the atmosphere reads much like a carnival. Revelers soak in the art installations, dance and meditation grounds and food galore.Find flights to Amsterdam

Defected.Europeansummerfestivals

Image source: Defected

7. Defected Croatia | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: Tisno, Croatia
  • Music genre: House

Defected has it all: big names, rising talent and the perfect idyllic coastal town of Tisno in Croatia as host.

You can expect a curated selection of DJs playing the best in house music at this six-day festival. In between sets, live it up on daily boat parties and beach hangouts.

This year, Defected will be rocking out to sets by Armand Van Helden, Joey Negro, Sam Divine, MK and Dimitri from Paris.

Find flights to Tisno

8. Way Out West | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Music genre: Rock, pop, electronic and hip-hop

This scenic Swedish festival plays host to a dizzying array of artists — from international superstars to hometown heroes — mainly from the rock, electronic and hip-hop genres.

The green space in Slottsskogen, Gothenburg makes room for five stages, film screenings, creative art exhibitions and food stalls. The festival is also eco-friendly, with vegetarian meals and merchandise made with organic materials.

The three-day festival plays to a standing-room only crowd — but the after parties are legendary, with the crowd spilling out to local cinemas, bars and clubs to party until dawn.

Last year, headliners included Cardi B, the Cure, James Blake, Stormzy and Earl Sweatshirt.

Find flights to Gothenburg
Picture not described: Lowlands_festival_300x300.jpg Image: Getty

Image source: The Music Essentials

9. Lowlands | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: Biddinghuizen, Netherlands
  • Music genre: Electronic, hip-hop, pop, rock and more

One for any music fan’s bucket list, Lowlands is a multigenre alternative music festival curating a huge musical lineup spread across 12 stages with around 250 artists.

Music is definitely the main focus here but Lowlands also offers a slew of different cultural activities including cutting-edge film, visual arts, stand-up comedy and street theater.

Previous years have seen the likes of Tame Impala, Twenty One Pilots, A$AP Rocky, Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals, the National, New Order and Royal Blood.

Find flights to Biddinghuizen
Sea Dance Festival Image: Getty

Image source: Fest ticket

10. Sea Dance | Aug. 28-30, 20200

  • Where: Budva, Montenegro
  • Music genre: EDM, house techno

Spend the dog days of summer partying away to a backdrop of beach-side cocktails on the golden sand beach of Budva.

This relatively new addition to the festival scene brings together some of the world’s finest artists for an electronic and pop music festival that is already claiming big awards. Budva is a cheap holiday destination where you can fill your days with mountain biking, hiking and watersports — if you’ve got any energy left after dancing all night long.

In 2019, Sea Dance featured David Guetta, Robin Schulz and Ofenbach.Find flights to Budva

Top 10 arts and culture festivals in Europe in August

1. La Tomatina | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: Buñol, Spain
  • Festival type: Cultural

A festival that needs no introduction, La Tomatina is the world’s biggest food fight. Held annually in the town of Buñol in Spain, it’s a tradition that dates back to 1945 and continues to draw in over 20,000 people yearly.

The artillery? More than 140 tons of ripe tomatoes from big trucks. Festival goers, the streets, even storefronts will be covered in pulp at the end of the hour-long battle. Pack your old clothes, shoes and goggles and prepare to get down and dirty.Find flights to Buñol

2. Edinburgh Festival Fringe | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Festival type: Arts

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is one of the largest arts festivals in the world. Since its inception in 1947, this initiative has grown every year.

Its popularity is perhaps rooted in the fact that there really is something for everybody. The main genres of entertainment include theater, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events. And that’s just the main genres.

Got a spare week or two? You’ll need it.

Find flights to Edinburgh
NottingHillCarnival.Europeansummerfestival

Image source: Notting Hill Carnival

3. Notting Hill Carnival | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: London
  • Festival type: Cultural, street

Every year in August, the streets of Notting Hill are taken over by parades, steel bands, floats and classic Caribbean foods. Dubbed the biggest street festival in the world, revelers from all over come for a taste of the flamboyant costumes, family-friendly entertainment and delicious foods like fried plantain and jerk chicken.

Live music with the sounds of reggae, salsa and calypso adds to the atmosphere. This street festival is free of charge and can get crowded. Get in early to nab a good spot.Find flights to London

PuckFair.Europeansummerfestival

Image source: Puck Fair

4. Puck Fair | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: Killorglin, Ireland
  • Festival type: Street, carnival

Puck Fair, otherwise known as The Fair of the He-Goat, is one of Ireland’s oldest festivals. Inspired by the crowning of a wild mountain goat as king in 1603, the origins of this festival are as quirky as its itinerary.

The three-day festival sees a parade with floats and colorful costumes, a horse fair where you can buy and sell horses, ponies and donkeys and a brilliant fireworks display to end the celebration. Be sure to check out live music, puppet shows and Ireland’s premier festival, the Euroshow.Find flights to Killorglin

WildernessFestival.Europeansummerfestivals

Image source: Wilderness Festival

5. Wilderness Festival | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: Oxfordshire, UK
  • Festival type: Arts, music, workshops and well-being

The Wilderness Festival celebrates the best of arts in the rolling hills of the Oxfordshire countryside. Come for an experience filled with music, good food and live performances with a dash of festival magic.

This multi-award winning, four-day festival offers revelers woodland parties and a host of rustic, nature-themed activities. Score a seat at the long table banquet for a luxurious, communal dining experience.

If an escapist weekend is your cup of tea, book your tickets now.Find flights to Oxfordshire

6. Bristol International Balloon Fiesta | Aug. 6-9, 2020

  • Where: Bristol, England
  • Festival type: Hot air balloon

Europe’s largest ballooning event is held annually in Bristol, UK, and celebrates big with four days of family fun. Teams from all over the world participate in the mass ascent of over 130 balloons between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. each day.

Highlights include the creatively-shaped balloons themselves and the night glow where the balloons are inflated and glow to music after dark. There’s also a spectacular fireworks display during opening and closing nights. Over the years, the festival has included smaller aerobatics displays.Find flights to Bristol

HelsinkiFestival.Europeansummerfestivals

Image source: Helsinki Festival

7. Helsinki Festival | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: Helsinki, Finland
  • Festival type: Arts, music, dance, film and visual art

Finland’s largest art festival showcases a diverse lineup featuring classical and world music, circus, dance, theater, a children’s program, cinema and more. The main concerts are held in a large festival tent, but many performances are also held outdoors.

Feast your senses on the Night of Arts where anyone can perform. This annual event aims to make art more accessible to everyone across all ages and attracts over 200,000 people annually.Find flights to Helsinki

StreetParadeZurich.Europeansummerfestivals

Image source: Street Parade Zurich

8. Street Parade Zurich | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: Zurich, Switzerland
  • Festival type: Street and music festival

For one day only, the streets of Zurich are overrun by a street parade like no other. DJs spin on 30 moving stages (love mobiles) and eight stages throughout the day.

Electronic music is the name of the game at this parade, which attracts over a million locals, visitors and families to its doorstep.Find flights to Zurich

InternationalBeerFestival.Europeansummerfestival

Image source: Visit Berlin

9. International Beer Festival | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: Berlin
  • Festival type: Food and drink

The International Beer Festival celebrates Germany’s unofficial favorite beverage. This three-day event started in 1997 and has since become a major tourist attraction in Berlin.

Here’s how it works: Festival-goers buy a beer glass with a strap holder to be used for the next three days. Then they walk along a 1.5-mile stretch to sample over 2,400 beer varieties from over 300 breweries across 87 countries. Traditional German music accompanies all this drinking fare, which only adds to that fun folk festival atmosphere.Find flights to Berlin

ASummersTale.Europeansummerfestivals

Image source: A Summer’s Tale

10. A Summer’s Tale | Cancelled for 2020

  • Where: Luneburger Heide forest, Germany
  • Festival type: Arts and culture with a focus on workshops, talks and DJ sets

If you’re looking to experience something a little more than your typical festival, give A Summer’s Tale a whirl. This four-day event in Germany showcases musical acts and creative experiences against the beautiful backdrop of the German Luneburger Heide forest and alongside its enchanting Luhe river.

Packed full of fun activities for the whole family, festival-goers can watch international bands and artists on the main stage, attend workshops and talks and even go on inventive culinary adventures. Canoeing, hiking and cycling are only a few activities available to help you further connect with nature.Find flights to Luneburger

Bottom line

Festivals can be an energizing way to access the cultural heart of whichever European destination is at the top of your list. After pinpointing the August festival that stands out most to you, check our collection of discounts, deals and promo codes to save money while booking your overseas trip.

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