Festivals worth the trip

No need to wait until your favourite acts do the festival circuit in Ireland. Get our continental drift? Lauren Murphy’s top 10 European festivals

 Budapest’s Sziget music festival is on an island in the Danube River

Budapest’s Sziget music festival is on an island in the Danube River

Sat, May 31, 2014, 01:00

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Sónar
Barcelona, Spain, June 12th-14th

There’s no shortage of music festivals to choose from in and around Barcelona, but Sónar might be the most convenient of them all, with both the ‘By Day’ and ‘By Night’ taking place in venues with easy access (by train, metro and designated buses) to the city centre. If you’re a dance fan, this year’s line-up is heaven-sent with acts like Trentemøller, Bonobo, FourTet, Todd Terje, Moderat, Caribou and James Murphy on the bill. If you need a breather from the beats, there is culture in other forms all around: check out the astounding Sagrada Família cathedral, or enjoy a sangria and a wander through the peaceful Park Güell, both designed by local boy Gaudí. An all-encompassing two-day ticket costs €210, but there are cheaper options available. See sonar.es Open’er Festival Gdynia, Poland, July 2nd-5th Spread across five stages and running from 4pm-4am each day, the Heineken-sponsored Open’er (hence the name) Festival is good value at €131 for a four-day ticket. Jack White, Foster the People, Interpol, Pearl Jam, Lykke Li, Phoenix, the Black Keys, Haim and Metronomy are just a few names on the impressive line-up. Ryanair flies direct to nearby Gdansk – a historic coastal city with beautiful architecture, which, like the comparatively modern city of Gdynia, was annexed by the Nazis during the second World War and is worth spending a morning exploring. The area is prone to mild summers and the odd thunderstorm, but forget the latter – did we mention the ace line-up?
See opener.pl/en.

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Exit festival
Novi Sad, Serbia, July 10th-13th

A modern music festival held in an ancient fortress? What’s not to like? Founded in 2000, Exit is riding high after nabbing the ‘Europe’s Best Major Festival’ gong at this year’s EU Festival Awards. The line-up is good (Damon Albarn, Rudimental, Disclosure and somewhat bizarrely, Gloria Gaynor feature this year), but this festival all about location, location, location: the natural beauty of the backdrop alongside the crystalline acoustics will undoubtedly make for sets to remember. The city of Novi Sad is worth exploring by day – take a cruise down the Danube by day to see it in its full glory. Festival ticket, transfer and accommodation packages (including hostels of various star ratings) are available from €139, but it’s a 5½ hour trek by bus from Budapest, with no direct flights from Irish airports to nearby Belgrade.
See exitfest.org.

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T in the Park
Kinross, Scotland, July 11th-13th

Oxegen may have breathed its last, but fear not – its unofficial sister festival is still alive and kicking. If you’re looking for a good old fashioned musical hooley with big-name acts, look no further. Traditionally taking place on the same weekend as Oxegen and sharing many of the same artists, T in the Park has a line-up this year which includes Biffy Clyro, Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris, Paolo Nutini, Arctic Monkeys, Pharrell Williams and Ellie Goulding. Shuttle buses run to the festival from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth; weekend camping tickets start at £194. Needless to say, it’s Scotland: do what your mum tells you and bring a raincoat.
See tinthepark.com.

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