If you’ve never been to a music festival in your lifetime, it might be an experience you want to add to your bucket list! No matter what type of music you might be a fan of, most festivals offer a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The best music festivals in the world are more than just a concert – most now offer a full-blown escape from reality, with extensive entertainment, stellar performances, food and drink options, camping, activities, and often the chance to meet amazing people from all over the world.
If you need an escape or a mental refresher, live music just might do the trick. A new study finds that live music might be better for your mental health than doing yoga. Researchers found that those who spent just 20 minutes watching a live performance showed the highest gains in mood and well-being at 21 percent. Yogis, meanwhile, saw their mood improve by 10 percent during the same duration, while dog walkers experienced a seven percent boost in spirits.
Though most festivals are centered around music, many attendees also go for the sense of community that being surrounded by like minded people brings. A study conducted by researchers from Yale University reports festival goers who attend mass gatherings such as Burning Man find themselves “transformed” by their experiences. People who felt transformed by the gathering reported feeling more connected to humanity and were more likely to help strangers. Festivals are often a great way to embark on a journey of self-expression and freedom while being surrounded by the arts.
Whether you’re a seasoned festival veteran looking to check the next adventure off your list or a first-timer looking for a new experience, StudyFinds has your back! We’ve researched the best music festivals in the world and compiled a list of events you should check out. Have a favorite festival of your own? Tell us about it in the comments below!
The List: Best Music Festivals in the World, According to Concertgoers
Tomorrowland is well known across the world for being one of the best music festivals in the world, not just because of its sheer size and scale, but for the entire experience it provides attendees. The festival boasts 16 stages, camping options, a tattoo parlor and even full-scale restaurants within the grounds. “Ranking as the eighth biggest music festival in the world with sold out attendance of 600,000 in 2022 is Tomorrowland, an annual music festival that takes place in Belgium. It is one of the largest and most well-known music festivals in the world, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year,” writes Yahoo.
Every sub-genre of EDM is represented at this festival, making it a raver’s dream. “Most electronic dance music fans wish to attend Tomorrowland at least once in their lifetime,” explains Ticketfairy. “It brings the biggest stars in electronic music to one huge festival with a lineup of EDM, house, techno, drum & bass artists, among many others.”
“The festival offers a range of activities and experiences beyond music, such as art installations, interactive performances, and food vendors. These activities complement the festival’s overall aesthetic and offer a truly immersive experience for attendees. As you can see, Tomorrowland is not just a festival; it’s an experience,” says Hey Mondo.
2. Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Probably the most highly publicized festival in the media is Coachella, which touts some of the biggest headliners in music and a star-studded audience. “The granddaddy of them all, Coachella is the best attended, most relevant and highest grossing music festival in the world,” explains Billboard. “Livestreamed each year to millions of fans worldwide, no other festival transcends culture or has as much influence on the music industry and music fans as this annual rite of passage in the desert.”
Coachella is also set in the California desert, giving every sunset picture the ultimate background. “Sure, this California festival is known for being a celeb-spotter’s paradise, but this shouldn’t distract us from the bangin’ lineup it assembles every year, which typically includes the hottest rising stars, pop icons at the peak of their powers (we’re talking Beyoncé and Ariana Grande level), and a few juicy exclusives,” writes TimeOut.
“Coming out in the top spot as the most Instagrammed music festival in the world is the USA’s Coachella, with a whopping total of 4,201,240 hashtags. It was over 350,000 hashtags ahead of second-place Tomorrowland, one of the best-known festivals in Europe (set in the aptly named town of Boom in Belgium), while recently-held South by Southwest festival was in third place,” says Hip Camp.
Glastonbury is five days jam-packed with some of the best musical acts in the world, along with other arts performances like dance, comedy, theater, cabaret, or circus performances. “Glastonbury sets the bar when it comes to worldwide music festivals. It hosts the biggest names in music on its famous Pyramid Stage, but it’s the other side of Glastonbury that really sets it apart,” explains Lyte. “From the immersive world of shenanigans that is Shangri-La, to the flame throwing Arcadia spider and the hidden, underground Piano Bar, every corner of Glastonbury is full of surprises just waiting to be discovered.”
Glastonbury just celebrated its 50th anniversary, and has now evolved into a massive event that hosts over 100 stages .“The first Glastonbury Festival took place in 1970 and was organized by Michael Eavis, a farmer in the area,” adds XttraWave. “The festival was originally intended to be a celebration of the summer solstice, but it quickly evolved into a music festival. Over the years, the festival has featured some of the biggest names in music, including The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Radiohead, and Beyoncé.”
“It’s difficult to convey quite how vast Glasto is, with whole worlds of activity taking place outside the arena as well as an awe-inspiring musical line-up ranging from pop to reggae to rock to dubstep to metal to folk to techno,” muses TimeOut. “Everywhere you turn there’s vitality to be found – especially if you stumble into some of the more anarchic cabaret tents and stages dotting the woods and fields far from the Pyramid-stage hordes.”
4. Primavera Sound
If you want to attend a festival that embodies the European spirit while seeing some of the biggest names in music, check out Primavera Sound. “Leave it to Primavera Sound to consistently curate one of the best lineups in the global festival circuit,” says Thrillst. “As always, the massive event, which helms several versions across the globe, kicks off in its homebase of Barcelona, followed by Madrid the following weekend with the same lineup.”
The festival is near the Balearic Sea, so feel free to hit the beach and sip a drink if you need to recover from dancing. “Since 2001, Primavera Sound has provided genre and era-bending experiences and has made it look easy,” raves Edition. “Over the years, Primavera Sound has expanded with festivals around the world. With Barcelona at its epicenter, however, it consistently brings top-level talent to Parc Del Forum each year for unmatched live performances, including past performances from The Strokes, Dua Lipa and Tyler, The Creator.”
“The Primavera Sound Festival is held every year at the end of May and beginning of June in Barcelona and lasts three days. Since 2005, Forum Park has been the concert venue for it. In 2022, half a million people visited it, making it one of the biggest music festivals,” writes Planet of Hotels. “Smaller Primavera Sound events are held in Madrid, Porto, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Santiago de Chile, and Buenos Aires. Various musical genres are represented here.”
5. Sziget Festival
Sziget Festival is one of the largest music festivals in Europe, hosted in Hungary every August. “The Sziget Festival is a six-day music and arts festival on the 266-acre Obuda Island in the Danube River in Budapest,” writes Hey Mondo. “The festival is a celebration of music, arts, and culture and is one of the largest music festivals in Europe, attracting around 450,000 visitors in 2022.”
You can do whatever your heart desires at the fest; dance, catch a theater or circus performance, grab food, or even hop on a boat or go swimming. “The sheer scale of the festival – 50 venues and 200 daily performances over seven days – is dizzying,” explains TimeOut. “Musically, there’s everything from big names to smaller acts performing metal, jazz, folk, authentic Roma… (name a genre, and someone’s bound to be playing it somewhere). Culturally, there’s theatre, circus and exhibitions, and of course Budapest itself to explore. The only thing missing from the agenda is boredom.”
“Dua Lipa, Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon, Tame Impala, Alan Walker, Nina Kraviz, Alison Wonderland, and more performed at the Sziget Festival this year,” says TicketFairy. “As per Hungary Today, around 450,000 people attended the 2022 edition of this music festival. However, Sziget attracted a crowd of about 530,000 in 2019.”
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.