Over the years, traveling to new countries to attend a festival has become as important as the festival itself. And the further East I trek across Europe, the more amazed I am by the festival scene out here. Over the last four years, I’ve danced and shouted the night away in the moat of an ancient fortress, outside the walls of a castle, on an island in the middle of a city, inside a former factory, and on the shores of the Dalmatian Coast.
There’s plenty of music genres to choose from for your next adventure, like the rock-heavy vibes of INmusic Festival in Croatia, the beautifully curated indie rock OFF Fest in Poland, the bumping house music of Defected, and the “everything-under-the-sun” seven day Sziget Festival in Hungary.
The festivals of the east tend to be budget-friendly with tickets, transportation, lodging, and food, all coming in well under normal fest prices. English is widely spoken, the campgrounds have been some of the cleanest I’ve seen in the world and the people have just been incredible. So if you’re looking for you next festival adventure, check out our recommendations below and I’ll see you on the road this summer.
Meadows in the Mountains 2023
June 1-5, 2023
Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria
For those of you looking to get away from everything, including the oversized crowds of mega-fests, we suggest sneaking away to the incredible Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria and the secret oasis of Meadows in the Mountains. Community is at the heart of the festival and this forested sanctuary offers up four stages of music along with yoga and wellness classes.
Photo credit Aron Klein
Kala Festival 2023
May 31-June 7, 2023
Kala is a boutique festival that takes place in Dhërmi, a stunning beach location on the Albanian Riviera. During the day you can enjoy paradisiacal beaches, excursions to explore the unspoilt surroundings, wellness activities, heavenly food and laid-back music selections.
Anjunadeep Explorations 2023
June 8-14, 2023
Travel to the fabled Ionian coast for five nights of music, connection and discovery at Explorations Festival. The stunning scenery of Albania meets the beats of underground electronic music at this festival retreat.
INmusic Festival 2023
Perhaps the only music festival in the world that runs from Monday to Wednesday, Croatia's largest open-air fest straddles two national holidays. It may not be on the beach, but INmusic boasts a sweet lakeside venue with camping on Youth Island in Zagreb. The international lineup always features huge acts (some of them playing Croatia for the first time) like Florence+the Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Pixies, Arcade Fire, New Order, and Billy Idol.
Photo Credit: Julien Duval
Hideout Festival 2023
June 25-29, 2023
You're going to need a vacation from your vacation after Hideout. With five packed days and nights of pool, boat, and after parties with 100+ DJs and thousands of electronic fans tearing it up under the Croatian sun, Hideout remains one of the standout electronic parties of the summer.
Featured Artists: Andy C, Chase & Status, Gorgon City, Honey Dijon, Loco Dice, Skream, Solardo
Photo Credit: Hideout Festival
OZORA Festival 2023
July 31-August 6, 2023
We would call it a transformational festival but OZORA describes itself as 'reaching out into the deepest realms of your imagination and displaying, sharing that glorious, that grotesque, that unparalleled treasure you find within is one of the pillars of the Ozora experience.' Get ready to get weird.
EXIT Festival 2023
July 6-9, 2023
Novi Sad, Serbia
For those of you tired of festivaling in a field, check out this Serbian festival. One of longest running music festivals in the East, the annual EXIT Festival distinguishes itself by being held in an ancient Petrodovian fortress. The constantly evolving festival has recently added a sister festival held on the shores of the Adriatic Sea.
Balaton Sound 2023
June 28-July 1, 2023
'Seaside lounges, restaurants, bars and anything you need to enjoy the Balaton sunset, plus a great number of stars on several stages, that’s the already beloved concept of Balaton Sound. The event attracts approx. 100 000 visitors each year and turns Zamárdi, a small town on the southern shores of Lake Balaton into a massive party arena. The festival’s venue is a picturesque beach resort at the biggest lake of Central Europe, also regarded as a touristic center of the region.'
Featured Artists: Armin Van Buuren, Blasterjaxx, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Don Diablo, Hardwell, Kshmr, Tiesto, Vini Vici
Photo Credit: Sandor Csudai
July 6-9, 2023
Romania’s wildly successful Untold Festival added a second festival to their family with the electronic Neversea situated on the coast of the Black Sea. It takes place in the summertime haven of Romania on the shores of Constanța just east of Bucharest.
Photo Credit: Neversea Festival
Ultra Europe 2023
July 7-9, 2023
Hosted every year on the idyllic Dalmatian Coast in Croatia, the European edition of the massively popular Ultra Festival has become one of the largest electronic festivals on the continent. The multi-venue event is known for changing up venues around Split, so expect everything from a massive stadium to intimate beach parties.
Love International 2023
July 12-18, 2023
Secret island parties, sunrise acoustic sessions, beach stages, and late night discos, are just part of this marathon electronic festival. There's also a world class lineup of DJs to dance your way through eight full days of activities and fun in Croatia.
Featured Artists: Orpheu The Wizard
Photo Credit: Khris Cowley
Positivus Festival 2023
July 14-15, 2023
One of our picks for a undiscovered gem – Positivus takes place in the pretty coastal town of Salacgriva in Latvia. The lineup includes international headliners, underground talent, and plenty of art – all of which combine into one super-chill festival. Camp in grassy fields, see artists performing in the forests, and dip your toes into the Baltic Sea.
August 3-5, 2023
The festival formerly known as Przystanek Woodstock has transformed once again into Pol'and'Rock! One of the largest free music festivals in the world, this Polish institution has been rocking out for twenty-five years. It's one of the most unique events on the European fest calendar and well worth the trip.
Electric Castle Festival 2023
July 19-23, 2023
In just a few years years, Electric Castle has already become one of Romania’s most successful fests. Held under the shadow of the five century old Banffy Castle and surrounded by the rolling green hills of the Romanian countryside, EC still maintains the semblance of a much smaller fest. The lineup is designed to please, with artists performing mainstream EDM, hip-hop, reggae, drum & bass, metal, and indie rock. -100 Nights of Summer
Featured Artists: Eats Everything, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, George Ezra, Iggy Pop, Nothing But Thieves, Peggy Gou, Pendulum, Rezz, Tash Sultana, The Chemical Brothers
Rockwave Festival 2023
July 23, 2023
Rockwave Festival is music, dance, headbanging, air-guitar, amplifiers, mics, but above all, Rockwave Festival is the moments and memories fans make. It's also an open-air camping festival that takes place right outside of Athens.
Defected Croatia 2023
August 3-8, 2023
It's house music heaven when the UK Defected label takes over The Garden at Tisno. Beachside camping, boat parties, special shows, and lots of surprises makes this an ideal island getaway. Need a break from the bumping beats? Explore the lovely Croatian seaside city of Tisno in between sets.
Untold Festival 2023
August 3-5, 2023
The Untold Festival of Romania unfolds another chapter this summer in the charming city of Cluj. The heart of Untold is the open air Cluj Arena where international superstar electronic headliners play sets until the sun comes up. The soul of the festival lives in Central Park, a shady expanse of trees and grass filled with hammocks, small stages, and art.
Featured Artists: Armin Van Buuren, Imagine Dragons
August 3-5, 2023
Vrnjačka Banja, Serbia
'The extremely budget-friendly Lovefest is a solid addition to the quickly growing Balkan electronic music festival circuit. In the United States and England, we have all these archaic laws about noise past midnight, but Serbia has no such qualms, and the music stays bumping literally into the dawn. The gates don’t open until sunset, and it’s empty until around midnight, at which point you can barely move until sunrise.' - 100nightsofsummer.com
Photo Credit: Vito Valentinetti
OFF Festival 2023
August 4-6, 2023
Still unspoiled by hordes of backpackers, Poland is a treat for travelers. And nothing makes that treat sweeter than the similarly unspoiled OFF Festival in Katowice which after ten years still keeps its lineup fresh and surprising.
Featured Artists: TV Girl
Photo Credit: Vito Valentinetti
Pohoda Festival 2023
July 6-8, 2023
Major festival line-up, boutique festival vibe, and the comfort of a garden party at your best friend’s place for a fraction of a regular ticket price. The annual Pohoda Festival takes place on the spacious grounds of an airport which means every seat is within site of the stage and castle topped mountains. Our editor-in-chief called this his favorite fest of the summer.
Featured Artists: Amelie Lens, Jamie XX, Shame, Sofi Tukker, Viagra Boys, Wet Leg
Summer Well 2023
August 11-13, 2023
This annual three-day festival celebrates 10 years as the premier festival of Bucharest in Romania. It takes place in the Stirbey Domain, a 25-hectare park with old trees, an inner lake, and beautiful buildings.
Photo Credit: Summer Well
Sziget Festival 2023
August 10-15, 2023
Welcome to the Island of Freedom! Every August thousands of festival fans around Europe descend on Budapest for one of the most unique festivals in Europe. Cross the bridge from downtown onto a 250+ acre idyllic island for a week-long celebration with artists from around the world. Need a break? Head into Budapest and explore the city.
Featured Artists: 070 Shake, AJR, Amyl & The Sniffers, Billie Eilish, Bonobo, David Guetta, Destroy Boys, Diplo, Dixon, Florence + the Machine, Foals, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Girl In Red, Imagine Dragons, Jamie XX, Jeff Mills, Lorde, M83, Macklemore, Moderat, Mumford & Sons, Nothing But Thieves, Sg Lewis, Sven Vath, Tale of Us, The Comet is Coming, TV Girl, Viagra Boys, Yung Lean, Yungblud
Sonus Festival 2023
August 20-24, 2023
The standout Sonus Festival delivers a heavyweight lineup of international EDM talent to the shores of Pag, one of Croatia's hottest party islands. The five day fest at Zrce Beach is hosted by Cosmopop (Time Warp, Love Family Park) so expect to be dazzled by numerous parties on beaches, boats, and clubs. Underground artists are hand-picked so that fans have a chance to see them in an intimate setting before they take off.
Featured Artists: Diplo, Maceo Plex, Marco Carola, Richie Hawtin, Seth Troxler, Sven Vath, Vintage Culture
Sea Dance Festival 2023
August 18-20, 2023
For those of you not tired of partying in an ancient Serbian castle for seven days straight, the organizers of EXIT recently spun off a second festival of fun on the ocean. Sea Dance takes the techno to the shores of Montenegro for an idyllic weekend of sunbathing and dancing in the waves.
Photo Credit: Sea of Dreams
Dimensions Festival 2023
August 31-September 4, 2023
As the sun sets on summer, underground electronic fans flock to Tisno for the last major music fest of the Croatian summer scene. A spin-off of the hugely popular Outlook Festival, diehards can stack these two festival weekends together for one mega-run of electronic goodness.
Featured Artists: Helena Hauff
ION Festival 2023
September 6-13, 2023
ION is a different kind of music event, one where you’re invited to get outside the usual festival fences and have a real holiday experience. For everyone who chooses to come with us on this extended summer party, ION will be a week filled with new encounters and 3,000 like-minded friends, all soundtracked by electronic music’s best artists.
Featured Artists: Dixon, Helena Hauff
Colours of Ostrava 2023
July 19-22, 2023
Set in a venue filled with the remnants of blast furnaces, mines and ironworks, Colours of Ostrava fills this industrial complex with music and festies. Wander around the amazing grounds and check out some of the other offerings which include film, theater, workshops, discussions, and poetry.
Featured Artists: Burna Boy, Ellie Goulding, Interpol, Jacob Collier, Macklemore, OneRepublic, The Comet is Coming, ZHU
Open’er Festival 2023
June 28-July 1, 2023
Poland's mega-festival Open'er brings major acts to the country, most of them for their first time. This is an absolute monster of a camping festival with a stacked four days of headliners like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Florence + The Machines, and LCD Soundsystem.
Featured Artists: Arctic Monkeys, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Nothing But Thieves, OneRepublic, Queens of the Stone Age