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10 Best Electronic Music Festivals of Summer 2014

posted by Rose Mardit on May 07, 2014

Movement 2013 by Joe Gall / Paxahau

Temperatures are slowly rising, and summer is just around the corner - which means loads of festivals are, too. This is unquestionably the most exciting time of year for music and for travel. The only problem? Bank accounts shrink as quickly as itineraries grow. To help you make the most of sumer 2014, we’ve weeded through the many electronic music festivals on offer to select 10 events that stand out among the rest. Here they are, presented in chronological order. Have fun planning, have fun raving, and don’t forget a decent pair of earplugs.

MOVEMENT


By Oliver Correa

Where: Detroit, United States
When: May 24-26
Highlights: Andrés, Anthony “Shake” Shakir, Function, Jeff Mills, Kevin Saunderson presents Origins, Metro Area, Octave One (live), Underground Resistance Presents Timeline (live)

When most Americans’ conception of electronic music is limited to three capital letters, it is comforting to know that it’ll be business as usual in Detroit come Memorial Day Weekend. Movement is the only festival in the US to be featured on this list, and that is due to the festival organizers’ unwavering prioritization of quality music over everything else (e.g., “celebrity” DJs, pyrotechnics, superfluous visuals). The birthplace of techno will play host to the usual suspects: locally-bred house and techno legends; and a generous selection of veteran DJs and trailblazing producers from throughout the world.

EM15



Where: Montréal, Canada
When: May 27-June 1
Highlights: Audion, Magic Mountain High, Oneohtrix Point Never, Shackleton, The Mole

Elektra and MUTEK are both celebrating their 15th anniversaries, and in 2014, they’re teaming up to create a single event. Dubbed EM15, electronic music, digital arts, and new media will be the stars of this six-day show, which features a series of individual club nights/events rather than marathons in front of one or two stages. The lineup is equal parts “Ooh, what an amazing DJ/producer!” and “Ooh, this one’s unexpected!” There’s really a sense that North American - and specifically Canadian - talent are the focus, and for once, that’s actually a good thing.

WEATHER FESTIVAL


By Guillaume Murat / Weather Festival

Where: Paris, France
When: June 6-9
Highlights: Donatto Dozzy, Floating Points, Luke Slater presents Planetary Assault Systems, Marcellus Pittman, Moodymann, Moritz von Oswald Trio, Theo Parrish, Trade (Surgeon + Blawan)

After last year’s inaugural event, it was clear that not only could Paris support this kind of festival, but Paris actually needed it. Music is categorized by “season,” and each stage will reflect this concept. Thanks to can-do organizers (the folks behind the renowned Concrete parties are involved) and an absolutely stacked lineup, this is one festival not to miss.

PARKLIFE WEEKENDER


Via the Festival

Where: Manchester, United Kingdom
When: June 7-8
Highlights: Andrew Weatherall, Ben UFO & MIdland, DJ Koze (live), Illum Sphere (live), Jackmaster & Oneman present Can U Dance, Kerri Chandler, Moderat (live)

At last, a festival that the nerdiest of electronic music nerds can go to without having to beg their less-discerning friends to come along. Yep, it’s a crowd-pleaser in every sense. Presented by the Warehouse Project, Parklife Weekender does a miraculous balancing act between the sort of artists mentioned above (and so, so many more), and the likes of Snoop Dogg, Foals, Disclosure, Kendrick Lamar, Chromeo, etc. There is no reason not to go with your whole crew.

SÓNAR


By Marjana Jaidi 

Where: Barcelona, Spain
When: June 12-14
Highlights: Caribou, Chic feat. Nile Rodgers, Despacio (James Murphy + 2manydjs), Four Tet, James Holden, Massive Attack, Matthew Dear, Moderat, Nils Frahm, Octo Octa, Plastikman | Objekt

It might seem strange that people are still getting excited about Sónar each and every year (last year was its 20th anniversary), but that is an obvious testament to the organizers’ grasp of both underground and mainstream electronic music. The festival’s reputation for consistent excellence is absolutely deserved. In typical Sónar fashion, there will be interesting collaborations, very special performances, and an overall selection that no other festival seems to match. Between the Day, Night, and Off Sónar events, there’s room for everyone to find his/her own version of bliss.

GOTTWOOD


Via the Festival

Where: Anglesey, Wales
When: June 19-22
Highlights: Appleblim, Avatism (live), Crazy P Soundsystem, Gerd Janson, James Welsh, Max Cooper (live), Medlar, Session Victim

The UK festival circuit is home to so many highly-attended and well-established events that it can be hard to stand out. After only four years though, relative newcomer Gottwood has managed to do just that. The programming has been curated by preeminent UK promoters and tastemakers, and it will all go down in an intimate setting, tucked away in a lush bit of Welsh forest. This is guaranteed to be a long weekend of dancing to quality music, and it’s ripe for discovering something new, too.

AWAKENINGS


Via the Festival

Where: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
When: June 28-29
Highlights: Adam Beyer, Ben Sims & DVS1, Ben Klock & Marcel Dettmann, Blawan, Carl Cox, Extrawelt (live), Jeff Mills, Perc & Truss, Sven Väth

For the first time in 14 years of Awakenings, the beloved Amsterdam event will take place over the course of two days instead of one. This is a welcome change of pace, since the massive program has always been condensed into a mere 11 hours. Now, everyone can carry on enjoying the best names in techno - and a smattering of great house DJs/producers, too - for a while longer. If there is one thing that Amsterdam music events do especially well, it’s giving people a show, and Awakenings boasts some of the most impressive visuals and expensive production out there; think lights, lasers, and fireworks on a mind-blowing level (it’s why videos from the event have so many views on YouTube!) And the lineup, well… it speaks for itself.

KAZANTIP


Via the Festival

Where: Popovka, Ukraine (plus rumors of Georgia and Brazil too)
When: July 31-August 14
Highlights: To be determined...

kaZantip, often referred to as “that festival in the Ukraine,” is a wild, multi-week beach party on the Crimean Peninsula. Alcohol flows cheaply, sunrises are celebrated, people can run around very nearly naked, and (makeshift) marriages are held. It’s equal parts disgusting and delightful, both a hot mess and a paradise. The lineup is always a surprise and drugs are pretty much reviled, so it makes for a different sort of festival experience than what many people are looking to have, but it definitely promises a memorable experience. Musically speaking, it won’t be as high-brow or forward-thinking as any of the other festivals on this list, but there will likely be some incredible artists performing alongside the many lesser-known Eastern European DJs.

NACHTDIGITAL


By Iasonas Karidas

Where: Cavertitz, Germany
When: August 1-3
Highlights: Dixon, Donato Dozzy, I-F, Karenn, Legowelt, Optimo, Robag Wruhme, Roman Flügel, Samuel Kerridge, Siriusmo

Two stages. 3,000 attendees. A carefully selected lineup of amazing artists. Yeah, Nachtdigital does things differently. For those lucky few who managed to snag tickets, have so much fun. For everyone else, try not to cry too hard, because there’s always next year… if you can jump on the pre-sale quickly enough.

DIMENSIONS


By Oliver Correa

Where: Pula, Croatia
When: August 27-31
Highlights: Anthony Naples, Awesome Tapes from Africa, Daphni, dBridge, Floating Points, Gilles Peterson, Juan Atkins & Moritz von Oswald, Nils Frahm, Special Request, Pangaea, Theo Parrish (live and DJ set), Underground Resistance Presents Timeline (live)

In only a few years, Croatia has become the undisputed “it” festival destination, and if there’s any festival on the Adriatic that is worth the trip, Dimensions is the one. Beach parties, boat parties, (hopefully) lots of sunshine, a lineup that is bursting with amazing talent, and a crowd that has been counting down the days since last year. For a festival of this size, the quality - both in terms of the high-caliber programming and the actual sound - cannot be beat, and the gorgeous setting doesn’t hurt either. 

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See Also:

5 Reasons EDM Festivals Love Croatia 
Festival Roundup: Memorial Day Weekend 2014
How to Stay Cool at Hot Summer Festivals