1. Iceland Airwaves, Reykjavík, Iceland
Held in the fall each year since 1999, Airwaves is known as the launching point for many of Iceland’s most famous musical acts. The event also features international bands and musicians over one of the craziest long weekends you can expect to have this close to the Arctic Circle.
Few performances are held in the daytime leaving you open to visit glaciers, geysers, volcanoes, waterfalls and the famous Blue Lagoon.
2. Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival, San Francisco, California
Held in August in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Outside Lands features both up-in-coming and well established acts close to the western edge of the continental United States. With several stages tucked within the coastal forests of the park and easy access to one of the world’s great cities, Outside Lands differentiates itself from its better known peers, Coachella and Bonnaroo.
3. Lake of Stars Malawi Arts Festival, Mangochi, Malawi
Hosted by the southern African nation of Malawi on the beaches of Lake Malawi at the end of September, Lake of Stars is an upstart music festival focusing on building the international visibility of popular music from the region.
While you are not rocking out, you could take a visit to the Malawian countryside or just enjoy life soaking up the African sun on a golden inland beach.
4. Fuji Rock Festival, Yuzawa, Japan
The biggest music festival in Japan, Fuji Rock Festival attracts some of the world’s biggest musical acts to a ski resort a few hours north of Tokyo. The festival is held in the middle of the summer, usually in July.
If you’ve never been to Japan, there is no time like the present, and, did I mention conveyor belts of sushi?
5. Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland
One of the oldest and most famous music festivals in the world, Montreux is way more than just jazz. This festival, held on the shores of Lake Geneva each July since 1967 has hosted many of your favorite musicians of nearly every genre, plus it’s in freakin’ Switzerland.
Hercules and Love Affair, 2008
6. Snowbombing, Mayrhofen, Austria
If you are one to not want winter to end, each April, in the Austrian resort town of Mayrhofen comes Snowbombing, a festival that combines music and skiing just as most resorts in the northern hemisphere are shutting their lifts for the season. At Snowbombing, you can ski, rock out and eat schnitzel with noodles — seems like a worthy expedition.
7. Folk On The Rocks, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada
If you are more of the adventurous type, a trip up to Canada’s Northwest Territories in July will bring you to the Folk On The Rocks festival held each year in the remote city of Yellowknife.
The Yellowknives Dene Drummers, 2013
8. Laulupidu, Tallinn, Estonia
If you are looking for a departure from the more traditional music festival, then you should head to the Estonian capital of Tallinn for their annual Laulupidu (The Estonian Song and Dance Celebration). At this festival, an estimated 30,000 performers join together to sing Estonian folk songs together as another 80,000 watch. It’s a tradition that dates back to Estonian nationalist political protests that happened in the waning years of the Soviet Union.
9. Buktafestivalen, Tromsø, Norway
If you’ve always wanted to rock out above the Arctic Circle, Norway’s Buktafestivalen is the ticket for you. It’s arguably the northern-most music festival on the planet, and, set among the fjords of the Norwegian coastline, it’s also one of the most beautiful spots to see music anywhere.
10. Ultra Music Festival, Miami, Florida, United States
The ultimate EDM destination falls right in the middle of your spring break on the beach in Miami. It is called Ultra Music Festival. If you need more convincing then you obviously enjoy sitting alone inside while snow continues to fall.