Unmissable festivals in unbeatable locations – for new music enthusiasts.

Words: Karl Johnson | Photo (main): Chris Lawton

End Of The Road
Dorset, UK.

Taking place on September 1st-4th this year within the unique confines of Larmer Tree Gardens in Dorset, End Of The Road is a community-focused institution with a line up that punches well above its weight each year. It’s a camping festival set in the Dorset/Wiltshire countryside, combining comedy, theatre and film stages with a heavyweight music bill that this year boasts sets by Pixies, Fleet Foxes, Khruangbin, Bright Eyes, black midi and many many more. The festival site itself is one of discovery, there’s a hidden acoustic stage, wonderous Victorian gardens with peacocks and adventures deep into the woods for late night DJ sets. More info here.

Castelbuono, Sicily.

The festival’s 25th anniversary edition actually took place this week (August 4th-7th) based within the town of Castelbuono, Sicily with stages situated in the shadowed square of a medieval castle, the cloister’s patio and the pinewoods. It’s roughly a 2hr 25min bus/train journey to the festival site from Palermo airport, and what better way to combine a holiday with a festival (a trip to Mount Etna anyone?) Over a four day period, this boutique festival’s 2022 line up boasted The Flaming Lips, 2manydjs, DIIV, Self Esteem, Goat Girl, Yard Act, Pillow Queens, Nation of Language, Anna B Savage, Penelope Isles and more. More info here.

Left Of The Dial
Rotterdam, Netherlands.

When it comes to multi-venue city festivals away from home, Left Of The Dial has to be a consideration. Based on the Eurostar train map in the Dutch province of South Holland, Rotterdam is historic port city which will transform into a new music paradise on October 20th, 21st and 22nd this year. It’s a showcase festival with stages scattered around the city centre – on boats, in warehouses, in churches, on the streets and in venues. Aside from the music, wander through the old harbour waterways, take in a museum at Museumpark or stroll through the historic Delfshaven. More info here.

Iceland Airwaves
Reykjavík, Iceland.

Iceland Airwaves is a music festival held in Reykjavík, Iceland in early November – November 3rd-5th – spanning four days and showcasing new music, both Icelandic and international. If the volcanic Icelandic capital is already on your bucket list, what better way to combine a festival and cultural trip? Throwing 125-odd bands from 25+ countries into venues in downtown Reykjavík’s, what could possibly go wrong? Between sets you can soak yourself in the Blue Lagoon, find a waterfall or admire the northern lights. More info here.

Photo: Chris Lawton