There are so many big-name festivals on in the UK and throughout Europe that it’s often easy to forget how many excellent events fly under the radar. We think it’s a shame they don’t enjoy more of the spotlight, so we’ve put together this quick list of excellent European festivals that are still off the beaten track.
Nova Batida, Lisbon
Headlined by Little Dragon, Mount Kimbie, and Maribou State, Nova Batida takes place from 14 – 16 September. It’s an odd sort of festival that takes place across warehouses, disused tram terminals, and courtyards, plus the adjacent Village Underground Lisboa. It sort of feels like one big block party, and it’s the perfect event to plan a city break around since organisers run trips to Lisbon’s surf beaches
Pete the Monkey, Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer
Providing plenty of family fun from 12-14 July, Pete the Monkey is a unique little French festival created solely to help raise funds for the largest monkey reserve in Bolivia. Set in a lovely seaside village, its past acts have included Blue Hawaii, We Were Evergreen, Songhoy Blues, Acid Arab, and Nicola Cruz.
Taking place from 5-7 July, this is Slovakia’s biggest arts and music event. It’s been running for more than two decades, so you might wonder why so few people have heard of it, especially when you hear that this year’s headliners will include heavyweights like The Chemical Brothers, Jamie Cullum, St Vincent, and Glass Animals. It’s a large but friendly festival that plays host to around 30,000 visitors a day. It isn’t all about music; expect visual art, film, literature, and theatre.
Skye Live, Scotland
Head up north for a Highland Adventure from 21-22 September. As you might have guessed, Skye Live is meant to fill the sizeable gap left by the now-defunct Isle of Skye Music Festival. The line-up so far includes Denis Sulta and Eclair Fifi, two of Scotland’s best-known young DJs, plus Leeds-based band Vessels and Pictish Trail, a local Hebridean indie pop musician.
Waking Life, Portugal
Waking Life is one of those events that’s impossible to ignore. Extremely innovative, this arts and music festival takes place in isolated surroundings meant to evoke a sense of eco-friendly responsibility while nurturing a mind-bending atmosphere. The lakeside stages will be graced by headliners such as DVS1, Objekt, Huerco S, Andy Stott, and Maayan Nidam. Waking Life takes place from 15-19 August.