While the December weather may have washed away any plans to go and dance in a field with your mates, it wasn’t all that long ago that festival season was underway, and we were doing exactly that. If the winter blues have got you reminiscing about your last hedonistic adventure, and you can’t wait until next year, take a look at our roundup of the best festivals we went to in 2023 to see you through.
Each year, the geniuses over at Waterworks Festival create a West London Wonderland in Gunnersbury Park, which, when paired with a solid line-up, makes this a highlight of the Big Smoke festival season. With 2023 featuring some of the most exciting names in electronic music, from Palms Trax to Pearson Sound, and an always well-received Moxie set, Waterworks was one to watch out for.
Primavera Sound Barcelona
Primavera Sound never disappoints, offering one of the most varied and exciting line-ups for a festival of its size. Having recently announced its solid 2024 headliners for its Barcelona edition, with more still to come, it’s showing no signs of slowing down. This year saw West Coast rap icon Kendrick Lamar perform alongside synth-pop legends Pet Shop Boys, bedroom-pop princess Pink Pantheress, and midi pad master Fred Again. If you missed out this time around, there’s always 2024, which is already looking like a good one.
Over the course of two days, Forwards Festival threw one hell of a party in Bristol, with Aphex Twin and Erykah Badu bringing immaculate vibes to the West Country. When you can get these two legends on the same line-up, you know you’re in for a treat. And that’s exactly what we got through a varied and wide-ranging line-up of talent from across the musical spectrum.
The beast of the Bos, Dekmantel, always provides the vibes with its cutting-edge dance music delivery. This year, highlights included Interplanetary Criminal who shook the HÖR Berlin stage to its rafters, but it wasn’t all full speed ahead four-to-the-floor craziness. The gang behind Dekmantel ensured they had a host of soothing selectors on hand to keep things mellow when needed, as East London’s Charlie Bones fought off the rain with a solid mix of jazz, pop, and disco. With Dekmantel celebrating 10 years this next year, keep an eye out for more Dutch debauchery in 2024.
All Points East
Housed within East London’s Victoria Park, All Points East Festival always attracts a healthy crowd and for good reason. This year saw Erykah Badu grace festival goers with her signature R&B sounds, with other highlights including Stormzy, Jungle, Sampha, and FKJ. We can’t wait for next year, can you?
Dimensions Festival invited dancers back to Tisno, Croatia, this year, hosting its always above-par line-up of DJs, spanning from Adam Pits‘ high-octane breakbeat meets techno to Peach’s eclectic electronic selections. If you like listening to breaks on the beach, this is the festival for you. You don’t need us to tell you that, just look at your mates’ smiling faces when they get off the plane.
When it comes to festivals, few compare to Glastonbury. Taking place from within the walls of the People’s Republic of Worthy Farm (it’s not actually called that. It’s just Worthy Farm, but given the size of the place, the former is quite fitting), it’s a genre-spanning metropolis that has something for just about everyone in its 100-stage set-up. This year’s headliners included (a late but nonetheless stunning) Lana Del Rey, Elton John, Shygirl, Central Cee, Arctic Monkeys and so many more. Getting tickets for this one is never easy, but you can be sure it’ll be worth it once you’re there.
Taking place in a trippy tree-filled setting, Lost Village is an escapist paradise hidden in the woods, packed to the brim with good music and even better vibes. Attracting a host of names from Nightmares on Wax to Four Tet and Peggy Gou, this one left us beaming from ear to ear. Floating illuminated mushrooms, combined with hypnotic music, took us to another dimension, and we can’t wait to drink it all up again in 2024.
Gala was the South London spot to be at this summer, and the chances are, if you weren’t there, someone you knew was. Highlights included Leon Vynehall, The Orb, and Sherelle, so it’s no surprise Peckham Rye Park was packed to the brim. Accompanying the top-tier tunes was a load of banging food and drink, which naturally went down a treat.
AVA always brings the energy to Belfast with a FOMO-inducing set-up that leaves those who didn’t manage to get tickets cursing the moment they ever said no in the group chat. Every year, social media is flooded with scenes of bouncing crowds soaking up the very best in electronic music. If this sounds like a bit of you, make sure to head over to Belfast for 2024.
Cover Image: @dkmntl
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