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With so many amazing line-ups at festivals across the globe this summer, why not combine sex, sun and rock ’n’ roll? Here’s how.

Summer means music festivals. And there’s no reason to stay in the UK and risk a washout when you can combine a holiday with some rockin’ festivities in sunnier climes. Here’s our pick of the 14 best fests around the world this season – and what to do when the music stops.

Rock am Ring

WHERE AND WHEN Nuremberg, Germany, June 1-3.

LINE-UP Be warned that this legendary hard rock festival has sold out, but if there’s any way you can get your hands on tickets, you’re in for metal mayhem. Heavyweights including Metallica, Soundgarden, Motörhead and Anthrax are all on the bill – although, so are Linkin Park (the sound of Savage Garden having a tantrum).

OFF-STAGE Nuremberg might be synonymous with Nazism, but Germany’s second-largest city is also where many National Socialists were tried for their crimes. There are various museums that tell the story of the Nuremberg Trials (Nuremberg Trials Courthouse; Landgericht Nürnberg-Fürth; Dokumentationszentrum) – for light relief, check out the relentless nightlife and ubiquitous dark beer.


WHERE AND WHEN Manchester, Tennessee, US, June 7-10.

LINE-UP Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beach Boys.

OFF-STAGE This huge music and arts fest on a sprawling 700-acre farm would be entertainment enough, but the southern state of Tennesse is a true music fan’s Disneyland. From the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville (hey, Johnny Cash is country) to Elvis’s Graceland in Memphis, it’s a pilgrimage to the very roots of rock ‘n’ roll – best washed down with some good ol’ Southern barbecue and bourbon.


WHERE AND WHEN Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US, June 27-
July 1; July 3-8.

LINE-UP Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Iron Maiden, The Hives.

OFF-STAGE Milwaukee probably isn’t top of your list of must-do destinations, but the state of Wisconsin, of which Milwaukee is the largest city, is something of a hidden gem, offering up one of our fave travel combos – outdoor pursuits and top beer. Work off the health hazards of attending the world’s biggest music festival (11 days and 700 bands) by kayaking the colourful sea caves at Apostle Islands, mountain biking in Chequamegon National Forest, and clambering the cliffs of Door County. Then do the damage all over again with a tour of Milwaukee’s myriad brew pubs.


WHERE AND WHEN Valencia, Spain, July 12-15.

LINE-UP Bob Dylan, Bombay Bicycle Club, Dizzee Rascal, New Order.

OFF-STAGE Bang in the middle of Barcelona and Madrid, Valencia is perfectly placed for a whistlestop tour of Spain’s mightiest cities. If a beach break is more your thing, just over 100 miles away is Alicante, known for its frenzied nightlife, or see the very worst of what the country has to offer and swing by nearby Benidorm. The latter is a living 18-30s hell – or heaven, depending on your tastes.

Rock Werchter

WHERE AND WHEN Werchter, Belgium, June 28-July 1.

LINE-UP Pearl Jam, The Cure, Jack White.

OFF-STAGE Werchter is just 18 miles from the country’s capital, Brussels. After a charged few days in the moshpit, soak up Brussels’ cafe culture and gorgeous architecture (see Grand Place). Then get an education at the Cantillon Brewery by taking a tour with tastings, before embarking on your own personal tour of the city’s pub scene.


WHERE AND WHEN Novi Sad, Serbia, July 12-15.

LINE-UP Guns N’ Roses, Erykah Badu, Goldie, Gossip.

OFF-STAGE Aside from the plethora of laidback bars and cafes, suited to lazily whiling away entire days, Novi Sad is home to ‘the Gibraltar of the Danube’ – the Petrovaradin Citadel. This impressive French-designed fortress on a hill overlooking the river took 88 years to complete, with an estimated 70-80 men killed every day as they strove to build it. If you’ve got time, head to hedonistic Belgrade, where clubs open on barges on the Danube over summer.


WHERE AND WHEN Ferropolis, Germany, July 13-15.

LINE-UP Bloc Party, Gossip, Justice, Two Door Cinema Club.

OFF-STAGE At least part of this festival’s appeal is its quirky location, Ferropolis, an open museum of old industrial machinery known as ‘the city of iron’. Loomed over by cranes, the machinery is lit up by colourful lights at night. In addition, Melt! has the good fortune of taking place just 40 miles from Berlin, so you can continue the cutting-edge cool in Europe’s capital of hip. We particularly like cafe/bar Soupanova in Prenzlauer Berg, with its Seventies sofas and trippy orange glow (


WHERE AND WHEN Chicago, US, July 13-15.

LINE-UP Vampire Weekend, Dirty Projectors, Hot Chip.

OFF-STAGE Chicago-based indie music webzine Pitchfork – credited with breaking the likes of Arcade Fire, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Modest Mouse – launched its annual festival back in 2006 with an ace line-up that included Art Brut and CSS. The three-day fest in the city’s Union Park has continued in the same vein ever since, and makes a great alternative to this summer’s bigger events. Chicago is well worth checking out too.


The ultimate guide to summer festivals around the world
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