In this week’s Travel Tuesdays Kieran Graves gives you a taste of upcoming festivals in Europe that offer great Coachella replacements, and will make your summer unforgettable.
Edited by Nina Nagel
Festival season is now (almost) upon us. The flood of images from Coachella has woken us from our winter’s hibernation – realistically just a down-time to recover from last summer – and reignited the hedonistic pleasure-seeker that resides within each and every one of us.
Who can honestly say that they don’t want to escape from the monotonous every day to tan in the Coachella Valley, party in the kaleidoscopic fantasy world that is Tomorrowland, or even just wallow in the muddy fields of Glastonbury? Albeit for a single weekend, then again why stop at one festival?!
If, like for many of us Coachella is, and will likely always be, an unfeasible dream providing us the opportunity to partying with A-list celebrities and supermodels, each one of them clad in an ever more extravagant assortment of hats, headdresses and henna tattoos, then may I suggest looking closer to home in the form of one of the many, more practical, European alternatives.
Being closer to home these substitutes are guaranteed to have noticeably less impact on your wallet and are likely to feature many of the same acts. The main difference here being that organisers have typically replaced the desert with sandy beaches and boat parties, a much better option anyway if you ask me.
Over the last decade Croatia specifically has adopted this winning formula, resulting in a surge of young tourism and helping to establish the country as Europe’s premier festival destination. This is thanks to the likes of Hideout’s beach backdrop and Outlook Festival with its roman fort setting, each of these providing stages for the latest in dance, electronic, hip-hop and grime.
However, don’t despair, if their line-ups aren’t quite to your liking, but you’re still looking to avoid the endless miles of mud that you are sure to find at the typical UK event, then may I suggest Benicàssim’s FIB (Spain) or Budapest’s Sziget Festival (Hungary) where you will be able to fill your needs for all things pop, rock and indie, with big names this year including Muse and Catfish and the Bottlemen.
Alternatively you can just suck it up and embrace the ‘true’ British festival experience; wind, rain, mud, the lot. Let’s be honest, nobody really cares if you’re dirty and smelly, you’ve come to the one environment in the world where muddy wellies are fashionable, even cool. Besides, everybody is in the same boat, no one has washed in days and you’ve been going to the toilet in a hole, or, if you’re lucky a portaloo. You left any thoughts of civilised living at the gate on your way in, or failing that, forgot it along with the first morning’s hangover.
Surely though this is what the festival experience is all about? You can go from the spectacular collision of music and lasers that is Calvin Harris’s headline set, to sitting around at 5am having arguably the deepest conversation of your life with a bunch of strangers that you met on the walk back to the tents, philosophising everything up to and including the meaning of life.
Attending a festival allows you a weekend of freedom, somewhere that you can let go of all responsibilities and inhibitions and just be you. You have become temporarily disconnected from the outside world in a way that no holiday will ever be able to achieve.
But please, whatever you do, make the most of being ‘festival-going-age’ and go as soon as you can, you don’t want to be that middle-aged person in the background of the crowd that is still tragically hanging onto their lost youth. Sure, we students hardly have enough money to fork out and cover the cost of a ticket, but that’s what a student loan is for, right? So grab yourself a ticket to Reading, or The Isle of Wight, or V Festival, or Croatia, or anywhere really, just go.