The hottest music festivals of 2024 

Rock Werchter 

Where: Werchter, Belgium 

When: July 4-7 

What: It might be staged in a quiet village, but Rock Werchter is making a lot of noise on the European festival circuit. It’s been running since 1976, and this year’s eclectic four-day lineup — spread over four stages — shows how respected it has become. Main stage headliners include US rocker Lenny Kravitz, Eurovision winners Måneskin, UK indie legend PJ Harvey, pop princess Dua Lipa, rock giants Foo Fighters (pictured), the genre-bending Khruangbin, and Mercury-prize winner Arlo Parks. 

Other must-see acts: Michael Kiwanuka, Jungle, Snow Patrol, Black Pumas, The Breeders, Idles, Royal Blood, Yungblud, Tom Odell 

NOS Alive Lisbon 

Where: Passeio Marítimo de Algés, Portugal 

When: July 11-13 

What: With headliners including Arcade Fire, Smashing Pumpkins, and Pearl Jam, NOS Alive will be one of the top picks for ageing alt-rock fans this year. But if that’s not your thing, this festival — tagline “Beach by day, music by night” — still has plenty to offer. Dua Lipa (pictured), again, for one, as well as South African singer-songwriter Tyla, whose blend of pop and amapiano has already won her a slew of awards and nominations at just 22. 

Other must-see acts: Jessie Ware, Black Pumas, Sofi Tukker, The Breeders, Michael Kiwanuka, Kenya Grace 

Wireless 

Where: Finsbury Park, London 

When: July 12-14 

What: One of Europe’s top hip-hop (and associated genres) get-togethers, this year’s lineup boasts headliners including Nicki Minaj, US-based British rapper 21 Savage, Afroswing pioneer J Hus, three-time Grammy winner Future, pop/rap superstar Doja Cat (pictured), and one of last year’s breakout stars, Ice Spice, over the course of its three days.  

Other must-see acts: Sean Paul, Destroy Lonely, Tyla, Uncle Waffles, OsamaSon, Vanessa Bling 

Minnesota Yacht Club 

Where: St. Paul, Minnesota  

When: July 19-20 

What: For a festival in its first year, the inaugural edition of the Minnesota Yacht Club event has an impressive, though relatively small, lineup of 20 artists over its two days on the banks of the Mississippi. One of the festival’s USPs is that none of the performances overlap, meaning you’ll be able to catch them all. Don’t expect any cutting-edge underground acts here; the vast majority of the lineup consists of veterans, including headliners Gwen Stefani, Alanis Morissette, and Red Hot Chili Peppers (pictured).   

Other must-see acts: The Black Crowes, The Head and The Heart, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, The Offspring, Gary Clark Jr., The Hold Steady 

Electric Castle 

Where: Cluj, Romania 

When: July 17-21 

What: In 2019, Electric Castle was named Best Medium-Sized Festival at the European Festival Awards. Its stunning location — in the grounds of Bánffy Castle, the architectural mishmash of which reflects the open-minded approach the festival organizers take to genres — helps, but its also the mix of 10 stages of great acts, art installations, and round-the-clock activities that make this such a rewarding experience for attendees. This year’s headliners include UK trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack, Seattle rockers Queens of the Stone Age, British rock band Bring Me the Horizon, and electronic duo Chase & Status.  

Other must-see acts: Paolo Nutini, Nina Kraviz, Rema, Ricardo Villalobos, Sleaford Mods, DJ Shadow 

Lollapalooza 

Where: Chicago, US 

When: Aug 1-4 

What: It may not be the haven for outsiders that it originally was, for audience or performers, but Lollapalooza remains an enormously significant event for both. This year’s lineup is a typical blend of acclaimed indie acts and commercial big-hitters. And, often, a combination of the two. Headliners include Megan Thee Stallion, SZA, The Killers, Blink-182, Melanie Martinez (pictured), Hozier, Stray Kids, and Future & Metro Boomin.  

Other must-see acts: Deftones, Killer Mike, Conan Grey, Two Door Cinema Club, Nico Vega, Lizzy McAlpine, Jungle, Kesha, Tyla, Renée Rapp 

Flow Festival 

Where: Helsinki, Finland 

When: Aug 9-11 

What: Billed as the world’s “first carbon-neutral festival,” Flow is a festival of both music and visual arts (and some pretty great food options). Music-wise, the line-up mostly covers pop and indie, alongside DJ sets and some more experimental acts. This year’s 20th anniversary edition will see around 150 acts performing, with headliners including UK downtempo pop producer Fred again, US singer-songwriter Halsey, English alt-folk/alt-rock legend PJ Harvey (pictured), Jessie Ware, Britpop stars Pulp, and UK singer-songwriter RAYE, whose debut LP “My 21st Century Blues” won the most-recent BRIT Awards’ Album of the Year. There’s some regional representation further down the bill from Palestinian-Jordanian ‘Shamstep’ pioneers 47Soul.  

Other must-see acts: Janelle Monáe, Idles, Aurora, The Smile, Alvvays, Barry Can’t Swim  

Creamfields 

Where: Daresbury, UK 

When: August 22-25 

What: Arguably the biggest dance-music festival on the calendar, Creamfields is only getting bigger. This year sees the debut of its new indoor stage, APEX, which has a capacity of 30,000. And it continues to deliver lineups packed with the world’s most-popular DJs. This year’s includes Calvin Harris, Tiësto, Jamie Jones, Sub Focus, Peggy Gou (pictured), Fatboy Slim, Pete Tong, and Eric Prydz, among many others. 

Other must-see acts: Dimension, Charlie Sparks, Solomun, Charlotte de Witte, Martin Garrix, Chase & Status, Hannah Laing 

Fool in Love 

Where: Inglewood, California 

When: Aug 31 

What: Another brand-new festival, but this one is looking back for its future. It’s a one-day event to start with, but has a crazy roster of music legends lined up harking back to the heydays of Motown, disco, funk, and smooth Eighties pop. The headliners across three stages are Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson (pictured), Durand Jones & The Indications, George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic, and Kool & The Gang, but many more icons appear further down the bill. 

Other must-see acts: Al Green, Rose Royce, The Chi-Lites, The Isley Brothers, Santana, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, The Jacksons, Dionne Warwick  

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