As the festival market gets more and more crowded it's becoming increasingly important for events to offer something more than just great music in a field in England. While many UK and European festivals can thrive on the strength of their booking policy alone, other promoters have looked to enhance the festival offering to a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Enter the destination festivals where fantastic talent convene in a unique location for a party like no other.
This year we'll be showcasing our favourite festival across three areas: home, away and unique. In this final edition we'll be focusing on the festivals that combine a first rate music policy with a truly unique experience. These are the festivals that'll have your Insta popping like no others.
3rd - 5th May | El Gouna, Egypt
It doesn't get much more unique than a party on the beaches of the Red Sea Riviera. Now in it's sixth year, Sandbox is all about community, pushing musical boundaries and mixing up big names with talented locals. Names like Mind Against, DJ Tennis, Charlotte De Witte, Chaos In The CBD, DJ Boring, Mall Grab, Mike Servito, Nastia, Peggy Gou and Session Victim.
5th - 6th May | Olympic Park, London
The fire-breathing metal spider descends on London to celebrate its 10th birthday. Over two days Leftfield, Sven Vath, Boys Noize, Eats Everything, Dusky, Rudimental, Noisia, TQD, Digital Mystikz and Groove Armada will play in the world's most eye-catching DJ booth.
FLY Open Air: Sulta Selects
19th May | Hopetoun House, Edinburgh
What could be more unique than saying one of the UK's most exciting new DJs take over an entire Country House in his native Scotland? Denis Sulta will be brining his pals with him, including Seth Troxler, Gerd Janson, Jayda G, Tom Trago, San Proper, Or:la and Cromby. Denis has also turning in our favourite promo video of the year.
7th - 10th June | Anadalucia, Spain
Views don't come much more breathtaking than those at UVA. Taking place in a 15th Centruary monastry perched on a hill top in the Andalusian hills. This most intimate of festivals welcomes a program of discerning selectors including Tito Wan, Call Super and Skee Mask.
18th - 22nd July | Transylvania, Romania
One of our favourite festivals of last year, Electric Castle takes place around a medieval castle nestled in the hills of Transylvania. The festival has a diverse program spanning rock, pop and all aspects of dance music. On the electronic side we've got sets from Mura Masa, Richie Hawtin, Groove Armada, High Contrast, Tchami, Digitalism, Netsky and Elderbrook.
Artwork's Lovely London Festival
11th August | Three Mills Island, London
Unique not so much in the breathtaking vistas and foreign climes, but unique in that the concept is one of refreshing simplicity. Artwork, one of London's - and the country's - most beloved selectors in a park playing all day long with one special guest. And, as Artwork himself said, if you're only going to have one special guest, you'd better get the best DJ on the planet. Enter long term friend of Ministry, the inimitable, DJ Harvey.
17th August | Berlin, Germany
Fancy raving in a nuclear bunker? Of course you do! This festival takes place in a former army facility in the German wilderness. The techno-heavy lineup includes a selection of Berlin favourites from François X, Shlømo and Sunil Sharpe.
18th - 19th August | Olympic Park, London
The most colourful festival in the world once again comes to London. Elrowtown is hard to sum up in words, so it's probably better to just look at our photos from last year to get an idea of the madness that awaits. Fatboy Slim, Paul Kalkbrenner, Steve Lawler, Richie Ahmed and many more will be involved.
26th - 28th August | Budapest, Hungary
A rave in an ancient spa? We might just have seen it all now. The 3-day festival launched 2018 with Richy Ahmed, Skream, Solardo, Camelphat, Artwork and B. Traits making it a decidedly UK centric lineup. 5,000 guests can enjoy a feast of clubs and electronic music, huge, open-deck boat parties, a spa party and pub crawls, as well as the culture of one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Bonus points for the best pun in festival land/
30th August - 7th September | Barcelona - Ibiza - Palma - Sète
We loved The Ark last year, so we're incredibly happy that it's returning for a second outing, and with double the sailings this year is shaping up to build on the impressive foundations of the opening year. We'll once again be hosting a stage on both sailing and we're bringing Solardo, Camelphat and The Menendez Brothers along with us.
14th - 16th September | Marrakech, Morocco
After another hectic festival season, what better way to kick back than poolside at a luxury Moroccan Hotel in the Autumn sun? Oasis Festival provides a laid back vibefest in stunning surroundings and an impressive lineup. This year features Actress, Mount Kimbie, Carl Cox, Deetron, Denis Sults, The Black Madonna, Honey Dijon, Larry Heard, Peggy Gou, Rødhåd and Romare.
TBA | Califorina & Florida
If you're going to go all the way to the USA for a festival, you might as well go to a quintessentially American affair. The tradition of Summer Camp is one we've missed out on in the UK, so what better way to catch up than at a camp run by one of the most exciting US dance labels, Dirtybird. Aside from the fantastic music on offer from the Dirtbird crew, you've also got traditional activities like tug-of-war, water fights, archery, kayaking the lot. And best of all Claude VonStroke and the gang act as the Camp Counsellors. It's a far cry from Kamp Krusty.