I love festivals and I love South African music festivals. Perhaps you have experienced the magic of some of the one to three-day music festivals, like: Rocking the Daisies, Jozifest, CTEMF, The Flamjangled Tea Party, Sonic Summer, Sowing the Seeds, Ramfest and Oppikoppi. I want you to picture a festival, on average 4 times bigger, including a much wider range of international artists and constantly amped on the insanemometer.
You’ve got all that?
Welcome to the world of international music festivals.
South African music festivals have got a long way to go to be number one on any top international festival ranking list. I don’t mean that in a way that should discourage you from attending them, because they are incredible and there are reasons why I love them so much. I just can’t help but imagine how insane the other festivals are because of their choice of artists, numbers of people attending and locations. Normally I feel mildly depressed that I cannot attend them but today I’d like to celebrate all festivals and make you aware of some of the ones I love and will make an effort to attend one day.

I’m oddly cheerful about this article because it’s going to depress you as well. Read on!

7. Basscamp Music Festival

Basscamp Music Festival is Morzine’s first electronic music and snowsports festival.  

Basscamp is a completely new electronic festival that will be happening from the 2nd of April until the 6th this year in Morzine, France which is in the Alps somewhere.

Effectively you’ll be skiing and snowboarding (yes!) throughout the day. You might do this while being hungover, which could make for some hilarious videos, then in the evening it would be back to jamming to electronic music. There are few things that could top such an interesting experience. I don’t even know many of the artists names they’ve advertised for their line-up but I would be prepared to go.

6. Creamfields

My heart stopped when I found out one of my friends went to Creamfields UK 2011. Did you know that Creamfields rightfully won UK’s best dance event in 2011? Creamfields UK 2012, because they have Creamfields all over the world except in South Africa, is no different from Creamfields UK 2011. This year the line-up is headlined by: Deadmau5, Skrillex, Knife Party, Axwell, Avicii, Tiesto, Steve Aoki, Paul van Dyk, David Guetta, Steve Angello, Example, Calvin Harris and Laidback Luke

A few of those DJs have graced South Africa and Avicii is on his way, but imagine experiencing a magical three days from the 24th of August until the 26th of August with all of them. I think I would lose my mind.

5. Electric Zoo

Time Out New York calls it the festival that “transforms Randalls Island into an Ibiza on the East River every Labor Day.” 

I love New York! I would attend any festival that happened to rock the city and this festival, Electric Zoo, just happens to be a festival dedicated to electronic music and drawing big names in the industry to a magical setting. New York is going to be pumping from the 31st of August until the 2nd of September. To understand why this festival rocks so much you have to watch the official re-cap video for Electric Zoo 2011.

It’s no wonder Electric Zoo’s first batches of tickets for Electric Zoo 2012 were already sold out last year November.

4. Bonnarooo

“What is Bonnaroo?”

“4 of the best days ever. 80,000 happy campers. 700 Acres of Tennessee Nature. 150 epic performances. 10+ stages of music. Several dozen comedians. An escape into Excitement. Music. Art. Discoveries. Trees. Fresh Air. Green Grass. A mini film fest…”

I just needed the lineup to convince me to go. I’m already aware that Bonnaroo is in a pretty, picturesque area so that is a bonus. I like that Bonnaroo also has other activities like a comedy line-up, art and film exhibitions and even a silent disco (check out their website for more info on that). They are also one of the most environmentally friendly music festivals I have come across and I really like the whole idea of leaving things as you left them.

Bonnaroo doesn’t necessarily have all the electro I’m drawn to but it has other things working for it so between June 7th and June 10th I will wear black to illustrate my dismay at not being in Manchester, Tennessee.

3. Tomorrowland

What? Tomorrrowland is third? What sorcery is this? It’s third in my books, so just accept that. I actually have a few friends going to Tomorrowland 2012. The Tomorrowland 2011 re-cap video went viral and everyone wants to go. Watch the video and understand why everyone is nuts!

They are releasing the line-up in stages but so far you can expect the likes of Skrillex, Above and Beyond, Felguk, Bingo Players, Pendulum, Laidback Luke, Martin Solvieg, David Guetta, Fatboy Slim and Alesso. I can’t wait to finally get to Belgium and go for it. Might not be this year but I will get there.

2. Leeds 2012

Look upon the the Leeds 2012 line-up and tell me you do not feel deep sadness.

There is everything from big names like Foo Fighters and Florence and the Machine to Katy B and Miike Snow. It is one of the most comprehensive line-ups I have ever seen. Leeds 2012 is the reason I wrote this article. I was deeply affected when I saw the poster.

This festival is happening in the UK and I already have a friend who is going. Somebody shoot me know.

1. Coachella

Glastonbury didn’t feature in this article and Tomorrowland is not number one. You might hate my choices but you’ll forget your silly comments once you have a look at the line-up for Coachella. Coachella takes place in Indio, California. I can tell you that music in America literally stands still for at least two weeks before Coachella because everyone is preparing for it. I will go to Coachella one day, there is a certainty of this.

Now how would you feel if I told you that Coachella always has a brilliant line-up and it gets better and bigger every single year? The organisers factor in all musical tastes and that makes me happy. If you’re feeling nostalgic for Oppikoppi then you will love Coachella because there is desert scenery, hot days and cold evenings. That’s where the similarity ends though. At Coachella you’ll get to meet and dance with celebrities and the performers because they also attend the festival. Coachella is also all about fashion. I really have fallen in love with this festival.

Some festivals like Bestival, Glastonbury and Sonar were going to make the list but then I felt lazy to include them. I hope you feel rubbish about your life now and where you have been. I also hope you’ll make plans like I surely will to get to these amazing festivals and live and party like you never have before. In the meanwhile, support South African music festivals so they can hopefully reach these levels of epicness. 

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