There’s nothing like dancing in the streets to A-list acts, with thousands of people feeling the same thrill as you. With live music blasting your ears and the crowd’s heaving, it’s impossible not to have the best experience of your life at a music festival.
Local food vendors, plenty of alcohol, and even pyrotechnics come together at these events in major cities and small towns worldwide to put on unforgettable concerts for people who don’t mind large crowds.
With that, here are some of the world’s most popular street music festivals that you should experience in your lifetime.
1. Boomtown (Winchester, UK)
If you haven’t heard of Boomtown Fair, it’s a nostalgic carnival of music and street performance in the English countryside.
In the Boomtown line-up, you will hear music from all corners of the globe and all corners of underground music. In addition to ska, metal, and punk, the festival has been known for promoting the best in reggae, roots, and world music. House, disco, and techno are just a few of the genres they cover.
Never again will you have one main stage to sit in front of for the entire day. The city is a musical excursion with a variety of dance floors to explore. They have it all: acoustic performers on the streets; massive dance and live music stages tucked away deep in the forest; steamy dancefloors in street venues; bright outdoor stages for the top party bands; and many more!
2. South by Southwest (Austin, Texas, USA)
SXSW is an annual music, film, and interactive media convention held in Austin, Texas, United States. This festival started when an Austin-based promotion business called South by Southwest decided to host a music industry conference in 1987 called the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference (SXSW).
A growing number of people began to attend the conference as time went on, and it quickly gained international notice. As of 2010, organizers anticipated that more than 12,000 guests had seen 2,000 musical performers on more than 80 stages.
Events and parties are conducted in Austin to promote individual musicians through the efforts of record labels, music bloggers, and radio stations. Those attending the conference can also participate in various workshops and debates, ranging from band promotion to legal difficulties to discussions with artists themselves. There’s also a trade fair in the Austin Convention Center, where attendees can network and check out the latest products and technologies. You can read more about Texas festivals in the Austin American Statesman.
3. ADE: Amsterdam Dance Event (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Many people probably have never heard of ADE, especially if they’re not into electronic music.
But for five days a year, Amsterdam sees the whole dance music business congregate in the music venues and conference centers and the pubs and streets for enormous showcases, panel discussions, technological demonstrations, and full-fledged festivals. While the Amsterdam Music Festival is likely to be the largest, businesses like DGTL, Dockyard, and Paradise have a long history of being connected in the event.
4. Copenhagen Distortion (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Every year, Copenhagen’s largest street party and electronic music festival attract more than 100,000 revelers from all around the city. On Friday and Saturday, the neighborhood of Refshaleøen transforms into Scandinavia’s largest electronic music festival, Distortion. This party tsunami rolls across Copenhagen every summer with the goal of moving all kinds of events out into the city’s public spaces and paying homage to the city of Copenhagen.
“Københavnermiddage” (Communal Dinners in Copenhagen) and kids’ Distortion are just a few of the many events that can be enjoyed in the city. Other activities include psytrance and hip-hop at the City Hall Square, a global music oasis at Enghave Plads.
Throughout the day, Distortion transfers its celebration from one neighborhood to another, culminating in the roaring Distortion festival on the once-industrial island of Refshaleøen. As a result, Distortion has created a wristband that supports free street parties and offers access to extra party spaces in Øksnehallen and City Hall Square. This pass gives the holder access to all five festival days marking the best days of one’s life.
5. Beale Street Music Festival (Memphis, Tennessee, USA)
The streets of downtown Memphis are lined with neon signs promoting blues and jazz clubs, renowned restaurants, as well as bars and dance clubs for the party-hardy. Beale is home to blues and jazz festivals, including the Beale Street Music Festival, part of the Memphis in May festival, and offers live music seven days a week.
In the three-day Beale Street Music Festival, you’ll find a mix of big-name musicians like Bob Dylan, Nelly, Wiz Khalifa, and other local musical acts. This annual festival takes place on Beale Street’s Tom Lee Park grounds during the first weekend of May. Over the weekend, more than 100,000 people gather to attend this event.
Only the Beale Street Music Festival has been hosted every year since Memphis was founded in May of 1977, and it has then become a Memphis tradition. Even during the 1800s, African-American musicians from the South would perform on Beale Street.
Consequently, locals and tourists alike flock to clubs like B.B. King’s, Silky O’Sullivans, and Rum Boogie Cafe, as well as restaurants such as Dyer’s Burgers and the Hard Rock Cafe. No matter if you’re in the mood for some blues and jazz or a wild party, Beale Street is the place to be.
There’s something powerful behind a music festival that attracts more than 3 million people from across the globe each year. The possibility of spending the best days of your life dancing and singing your heart out to live music, with the company of hundreds and thousands of people in an open space – especially in the streets – is pretty tempting. With lots of good local food and a few drinks to recharge yourself before, during, and after the events, what’s keeping you from having a good time?