Lollapalooza, one of the hottest urban music festivals, is coming to Berlin this weekend – and rounds off an incredible summer of music. Here, we’re introducing our top 7 inner city concert marathons – and three of them are still happening this year.
Fans who prefer to groove outside the mainstream get their fill at Lollapalooza. From alternative rock to indie, punk, heavy metal, hip hop and EDM, this festival has everything the hipsters of this world desire. Founded by Perry Farrell of LA indie rock outfit Jane’s Addiction in 1991, it’s been playing Chicago’s Grant Park every year since 1995 and become a stalwart of the American circuit. After branching out to Santiago de Chile and São Paulo, Lollapalooza has picked Berlin – destination of choice to the hedonistic easyjet-set – as its European HQ. On the playbill are Seattle’s rap duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, London’s Hot Chip, Berlin’s local heroes Beatsteaks, The Libertines, Franz Ferdinand and Fatboy Slim. Then there are German-singing Deichkind, Klangkarussell and Seeed, who are giving their only performance on German soil this year at Lollapalooza. We say: Tempelhof clear for take-off!
2. Rock in Rio
Just one week later, but on the other side of the world: ten-day musicathon Rock in Rio (September 18 through September 27). Regularly drawing over one million aficionados, legends such as Stevie Wonder, Shakira, Coldplay and Elton John have set the city by the Sugar Loaf on fire. The mega-event takes place every other year in the specially-built City of Rock. On top of this, it – somewhat sickeningly – holds the world record for the largest number of hamburgers sold in a single day (79,000, since you ask). Has this got your juices flowing? Then hop on a plane to the 30th anniversary edition: this year, headliners are Queen + Adam Lambert, Metallica, Rihanna and Katy Perry. And because more is more, Rock in Rio has been known to rock Lisbon, Madrid and Vegas, too – but not for the remainder of this year.
3. Pitchfork Paris
Since it’s also happening in 2015, Pitchfork Paris is our number three: on October 29 and 30, acts such as Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Ratatat, Laurent Garnier, Spiritualized, Beach House and many more will play the Grande Halle de la Villette. Here, the watchword is: avantgarde rules, commercial music stays outside. That way, the Paris offshoot is true to the original Pitchfork Festival in Chicago, which was founded by the eponymous online zine to present music live as well as to report on it. Off to Paris!
4. Treasure Island Festival
Once the incense-burning, tie-dye capital of America’s hippiedom and counter culture, San Francisco has turned itself into the affluent hub of the internet economy – and its Treasure Island Festival (October 17-18, 2015) is correspondingly of the moment. Highlights are Azealia Banks, The War on Drugs, The Chvrches and electro-hop duo Run the Jewels. Since the flower power movement was invented in Frisco, the festival is especially kind to the environment. It provides zero emissions bus shuttles, sells stainless steel refillable water bottles and composts wherever possible. Still not happy? Then check yourself into the comedy tent hosted by YouTubers Funny or Die.
Do you prefer your music electronic? Then put Sónar Barcelona in your diary, which is scheduled for June 16-18 next year. Unusually, this festival – which offers a unique world of futuristic sights and sounds – has both a day and a night edition. Over the years, Sónar has played host to such legends as Kraftwerk, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Björk, The Pet Shop Boys and Daft Punk. Now the festival has gone global, with offshoots in 23 cities – but the Catalan capital will always be the mothership.
6. Primavera Sound
If you get your acoustic kicks from a mash-up of genres you can also head to Barcelona two weeks earlier. From June 2 through June 4, 2016, Primavera Sound offers a superbly curated mix of indie rock, jazz, experimental music, hip hop, pop, electronic, folk, world music and pretty much anything else your ears desire. In the past, it has featured Neil Young, Lou Reed, The Cure, The White Stripes and Blur. No wonder the festival is massive, attracting almost 200,000 fans. For 2016, Caribou, Patti Smith, James Blake and Einstürzende Neubauten have already confirmed. And the weekend after, NOS Primavera Sound take the party to Porto (June 9-11 2016).
7. New Look Wireless Festival
After that, the circus moves on to London’s New Look Wireless Festival (July 1-3, 2016), where some of the biggest names in the biz regularly take to the stage. Now in its tenth year, the Brits have hosted titans such as Kanye West, Drake, Pharell Williams, Nickie Minaj, Mary J. Blige and David Guetta. Next year’s line-up is still a well-kept secret, but rest assured that it’ll be another star-studded festival in the British capital.
Header image: Lollapalooza Chicago 2014 Aerial 4, (c) Nick Simonite