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Summer 2015's Best Alternative Festivals

There’s light at the end of the tunnel. Winter’s grip is slowly giving way to spring and we’re well on our way to summer festival season once more. Before booking any tickets (you may well regret bagging Glasto early-birds this year), look to combine this summer’s festival experience – be it music, art, theatre or even yoga that you’re into – with a trip to somewhere new.

Look beyond our shores to music, art, culture and scenery that give you something a little different to the usual downpour, wellies and mud combination. We’ve narrowed down a short-list of the best festivals (selected for both destination and line-ups) to keep you busy this summer...


Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival – Saint Lucia (30 April – 10 May 2015)


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Formerly known as the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival, this 11 day multi-venue festival in the Caribbean has been running for 24 years. Offering up the very best in contemporary jazz musicians as well as award-winning gourmet chefs and a persistent celebration of Saint Lucian heritage from its genres of dance to language, fashion and song, this festival offers a sunny setting and full cultural Caribbean immersion.

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Bestival – Toronto Island, Canada (12-13 June 2015)


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Great news: the UK’s award-winning Bestival hits Toronto this year. Adopting the boutique approach to music festivals that Rob da Bank has pioneered for ten years now, the Toronto Island Bestival will present the same laid-back hippy vibe of its UK counterpart, in a pretty, forested setting. Expect an eclectic mix of live popular music and performance poetry and weather highs of 25 degrees. Leave a couple of days either side to explore Toronto.

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Book your Toronto hotel

Secret Solstice – Reykjavic, Iceland (19 – 21 June 2015)

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Secret Solstice is a completely unique festival in that it takes place for 3 days in which the sun does not set once. Those that forever chase the party will love this 72-hour electro-beats marathon. The festival’s geographic location also boasts natural thermal pools – the perfect place for some down-time between dancing. You may want to camp on site, if only to use your tent to change. No sleeping bags necessary.

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Rock Werchter – Werchter, Belgium (25 – 28 June 2015)

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Running since the 1970s, Rock Werchter curates an impressive line-up of pop and rock music that draws in the crowds. This year’s festival boasts big names that include Alt-J, Ben Howard, Florence + The Machine, Damian Marley and Of Monsters and Men. Three days of house-hold music names fill Werchter, a centrally located village close to Brussels. After your Belgian festival experience, take advantage of the proximity and hop on a train or bus for some exploration time in the capital city.

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Book your Brussels hotel

Wanderlust - Aspen Snowmass, Colorado (2 – 5 July 2015)

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Forget the post-festival hangover. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks and dense forest, Aspen’s Wanderlust festival aims to rejuvenate. Combining yoga practice, meditation, artists, speakers and of course, live music, Wanderlust is one to head to if a true connection with nature and your surroundings is what you seek. Hike or bike ride through the woodlands, create, listen, inspire and be inspired. This festival is all about an exchange between us and the world that surrounds us.

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Seadance – Budva, Montenegro (15 – 18 July 2015)

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Voted Europe’s best medium-sized festival, Seadance is the one to book if you’d like to combine your beach holiday with a lively festival vibe. Feel the fine sand under your feet and soak up the sun as you let the electro-beats wash over you in waves. Turquoise waters lap at the shores of Seadance, making this year’s line up of stellar acts – including Rudimental and Sigma – all the more enjoyable.

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Hinterland – Iowa (31 July – 1 August 2015)

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Brand new this year, Hinterland promises to combine live music, art installations, cyclist events and on-site sculpture in a 1,500 acre oasis at the centre of Iowa’s capital city, Des Moines. Set under the stars with a view of Des Moine’s impressive city sky-line, Hinterland will take inspiration from both rural and urban Iowa to evoke the true spirit of the mid-west. With an Americana line-up that includes rambling string bands and the best musicians springing out of Iowa, this is an alternative festival that allows for total immersion in an entirely new cultural scene.

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Mysteryland – Amsterdam, The Netherlands (29 – 30 August 2015)

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Mysteryland is touted as the oldest running dance festival in the world. Boasting over 40 stages, the best acts in dance music, a lush green location and an award for its eco-friendly approach, it’s easy to see why. Art and music meld here. Djs become performance artists for an all-encompassing performance. The festival has been so successful that it has branched out to other international locations including Chile and the US, but head to the festival’s true home for a festival that reflects Amsterdam’s buzzing dance music scene.

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Book your Amsterdam hotel

KAABOO – San Diego, California (18 – 20 September 2015)

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KAABOO festival, set on San Diego’s sun-soaked Pacific coast does things the Californian way. This is no ordinary music festival. Here, rock music goes hand in hand with contemporary art, great food and a luxury festival experience. Not only does this year’s line-up include No Doubt, The Killers, The Roots, Counting Crows AND Snoop Dogg, the organisers at KAABOO want you to fully indulge during your festival experience. Enjoy a massage, have your nails done and dine on gourmet dishes.

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