The Last Word

Your Essential Guide To This Year's Best Festivals

Summer is just around the corner (we promise) and many of this year’s biggest festivals are already showcasing their line-ups and experiences.

It’s around this time of year that many of us start to make plans to escape the confines of the office and discover live music, whether that be at home or overseas.

And the European festival scene provides plenty of options, across every musical genre you can think of; stretching from the western tip of Portugal to Estonia and Latvia on the Russian border. Wherever your wanderlust points you, we guarantee there’ll be something there waiting. Here’s our guide to the best of what’s out there in 2018.

Revived in 2002, and with its origins in 1960s counter-culture, the Isle of Wight Festival has emerged as a favoured destination for UK festival-goers. Held between 21st and 24th June, IoW already has a killer line-up confirmed, featuring Kasabian, Liam Gallagher, Depeche Mode and The Wombats among others.

Most attendees tend to camp, but there are also ‘glamping’ options provided by the organisers and hotel, cottage and bed and breakfast options available through the official site.

Farr is a true platform for electronic artists and is held between 5th and 8th July. There’s a camp-site five minutes away from the music, while hotel bell tents are available for a touch of luxury in a rural setting.

Further north, and offering a true urban experience, newcomer Live at Leeds transforms the city centre into a festival for one day only.

On 5th May, Bands including The Vaccines, Circa Waves and Ash will perform across venues throughout the confines of the concrete.

VIP tickets are already sold out, but you can buy admission to all venues, where than 100 artists will perform, for less than £40.

If you’re up for jumping on a plane and heading for more exotic climes then there’s no shortage of options.

Held across locations in Barcelona and Porto, Primavera Sound has a legendary reputation as one of Europe’s top festivals for independent acts, while also attracting big names from a range of genres.

This year’s edition will feature the likes of A$AP Rocky, Chromeo, Tyler the Creator, Arctic Monkeys and Lorde, against a backdrop of dozens of smaller international artists, and across the course of seven days between 28th May and 3rd June.

1,500 miles east in Transylvania, Romania, you’ll find Electric Castle. Look beyond the creepy location and you’ll discover a unique festival experience that is held in an actual castle, and which combines a diverse musical line-up with arts and technology, while putting emphasis on guest interaction.

Held between 18th and 22nd July, Electric Castle is a true 24- hour festival, and among the acts already confirmed are Mura Masa, Damian Marley, London Grammar and Jessie J. Cluj-Napoca airport is less than 30 miles from the festival site, and accommodation in the city is relatively cheap.

Even if your summer months are already booked up, you don’t have to miss out on a European festival experience in 2018.

In Paris, Pitchfork Festival is held at the Grand Halle de la Villette in the north east of the city each November, and promises an unrivalled party experience over three days.

Line-up announcements are expected in the months ahead, but Bon Iver have already indicated that they’re on board, while Pitchfork’s legendary after-parties feature DJ sets spinning well into the early hours. Pitchfork is the perfect option if you’re looking for something later in the year.

Everyone has opinions on men’s’ festival fashion and assembling a wardrobe-to-go that meets the demands of live music while matching the vibe can be tough.

For sunnier destinations, pair a short sleeve floral shirt with a slim dark blue chino short, or add a twisted yarn stripe t-shirt to darker chino shorts.

When it’s wetter, the best festival jackets are light and waterproof, so a technical parka in navy or olive is a good option. Pair it with a selvedge skinny jean to guard against elements while staying sharp.

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