> Best European Festivals 2023 - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

Best European Festivals 2023

At SNACK we can’t get enough of talking about festivals (clearly, as May’s edition is the third issue
in a row featuring festival guides). Given this festival fetish, and the crucial detail that we’ve not been
trapped in our homes for quite some time now, we figured that some international festivals
required some love. Here’s our pick of the best music festivals in Europe 2023.

Primavera Sound

1st till 3rd June, Parc Del Fòrum, Barcelona
8th till 10th June,Arganda Del Rey, Madrid
7th till 10th June, Parque de Cidade, Porto

Primavera is the sound of spring ending and summer beginning; screeching back the lyrics of your favourite song, the ambient hum of conversation as you mince between stages, and the soft scream of Scottish skin burning in the Spanish sunshine. If you didn’t go to Prima last year, you sure as heck know at least 30 people who did, and maybe 2023’ll be your year. Opt either for the stylish capital – there’s something in the water in Madrid, everyone is so damn cool – or bohemian Barcelona.

The line-up is fairly similar with a few variations here and there. April SNACK cover stars Yard Act’ll be making a sarky appearance, plus delicious Japanese Breakfast, ethereal Yves Tumor and the big cat of dance floor bops, PinkPantheress. If you’re looking for the Scottish connection, and we always are, then Arab Strap (Primavera a la Ciutat) and The Delgados are certain highlights.

You’ll already be aware of the star-studded headliners, ahem Rosalía, ahem Kendrick Lamar ¿Necesito decir algo más?


Photo credit: Sergio Albert

Mad Cool

Villaverde District, Madrid

6th till 8th July

Spain is definitely hot on the heels of the UK when it comes to its festival game, and honestly she might even be the winner considering she’s stacked in the sunshine department.

Mad Cool fest, is, dare I say it, Mad Cool (sorry), and what the festival’s name lacks in imagination it makes up for in its line-up. I mean, Rina Sawayama, Lizzo, Lil Nas X, are you kidding?

There are some rogue picks – looking at you, Robbie Williams – but you’d be lying if you said you wouldn’t let him entertain you (sorry, again).



Various Locations, Budapest
10th till 15th August

The words that keep coming to us to describe this line-up are ‘big’ and ‘fat’. We keep searching for others, but honestly that sums it up. I mean, Billie Eilish? Yunè Pinku! Los Bitchos! Mall Grab!

Importantly, if you’re tending the embers of feminine rage in the core of your very being, SNACK recommends Florence and the Machine’s latest album, Dance Machine, as a tonic. Maybe seeing her perform at Sziget will further soothe the burn (we are not medical professionals).

There’s also a boat party. We are often sceptical of boat parties, for no reason other than good old-fashioned cynicism and suspicion toward things that look like they might be a hell of a lot of fun – just us?



Ferropolis, Germany
8th till 11th June

We can’t really have another snipe at the sun intolerance of many Scots in this entry too, can we? But it’s literally called Melt! Oh whatever. MELT is nestled in between Berlin and Leipzig, where for four days the wildlife’ll stir at the thump, treble, and buzz emanating from disused coal excavators, the middle of the forest, and the edge of the lake. We’re happy to see super-human Sevdaliza on the line-up, plus LSDXOXO and more.



Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad
6th till 9th July

EXIT your sad little life and enter EXIT festival, which promises to take you to ‘a place woven from the emotions of everyone who has set foot on the Fortress, where miracles happen, and the brightest star is YOU!’.

We would try and paraphrase, but honestly their own description has us so enchanted it would be a shame not to include it. Having started as a student movement fighting for peace and freedom in 2000, the festival is dedicated to sparking social change through creativity.

We’re not sure if Skrillex and Wu Tang Clan’s sounds represent harmony, but EXIT always manifests activist projects that provide the social justice goods.



Fira Montjuïc and Fira Gran Via L’Hospitalet, Barcelona
15th till 17th June

Though not actually related, Sónar is like the edgy older sibling of Primavera festival, the type that goes to industrial raves, has an incredible neck tattoo, and likes to pretend that they’re not counting their steps on their Apple watch (but totally are).

Line-up highlights include Little Simz, Shygirl, Aphex Twin and more. Mind Sónar Day and Night are both in totally different parts of the city, with the night festival being decidedly more feral. If you’re one of those British people who complain about British people at international festivals, this is the one for you.


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