Combine Culture and Music on a Festival-Themed European City Break
As the German capital prepares to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall this weekend, Berlin is also in the news for reasons of a cultural kind as it has been announced that it is to host the first European edition of the revered US music festival, Lollapalooza, in September 2015.
Lollapalooza started life as a touring festival across America, championing lesser-known rock acts and culture and has seen the likes of Foo Fighters, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Arctic Monkeys and Nine Inch Nails perform since its inception, becoming a yearly event in 2000 when it took permanent annual residency in Chicago. Branching out into South America in 2005, 2015 will see the festival move between five principal sites: Chicago, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and Berlin, the latter taking place at the former Tempelhof Airport site, today a popular venue for concerts and festivals.
If Berlin’s not your city break-cum-festival destination of choice, why not consider combing another of Europe’s major festivals with a short break in that nation’s capital? A 45-minute drive from Copenhagen is Roskilde, home to one of Europe’s largest annual music festivals and a non-profit one to boot. Taking place between 27th June and 4th July, 2015, this event has seen the likes of Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, The Rolling Stones, Prince, Kings of Leon, Coldplay, Oasis and many, many more hit the various stages that make up this legendary Festival.
Alternatively, why not consider Pukkelpop in Belgium? Situated just outside the town of Hasselt to the east of Brussels, an easy one-hour direct train ride away, the festival was originally founded in 1982 and is today considered the second biggest in Belgium after Rock Werchter. Previous acts have included Ed Sheeran, Outkast, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Placebo, Snow Patrol, The Prodigy and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The 2015 event takes place over the weekend of 20th – 22nd August and already confirmed on the bill are Calvin Harris, Tom Odell, Editors and Queens of the Stone Age. Whilst tickets have already sold out for the 2015 event, you might get lucky with the official online exchange service.
Even closer to Brussels, in the small village of Werchter just outside the beautiful city of Leuven, Rock Werchter saw the likes of Metallica, Damon Albarn, Arctic Monkeys, Ellie Goulding, Paolo Nutini, Sam Smith, Jack Johnson, Pearl Jam, Biffy Clyro, Pixies, Kings of Leon, Foals, Bastille and Franz Ferdinand take to the stage this year. The 2015 event takes place over the weekend of 25th – 28th June (the same weekend as Glastonbury) and is considered amongst the top five largest music festivals across Europe alongside Glastonbury, Roskilde, Exit (in Novi Sad, Serbia) and the Sziget Festival in northern Budapest, more on which below.
Last but not least, the aforementioned Sziget Festival takes place on Old Buda Island, a 266-acre leafy island set in the middle of the Danube River and unlike its long-weekend contemporaries, offers a week-long programme of events. The 2014 line-up included Manic Street Preachers, Lily Allen, Calvin Harris, Outkast, Blink 182, The Prodigy, Bastille, Madness, Cee Lo Green, Jake Bugg, Klaxons and Kelis. The 2015 event runs from the 10th to the 17th of August, a five-day pass costs 189€ whilst the full seven-day pass costs 219€.