Cultural Experience | Belgium

5 Can’t-Miss Music Festivals To Check Out Abroad

While international festivals have been going on for decades, today they’re bigger, better, and in cooler locations then ever before.

Music festivals are popping up everywhere right now and are becoming increasingly popular with young crowds (Coachella, Burning Man, Lollapalooza, Electric Forest, Firefly, EDC…need I say more?). It’s no surprise they’re so in demand – after all, seeing dozens of headliner artists for only a few hundred dollars is a steal. Add in camping, gourmet food options, and international travel, and the experience is even more enticing.


Happens in: Boom, Belgium (and now in Georgia…and Brazil)

There is no concert in the world like Tomorrowland. The festival, which takes place in July, is the largest electronic music festival in the world, and it draws crowds from all the farthest corners of the globe. Since its creation in 2005, the festival has played host to the most notable names in electronic music, including Steve Aoki, Armin Van Buuren, Hardwell, Afrojack, and more. In 2013, the makers of Tomorrowland introduced TomorrowWorld, an American spin-off of the popular Belgian festival that has since been held annually in Georgia, chosen for its location because of how closely it resembles the Belgian countryside. In 2015, the Tomorrowland festival was also held in Brazil, and is scheduled to return in 2016.


Sziget Festival 

Happens in: Budapest, Hungary 

Sziget is a popular Hungarian festival that takes place right in the middle of the Danube in Budapest on Óbudai-Sziget (Old Buda Island, in English). The festival, started in 1993, is one of the largest music and cultural festivals in Europe, with over 1,000 performances happening each year. Sziget is known for its diversity in lineups, and the festival has played host to artists such as The Kooks, Ellie Goulding, The Cure, and Gogol Bordello. If you’re interested in camping, you can camp on the island, or you can leave in the evenings to explore all that Budapest has to offer!


Outlook Festival 

Happens in: Stinjan, Croatia

Held in an abandoned fort perched right on the edge of the Adriatic Sea, Outlook festival is the largest Soundsystem Culture festival in Europe, hosting the biggest names of cutting edge dance music around. In 2011, the festival nearly doubled in size from the previous years, which disappointed many veteran attendees who appreciated the smaller, more intimate setting. Now in its eighth year, the festival boasts its unique “underground” lineups, with past and future artists including Jamie xx, SBTRKT, and Skream.

Rock Werchter 

Happens in: Werchter, Belgium

Beer, rock music, and waffles – what’s not to like? The first Rock Werchter music festival was held in the town of Werchter, Belgium, in 1976, and has been held there annually ever since. It’s Belgium’s largest rock music festival-held over 4 days during the month of June-and is a six-time winner of the Arthur award for “best music festival in the world.” While daily tickets are available, overnight visitors also have the option to camp and stay for the whole week. Recent headliners include Muse, Mumford & Sons, and Metallica.

Balaton Sound 

Happens in: Southern edge of Lake Balaton, Hungary

Lake Balaton is located in western Hungary, only about an hours drive from beautiful Budapest. Since the creators of Sziget festival decided to start Balaton Sound in 2007, the festival has grown to be one of the largest open-air electronic music festivals in Europe, with past headliners including Fedde le Grand, Above and Beyond, and even the Beastie Boys. If you have extra time to kill, head to the lake – Balaton is a large summering destination for Hungarians, with huge flocks of city dwellers traveling west on weekends to catch some rays, eat some langos, and take a dip in the water.

Nora Horvath

Syracuse University | 4 stories

Nóra Horváth is a senior Magazine Journalism student at Syracuse University. She has studied and lived in both Budapest, Hungary and Prague, Czech Republic. Learn more about Nóra at or follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @iamnorahorvath.

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