Music festival

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A music festival is a community event oriented towards live performances of singing and instrument playing that is often presented with a theme such as musical genre (e.g., blues, folk, jazz, classical music), nationality, or locality of musicians, or holiday. Some festivals are focused on women’s music.

They are commonly held outdoors, with tents or roofed temporary stages for the performers. Often music festivals host other attractions such as food and merchandise vending, dance, crafts, performance art, and social or cultural activities. At music festivals associated with charitable causes, there may be information about social or political issues. Many festivals are annual, or repeat at some other interval. Some, including many rock festivals, are held only once.

Some festivals are organized as for-profit concerts and others are benefits for a specific charitable cause. Another type of music festival is the educative type, organized annually in local communities, regionally, or nationally, for the benefit of amateur musicians of all ages and grades of achievement.


Leigo Järvemuusika 2007

The Pythian Games at Delphi included musical performances, and may be one of the earliest festivals known.[1] During the Middle Ages, festivals were often held as competitions.

Music education[edit]

Another type of music festival is the music education type, often organized annually in local communities, regionally, or nationally, for the benefit of amateur musicians of all ages and grades of achievement. Entrants perform prepared pieces or songs in front of an audience which includes competitors, family and friends, and members of the community, along with one or more adjudicators or judges. These adjudicators, who may be music teachers, professors, or professional performers, provide verbal and written feedback to each performer or group. The adjudicator may be someone whom they might never meet in any other way, as is the case when an adjudicator from another city is brought in to judge. They also usually receive a certificate, classified according to merit or ranking, and some may win trophies or even scholarships. The competitive element is often played down, however, as the important aspect is that participants can learn from one another. Such festivals aim to provide a friendly and supportive platform for musicians to share in the excitement of making music. For many, they provide a bridge from lessons and examinations to performing confidently in public; for a few of the top performers, they provide a pathway to further professional study of music in a college, university or conservatory.

Festivals around the world[edit]

Milwaukee, Wisconsin's 11-day event, Summerfest, promotes itself as "The World's Largest Music Festival", a title certified by the Guinness World Records and has been held since 1999. Operating annually since 1968, the festival attracts between 800,000 and 1,000,000 people each year, and hosts over 800 musical acts.[2][3] The Woodstock Festival in 1969 drew nearly 500,000 attendees, and the Polish spin-off Przystanek Woodstock in 2014 drew 750,000[4] thus becoming the largest open air annual festival in Europe and the second largest in the world. In comparison, the Roskilde Festival in Denmark, attracts about 135,000 spectators each year.[5] Glastonbury Festival has a capacity of about 275,000 spectators, but has "fallow years" roughly every five years, so it is the biggest non-annual greenfield festival in the world. The oldest annual dedicated pop music festival in the world is Pinkpop Festival in the Netherlands,[6] though in other genres, there are much older ones: the Three Choirs Festival in the UK has run annually[citation needed] since 1719.

Lists of music festivals[edit]

Parkenfestivalen 2012, The Prodigy

By year/era[edit]

Lists of music festivals organized by date:

By continent[edit]

By country[edit]

By genre[edit]

Music festival topics and lists
Festival genre Festival
List Category Media
Music festival 582 BCE List of music festivals Category Music festivals Commons page Music festivals
Folk festival 5th century(?) List of folk festivals Category Folk festivals Commons page Folk music festivals
Indian classical music festival (?) List of Hindustani classical music festivals Category Hindustani classical music festivals Commons page Hindustani classical music festivals
(?) List of Carnatic classical music festivals Category Carnatic classical music festivals Commons page Indian classical music festivals
Celtic festival 5th century(?) List of Celtic festivals Category Celtic music festivals Commons page Celtic festival
Celtic music festival 5th century(?) List of Celtic music festivals
Mod (Scotland) 19th century(?) List of mods Commons page Mod (Scotland)
Fèis (Scotland/Ireland) 9th century(?) List of fèissana Category Traditional music festivals in Ireland Commons page Celtic festival
Eisteddfod (Wales) 12th century List of eisteddfodau Category Eisteddfod Commons page Eisteddfodau
Classical music festival 12th century List of classical music festivals Category Classical festivals Commons page Classical festivals
Early music festival 17th century(?) List of early music festivals Category Early music festivals Commons page Early music festivals
Bach festival 17th century(?) List of Bach festivals Category Bach festivals Commons page Bach festivals
Chamber music festival 17th century(?) List of chamber music festivals Category Chamber music festivals Commons page Chamber music festivals
Choral festival 17th century(?) List of choral festivals Category Choral festivals Commons page Choral festivals
Opera festival 17th century(?) List of opera festivals Category Opera festivals Commons page Opera festivals
Maritime music festival 19th century List of maritime music festivals Category Maritime music festivals Commons page Maritime music festivals
Blues festival 19th century List of blues festivals Category Blues festivals Commons page Blues festivals
Old-time music festival 19th century List of old-time music festivals Category Old-time music festivals Commons page Old-time music festivals
World music festival List of world music festivals Category World music festivals Commons page World music festivals
Hawaiian music festival 1970s List of Hawaiian music festivals Category Festivals in Hawaii
Contemporary classical music festival 20th century(?) List of contemporary classical festivals Category Contemporary classical festivals Commons page Contemporary classical festivals
Experimental music festival 1960s(?) List of experimental music festivals Category Experimental music festivals Commons page Experimental music festivals
Country music festival 1930s List of country music festivals Category Country music festivals Commons page Country music festivals
Bluegrass music festival 1930s List of bluegrass music festivals Category Bluegrass festivals Commons page Bluegrass festivals
Christian music festival 1940s(?) List of Christian music festivals Category Christian music festivals Commons page Christian music festivals
Jazz festivals 1940s List of jazz festivals Category Jazz festivals Commons page Jazz festivals
Rock festival 1950s List of rock festivals Category Rock festivals Commons page Rock festivals
Pop festival 1950s List of pop festivals Category Pop music festivals
Electronic music festival 1950s List of electronic music festivals Category Electronic music festivals Commons page Electronic music festivals
Electroacoustic music festival 1950s List of electroacoustic festivals Category Electroacoustic festivals Commons page Electroacoustic festivals
Free festival 1960s List of free festivals Category Free festivals Commons page Free festivals
Jam band festival 1960s List of jam band music festivals Category Jam band festivals Commons page Jam band festivals
Ska festival 1960s Category Ska festivals
Circuit party 1970s List of circuit parties Category Circuit parties Commons page Circuit parties
Reggae festival 1970s List of reggae festivals Category Reggae festivals Commons page Reggae festivals
Heavy metal festival 1970s List of heavy metal festivals Category Heavy metal festivals Commons page Metal music events
Punk rock festival 1976 List of punk rock festivals Category Punk rock festivals Commons page Punk rock festivals
Indie rock festival 1980s Category Indie rock festivals
Industrial festival 1970s List of industrial music festivals Category Industrial music festivals Commons page Industrial music festivals
Goth music festival 1980s List of gothic festivals Category Goth festivals Commons page Gothic festivals
Hip hop music festival 1980s List of hip hop music festivals Category Hip hop festivals Commons page Hip hop festivals
K-pop festival 1980s List of K-pop festivals Commons page K-pop events
Antilliaanse Feesten - Caribbean Dance Music Festival 1983
Rave 1986 List of raves Category Rave Commons page Rave
Electronic dance music festival 1986 List of EDM festivals
Free party 1989 List of free parties Category Free parties Commons page Free party
Squat party 1989
Trance music festival 1990s List of trance festivals Category Trance festivals Commons page Trance music
Technoparade 1990s List of technoparades Category Technoparade Commons page Technoparades
Teknival 1990s List of teknivals Category Teknivals Commons page Teknivals
Doof (Australia) 1993 List of doofs Category Doofs Commons page Doof
Algorave 2011 Category Algorave Commons page Algorave

Historic music festivals[edit]

Selected historically notable festivals
Festival name Location Years Details
Fiera della Frecagnola Italy Italy 1450–present Based on old folk tradition
Annaberger Kät Germany Germany 1520–present Old folk festival
Three Choirs Festival United Kingdom England 1719–present Early choral festival
Tyagaraja Aradhana India India 1846–present Early Carnatic music festival
Leeds Festival United Kingdom England 1858–1985 Early classical festival
Latvian Song and Dance Festival Latvia Latvia 1873–present Early folk music festival - Takes place normally every 5 years with 30,000 performers
Þjóðhátíð Iceland Iceland 1874–present Early folk music festival
Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan India India 1875–present Early Indian classical music festival
Long Plain First Nation Annual Pow-wow Canada Canada 1876–present Government-sanctioned pow wow
Nordic Music Days (many) Europe 1888–present Festival for new Nordic music
Royal National Mòd United Kingdom Scotland 1892–present National Celtic mod
Ravinia Festival United States Illinois 1904–present Oldest outdoor classical festival in US
Glastonbury United Kingdom England 1914–25 Early classical festival
Donaueschingen Festival Germany Germany 1921–present Early experimental festival
Newport Jazz Festival United States Rhode Island 1954–60, 1962–present Early jazz festival, later added rock and other styles
Reading and Leeds Festivals United Kingdom England 1961–present Early rock/blues festival
Philadelphia Folk Festival United States Pennsylvania 1962–present Early folk festival, later added other styles
American Folk Blues Festival (many) Europe 1962–1985 Introduced US blues circuit to Europe
Jazz Bilzen Belgium Belgium 1965-1981 First festival in Europe combining jazz and pop
Shiraz Arts Festival Iran Iran 1967–1977 Diverse international genres
Woodstock United States New York 1969 Culturally notable event
Ichthus Music Festival United States Kentucky 1970–present Early Christian music festival
Roskilde festival Denmark Denmark 1971–Present Largest music festival in Northern Europe, non-profit
Smile Jamaica Concert Jamaica Jamaica 1974 Early reggae festival
International Computer Music Conference (many) Worldwide 1974 Early electronic music festival
Heatwave Canada Canada 1980 Important event for new wave and punk
Spring Rhythms. Tbilisi-80 Soviet Union Soviet Union 1980 First official rock festival in the Soviet Union
Antilliaanse Feesten Belgium Belgium 1983–present Largest Caribbean Dance Music Festival
Donauinselfest Austria Vienna 1984–present Largest music festival in the world, free entry (~3 mill)
Rock in Rio Brazil Brazil 1985–present 1.5 million people attended the first event
Rendez-vous Houston United States Texas 1986 Largest ticketed event in North America (1 to 1.5 mill)
Moscow Music Peace Festival Russia Russia 1989 Important event for glam metal
Love Parade Germany Germany 1989-2010 Massive early technoparade
Wacken Open Air Germany Germany 1990–present Large metal showcase
Big Day Out Australia Australia 1992–2014 Multiple stages and genres
Sziget Hungary Hungary 1993–present Large Woodstock style event
CzechTek Czech Republic Czech Republic 1994-2006 Large teknival closed by police
Przystanek Woodstock Poland Poland 1995–present Ticket-free festival with crowds up to 625,000
Vans Warped Tour United States United States 1995–present Punk rock showcase
Fuji Rock Festival Japan Japan 1997–present In 2005, more than 100,000 people attended
Nashestvie Russia Russia 1999- One of the largest Russian rock open-air festivals
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival United States California 1999–present In 2014 had 579,000 attendees over six days
Exit Festival Serbia Serbia 2000–present Exit 2006 had 22 stages
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival United States Tennessee 2002–present Annual attendance of 85,000-120,000
Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto Canada Canada 2003 Largest outdoor ticketed event in Canada (~half a mill.)
Live 8 (many) Many 2005 Ten simultaneous benefit concerts in eight countries
Positivus Festival Latvia Latvia 2007-Present Largest and most popular of music festivals in the three Baltic States
Live Earth (many) Worldwide 2007 Widely broadcast worldwide
Milege World Music Festival Uganda Uganda 2010–Present Biggest music festival in Africa
Colour Day Festival Greece Greece 2015–Present Biggest music festival in Greece

Current music festivals[edit]

The following are selected music festivals that are recurring as of 2015. For a more complete listing of active and defunct festivals by region, see Category:Music festivals by country. Some sections may also have links to related lists of music festivals by country.

Africa · Asia · Europe · North America · Oceania · South America


South Africa
  • Kampala Capital City Authority (KACCA) Festival, Laba Festival of the Arts
  • Milege World Music Festival, Bayimba Festival
  • Pearl Rhythm Festival, Nyege Nyege


Bangladesh · China · Hong Kong · India · Indonesia · Israel · Japan · Lebanon · Malaysia · Nepal · Philippines · Singapore · Sri Lanka · South Korea · Taiwan · United Arab Emirates · Vietnam


Hong Kong[edit]











South Korea[edit]

Sri Lanka[edit]



United Arab Emirates[edit]



Austria · Belgium · Bulgaria · Croatia · Czech Republic · Denmark · Estonia · Finland · France · Germany · Greece · Hungary · Iceland · Ireland · Italy · United Kingdom · England ·





Czech Republic[edit]




















Puerto Rico[edit]







Festival Internacional de Música de Canarias . Born 1985 Salas Principales Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, Las Palmas y Auditorio Adán Martin, Tenerife.





United Kingdom United Kingdom[edit]

Northern Ireland[edit]

North America[edit]


Australia Australia[edit]

New Zealand New Zealand[edit]

South America[edit]

Argentina Argentina[edit]

Bolivia Bolivia[edit]

Brazil Brazil[edit]

Chile Chile[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pythian Games, Encyclopædia Britannica.
  2. ^ Rytlewski, Evan (11 July 2013). "Summerfest Attendance Was Up This Year, Which You Probably Guessed". Express Milwaukee. 
  3. ^ "Fun in the Sun". My Midwest Magazine. 1 May 2007. 
  4. ^ (pik). "Woodstock 2014: Manu Chao rozbujał, a Bukartyk pożegnał". Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-07-07. 
  6. ^ Gammon, John (17 June 2011). "Six In A Row For Pinkpop". London, U.K.: Pollstar. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Antilliaanse Feesten / Hoogstraten / Belgium". Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  8. ^ "Laundry Day Homepage". Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  9. ^ "Best Medium-Sized Festival in 2012". 
  10. ^ "Best Major Festival in 2011". Archived from the original on 2012-04-25. 
  11. ^ "Best Major Festival in 2014". 
  12. ^ "Forside – Bergenfest". Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  13. ^ "Norwegian Wood". Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  14. ^ a b The Guardian. "The best European festival listings of 2013 | Music". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 

External links[edit]