July is a big month for cultural festivals, sporting events, food festivals, art events, and, of course, music festivals – electronic, rock, reggae, everything else you can think of. Some of the most notable sporting events in July are Wimbledon and the Tour de France, but if you’re not big on tennis, or cycling and would rather eat your weight in food from festival vendors while listening to some of the biggest bands in the world, there’s no shortage of that either. Below are 9 of the most Rad festivals in July from around the world.
EXIT is one of the biggest European summer music festivals and was proclaimed as the “Best Major European festival” at the EU Festival Awards in 2014, as well as winning a bunch of other awards. Like every year, this year’s line up is huge. The four-day festival will feature The Cure, Carl Cox, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, Greta Van Fleet, Lost Frequencies, Tom Walker, and a slew of other talented performers.
The festival was founded in 2000 as a political student movement that was fighting for freedom and democracy in Serbia, and has since grown into something huge, while still focusing on social responsibility. The festival itself takes places in the medieval Petrovaradin Fortress, which is located on the river Danube. (There are a ton of other great festivals in July in Europe. If you can’t catch EXIT, consider Oya, Open’er, Melt, Tramlines, Pohoda, Rock Werchter, or Bilbao!)
Where: Novi Sad, Serbia
Splendour in the Grass is one of the many gems of Byron Bay, Australia. Held annually since 2001, Splendour has quickly gathered a cult-like following, growing from a small one-day event, into two days, and now three days. The festival takes place in the North Byron Parklands, about 30 minutes from Byron Bay. The lineup never disappoints, featuring the best acts from down under and across the world.
This year’s biggest acts include Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, Chance The Rapper, SZA, Foals and Catfish and the Bottlemen, and dozens of other killer artists, many of which are heading to Australia for the one and only show at Splendour. On top of music, there’s great food – over 70 vendors – and a family-friendly camping ground with lots of activities for kids. Splendour also focuses on being environmentally friendly, with zero-waste campgrounds, and carbon offset options, for those festival goers who like to keep things green.
Where: Byron Bay, Australia
Tomorrowland started in 2005 and has since grown into one of the largest electronic music festivals in the world. Due to its popularity, the festival is now held over two weekends. There were over 400,000 people in attendance at last year’s festival, so if you want a ticket you better be ready to purchase one as soon as they go on sale. Held in Boom (a fitting name), Belgium, Tomorrowland’s 2019 lineup will feature hundreds of artists from around the world on more than a dozen different stages.
This year’s headliners include The Chainsmokers, DJ Snake, Afrojack, Armin van Buuren, and Vini Vici. Each year, the festival has a different theme, this year’s theme being The Book of Wisdom – The Return. Within the festival is the small, vibrant city of Dreamville, which is filled with a supermarket, hairdressers, and food vendors from around the world – the whole thing is a pretty magical spectacle to experience.
Where: Boom, Belgium
FEQ is an 11-day festival that takes place in downtown Quebec City and is one of the biggest and best festivals in Canada. The main stage is located on Plains of Abraham, along with two other stages for an overall capacity of 125,000. Smaller clubs and bars throughout the city also participate in the event by hosting live music – there will be 2,500 shows during the festival’s duration.
The long-running festival has been taking place annually since 1968 and has now become something monumental. Stretching over 11 days, this year’s awesome and amazingly-diverse headliners will include Mariah Carey, CHVRCHES, Slipknot, alt-j, Imagine Dragons, and Blink-182 as well as Canadian artists Bahamas, Moist, The Glorious Sons, Coeur de Pirate, The Planet Smashers and The Strumbellas. The non-profit event attracts over 1 million people annually. (If you’re in Quebec during July and looking for a laugh, head to Just For Laughs in Montreal, taking place from July 10th to July 28th.)
Where: Quebec City, Canada
Pitchfork Music Festival is an annual festival that takes place in Union Park, Chicago. Held over three days in July, Pitchfork has been in business since 2005 and regularly attracts some of the best names in music. This year’s headliners include HAIM, the Isley Brothers, Robyn, Mavis Staples, Belle & Sebastian, Charli XCX, Earl Sweatshirt, Stereolab, Whitney, Jeremih, Kurt Vile, Khruangbin, Sky Ferreira, Pusha T, Clairo, Low, Parquet Courts, Snail Mail, Soccer Mommy, and a lot more – pretty hard to beat.
About 50,000 people will be attending the festival from 45 different US states, according to the festival’s website. The festival also hosts a variety of fairs, including the CHIRP record fair, Flatstock poster fair, Renegade craft fair, and book fort. Of course, there will be Chicago-based art, retail, and food vendors on site for all your grubby needs.
Where: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Naadam Festival – also referred to as The Three Games of Mongolia – is a traditional festival in Mongolia. The three traditional games are Mongolian wrestling, archery, and horse racing, which are held throughout the country during midsummer. The games are traditionally dominated by males, and the festival’s name is sometimes called The Three Games of Men, but women have recently started to participate in archery and horse racing.
The festival is widely watched and loved by Mongolians, and its history is believed to go back centuries. Naadam is an expression of Mongolian nomadic culture through centuries-old arts and sports, and the events are not-to-be-missed if you’re visiting Mongolia when everything is happening. It’s definitely one of the most rad cultural sporting events in the world, attracting some of the best athletes with mad skills across Mongolia.
There are Comic Con festivals all around the globe, but San Diego’s is the biggest and the longest running. Founded by the Garden State Comic Book Convention in 1970, the four-day event is a multi-genre entertainment and comic convention that attracts enthusiasts from all around the world. The event started with 145 people in its first year to over 130,000 comic-book lovers today, but you don’t have to like comics to have a good time here.
Comic Con includes an autograph area, where artists, writers, and models can sign autographs and do sketches. The event also features panels, seminars, and workshops with professionals, and there are award ceremonies, an annual masquerade costume contest, and an independent film festival. People go absolutely nuts for the costumes – you’ll have seen photos of fans dressed up as their favorite comic book hero or villain, and the costumes are one of the main attraction for a lot of visitors.
Where: San Diego, California, USA
The Japanese absolutely love their rock music. Fuji Rock Festival is a three-day event organized by Smash Japan, featuring more than 200 Japanese and international bands. Held since 1997, it’s the largest outdoor music festival in Japan. The festival is aptly named, since its first appearance was at the bottom of famous Mount Fuji, but it now takes place at the Naeba Ski Resort in Yuzawa.
The lineup this year features The Cure, Thom Yorke, Chemical Brothers, and Sia. Other notable acts include Janelle Monáe, James Blake, Death Cab For Cutie, Mitski, Gary Clark Jr., King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Cake, American Football, Kaytranada, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Toro y Moi, Alvvays, Calpurnia, Daniel Caesar, Khruangbin, and Stella Donnelly, and lots of other recognizable acts. There are 7 main stages and a few other minor stages, which all feature different genres.
Where: Yuzawa, Japan
It seems like the list of rad music festivals in July in the US never ends. It’s a big country, and there’s a lot of talent out there so I don’t think anyone is complaining. Mo Pop Festival takes place on the 20-acre oasis of West Riverfront Park, Detroit. The festival showcases established artists as well as those who are up-and-coming. Mo Pop is smaller than some of the larger US festivals – Coachella, Bonnaroo, Pitchfork – but sits high among the best.
Founded in 2013, the music has always been top notch. Some of the headliners this year include Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, Lizzo, Kali Uchis, Noname, King Princess, Snail Mail, J.I.D, The Story So Far and Ella Mai. There’s a beer corner to take care of your thirst, a craft bazaar featuring loads of local talent, an arcade to pass the downtime, and a food truck alley to keep you fed, with a focus on Detroit cuisine and beverages. (If you’re elsewhere in the US, check out any of these awesome festivals: Panorama in New York, FYF Fest in Los Angeles, Newport Folk Fest in Newport, or Peach Music Festival in Scranton)
Where: Detroit, Michigan, USA
Check out more rad upcoming festivals in July here.
Feature image credit: TomorrowlandLast updated on Oct 11, 2019