The crowd is heaving and you don’t notice the sweat in your eyes. Thousands of people are feeling the same elation as you. The music lifts you together, and you feel connected to them all. That’s the power of music. And that’s the singular experience of a music festival.
The best music festivals in the world aren’t necessarily the largest, but we’d all agree there’s something pretty powerful behind a music festival that can pull more than 3 million people. Here we’ve listed the top 10 biggest festivals in the world – so you can pull out the glitter and enjoy.
ROCK IN RIO
South America’s largest music festival is arguably the world’s shiniest. With a star-studded line-up every year, the festival is renowned for packing in the huge headliners. In 2015, Katy Perry, Rhianna, Queen, Metallica, Rod Stewart and Elton John played, just to name a few. And if you head to Brazil for the 2017 festival, you’ll see Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, Bon Jovi and Guns n’ Roses, plus many others. The festival is also held in Madrid and Lisbon in the years the Brazil event is taking a break.
4. WOODSTOCK (POLAND)
Named after the famous 1969 festival in New York, the Polish Woodstock is a fitting tribute to rock, pop, metal and folk. With headliners such as The Prodigy playing to more than 1 million people, the festival has a history of huge crowds and a special vibe. Entry is free and the festival’s motto is ‘Love, Friendship and Music’ in honour of the original, conscious-shifting festival.
Summerfest is the ‘people’s party’. As the largest music festival in the USA, it’s also one of the cheapest, with an all-access day ticket only $20. Over the course of 11 days, it hosts more than 800 acts and more than 800,000 punters. In 2016, Paul McCartney headlined and in 2017 the festival will celebrate its 50th birthday with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink and Bob Dylan.
Africans know how to party and Morocco’s Mawazine Festival is a testament to that. With annual attendance around the 2.65 million mark, they pull huge acts such as Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake and Rod Stewart, as well as a large number of African luminaries such as Amadou & Mariam, and Tinariwen. A celebration of Moroccan culture and arts, it was started by the personal secretary to King Mohammad IV and lives on as an incredible tribute to
Vienna has long been home to musical geniuses, with luminaries such as Mozart being previous residents, so it’s no surprise it’s now home to the biggest festival in the world. Held on an island in the middle of the Danube River, Donauinselfest attracted a whopping 3.1 million people in 2016. It’s open air, it’s free, and it’s on every year at the start of summer. With more than 200 acts on 11 stages, there’s a huge variety of music, and in 2017, one of the headliners will be a tribute concert to music legend Falco.