dancing snow


Winter music festivals in Europe

Published December 2nd, 2015

As winter takes hold in the Northern Hemisphere, hibernation may seem like the only option. But across the top of the world, a calendar of festivals promises to warm the shorter days and ignite the longer nights.

Whether you want to revel in Reykjavik or party amid the pistes of Bulgaria, your festival season need not be confined to Australia's summer. Wristbands at the ready – it's time to wrap up warm and discover new bands in foreign lands.

Gallic gathering

Born in the post-punk era of 1979, the groundbreaking French festival Trans Musicales (December 2-6) has witnessed a wave of varying musical styles over the ages, from grunge to hip-hop and electronic music. Eclectic acts to have graced the stages at the Parc des Expositions centre, close to the Breton capital of Rennes, include Nirvana, Daft Punk, Portishead and LCD Soundsystem. Expect to be exposed to the next big thing and indulge in some serious beard stroking at the Meet and Debate schedule of talks.

Green Room - Mode Disco : On. #Dollkraut #Trans2014

A photo posted by Trans Musicales (@transmusicales) on

Dutch disco

The university city of Groningen in the north of the Netherlands sees its population swell in winter as crowds descend for the annual Eurosonic Noorderslag festival (January 13-16). With a reputation for showcasing Europe's up-and-coming acts, the line-up next year includes Belfast-formed Pleasure Beach, who recently released their first EP, and established Dutch favourites DeWolff, who specialise in psychedelic blues. Previous performers include James Blake, Bastille and Royal Blood.

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Northern nights

Iceland's other-worldly landscape has long nurtured musical talent, such as Bjork and Sigur Ros. So it's perhaps little wonder that the country's cool capital, Reykjavik, will act as the winter home of the Barcelona-born music festival Sonar (February 18-20).

The city's Harpa concert hall – a stunning, LED-lit beauty that overlooks Faxafloi Bay – is the location for the event. Intrepid music lovers will get the chance to watch acts such as electro DJ Hudson Mohawke and Detroit rapper Angel Haze perform across five indoor stages, before delving into the lively late-night scene of the world's northernmost capital.

Nordic noir

“Come in from the cold,” beckons the website of by:Larm, a festival that takes over Oslo from March 2-5. If you're interested in Nordic music, this is the destination for you.

Around 100 acts are due to perform from across the Northern European nations of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and, of course, Norway, following in the footsteps of previous regional success stories such as Royksopp, First Aid Kit and Lykke Li.

Piste party

At the tail end of winter, the Horizon Festival (March 12-17) claims to be Europe's biggest ski party. And who's to argue with an event that promises 120 DJs, 75 kilometres of slopes and 30 parties across 15 venues, with nightly supper clubs, forest stages and a hot-tub cinema? There are even thermal pools and a spa if it all gets too much.

The venue is Bansko Ski Resort in Bulgaria and dance music is the order of the day. Goldie and Levon Vincent are topping the line-up at present, with more acts to be announced soon.

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This article was written by Laura Holt from The Independent and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

The Independent

The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. Nicknamed the Indy, it was launched in 1986 and is one of the youngest UK national daily newspapers.