Ah festivals…There is something so special about walking into those fields filled with people, sun and music. The same applies whether this is in the UK or abroad – but if you have been to festivals in both the UK and abroad you’ll know the ‘vibe’ is completely different!
If i had to pick between the two, i would choose festivals abroad every time and here’s why…
From experience, the people at festivals abroad are generally a much better group to be around. I think this is down to the fact that most have travelled from different countries to attend, so you’re surrounded by different nationalities and this in itself is such a good experience. When brits have had a drink we are known to be more open and chatty, but people abroad just tend to be so much more welcoming and friendly regardless of booze consumption!!
You would think this wouldn’t make a difference but it really does. Festivals abroad tend to be an older crowd, and i often wonder if part of this is because from the UK you have to be 18 to fly alone, so anyone under that age is counted out straight away. At Awakenings the average age was around 30-35, and at Brunch Elektronik, i would say around 25-30 was the average age. Being surrounded by people of a similar age or older, i find the vibe is generally better as they have usually been to numerous festivals and have loads of good experiences to talk about.
Another thing which you notice more at festivals abroad is the lack of phones! Whether this is an age thing or not i’m not sure, but it seems at UK festivals most people are more interested in filming themselves or the festival for social media, rather than just enjoying the artists. Don’t get me wrong – we all love an insta pic and some videos to look back on, but at Creamfields it was just people filming snapchat videos left right and centre!!
Most UK festivals are in peak summer but the weather is never guaranteed. All abroad festivals we’ve been too it has been absolutely boiling! Sometimes maybe too hot in the middle of the day but it means it never gets too cold in the night! Even though you’re at a festival its almost like a holiday at the same time because of the weather so really its a 2-4-1 deal!
More often than not when you go to any festival there will be tons of artists you’ve never heard of. In the UK its mainly artists from there, and any other nationality performing is normally well heard of. In Lisbon and Barcelona, there were so many lesser known Dj’s which had been flown in from around Europe and even the US. It’s also mainly artists that wouldn’t tend to come to the big festivals in the UK, so going abroad is a really good way of finding new artists that you like.
Surroundings & Place
UK festivals are normally in large fields to be able to capacitate the amount of people they do! While some festivals abroad are also in fields, the majority aren’t, and instead are in every other setting you can imagine. Exit Festival is held at the Petrovaradin Fortress in Serbia, Soundwave is on the Croatian coastline, and festivals like Sonar in Barcelona are spread across two indoor venues in the City. There are hundreds of unique festival experiences outside of the UK, and if you’re into finding unique experiences then absolutely check some of them out.
When we go to a festival abroad, we always try to incorporate a couple of days holiday into it. It’s so easy to go to a festival abroad and not explore the actual country you are in. Booking one or two days either side of the festivals is something i’d definitely recommend! Even if you use these days to relax afterwards – it saves you flying home feeling knackered and gross.
Taking everything into consideration like travel, accommodation etc, festivals abroad will likely be more expensive. Each festival we’ve been to in Europe were not camping festivals, and so accommodation and flight prices around this time can often be inflated. I think this is just part and parcel, and you just have to accept the prices for what they are. Though it is more expensive, you get such an incredible experience for your money!
While i’m not against to UK festivals and will go to plenty more i’m sure – i’ve much preferred my time at festivals abroad. There are soooo many on offer in so many countries and different settings – you will always find one offering something new and different to everything else!