European Summer Festival Guide 2009

author PP date 02/06/09

Did you know that Europe's full of awesome festivals other than the most popular ones that sell out within minutes? With enough patience and research, it's possible to find the perfect festival for yourself, whether you're looking to see one of the best lineups overall or just going for the atmospheres. Now we haven't been to all of these (just yet, we're getting there), but we know people who have, or otherwise have spent hours upon hours studying community forums and discussion threads for the ones that we know little about. If you're at all confused on where to spend your hard earned rock festival cash this summer, here's a good start, although further investigation certainly won't hurt for the few that you choose to go to. So whether it's death metal or indie rock you are looking for, you only need to scroll down and read through whats hot and whats not when it comes to festivals around the continent. We've included all the essential information you need, starting from the location and ticket availability to prices and the biggest bands on the bill, and on top of that have included our (well, mine, as the head editor of the site) opinion on the pro's and con's of the festival in question. Enjoy the read, and feedback is appreciated as always in the comments section. Note that Pinkpop Festival is not included as it has already taken place - blame me for being too lazy in my research and writing. But not too loudly because last year we actually didn't have time to write this article on time for it to be of help to anybody. I won't keep you further though, enjoy your ultimate European Summer Festival guide of 2009.

June

Sweden Rock Festival @ Sölvesborg, SWE 3-6 June

Ticket information: 4 day tickets sold out, very few 3-day and some 1-day tickets left.

Ticket price: 1990 SEK for 3 and 4 day tickets

URL: Official Website

Genres: Rock/Metal

Lineup highlights - 124 bands in total: Heaven & Hell, In Flames, Europe, Dream Theater, Motörhead, Volbeat, Amon Amarth, Flogging Molly, Sevendust, Soilwork, Amberian Dawn, Hammerfall, Rage

Sweden Rock Festival used to be conveniently located in Southern Sweden because it had easy access from the Malmö international airport for people traveling from the UK with the low-cost airlines. The festival hasn't moved but not enough people used the UK-Malmö routes so now it's a bitch to get to if you're not living in Denmark, Sweden or Norway. You could always fly to Copenhagen, of course, but it's an added cost of 140DKK (or so) each way with the train. Other than that, Sweden Rock festival has a somewhat deceiving name considering it is among the most metal festivals this season. Sure you have Flogging Molly and Volbeat on the bill, but names like Dream Theater, Amon Amarth, Soilwork, Hammerfall and a whole bunch of obscure metal names make the festival appealing for the metal crowds only. Expect to meet countless black-clothed men with 80s styled long hair and more spiked accessories than a hedgehog. But all stereotyping aside, if you're into the more underground metal scene with specific focus on Scandinavia, this is the ideal festival to go to for some serious headbanging, and you get to see a whole bunch of legendary names in the process.

Rock Am Ring/Rock Im Park @ Nurburgring/Nurnberg, GER 5-7 June

Ticket information: Sold out for RaR, tickets left for RiP.

Ticket price: €135 for a weekend ticket

URL: Rock Im Park / Rock Am Ring

Genres: Rock/Metal/Scene/Mainstream

Lineup highlights - around 100 bands in total: The Killers, Placebo, Razorlight, koRn, Marilyn Manson, Killswitch Engage, Staind, Papa Roach, Enter Shikari, Shinedown, Dragonforce, Basement Jaxx, Slipknot, The Prodigy, Machine Head, Volbeat, Flogging Molly, Trivium, Sevendust, Mando Diao, Bloc Party, Madness, White Lies, Dredg, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, The Gaslight Anthem, Biffy Clyro, Alexisonfire, A Day To Remember, Madina Lake, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, You Me At Six, Limp Bizkit, Billy Talent, Guano Apes, The All American Rejets, New Found Glory, Dir En Grey, All That Remains, Gallows, Hollywood Undead, Bring Me The Horizon, Buckcherry, The Blackout, Fightstar

The Rock Am Ring/Rock Im Park festival duo has been taking home our hypothetical best lineup prize for at least three or four years now. I say hypothetical because we don't actually have one, but let this be the first time. But it doesn't look like the best lineup this year, despite being filled to its limits with big names in all metal, rock, scene and mainstream genres. Plus they have Limp Bizkit performing. But on the other side, the scheduling and location of the festival is impressive; especially Rock Am Ring which is located on the famous Nurburgring Formula 1 race track. On the flipside, camping and facilities tend to be terrible, but then again, with that lineup you'll only be spending time in the festival are anyway. That's probably why one of the two is sold out already.

Greenfield Festival @ Interlaken, SWI 12-14 June

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available.

Ticket price: 198 CHF for a weekend ticket

URL: Official Website

Genres: Rock/Mainstream

Lineup highlights - 45 bands in total: Slipknot, Faith No More, Nightwish, Billy Talent, koRn, Social Distortion, Disturbed, Guano Apes, Flogging Molly, Staind, Gogol Bordellon, The Wombats, Volbeat, Shinedown, Trivium, Dredg, Soulfly, Less Than Jake, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Gallows, Face To Face, Caliban, A Day To Remember, Parkway Drive, August Burns Red, HORSE The Band, Lovedrug

Greenfield Festival is one of the newer entrances to the festival market, having only been around since 2005. Just like Rock Am Ring/Im Park, it is a fairly commercial festival with focus on capitalism in the form of huge advertisements and extracurricular activities (read: sponsor promotions) everywhere, but at the same time that brings the festival enough money to go shopping on the band market. With Slipknot, Faith No More, Nightwish and more headlining, they certainly have chosen right for the headliners, whilst just underneath those names you've got awesome smaller bands like Less Than Jake, Gallows, A Day To Remember and even nintendo-coresters HORSE The Band who don't seem to be playing many other festivals this summer. Because of this, the festival goers mostly look like your regular everyday folk, who are also attracted by things like climbing walls, BMX courses, skateboard ramps and that sort of thing.

Download Festival @ Donington, UK 12-14 June

Ticket information: Weekend tickets & camping tickets sold out, day tickets and weekend tickets without camping access still available

Ticket price: £135 for a weekend ticket without camping and guest area access

URL: Official Website

Genres: Rock/Metal/Scene

Lineup highlights - 126 bands in total: Faith No More, Slipknot, Def Leppard, koRn, Marilyn Manson, Limp Bizkit, Pendulum, Killswitch Engage, Dragonforce, Dream Theater, Down, Billy Talent, Hatebreed, Staind, Five Finger Death Punch, Mötley Crue, The Prodigy, Trivium, Papa Roach, Opeth, Lacuna Coil, You Me At Six, The Answer, Bring Me The Horizon, Static-X, Dir En Grey, Fightstar, Volbeat, Parkway Drive, A Day To Remember, God Forbid, Meshuggah, The Ghost Of A Thousand, Attack! Attack!, Logan

Alongside Rock Am Ring/Im Park, Britain's Download Festival tends to have the best lineup year after year. The two festivals share many names in common, but names like Attack! Attack!, Fightstar, Opeth complete an already awesome bill on every count. It's a festival which generally goes with the "something for everyone" approach, with few classic acts like Def Leppard and Mötley Crue that contest for the attentions of the more scenester stuff like Bring Me To Horizon or Killswitch Engage. You tend to hear a lot about the bad atmospheres at concerts at Download regarding bottling bands etc. That always sucks and with Limp Bizkit on the bill, I can't even imagine them performing a full song. But like so many other commercial festivals, you don't come here for the atmosphere and hippie liberal vibes, you come to drink a few pints of crappy beer and watch a ton of awesome bands play in front of disinterested crowds. Though a word of warning: I've also heard some great things about certain performances at this festival, so it's a double-edged sword.

Nova Rock Festival @ Nickelsdorf, AUT 19-21 June

Ticket information: SOLD OUT with the exception of tickets without camping, very few remaining.

Ticket price: €126 for a weekend ticket without camping

URL: Official Website

Genres: Rock/Metal

Lineup highlights - 54 bands in total: Metallica, Placebo, Die Toten Hosen, Slipknot, Kaiser Chiefs, Limp Bizkit, Mastodon, Disturbed, Staind, Less Than Jake, Dredg, Lacuna Coil, Sonic Syndicate, Nine Inch Nails, In Extremo, Machine Head, Dimmu Borgir, Faith No More, Gogol Bordello, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, The Gaslight Anthem, All That Remains, Sevendust, Bring Me The Horizon, August Burns Red, Rolo Tomassi

Like Greenfield Festival, Nova Rock have only been around for four years, and it has already evolved into one of the largest festivals in Europe. The lineup keeps getting better every year, which is why the festival has sold out this year, but the ticket price is still kept at an acceptable €126 - half of that of Roskilde Festival ticket price with ten times the lineup. The festival consistently competes in our hypothetical best lineup of the year category, which makes it a no-brainer to recommend given its impressively good reputation on top. This festival isn't out to 'fuck you over' as so many other commercial festivals are, but maybe that'll come in the future. Check this festival out before it's too late.

Hellfest @ Clisson, FRA 19-21 June

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available

Ticket price: €119 for a weekend ticket

URL: Official Website

Genres: Metal/Hardcore

Lineup highlights - 110 bands in total: Mötley Crue, Heaven & Hell, Papa Roach, Backyard Babies, Marilyn Manson, Machine Head, Soulfly, Gojira, Cradle Of Filth, Manowar, Dream Theater, Europe, Queensryche, Dragonforce, Anthrax, God Forbid, Bring Me The Horizon, Killing Joke, Misfits, Clutch, Heaven Shall Burn, Hatebreed, Mastodon, Suicidal Tendencies, Stratovarius, Volbeat, Entombed, Enslaved, Moonsorrow, Amon Amarth, Napalm Death, Pig Destroyer, Kylesa, Parkway Drive, Terror, All Shall Perish, August Burns Red, Brutal Truth, Coalesce, The Black Dahlia Murder, Wolves In The Throne Room, Despised Icon, Down, Saint Vitus, Pentagram, God Seed, Sacred Reich, Vader, Electric Wizard

French Hellfest is located in the picturesque area of Clisson, with a medieval fortress nearby adding to the all-metal atmosphere at this festival. If two years ago I called this festival the little brother of Wacken, it has since then come frighteningly close into taking over as the mecca of metal festivals given it's extreme metal and hardcore-oriented lineup year after year. That's why its crowds have turned increasingly metal as well, and you don't tend to see too many scene people anymore at the festival, mostly metalheads and fans of heavy music in general. But don't let that hinder you, because there's a sick lineup this year if you're at all into metal.... wait for a reportage from our metal correspondent EW after the festival. You could also write in the comments if you're going and maybe he'll buy you a beer.

Hurricane Festival @ Scheessel, GER 19-21 June

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available

Ticket price: €110 for a weekend ticket

URL: Official Website

Genres: Mainstream/Rock/Indie

Lineup highlights - 65 bands in total: The Horrors, Editors, Franz Ferdinand, Kings Of Leon, Glasvegas, Moby, Less Than Jake, No Use For A Name, The Mars Volta, Pixies, Social Distortion, Faith No More, The Wombats, Ben Harper & The Relentless, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Frank Turner, Portugal. The Man, The Gaslight Anthem, Keane, Die Ärzte, Lovedrug, Brand new, Anti-Flag, Eagles Of Death Metal, Disturbed, Nine Inch Nails,

Hurricane Festival and its sister festival Southside have been around since 1997 in its current form. What started as an alternative rock festival with only 20,000 guests has grown to a huge mainstream music festival with focus on the indie bands - which can be seen in the number of visitors: last year saw approximately 75,000 people attend the festival. With names like Kings Of Leon, Glasvegas, Franz Ferdinand and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, the indie and mainstream rock fans appetite has been met, but Hurricane hasn't forgotten about its roots either. Social D, NUFAN, Less Than Jake and Anti-Flag keep the punk flag flying high, while Brand New will be the scene-crowd favorite this year for sure. In the midst of such big names you've got quirky small acts like Portugal The Man and The Horrors as well. Go here if you're not into metal at all.

Hovefestivalen @ Hove, NOR 22-25 June

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available

Ticket price: 1850 NOK for a weekend ticket

URL: Official Website

Genres: Metal/Mainstream/Indie

Lineup highlights - 100+ bands in total: All That Remains, Architects, Benea Reach, Bring Me The Horizon, Disturbed, Eagles Of Death Metal, Enslaved, Franz Ferdinand, Hockey, M.Ward, Parkway Drive, Slipknot, The Black Dahlia Murder, The Gaslight Anthem, The Killers, The Prodigy, White Lies

Hove Festival is one of the two summer festivals in Norway contesting for the money of the Roskilde Festival attendees. Like Quart Festival, it usually has a better lineup than Roskilde Festival if measured from critical perspective, and this year is no exception. All That Remains, Architects, BMTH, Hockey, M.Ward, Parkway Drive, TBDM, Gaslight Anthem and White Lies each appeal to a particular scene, while Disturbed, Franz Ferdinand, Slipknot and The Killers will take care of the main stage slots. The festival prides itself (unofficially of course) on a great atmosphere and plenty of beautiful girls attending, and when you combine those together with the lineup, you have a winner.

Glastonbury Festival @ Glastonbury, UK 24-28 June

Ticket information: SOLD OUT

Ticket price: N/A

URL: Official Website

Genres: Indie/Rock/Pop/Hip-Hop/Mainstream

Lineup highlights - 200+ bands in total: Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Blur, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Madness, Bloc Party, White Lies, Franz Fredinand, Pendulum, The Prodigy, Glasvegas, Enter Shikari, Brand New, The Streets, Lamb, Black Eyed Peas, Roots Manuva, Fucked Up, The Gaslight Anthem, The Wombats, Animal Collective

"Well, if you haven't heard of Glastonbury during one part of your life, you have been living under a rock" is what I said back in 2007 when I was writing this article, and it's a statement worth repeating in 2009 as well. It is considered as the 'mother of all festivals' for many reasons - it has the most mud, the most indie rock bands and the most campers of any festivals on the continent. It is also spread out on such a large area that you'll be missing bands simply because it'll take you more than half an hour to wander to the stage you need, but that's all part of the festival experience I'm told. It was founded on similar hippie-principles as Roskilde, such as love everyone as you would like yourself to be loved, and thus the atmosphere at this festival is top notch. The only problem with such fame, though, is that the tickets sell out within minutes each year. It is legendary for its bad weather, but also legendary for people not giving a rats ass about it. While I personally say you haven't lived your live properly if you haven't been to Roskilde yet, the worldwide consensus seems to be the same about Glastonbury - even though the lineup is never among top contenders in Europe - though that too depends on who you ask.

West Coast Riot @ Gothenburg, SWE 25 June

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available

Ticket price: 750 SEK for a full one day ticket

URL: Official Website

Genres: Punk/Hardcore

Lineup highlights - 20+ bands in total with more TBA: Social Distortion, Pennywise, Sick Of It All, Gogol Bordello, Suicidal Tendencies, Raised Fist, No Use For A Name, The Gaslight Anthem, Face To Face, The Bouncing Souls, The Living End, The Aggrolites, Parkway Drive

If there's one festival that's anywhere near of challenging Groezrock's status as the Warped Tour of Europe, it'd be West Coast Riot in Gothenburg, Sweden. It popped onto the festival-goer map last year with an amazing lineup featuring NOFX, Bad Religion, Lagwagon and then some (the ultimate punk show?), and this year isn't bad either. Social D, Pennywise, SOIA, NUFAN, Gaslight Anthem, The Bouncing Souls... there's more big punk names here than anywhere else during the summer. That the festival is located right in central Gothenburg on a harbour with a huge motorway on one side and the sea front on the other is only a huge plus. It feels like the festival appeared from seemingly nowhere. The added bonus is that if you're staying overnight, Metal Town is held at the same site and that's two extra days.

Metal Town @ Gothenburg, SWE 26-27 June

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available

Ticket price: 750 SEK for a full one day ticket

URL: Official Website

Genres: Metal/Scene/Mainstream

Lineup highlights - 30 bands in total with more TBA: Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Disturbed, Volbeat, Dir En Grey, Children Of Bodom, Opeth, My Dying Bride, The Haunted, Meshuggah, Napalm Death, Trivium, Dragonforce, Dead By April, Pain, All That Remains, Municipal Waste, MUCC, Cult Of Luna, August Burns Red, Evergrey, Bring Me The Horizon, Hatesphere

Metal Town has been around for a few more years than it's punk sister festival West Coast Riot, which can be seen in that it's a two day festival and the lineup is crazy-good every year. This year might just be the best year in the festival's history though, with names like ATR, Slipknot, CoB, Opeth, The Haunted, Napalm Death, Trivium, August Burns Red, BMTH and lots more making sure your ears won't be the same after this weekend. The only problem is this: you cannot camp anywhere at the festival or in its vicinity, so you'll really need a hotel room if you'll come for both days.

Pressure Fest @ Essen, GER 27-28 June

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available

Ticket price: €35 for a weekend ticket, no camping as the festival is indoors

URL: Official Website

Genres: Punk/Hardcore

Lineup highlights - 21 bands in total: Betrayed, Coalesce, Have Heart, No Turning Back, Rise And Fall, Shipwreck AD, xKingdomx,

If the common trend amongs festivals across Europe has been that they've grown by a few dozen bands (and Euros) since two years ago, then Pressure Fest would be one of the exceptions. The lineup has almost halved, and all the big names disappeared. There are still a couple of hardcore legends on the bill (Coalesce being the flagship), but unless you live near Essen, don't bother this year. It's also an indoor festival so it just doesn't cut it this time around.

Quart Festival @ Kristiansand, NOR 30 June - 4 July

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available

Ticket price: 2200 NOK for a weekend ticket (including Beach Party)

URL: Official Website

Genres: Rock/Electronic/Mainstream

Lineup - 30 bands with more TBA: Marilyn Manson, Placebo, koRn, Chris Cornell, Volbeat, Meshuggah, Black Eyed Peas, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Slash & Friends (with Ozzy Osbourne)

Just like Hultsfred and Hove Festival, Quart festival is one of the brother/sister festivals of Roskilde in terms of atmosphere and its wide variety of different kind of people and artists performing over the weekend. Many bands are still to be announced at the time of writing, so it is difficult to give an overall impression of the lineup, Marilyn manson, Meshuggah, Black Eyed Peas, Chris Cornell and a bunch of DJ names on the bill, you know you're in for something pretty different. The festival also went bankrupt in 2008 and had to cancel the event, but have returned this year with a complete re-branding of the festival experience. Now it isn't just about the music and the atmosphere, now they have a goddamn beach at the festival as well. I'm serious. Sand, palm trees, hot Scandinavian babes in bikinis... how does that sound? Check it the fuck out. Too bad it's at the same time as Roskilde Festival, because combined with the lineup, Quart could really become a hit in my eyes.

July

Roskilde Festival @ Roskilde, DEN 2-5 July

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available

Ticket price:

URL: Official Website

Genres: Indie/Mainstream/Rock/Electronic

Lineup highlights - 200+ bands in total: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Coldplay, Faith No More, Nine Inch Nails, Oasis, Pet Shop Boys, Slipknot, Kanye West, Down, Eagles Of Death Metal, Madness, The Mars Volta, Mew, Social Distortion, Volbeat, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Amon Amarth, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, The Bronx, Cancer Bats, Darkane, Fucked Up, The Gaslight Anthem, Glasvegas, Gojira, Isis, M.Ward, Neurosis, Satyricon, Wolves In The Throne Room,

Is an introduction really necessary? We've been covering this festival five years now, and I'm sure we've said everything there is to say about it. The lineup is never one you'd approach with drooly lips, but yet there's always a handful of massive names, and a ton of cool bands you can always go check out because there isn't anything else better on. But which other festival lasts for 10 days in total including the queue experience? Which other festival is more about the camping than the weekend music? Having been to many festivals which either fail utterly at everything else than music, this is the one festival I'd recommend for people who enjoy the campsite experience at least as much as seeing the bands.

Rock Werchter @ Werchter, BEL 2-5 July

Ticket information: Sold out

Ticket price:

URL: Official Website

Genres: Indie/Mainstream

Lineup highlights - 56 bands in total: The Prodigy, Oasis, Placebo, Eagles Of Death Metal, Pendulum, Coldplay, The Killers, Bloc Party, White Lies, The Streets, M.Ward, Kings Of Leon, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Franz Ferdinand, Limp Bizkit, Social Distortion, Mogwai, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Kaiser Chiefs, The Mars Volta, Mastodon, Metro Station

Alongside Glastonbury, Rock Werchter is another award-winning European festival, having won the "best festival in the world" award four times in the new millenium alone. It is characterized by its second stage built in the shape of a pyramid, an attraction that can be seen from miles away given good weather. Rock Werchter has never been known for fielding hundreds of bands, but rather have delighted the crowds by booking quality acts only with very few exceptions. And looking at this year's list I can safely say that my copy-pasted last two sentences from the 2007 article still apply.. One of the 'recommended' festivals from our side.

With Full Force @ Roitzschjora, GER 3-5 July

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available

Ticket price: €79.50 for a weekend ticket with camping

URL: Official Website

Genres: Metal/Scene

Lineup highlights - 63 bands in total: Soulfly, Hatebreed, Motörhead, Dimmu Borgir, Amon Amarth, Down, Social Distortion, Carcass, Suicidal Tendencies, Sepultura, All Shall Perish, August Burns Red, Architects, Bring Me The Horizon, Comeback Kid, Bouncing Souls, D-A-D, God Forbid, Mastodon, My Dying Bride, Parkway Drive, Raunchy, Terror, The Red Chord, Vader, Walls Of Jericho

With Full Force has long been considered one of the metal titans when it comes to festivals. It's insanely cheap considering the 63 awesome metal bands it sports this year, and though the lineup this year isn't as super as last years, it's still pretty damn strong. And because the focus is on the dark genre, this festival needs an emo-warning stamp as any emo daring to step onto the grounds of this festival is not likely to get out alive - even though BMTH and Architects are actually on the bill this year. Highly recommended for the metalheads and heavier music fans alike.

Hultsfred Festival @ Hultsfred, SWE 8-11 July

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available

Ticket price: 1490 SEK for a weekend ticket with camping

URL: Official Website

Genres: Rock/Mainstream/Indie

Lineup highlights - 150+ bands with more TBA: The Killers, Kings Of Leon, Franz Ferdinand, Dropkick Murphys, Mando Diao, The Sounds, Madness, White Lies, Slagsmålsklubben, Cult Of Luna, Sonic Syndicate, Klaxons, Ice cube, Dead By April

Sweden's other main festival attraction Hultsfred Festival is, alongside Norway's Quart Festival, probably the one festival that will remind you most of Roskilde Festival, not just because it is located nearby, but because the camping atmosphere of the event should show many similar qualities to the great Danish festival - people will be friendly, everyone is drunk out of their minds and the 150+ bands on the bill this year guarantee that no matter what genre you are into, you will find it well represented, be it hip hop, Irish drunken punk rock with Drokick Murphys, chaotic hardcore or more mainstream rock with Franz Ferdinand (who seem to be playing every festival this year). There are plenty of weird artists as well (reggae, electronic etc), which attracts a wide variety of people to the festival, guaranteeing a great atmosphere. In fact, if there was one festival I would feel comfortable recommending to match Roskilde, it would be Hultsfred. But one caution is necessary though - the Swedish weather isn't at its best in mid June yet (despite Global Warming), so the chance of it all getting muddy is close to 50%!

T In The Park @ Kinross, UK 10-12 July

Ticket information: Sold out (only Friday day tickets remaining)

Ticket price: £170 for a weekend ticket

URL: Official Website

Genres: Indie/Rock/Mainstream

Lineup highlights - 100+ bands with more TBA: Kings Of Leon, Franz Ferdinand, Maximo Park, The Killers, Razorlight, Blur, Snow Patrol, Bloc Party, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Mars Volta, Nine Inch Nails, Jane's Addiction, White Lies, You Me At Six, Keane, Pendulum, Eagles Of Death Metal, The Gaslight Anthem, Manic Street Preachers, Glasvegas, Foals, TV On The Radio, Mogwai, Pet Shop Boys, The Streets, Of Montreal

If Wacken & Hellfest are metal meccas, then T In The Park is the equivalent for indie rock this year. The list of bands on the bill reads like a who's who list of the genre, with every single british indie rock sensation on the bill plus a bunch of brit rock bands that aren't actually British at all. Personally, I've rarely found any indie act to be too entertaining in a live setting no matter how good they might be on the record, so I won't endorse this festival musically, even if there are a bunch of other awesome bands on the bill as well. Atmosphere wise, expect a lot of Scottish flags and retardedly drunken Scottish men with kilts (well, I am exaggerating but still!) - loads of space to camp and no aggressive behaviour in general. But if you don't have a ticket, you won't be able to go, as this is one of those festivals that sells out almost immediately after tickets go on general sale.

Dour Festival @ Dour, BEL 16-19 July

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available

Ticket price: €85 for a four day pass without camping

URL: Official Website

Genres: Indie/Rock/Mainstream/Metal (everything)

Lineup highlights - 200+ bands: Meshuggah, Isis, The Aggrolites, Sepultura, Walls Of Jericho, Digitalism, Animal Collective, Killing Joke, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, The Red Chord, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Dropkick Murphys, Pet Shop Boys, All Shall Perish, Comeback Kid, Gojira, 65daysofstatic, Lionheart, The Gaslight Anthem, Aphex Twin, The Horrors, Rolo Tomassi,

Dour Festival in Belgium is perhaps the least rock-oriented festival out of all the ones we have listed so far. It shares many similarities to Roskilde in that it is known to be a platform for many unknown bands to significantly boost their popularity, and before you know you'll see some of these bands all over MTV (well, if they played music) and the radio. However, as the editor in chief of a rock oriented site I can't really recommend any of our readers to specifically choose the Dour Festival unless they are feeling particularly experimental, given the small number of rock/metal/punk bands on the bill in comparison to the rest of the lineup. Still, those electronic names tend to be rather good I hear so don't take my words for granted.

Ilosaarirock @ Joensuu, FIN 17-19 July

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available

Ticket price: €70 for a two day pass (does not include club tents on Friday)

URL: Official Website

Genres: Rock/Metal/Mainstream

Lineup highlights - 87 bands: Stratovarius, Walls Of Jericho, The Capital Beat, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Children Of Bodom, Isis, The Haunted, Disco Ensemble, Maximo park, Bad Brains, Killing Joke, Kotiteollisuus, Swallow The Sun, Obituary, Celesty, CMX

The Finnish festivals have been improving their lineups steadily in recent years as bands are willing to put more and more effort into touring thanks to declining CD sales. That's why Ilosaari rock in Eastern finland features internationally acclaimed stars like TDEP, Isis, The Haunted and Bad Brains alongside the regular Finnish guests in CoB, Disco Ensemble and Kotiteollisuus. With 87 bands there's lots to choose from, and since few and far between have been to Finland, why not make the festival your first introduction?

Wacken Open Air @ Wacken, GER 30 July - 1 August

Ticket information: Sold out

Ticket price: N/A

URL: Official Website

Genres: Metal

Lineup highlights - 52 bands with more TBA: Airbourne, Amon Amarth, Anthrax, Bring Me The Horizon, Bullet For My Valentine, Coheed & Cambria, D-A-D, Dragonforce, Enslaved, Epica, Gamma Ray, Grand Magus, Gwar, Hammerfall, Heaven & Hell, Heaven Shall Burn, In Extremo, In Flames, Lacuna Coil, Machine Head, Motörhead, Napalm Death, Nevermore, Pain, Rage, Saxon, Testament, Thin Lizzy, Turisas, Volbeat, Walls Of Jericho, Cathedral, Doro, Korpiklaani, Trouble, UFO

What is there to say about Wacken that hasn't already been said countless times before. Well, at the risk of boring you, let me just repeat it once again: Wacken is the metal festival in the world, the one place you want to be if you have long hair, a love for black leather and spiky accessories as well as brutal mosh pits. That's what I wrote in 2007 anyway. Since then there have been loud complaints over having names like BFMV and BMTH on the bill alongside the usual obscure metal names that only EW and AB will know anything about on this site. Has the festival gone commercial? Lets not pass judgement just yet, but at some point you could've hoped that the 20th anniversary would've celebrated with some even bigger names than now.

August

Ankkarock @ Vantaa, FIN 1-2 August

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available

Ticket price: €80 for a weekend ticket

URL: Official website

Genres: Metal/Rock

Lineup highlights - 26 bands with more TBA: Cavalera Conspiracy, Dragonforce, TV On The Radio, CMX, Ensiferum, Amon Amarth, Fucked Up, Testament, Amorphis, Kotiteollisuus, Sonata Arctica, Turisas

The second up-and-coming Finnish festival that's starting to draw international crowds. Ankkarock takes place in Vantaa, which is really just a part of the greater Helsinki area, so flight-based access is really easy. All big Finnish names play here more or less, and on top you've got one of the only European festival appearences this year by Cavalera Conspiracy. Not much is known about this festival just yet, but expect it to grow in size year-on-year.

Bloodstock Open Air @ Derby, UK 14-16 August

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available

Ticket price: £100 for a weekend ticket with camping

URL: Official website

Genres: Metal

Lineup highlights - 41 bands with more TBA: Arch Enemy, Carcass, Fear Factory, Battlelore, Municipal Waste, Saxon, Candlemass, Enslaved, Kreator, Apocalyptica, Blind Guardian, Cradle Of Filth, The Haunted, Amon Amarth, Gwar, Satyricon, Europe, Moonspell, Turisas

Tired of the whole corporate-thing almost every single festival other than Roskilde spits at you at every possible occasion? Turn your eyes towards Bloodstock Open Air, one of the fastest growing independent music festivals in Europe. In many ways it tries to follow in the footsteps of Wacken, booking many obscure metal names to support a couple of massive ones, and from what I hear, this is what makes this festival so special. It is probalby the most 'metal' gathering in the UK, meaning hundreds of bruises all over your body before the end of the festival. It is, however, relatively expensive for the amount of bands and its rather inconvenient location for foreigners, but it's beginning to draw a lot f folk who would otherwise go to Wacken in previous years.

Frequency Festival @ Salzburg, AUT 20-22 August

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available, unlikely to sell out

Ticket price: €105 for a weekend ticket with camping

URL: Official Website

Genres: Mainstream/Rock/Indie

Lineup highlights - 100 bands: Radiohead, The Prodigy, Mando Diao, Bloc Party, Rise Against, Pendulum, Editors, Eagles of Death Metal, AFI, The Subways, Jet, Anti-Flag, Volbeat, Glasvegas, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Enter Shikari

Frequency Festival has more than doubled in size since 2007, with 100 or so bands playing this year with a bunch of great bands playing alongside electronic names and DJs. The festival used to target the punk audiences, but have since expanded into mainstream rock and indie as well in an attempt to challenge the likes of Dour and Rock Werchter. Lineup seems decent, but couldn't it be better with that many corporate sponsors? Still a must-do if you're in the Central European area.

Pukkelpop @ Hasselt, BEL 20-22 August

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available, unlikely to sell out

Ticket price: €135 for a weekend ticket

URL: Official Website

Genres: Mainstream/Rock/Indie

Lineup highlights - 150+ bands: Faith No More, The Offspring, My Bloody Valentine, Razorlight, Deftones, Cavalera Conspiracy, Opeth, Bring Me The Horizon, Thursday, Rival Schools, Grizzly Bear, The Ghost Of A Thousand, Placebo, Kraftwerk, Snow Patrol, Glasvegas, The Get Up Kids, Face To Face, The Living End, Arctic Monkeys, 50 Cent, Eagles Of Death Metal, Klaxons, Anti-Flag, Life Of Agony, Mad Caddies, Enter Shikari, The Parlor Mob, Rolo Tomassi

Another mainstream festival, which has a bunch of names that aren't really playing elsewhere this season. Cavalera Conspiracy, Klaxons, My Bloody Valentine, Life Of Agony and The Parlor Mob will be the spectacles of Pukkelpop because of this reason specifically: have you noticed how all the other mainstream/indie/rock festivals have lineups that are like copies of each other? Here's something different, and I hear this is one of those festivals with lots and lots of atmosphere as well. Plus it's in Belgium so the beer can't be terrible.

Reading & Leeds Festivals @ Reading/Leeds, UK 28-30 August

Ticket information: Sold out

Ticket price: N/A

URL: Official Website

Genres: Scene/Rock/Mainstream/Indie

Lineup highlights - 100+ bands with more TBA: Kings Of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead, Kaiser Chiefs, The Prodigy, Bloc Party, Placebo, Maximo Park, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fall Out Boy, Deftones, Brand New, Funeral For A Friend, Enter Shikari, New Found Glory, Alexisonfire, Madina Lake, Sonic Boom Six, Eagles Of Death Metal, Fightstar, The Horrors, Gossip, Glasvegas, White Lies, You Me At Six, AFI, Lostprophets, Gallows, The Gaslight Anthem, Billy Talent, Anti-Flag, Bouncing Souls, Leftover Crack, Streetlight Manifesto, The Flatliners, The Ghost Of A Thousand, Rise Against, Thursday, The Bronx, Mad Caddies, Set Your Goals, Municipal Waste, A Wilhelm Scream, Polar Bear Club

Yeah, Reading/Leeds festivals have the best lineup this year without contest. There's a boatload of great indie name, but they are matched with equally good scene names and much of the festival is starting to look like Groezrock, part England. They sound otherwise great, but unfortunately these festivals are notorious for their band-bottling and bad atmospheres at shows, as if people screw the bands they like and just go watch those that they don't. Sounds retarded, but I guess that's the UK mindset. Still, with acts like Polar Bear Club, The Gaslight Anthem, New Found Glory, Deftones, Brand New, Radiohead, Placebo and more fronting the bill... how can you resist this festival? Well, it's sold out already, but besides that.

September

Two Days A Week Festival @ Wiesen, AUT 4-5 September

Ticket information: Plenty of tickets available

Ticket price: €80 for a weekend ticket

URL: Official Website

Genres: Mainstream

Lineup highlights - 12 bands with many more TBA: The Offspring, Millencolin, Dragonforce, Bouncing Souls, Fake Problems, The Sorrow

This festival is more of a developing story given it's brand new and first names have just been announced, but if within the first 12 names you can afford announcing The Offspring, Millencolin, Dragonforce, Bouncing Souls and Fake Problems all at once, we'll all be waiting with drooly lips over just what's coming in the next few batches. Keep an eye on our news feed.

Final Word

So there it is, your best-ever guide for European summer festivals in 2009. In retrospect, this article probably should have been written somewhere around early may for you to get most ouf of the early to mid June festivals, but honestly, then half the festivals wouldn't have announced their lineups and we couldn't really tell you what to do. Take it as your cue for next summer because some of the more popular festivals will sell out extremely early for next year too. For those of you who have a Roskilde Festival ticket - I hope to see all of you come by the Rockfreaks.net camp on Camping Site East at some point, keep an eye on the front page for instructions on how and where to meet us for a beer or ten.

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