5 Biggest Techno Festivals in Europe

14th September 2023 | Category: Concerts

Electronic music is among the widest genres of music in the world. It’s not pop music, but its popularity is nearly the same, as evidenced by the number of techno music festivals scattered across the globe each year.

In this article, we bring you the biggest techno festivals in Europe, accepting fans and electronic music enthusiasts from all corners of the Earth. Enjoy!

EXIT Festival, Serbia

EXIT Festival might not be of the same size as Tomorrowland, but it’s quickly shaping to become a match for the Belgian event. Each year, nearly 200,000 people flock to the Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad, Serbia. Before the pandemic, EXIT hit an all-time high with 215,000 visitors in 2017. However, the pandemic changed things dramatically, but that made the festival soar. A fun fact is that EXIT is the first major European festival to host over 180,000 attendees in 4 days a year after the pandemic.

The story of EXIT begins in 2000 with a student movement fighting for democracy and freedom in Serbia. The Yugoslavian elections in the same year caused the organizers to move the event from the University Park to the Fortress overlooking the river Danube. The next couple of years proved that EXIT is a serious contender for the techno music throne, which also sparked interest in privatizing the festival. That is why the founders decided to gift the festival to the city of Novi Sad, in an effort to keep it within the city.

Years later, and EXIT still keeps attracting thousands of visitors and winning awards. European Festivals Awards have declared EXIT the Best Major Festival twice, while U Festivals Awards awarded the event the Best European Festival Award in 2007.

The 4-day summer festival takes place each year in July, hosting over 1000 artists on 40 stages and music zones.

Tomorrowland, Belgium

Tomorrowland takes place during 2 weekends each July. In 2022, it was announced the festival would expand to 3 weekends instead of only 2. You can buy tickets right HERE.

It’s hard to say which one is the biggest as they are all quite massive, but the Belgian Tomorrowland seems to be the easiest one to recognize. It’s been referenced in a number of films and shows, and for many inexperienced listeners a true beacon of electro music across the globe. International Dance Music Awards have even named Tomorrowland the Best Musical Event of the Year five times already! Numerous other accolades and awards proudly decorate the Belgian festival, and there’s no doubt many other accolades are to follow in the coming years.

The large-scale festival dedicated to EDM music is held in Boom, Belgium. Boom is a smaller city in the Antwerp province, home to the De Schorre recreational park, the actual site of the festival.

Tomorrowland has been hosted in the same place since 2005, which is when the idea was born and executed by the brothers Manu and Michiel Beers. Over the years, the festival has grown considerably, and each year, over 500,000 people visit the Belgian techno fest. In 2023, it was reported that over 600,000 people visited Tomorrowland during the 6-day extravaganza.

A key thing about Tomorrowland is the stage setting, as that is perhaps one of the main things people see first when Tomorrowland is on. A recognizable massive stage always displays unmatched visuals, so it’s certainly one of the key festivals to visit during the year.

Sziget Festival, Hungary

From Boom and Novi Sad we move to the Serbian neighbor Hungary, and the famous festival Sziget. The Sziget Fesztivál is among the best and largest EU music festivals. Although it is on our list of techno festivals, Sziget is actually a large-scale music event honoring a wide scope of music genres, including rock, reggae, pop, and heavy metal. In other words, although electronic dance music makes up a massive part of Sziget, there’s more to the Hungarian fest than meets the eye.

First things first: Sziget is an annual music even taking place in August. Much like EXIT, it’s near the river Danube, a massive European river flowing through several European capitals. More specifically, Sziget is held on Óbudai-sziget, and island on the Danube in Northern Budapest. The island, whose name translates into Old Buda Island, is the biggest island on the river in Budapest.

Sziget also started as a student project and grew into an international festival. In 1993, Müller Péter Sziámi, Károly Gerendai and their friends decided to create an event to end the festival crisis in Budapest started by the loss of government funding. The first-ever Sziget festival was held that same year under the name Diáksziget. A couple of years later, the event caught the attention of Pepsi which decided to sponsor the event, and by the time 2002 rolled in, Sziget got its official name that still stands even today.

The fest hosts over 1000 artists and performances each year, which, along with its unique location, makes for a highly must-see experience for experienced festival-goers and EDM music fans.

Awakenings Festival, the Netherlands

If numbers are our primary way to select the biggest techno music festival in Europe, the Dutch Awakenings would certainly take the crown. This right here is among the biggest music events in the world, if not the biggest. Awakenings however, is not a single event – it’s a collection of events and parties taking place from Easter to New Years Eve.

There are two versions of the festival – the Awakenings Festival (happening indoors) and the Awakenings Summer Festival, which typically happens outdoors. The Summer Festival is currently among the largest events of this calibre in the world, and it was officially started in 2022.

However, let’s go back to the start. The very first Awakenings event was held in Gashouder of the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam in 1997. Since then, the festival has changed the location a few times, first by moving to Rotterdam and then Eindhoven, but eventually the Gashouder became the home of Awakeningsfeest once again.

As one of the most important events for electronic music in the world, Awakenings has influenced entire generations of artists and enthusiasts to create and enjoy EDM music. Today, dozens of events associated with the brand are taking place across EU and the world – including Australia, the USA, and Brazil. Nowadays, the Festival takes place in April (because of its association with Easter), while the Summer Festival takes place at Hilvarenbeek. The Summer Festival also takes place in July, just like Tomorrowland and EXIT.

Sónar, Spain

Exactly one year after the birth of Sziget, Spain got its own large-scale music spectacle with Sónar. Ricard Robles, Enric Palau, and Sergi Caballero teamed up and created the 3-day event as a way to celebrate not just music – although music is the focus – but also technology and creativity.

In short, Sónar is a 3-day event taking place in June each year in Barcelona. But in reality, the Sónar festival is much more than that. The debut event was known as the Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art, and in 2013, the spectacle grew to include the Sónar+D congress honoring technology and business. Today, it’s a true celebration of digital content, tech advancements, and the future of music. In a way, it’s the trendsetter among fests, as many trends and movements start right here in the heart of Barcelona, and then slowly trickle down to the rest of Europe once the gates of Sónar close.

When it comes to the music part, there are two parts of the event: the Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night. The Sónar by Day takes place during the day, when visitors get a chance to enjoy and experience an array of events and shows. Then, once the night falls, the Sónar by Night begins and lasts until the sun goes up. Both parts of the festival offer unique experiences for visitors, but the Sónar+D congress is the cherry on top as the nexus for cutting-edge art, music, and technology. A true outside-of-the-box, envelope-pushing event in the heart of Spain. You can get tickets for the festival HERE.

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