Some people take a gap year after college to travel. Maybe they'll do a Eurotrip and hop around from Paris to Florence to Barcelona making sure to hit the big touristy sites. Maybe they'll work at the local Banana Republic while watching reruns of Keeping Up with the Kardashians in their parents' basement. That's cool and all, but aren't music festivals so much more exciting? Here's how us you should take that year off if given the chance (please give us the chance) and the budget (give us that too!).
Get out of that cold beginning-of-winter slump and start your festival journey in the beautiful Mexican Riviera at The BPM Festival (January 9-18, 2015). Hang out with techno's elite—from Richie and Ricardo to Maya and Jamie—the post New Year's ten-day fest sprawls around Playa del Carmen and so will your body after committing to a post-holiday calorie burn-off consisting entirely of dancing. You'll feel nice and relaxed heading into the year of festivaling. The rest of January is pretty slow, unless you want to flaunt your sunburn to the snow bunnies. In that case, drop in for one weekend of the month-long Igloofest (January 16-18, 2014) in Montreal. Enjoy a snowball fight while the best in underground house and techno legends bump it all night.
The 28-day month in the heart of the winter also leaves us with few festival options, but take a break from enjoying the quiet month at home by setting sail with Holy Ship! (February 18-21, 2015)The good news is you'll be perfectly prepared following last month's adventure in Mexico, and both the lineup and travel destinations are different from the January sailing of the Ship. In February you'll hear an unprecedented lineup of Skrillex, Fatboy Slim, Cajmere and Basement Jaxx while hitting up Nassau and Coco Cay, Bahamas. Down in Australia it's still summer, though, and they host a very alternative St. Jerome's Laneway festival celebrates winding urban lanes in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Auckland towards the end of February. That should get you through the month.
It's time for the first overseas portion of this trip. From March 5-8, Mutek takes over Barcelona. You've got Andy Scott, Deadbeat, Kode 9, Scratcha DVA and enough Gaudi-designed buildings to keep you satisfied. Then head over to the king of all untz—Ultra Miami (March 27-29, 2015). This is the mother of all dance festivals in North America and anybody who calls themselves a fan will go at least once because the lineups always feature a roster of everyody. Really. From Tiësto and Steve Angello to Moon Boots and Posso with Basement Jaxx and Carl Cox in between, this is where you will live your dance dreams under the Miami sun.
Busy season is now. Since you've spent much of the winter travelling to hot places like the the Gulf of Mexico, start off April with former mountain fest (now moved to the city) Snowball (early April) where you'll be catching the last bit of snow in Denver. Since you've got money to blow, you can follow that up with Snowbombing (April 7-12, 2014) over in Austria. Compare the slopes and the music across the world. If your body can handle to constant seasonal changes, head back to the desert for Coachella (April 11-13, 2014) and LED Dayclub (April17-20, 2014) and then finish the month off in Georgia for Counterpoint (April 25-27, 2014). You can breath now, but only for a minute.
May comes in quick with the beginning of the month usually marking the start of Ibiza season, so head back to Spain people! Soon after is Electric Zoo Mexico City (May4-5, 2014), so if you want to be an E-Zoo champion you're going to have to hop on a jet. Lucky for you, you'll have a little break to head home and breath, but just for a couple of weeks. Come memorial day weekend you'll likely have to chose between EDC New York (May 24-25, 2014), Mysteryland (May23-25, 2014), Movement Detroit (May 23-25, 2015), Sunset Music Festival (May 24-25, 2014), Sasquatch (May 23-25, 2014) and Lightning in a Bottle (May 22-26, 2014). We recommend Mysteryland or Movement—or try to spend one day at each. The next week, Primavera Sound (May 28-31, 2014)hits Barcelona so get back to Spain. You won't regret it. Super Sonic booms into Birmingham from May 30-31, 2014 and Piknik Electronic also starts in Montreal on May 11, so back up there for some good music every Sunday from now through September.
Hideout Festival (June 30-July 3, 2014) is a highlight this month along the beautiful waters in Croatia. Stunning scenery that's relatively affordable once you're there. Get there. There's also Spring Awakening (June13-15, 2014), Ultra Korea (June13-14, 2014) and Bonnaroo (June 12-15, 2014) all the same weekend. For this one we recommend Korea because 1) Asia and 2) it's a dream of every raver to hit every Ultra in one year. Just the idea sounds magical. From Korea, head on over to Vegas for the psychadellic wonder that is the original Electric Daisy Carnival (June20-22, 2014). Following all that Vegas stimulus, you'll be happy to enter the Michigan woods for Electric Forest (June 26-29, 2014), but if you'd rather spend more time abroad with your hardstyle bros, DefQon.1 (June 27-29, 2014)has a festival over in the Netherlands that awaits you.
Kick off July with Riverwest Music Festival (July 4-6, 2014) in the greatest second city—Chicago, Illinois. Next comes Serbia's Exit Festival (July 10-13, 2014), Ultra Europe (July 11-13, 2014), Barcelona's Sonar (June 12-14, 2014) and EDC London (July 12, 2014). Since you've already been to Barcelona, we'll say chose between Exit, EDC or Ultra—to complete that full Ultra tour of the world. Maybe spend a day or two in each and hit 'em all. Head to Cape Town to enjoy South Africa at the Cape Town Music Festival (July 18-19, 2014) and then you MUST fly back to Belgium for the greatest electronic music festival in the world, Tomorrowland (July 18-20, 2014). End the month at Gathering of the Vibes (July 31-August 3, 2014) in Connecticut because although the location is a bit lame, it wins for best festival name, by far. If you'd rather be somewhere more exotic, head back to Australia for Splendour in the Grass (late July). It's pretty crunch granola, but you could use that in the midst of this year of excess.
The hottest month of the summer can commence lakeside on Chicago's beaches at Lollapalooza (August 1-3, 2014). Continue your tour of America's Midwest up in Wisconsin at Summer Set Music & Camping Festival ( August 15-17, 2014) and then head back to Chicago for North Coast (August 29-31, 2014). If you're sick of the Midwest, though, there's a whole world of music festivals happening over on the west coast. Outside Lands (August 8-10, 2014) starts of early in the month within view of San Fransisco's Golden Gate Bridge, HARD Summer (August 2-3, 2014) happens in the great city of LA and, of course, how could we forget Nevada's Burning Man, the full week from August 25 through September 1 (which we admit is more of an immersive full-body experience than a typical festival). That's a must-see for your year of festival craziness, but if you'd rather stay partying hard in the big city stick with Electric Zoo (August 29-31, 2014). It's a stellar second option.
The summer's almost over by now, but that doesn't mean festival world is. Start off September with a trip back to Croatia for Outlook Festival (September 3-7, 2014), check out America's version of Tomorrowland at TomorrowWorld (September 26-28, 2014) and see what goodies Seattle has to offer at Decibel (September 24-28, 2014). Finally, finish up the official Ultra tour with a trip to Japan (September 27-28, 2014). Dreams do come true.
October is officially America's Sensation month. Hit Vegas (October 5, 2014) , New York (October 26, 2014) and Miami (October 12, 2014) for the full Sensation experience. See what the Dutch DJ thing is all about with the Amsterdam Dance Event (October 15-19, 2014) and dance away the month at Mutek Mexico City (October 20-26, 2014). If you're trying to keep things international, head to Italy celebrate Holloween at Movement Torino (October 31, 2014)
You haven't been on a boat in a while. Lucky for you Mad Decent's got their own boat party going down mid-November with Mad Decent Boat Party (November 12-16, 2014). Use it as an opportunity to wind down from the busy year.
Spend the entire month resting up for New Years Eve. You deserve it.
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