The Complete Overview!
If you’re on this page, you’re probably thinking about having a holiday in Spain or if you’re one of the lucky ones that lives here. Good choice. Spain is an absolutely beautiful country home to amazing architecture and food, as well as a charm that irresistible to all.
Though more importantly, it’s a hotspot for some of the best music and cultural festivals you can find in Europe, especially during its jam-packed summer season.
Another great thing about spain in general and holidaying in Spain is that general living costs in relation to quality of life and experience is quite cheap here in comparison to other countries in europe. I should know, I live here.
Only main problem is, which festivals should you go to since there are so many? And when are they?
To solve this, I’ve tried to create a calendar index below where you can find out exactly what these festivals are about and when they are, so you can find out and plan your tour to exactly what you want.
Not sure when or what festivals you want to go to? Before we get on to the calendar, here are some of my personal festival suggestions.
The Top 5 Festivals in Spain
Since its first debut over 17 years ago, Primavera Sound has catapulted itself into becoming one of the world’s most well-known and loved music festivals.
Taking place in the beautiful catalan capital of Barcelona, this giant of a festival showcases a lineup equal to none, across multiple genres presenting talents from all over the world.
From superstars of the electronic world to rising prodgies of alternative indie rock and Hip Hop, Primavera has something truly spectacular to offer music fans all over the world
Even if the sensational music programme isn’t enough for you, there are also art exhibitions, record fairs, secret performances and amazing spanish and catalan food delights to try all over the world-famous city of Barcelona. Not forgetting of course it’s mesmerizing beaches kissing the mediterranean sea underneath the shining spanish sun.
All in all, Primavera is an experience that is never forgotten, and is a must-have if you plan on visiting Spain
First debuting over 24 years ago Sonar has become internationally-acclaimed as being a world pioneer in the digital creative industry.
By day, it holds installations, workshops, talks, debates and seminars dedicated to the forefront of musical and audiovisual production that shapes and uncovers new movements in musical culture.
Of course also, it has a musical programme that is probably unmatched in the world in the genres of electronic, house and techno as Sonar has such a massive variety as it displays and pushes the very edges and evolution of music in those genres.
Personally, I think the festival itself is an absolute thrill. To stand and see the forefront of digital music evolve in front of you in place dedicated to pushing the boundaries of our musical and technological culture is honestly mesmerising.
Given it also takes place in Barcelona, you also have beaches and magnificent architecture, food and culture to soak in alongside the sun.
As a result of the absolute spectacle of a festival and environment it is, Sonar is an unmissable highlight of the summer season worldwide.
Festival Internacional de Benicàssim
Starting 23 years ago, Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (FIB) has solidified itself as an absolute giant in the world of music with its unbeatable line-ups of Pop, Indie, Electronic and Hip Hop alongside multiple other genres.
Taking place on the stunning beach of Benicàssim, tens of thousands from all over europe flock to the 4-day festival where you can camp at the site for over a week, enjoying the beauty and charm of the coastal city even after the festival itself has past.
FIB itself is possibly the closest you can get to an all-in-one package for a ‘beach summer holiday’ given the beach setting and all-night party atmosphere and is a definite must-have for a fully complete summer of musical joy and partying.
Mad Cool Festival
Even though it only has had four editions so far, Mad Cool Festival has already established itself as one of the elites of the music festival scene.
Based in the Spanish capital of Madrid, Mad Cool showcases absolutely massive line-ups every year with global talents and superstars from all over the world, making it absolutely dominate the stage of Pop, Rock and Alternative music, whilst also exploring the best in Electronic, Techno and many other sub-genres.
As a result of Mad Cool exploring and offering such massive line-ups across so many genres, it becomes a eclectic spectacle both on the stage as well as in the crowd, as it draws so many fans from so many different realms of the musical world, making it an absolute blast to both discover and enjoy the other performances of genres you’re not used to as well as their diverse and passionate fans.
All of these different aspects really make it deserve the name of a “Mad Cool” Festival, as well as its solidification as one the established festival elites that I think every music fan such as yourself, needs to visit at least once in their life.
Finally, my last suggestion is probably the festival most dedicated to the genre of rock in all of its many forms.
Taking place in a city called Vitoria-Gasteiz located in the north of Spain, Azkena Rock is a 2-day musical festival that offers possibly the purest and most uncommercial feel and love for Rock that I’ve ever seen.
Displaying massive line-ups of major established superstars of the genre of rock across its multiple sub-genres’, Azkena Rock delivers an unforgettable experience that really shows its devotion to the history and evolution of rock and what it means to all of us rock fans across the globe.
Thus, thousands flock to the rock paradise every year to share their love for rock as they marvel at the stage filled with known superstar performances as well as up-and-coming rising talents that will further evolve and take on the mantle, leading rock into the next generation.
What I personally find the most attracting thing about this festival is the pure and uncommercial feel that this festival has, making it feel so… real.
Overall, if you’re a fan of rock (or even possibly just a general fan of music), you should absolutely visit Azkena Rock.
Okay, that’s it for my first personal suggestions of major festivals. It was really hard, and I know so many people will have different wants and tastes to mine, so now we come to the real meaty bit of this page.
Below now comes a calendar index/list that I made, listing the festivals that happen during each month of the year, as well as brief explanation of the major things that happen during that month and its general feel.
Do check it out and see if there’s any festivals you’re interested in!!
January…The cold but fresh start of the year, opening with 01 New Year’s Day Festival where you can begin the new year dancing to the beat of the freshest tunes in Techno, Electronic and House music. Or if you prefer, Guitar BCN, a smaller but intimate festival can instead offer you a showcasing of the almost all genres of music made with the beloved guitar.
February is perhaps the least busy month in terms of festivals given the cold weather and awkward timing. However Guitar BCN does still perform in this month and is definitely something worth visiting if you enjoy the guitar, so do check their programme for this month and see if there’s something you might want to see.
March…The month where the chill of winter starts to fade away as the blossoms of Spring start to creep in, bringing with it the first kick-start to Spain’s major festival calendar as things get warmer, allowing Spain’s real charm to bloom as Spring break starts for many of you.
This month sees the scene of Electronic, Dance and Techno really starting to liven up as MUTEK Barcelona and Daydream festival enter the calendar alongside Brunch in the City’s first performance of the year.
If you’re into Reggae and Indie music then don’t worry, you’ve got International Dub Gathering and Sansan Festival heading your way, shaking off your chills of winter and firing you up with the warm embrace of music so you can really blossom this Spring.
As Spring starts to settle in and make itself at home, as the reggae of International Dub Gathering ends during the beginning of this month, things open up to some new fresh tunes as new genres now enter the scene.
One of these being Festimad’s impressive Multi-Genre portfolio bringing together Pop, Jazz, Soul, Hip Hop and Indie Rock to Spain’s display of music in Madrid.
As well as this, House music also starts to make an appearance alongside Electronic and Techno at Electrosplash in the ‘City of Arts and Sciences’, Valencia.
As Spring warms up into summer during May as the sun shines brighter with more people hitting the beaches, Festimad’s last performance closes and we enter a new month of musical euphoria.
May sees the entrance of more internationally renowned festivals such as the more Electronic/House Dance focused IMS IBIZA and Spring Break Salou, as well as Mallorca Live Festival and Warm Up Festival’s more Pop and Indie Rock showcasing of talents from across the globe.
As well as this, Love the 90’s starts its tour this month in Madrid and Sevilla for all of you nostalgic fans who can’t get enough of the 90s.
Of course, towards the end of the month comes possibly Spain’s most famous festival presenting a spectacular goodbye to the beauty of spring at Primavera Sound, a multi-genre festival display the absolute best in genres including Indie, Electronic and Hip Hop (amongst others) with their spectacular line-ups.
I live in Barcelona and I gotta say, Primavera Sound was a euphoric experience I will never forget, and neither would anyone who loves music.
June is where Spring blooms into the perfect young summer, presenting Spain in probably its most beautiful light with a charm that never seems fade no matter how long you’re there.
As we start the summer, Spain’s programme of music festivals steps up its game another notch.
Rock giants such as Azkena Rock, Download Festival Madrid and Garage Sound make an entrance alongside electronic behemoths such as A Summer Story and Animal Sound.
In combination with this though, there are also smaller more niche festivals like Blackisback! Weekend for lovers of black soul and funk, as well as Mulafest, a unique garage, indie and electronic festival that is also dedicated to urban art, photography, motor and tattoo art.
Basically, there is a lot of festivals in June from which you can definitely find something to fit your taste which I suggest you check out below.
Now we are happily settled in the heat of Summer with most people in their holidays feeling adventurous and ready to plan their tours across Spain.
As a result, July is also the month packed with the most music festivals in the entire year across the entirety of Spain allowing you to travel across all of spain throughout your tour whilst hitting festival titans at each single stop you make.
Here you have the freedom to hear a lot of the most famous and up-and-coming talents of all genres at the most popular and famous colossal events such Festival Internacional de Benicàssim, Sónar, BBF, Bilbao BBK and Arenal Sound.
To be honest, I could list all of the major festivals that happen during this month for each taste and genre but there are so many during this month that incorporate even more than just an amazing musical programme, such as art exhibitions, gastronomical delights, panels and so much more.
It’s better honestly to just check below and see which festivals are the ones you want see on your tour of Spain in July.
Whilst in August, the beauty and warmth of summers in other countries start to fade away, Spain still remains to be in perfect summer holiday conditions as the charm of summer is something that is often reluctant to leave this paradise of a country.
It makes you forget that Autumn is actually starting to settle in.
As a result of this, August is actually the second most popular month for music festivals as things start to cool down a bit, making it nicer for those who can’t handle the prime-time heat of July (such as myself).
During the beginning of this month, as the titan festival Arenal Sound comes to a close, things open up bright and bombastic with Los Alamos Beach Festival, guaranteed to deliver an exhilarating performance in the Electronic/EDM spectrum of music.
Other big names on the electronic scene I personally find are also amazing are Medusa Sunbeach, Aquasella, as well as Dreambeach Villaricos who also include some more Hardbass and Hardstyle Techno for those of you that are into it or just wanna explore the best that sub-genre has to offer as it blows up the crowd into a dance frenzy.
For those of you into Indie Pop and Indie Rock, you’ve got some great choices I suggest you check out such as Sonorama Ribera, Ebrovision and Gigante.
There’s also Leyendas del Rock if you are more of a Hard Rock/ Heavy Metal kind of person.
What’s also especially interesting in the list of festivals happening in August, leading onto September, is ‘The Ark’.
The Ark is honestly a different class of music festival in which it actually takes place on a massive and lavish cruise ship, voyaging across the western mediterranean setting sail from Barcelona and voyaging to the Balearic Islands and even stopping by the south of France, all whilst hosting the best global talents in Electronic music.
It’s honestly an amazing festival like no other, though accordingly, given it’s also a fully serviced lavish cruise, it’s also quite expensive.
Alongside this there are also the Cap Roig and Starlite festival that host performances of multiple genres and are definitely worth checking out.
Finally, a massive name to look out for in this month is Rototom Sunsplash, a reggae festival showcasing brilliant performances and talents that has thus earned it international renown and has solidified itself as one of Spain’s most famous festivals.
Now in September we are firmly settled in Autumn with the weather settling down to nice comfortable temperatures that are neither hot nor cold for anyone, whilst still maintaining the warmth and charm of the spanish sun.
As The Ark finishes its voyage during the beginning of this month we come to a new range of fun festivals to visit that present fantastic line-ups.
In the realm of Indie and Rock, there is Granada Sound, a more Indie Pop-focused DCODE and a more alternative-focused Donostia Festibala.
In the kingdom of Electronic, House and Techno we instead have Into the Valley and Loveland Festival which take place towards the end of the month.
Last but not least, there is the famed Chanquete World Music Festival that showcases performance of multiple genres from around the world including those such as Hip Hop and Reggae during the middle of the month.
In October the spanish Autumn starts to become more chilled as we inch closer to winter and as a result, the amount of music festivals do start to reduce themselves significantly from this point onwards. But the festivals that do still take place in October are amazing just as well, with no dip in quality at all, allowing you to still enjoy your music festival needs.
A very notable name in October is BIME Live Festival, which is Spain’s largest indoor festival, showcasing multi-genre performances including Rock, Pop, Alternative and Electronic.
Also alongside this is the famous Caravan Sur, an excellent festival taking place in Sevilla with a mesmerising mix of Funk, Reggae, Classic/Latin Rock, Soul and Blues. It’s a mostly local festival in terms of crowd but is an excellent event to experience if you are in or near Sevilla during the beginning of the month.
Alongside this there is also another great reggae and dub festival known as Telerama Dub Barcelona, as well as the famed Akubierto, a performance loved by fans of Rock, Punk and Heavy Metal.
Now in November as we settle into Winter, the amount of music festivals have now reduced significantly as more and more people are reluctant to leave their cozy warm homes to go out into the cold (such as myself).
Though for those of you that aren’t bothered by it, you have the choice of the excellent and honestly stunning Sensation Madrid that blasts the best beats in electronic music whilst also delivering a great visual euphoria of a performance.
It’s honestly one that I’d recommend going to if you’re planning to be in the Spanish capital this month.
On the other hand, if you’re further down south in Sevilla and are a fan of Indie, then I’d definitely push you to check out Monkey Week, a nice and cozy local week of great showcasing of Indie talents amongst a warm crowd.
Finally, we’re at the end of the year now, and after a long and excellent blast of amazing and unforgettable performances with festivals that we got to experience all across the beautiful country of Spain, now things must come to an end, such as all things in life, as we prepare ourselves for the next coming year.
However, luckily we get to have some last final experiences of musical euphoria before the year is over.
The first of these being the last final performance of the amazing tour of Love the 90s, taking place in Bilbao as their final destination, giving you one final show of the nostalgic 90s.
Finally at the end, is DGTL Madrid. For those of you know the famed Dutch roots of DGTL will know that it is a perfect final festival to end the year on as it showcases the absolute best in Electronic House and Techno from the underground, leaving you well satisfied as you finish the year, ready for the next.
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