From Download To Hellfest: Europe's Top Five Rock Festivals

There's nothing like going absolutely mental at a rock festival, especially when you're up to your knees in mud... Ready, set, MOSH!
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There's nothing like going absolutely mental at a rock festival, especially when you're up to your knees in mud... Ready, set, MOSH!

Its March, it’s still snowing, its freezing and half of us still haven’t recovered financially from Christmas - which means one thing. It’s time to start thinking about spending a shed load of money on drinking beer for breakfast, eating nothing but junk food and generally acting irresponsibly in a field for the weekend. That’s right, It’s time to start thinking about booking festivals and this summer I urge you to try something a bit different and get yourself to one of the truly awesome rock, punk or metal festivals around Europe this summer. So, for your viewing pleasure, here’s my top 5 pick of the biggest and best fests this year.



14th - 16th June | £205 for five nights

Slipknot | Iron Maiden | Limp Bizkit | The Hives

Download comes in 5th place for one crucial reason. There are some great bands manning up the main and smaller stages, and whilst it will be undoubtedly hilarious to dance, pissed, round a muddy field to ‘Rollin’ by Limp Bizkit , price wise, Download works out pretty much the same as some of the European Festivals. However chances are in Europe, you’ll be basking in sun rather than mud. Simple.


4 -7th July | 200 euros for a combi ticket, day tickets priced at 80 euros.

Kings of Leon | Blur | Depeche Mode

The most ‘user friendly’ festival on this list is Rock Werchter, (it gets points over Download simply for being somewhere more inclined to be warm and dry). Now strictly speaking, a line up that features Dizzee Rascal, The Script and John Legend isn’t really alternative as such – however it also features Rammstein, Gogol Bordello and a host of others, so it’s a festival for those of you too nervous to fully commit to rock out with your cock out or who fancy some occasional chart hits too. Just, for the love of God, don’t watch The Script. Don’t go all the way to Belgium to watch The Script. There should be laws against that sort of behavior.


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3. GROEZROCK |Belgium

27th - 28th April | 110 euros for weekend, add 15 euros for camping

Rise Against | Bad Religion | Billy Talent

Festival and Camping tickets sold separately. Price from 110 euros.

If you can’t wait till the summer months, Belgium’s Groezrock is punk through and through and takes place in April.  Celebrating its 22nd year this year, Groezrock doesn’t just bring you the sort of punk you’ll remember from your teens, such as The Used and Story if the Year ,it also has  big name acts like Bad Religion and a bit of metal in the form of Killswitch Engage.

2. ROCK AM RING | Germany

7-9 June | Tickets are priced at 179,50 euro (approx £150) including any fees, camping and parking.

Prodigy | Biffy Clyro | Green Day

Germany offers up a cracking line up including enough well known acts to lure you away from Reading or Leeds (think Jake Bugg and All Time Low), but enough big name rock, punk and slightly novel acts (Clutch, Korn  and Limp Bizkit ) to make this festival worth the journey too.

1.     HELLFEST. (France)

21st – 23rd June | 160 Euros 3 day pass, packages with travel available from £299. Hotel packages from £409.

Kiss | Def Leppard | NOFX

Top spot goes to Hellfest, over in western France.  With prices starting pretty low (75 Euros) for a day pass, you could slot in some sightseeing either side of raising hell to the dulcet tones of Def Leppard. Or, you could not bother, set up a tent and watch some of punk, metal and cock rock's biggest stars (and longest tongues – here’s looking at you Gene...) such as KISS, Bad Religion, Cult of Luna, NOFX, ZZ Top and Europe. With a nice, probably lukewarm, French beer in hand. Win all round.