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2013 Best European City Festivals Guide

2013 Best European City Festivals Guide - Summer Festival arena stages and stallsAs winter refuses to release its icy grip on the hearts, minds and extremities of the UK public, what better time to look across the Channel towards the next warm front of festivals. In this PAAM volunteer software blog, we take you on a non-stop hop around the continent to discover the best European city festivals of 2013. Whether you fancy seeing the Pet Shop Boys in Barcelona, Blur in Belgium or the Smashing Pumpkins in Slovakia, be sure to check out PAAM's forecast of the best of this year's European musical elopements. If you like a bit of sea and sand with your music, however, don't miss our next blog on the best European beach festivals of 2013.

Sonar Festival 2013

Barcelona (Spain), 13-15 June 2013, EUR 130.00

If there was ever a year to attend the annual Sonar Festival, 2013 is it, as the event is celebrating its 20th birthday, not only with the usual European city festival in Barcelona, but also with sister events in Reykjavik, Toyka and San Paulo. Appearing at this year's Spanish fiesta are the legendary Pet Shop Boys, Dominick Fernow's techno project Vatican Shadow, Kraftwerk, who come with their new fancy 3D show, and Northern Irish rockers Two Door Cinema Club. The festival is split into two parts; Sonar By Day, which takes place at the Center of Contemporary Culture and the Museum of Contemporary Art near La Rambla; and Sonar By Night, for which revellers are bussed out of the city to the special SonarPark arena. There is no camping available at Sonar 2013, so be prepared to factor the extra accommodation cost into your budget.

Open'er Festival 2013

Gdynia (Poland), 3-6 July 2013, LN 450 (approx. £84)

Set in the 75-hectare Babie Doly Airfield, the Heineken Open'er Festival is the largest music and performing arts event in Poland, encompassing global and Polish talent, film, theatre and other eye-popping performances. Celebrating its 10th year in 2013, Open'er is putting on a pan-Atlantic punch-up, pitting British heavyweights Blur and Arctic Monkeys against US big hitters Queens Of The Stone Age and Kings Of Leon in a battle of the headliners. Also confirmed are Disclosure, Tame Impala, Maria Peszek and Animal Collective, while global goddess Rihanna will perform in Gdynia the day after the festival. Free entry to the show will be offered to  all those holding a full four-day Open'er ticket.

Roskilde 2013

Roskilde (Denmark), 4-7 July 2013, DKK 1,790 (approx. £195)

2013 Best European City Festivals Guide - Festival stage invasionHaving first come on the scene in 1971, Roskilde is one of Europe's oldest and largest city music and culture festivals. The non-profit event, often mentioned in the same breath as Glastonbury, will this year bring the eclectic likes of Slipnot, Rihanna, Sigur Ros, Volbeat, C2C and Queens of the Stone Age to more than 120,000 revellers in the ancient Viking town. Warm-up events will also be taking place in the city from 29 June.

Rock Werchter 2013

Werchter (Belgium), 4-7 July 2013, EUR 200.00

Going head-to-head with its Danish counterpart Roskilde - which takes place across exactly the same weekend - Rock Werchter, Belgium's biggest rock festival, is sure to hold its own with a medley of international superstars, heroes of yesterday and up-and-coming talent. Taking place in Werchter, as the name suggests, this heavy-hitting European rock festival has so far secured the likes of Green Day, Kings Of Leon, Blur, Rammstein, Editors and Depeche Mode as headliners on the Main Stage. The event's all-encompassing ethos, which saw it nab Best Festival Line-up at the European Festival Awards last year, also promises electronic dance beats at the Pyramid Marquee and new talent at The Barn stage.

Pohoda Festival 2013

Trencin (Slovakia), 11-13 July 2013, EUR 69.00

The 30,000-capacity Pohoda Festival is a truly multi-genre event, featuring rock, punk, folk, rockabily, world music, reggae, ska, pop, jazz, rave, the many genres of dance and even classical music, alongside theatre, film, ballet and discussions across its seven main stages. Held at Trencin Airport in Slovakia, this relatively cheap European city festival has managed to attract high-rolling acts, such as Smashing Pumpkins, Erol Alkan, Justice (DJ Set), Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Amon Tobin, Kaiser Chiefs, Buena Vista Social Club, Bonga, Maia Vidal, Cafe Aman Istanbul and Dubioza Kollectiv, among many other varied and vibrant  acts.

OFF Festival 2013

Dolina Trzech Stawow (Poland), 2 -4 August 2013, EUR: 47.00

2013 Best European City Festivals Guide - Festival FireworksNow in its eighth year, Poland's relaxed and inclusive OFF Festival is a great choice for a hippy European city festival getaway.  With a strong focus on environmental issues and acceptance of all that is weird and wonderful, this 15,000-capacity event in Dolina Trzech Stawow (Three Lake Valley) is one for the easy-going and open-minded. Such an ethos is reflected in organiser Artur Rojek's forward-thinking, eclectic music policy, with the likes of Deerhunter, Laurel Halo, Metz, Merchandise and Jens Lekman so far confirmed for OFF Festival 2013.

Pukkelpop Festival 2013

Keiwit (Belgium), 15-17 August 2013, Ticket price TBA

Billed as one of Belgium's biggest alternative open-air festivals, Pukkelpop 2013 is the perfect European city festival for those wanting to fill their ears with something new and different. Having started in 1985 with only a hand-drawn poster to pull in the crowds,  the festival now attracts thousands of music fans from Belgium and beyond to its idiosyncratic blend of unforgettable top artists and surprising new talent. Although no acts have yet been confirmed for 2013, organisers promise a concoction of "successful contemporary bands, living legends and the most visionary alternative acts from all nooks and crannies of the musical landscape". Watch this space for more news!

Iceland Airwaves Festival 2013

Reykjavik (Iceland), 30 October - 3 November 2013, ISK 14.500 (approx. £71)

The last 2013 European city festival of note comes from Iceland's capital Reykjavik, which offers a winter warmer of national cutting-edge music and international underdogs. Events will be held at various venues across the capital, with Omar Souleyman, Gold Panda, Goat, Fatima Al Qadiri, Anna Von Hausswolff, No Joy, Hjaltalín, Pascal Pinon, Valdimar, Tilbury, Ojba Rasta and Momentum filling out the bill so far. For more 2013 European festival previews, look out for our next PAAM blog on the best European beach festivals of 2013.