The summer festival season is underway once again, and it’s time to start picking out which ones you fancy visiting in 2016. Germany might not be the first country you think of when it comes to big outdoor parties, but there is a plethora of events showcasing all sorts of music and performance all summer long. We’ve picked out some of the best ones to help narrow down your search. This guide covers the months of July and August, check out our recommendations for May and June here.
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July 1-3: Summer Jam
Each year since 1996, On the Fühlinger Lake, to the north of Cologne in Western Germany, one of Europe’s biggest reggae festivals takes place. 30,000 fans will gather by the lake to see reggae legends Jimmy Cliff and Beenie Man perform alongside Sean Paul and a huge selection of renowned artists performing reggae, ragga and other related genres.
July 2nd: Love Family Park
Love Family Park is one of Germany’s oldest one-day festivals for electronic music, with 2 decades of raving behind it. Over the years it’s stage has been graced by techno legends including Sven Vath, Ricardo Villalobos and many more. This year Love Family Park celebrates its 21st Birthday and will be making a tour across 10 locations in Germany, as well as its traditional home at a showground close to Mainz.
July 2nd – August 8th: Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival
This month of music is one of the biggest events on the classical calendar, with concerts taking place in an eclectic range of venues across the northern state of Schleswig Holstein, spilling over into neighboring Lower Saxony and even across the border into Denmark. The 2016 Festival will be a retrospective looking at the work of Austrian composer Joseph Haydn.
July 2nd – 8th: Happiness Festival
The Happiness Festival brings around 10,000 revelers to the small community of Straubenhardt, in between the towns of Karlsruhe and Pforzheim, close to the French border. This year’s lineup offers wide a range of musical genres, with appearances from some of Germany’s top recording artists including Jan Delay and Donots.
July 8-10: Samba Festival Coburg
Coburg’s International Samba Festival is the largest Samba gathering outside of Brazil. From humble beginnings 25 years ago, the festival has grown to attract more than 200,000 visitors, with more than 100 Samba groups and 3000 individual dancers participating in the main event, a huge parade through the town centre.
July 8-10: Splash
Splash Festival takes place in a fantastic location at the Ferropolis open air industrial Museum, close to the town of Dessau. Though still rooted in the reggae and hip hop music with which it started, today the festival has become one of Germany’s most popular. The lineup promises a wide selection of music and other performances across several stages.
July 14-16: Bang Your Head
Down in the south western town of Balingen, Bang Your Head brings together some of the biggest names in hard rock and metal. This year’s festival will see the likes of Slayer, Carcass and Iced Earth take to the stage, to name but a few.
July 14-17: Airbeat One
Airbeat one is one Germany’s largest festivals dedicated to electronic dance music. For a weekend in July the Neustadt-Glewe Airfield is taken over by several themed stages and thousands of party goers. More than 100 national and international acts will play during the 4 day event, whose site also features a beautiful lake for swimming.
July 14-17: Bochum Total
Dating back to 1986, Bochum Total takes over the entire town of Bochum, in the beautiful North Rhine-Westphalia region. The festival combines a huge open air stage with hundreds of other events – including poetry readings, dance lessons and much more in the city’s cafes and bars.
July 15 – 17: Melt Festival
Just like Splash Festival, Melt takes place on the fantastic Ferropolis site, just 150km south of the German capital. This year, Melt’s dance infused programme will include Disclosure, Jamie xx, Peaches, Berghain resident Ben Klock, DJ Koze and a whole lot more.
July 21-24: Deichbrand
A huge festival spread across 6 stages, Deichbrand really has something for everyone. Performances from top acts including Mogwai, Paul Kalkbrenner, Millencolin and more combine with an amazing seaside location and an additional sports programme including kitesurfing, wakeboarding and beach volleyball.
July 21-24: Amphi Festival
At the Tanzbrunnen Park, on the bank of the Rhine in Cologne, Amphi offers a spectacular selection of Blues Rock, Futurepop, Electro and other up and coming musical genres. There will also be a selection of poetry readings, theatrical performances and much more.
July 22-24: Carrot and Stick
Carrot and Stick Festival boasts a unique location within the grounds of Pürkelgut Castle, close to the border with Czech Republic. The 3 day festival will feature performances from more than 50 DJs including Boys Noize, AKA AK, Levy & Kpaul and many more, across 3 open air stages.
July 22-24: Das Fest
This festival in Karlsruhe is one of the top family friendly events in Germany. Das Fest takes over the Günther-Klotz-Anlage, a park close to the town centre, for the last weekend before the school summer holidays begin. There will be a plethora of national and international stars, as well as supervised workshops, sports events and more for kids and families.
July 28-31: Burg Herzberg Festival
Germany’s ‘Traditional Hippie Convention’ brings together alternative types from across the country, at the foot of the Herzberg Hills. The festival has been held every year since 1968, this year’s theme is ‘Back to the Garden’, inspired by the Joni Mitchell classic ‘Woodstock’. Tickets are available now from the festival website.
July 29-30: Juicy Beats
Juicy Beats festival brings a varied lineup of hip hop, pop, reggae, indie and electronic music to the Westfalenpark in Dortmund. Headliners for 2016 include Deichkind, Fritz Kalkbrenner and AnnenMayKantereit. Both day and weekend tickets are on sale now, until they run out!
July 31st: Th!nk Festival
For the last 6 years, Th!nk Festival has been organised by the Distillery in Leipzig, one of the oldest and most influential clubs on Germany’s techno scene. The festival takes place next to a lake, with a stage right on the beach. Visitors expect a top lineup, and this years with Monkey Safari, Chris Liebing, Rampue, Rødhåd and Jan Blomqvist to name but a few.
Festivals in August 2016
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August 5-6 Soundgarden
Soundgarden began as a short term replacement for the Friedberger Burg Festival, and has grown into a unique event in its own right. The event takes place in Bad Nauheim, just outside of Frankfurt and features a lineup packed with European rock acts, including Tüsn, Polar and Elfmorgen.
August 5-6: Mini Rock Festival
This volunteer organised festival has gained a huge reputation in the 10 years since its inception. Mini Rock brings an exciting collection of up and coming bands to the town of Neckar, 60km south of Stuttgart.
August 5-7: Nature One
Nature One is one of Europe’s largest and best loved festival for electronic music. The unique location at a former NATO missile base in the town of Hunsrück makes the alway stellar lineup of DJs even more exciting to watch. This year will see performances from Sven Väth, Paul van Dyk, Robin Schulz and a whole lote more.
August 6th: SPECTRUM
Spectrum is celebrating it’s 5th anniversary this summer. The festival brings a quality collection of hip hop artists to the Reiherstieg in Hamburg. This year will see Drunken Masters, Lgoony, Yung Hurn and a host of others take to the stage over the one day festival.
August 11-13 Endless Summer
Endless Summer brings a legendary lineup of punk rockers to the town of Torgau, 150km south of Berlin. This year LA heavyweights Terror will play alongside veterans Cock Sparrer and Agnostic Front.
August 11-14: Taubertal Festival
In the town of Rothenburg, on the Tauber River in Bavaria, this rock and pop festival brings an eclectic lineup of popular acts from the last 10 years. 2016’s big draws include Limp Bizkit, Sum 41, Wolfmother and many more, spread across the entire weekend.
August 12-13: Olgas Rock
This free open air festival has morphed into one of the most popular events in the Ruhr region, since its beginnings in 2000. A rock and punk oriented lineup combines with a stunning setting in a former coal mine to create what’s sure to be an exciting weekend for all.
August 12-14: SonneMondSterne
Often referred to as SMS Festival, this is another of Europe’s heavyweight electronic music gatherings. SonneMondSterne takes place in a spectacular location, the Bleiloch Dam in Thuringia. Each year the SMS puts together a collection of performers that’s hard to beat. 2016 will see performances from David Guetta, Die Antwoord, Robin Schulz and Seth Troxler to name but a few.
17-20 August: Summer Breeze
Summer Breeze Open Air (SBOA) has gained a legendary status among rock and metal fans across Europe, 2015’s event attracted more than 45000 visitors. SBOA is set to get even bigger in 2016, with metal legends Slayer, Anthrax and Napalm Death topping a packed bill of the greatest names in rock.
August 19-21: Dockville
Dockville is Hamburg’s premier Music and Arts Festival, celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2016. The site offers an incredible view of the industrial harbour, with a packed programme of events including performances from Bastille, Foals, Crystal Fighters, Storybook and a whole lote more.
August 19-21: Highfield
Now 12 years old, Highfield Festival has become known as Germany’s top indie-rock festival. With the stage set up right on the shore of Lake Störmthaler, just outside the city of Leipzig. Highfield brings a stellar lineup, featuring Eagles of Death Metal, NOFX and legendary German rockers Rammstein. Highfield revellers also have the chance to go banana boating, windsurfing and more on the lake. Don’t forget your swimsuit!
August 20: Rock am See
Now in its 30th year, this one day festival brings a short but sweet program to 25000 visitors on the shores of Lake Constance in southern Germany. 2016’s Rock am See will be headlined by world famous British rockers Muse.
August 24-27: Chiemsee Summer
Starting out as a small Reggae oriented festival, CS has grown over the years into a much loved event with an exciting set of performances and a beautiful setting on Chiemsee Lake in Bavaria. The lake boasts the longest natural beach in all of Germany, this years festival will see the Prodigy at the top of the bill.
August 26-27: SPACK! Festival
SPACK! Is back for its 13th installment in 2016. Since 2004 the festival has gained a legendary status among German hip hop fans. The festival takes place near the town of Wirges, to the south of Cologne. This year confirmed acts include Megaloh, Prinz Pi, VAUU, Danju and more.
Header Image: summerjam.de