4 festivals in 4 countries: an Interrail trip for music festival fanatics

With the arrival of warm weather and some sunshine, there’s often only one thing on people’s minds: music, freedom and having fun with some friends. Luckily, a summer music festival is where you can find all three put together, alongside the opportunity to discover some fantastic new artists and genres. We’ve created an interrailing route that takes you from Germany, through the Czech Republic and Italy, to France on a music extravaganza, with plenty of time for exploration of the host cities and other locations in between each event.

Photo by Jade Masri on Unsplash

MELT Festival

First up is MELT Festival, near Gräfenhainichen in Germany. Established in 1997 and hosting upcoming acts alongside big names, the festival has truly made its mark on the international music scene. Florence and the Machine, Tyler the Creator and Rex Orange County have all performed in past years, and this year MELT is welcoming the likes of Arlo Parks, Peggy Gou, Little Simz, Tom Misch and Sherelle amongst many more, so there really is something for everyone across its ten stages. Tickets are still available for the whole weekend (9th – 12th June) starting at €164.95, including camping and garbage deposit. Individual day tickets are also up for grabs from €39.90 for Thursday and €74.00 for Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The atmosphere created by the people, music and backdrop provided by the old mining machines of Ferropolis and Gremmin Lake is iconic, so you certainly don’t want to miss out! MELT Festival can be reached thanks to Deutsche Bahn trains to Gräfenhainichen station and Dessau station, with festival shuttles then taking you on to the festival site itself, with optional CO2 offsetting also possible through the festival’s Green Pass initiative. 

ODESZA at MELT Festival in 2018 [Sophia Choudhury]

Colours of Ostrava

Next along the trail is Colours of Ostrava in the Czech Republic. Now in its 20th year, this celebration of world music and culture has grown enormously, selling out for the first time in 2017, yet still staying true to its roots and continuing to showcase artists from across the globe. The Colours of Ostrava stages have hosted artists from Uganda, Polynesia, Mali, Colombia, Iceland, Chile, Ivory Coast, Poland and Australia to name a few, with The Vaccines, Tame Impala, Björk, Alanis Morissette, Birdy, Kodaline, ZAZ and alt-J all making appearances in recent years. Tickets for one day are €100.00 and so the ticket for four days, at just €137.00, is a bargain. To reach the festival, which is being held this year from July 13th to July 16th, jump on a train from Warsaw or Prague to Ostrava, and then find a tram to Dolní Vítkovice on your way to pitching your tents and exploring the festival site. Before 2012, the festival was once held at the Silesian Ostrava Castle, but has since relocated to the old mining site at Dolní Vítkovice. Now the stages are nestled in amongst the towering chimneys and infrastructures that once earned Ostrava the nickname of the ‘steel heart’ of Czechoslovakia before the Velvet Revolution.  

Photo by Aishwarya Kulkarni on Unsplash

Rock in Roma

The penultimate stop along this route will take you to Rock in Roma, a rock festival in the Italian capital that is being held right from 10th June all the way through to 11th September. This three-month-long festival has acts performing at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, the Ippodromo delle Capanelle and Circo Massimo, with the first two accessible via train from Roma Termini Station and the third just a short subway ride away as well. You’d be joining hundreds of thousands of people attending concerts by The Chemical Brothers, Cigarettes After Sex, or Testament + Exodus + Heathen + Death Angel, some of the biggest names in big beat electronic dance music, dream pop, and thrash metal, respectively. Tickets are bought for individual events, as opposed to day tickets, which leaves you with plenty of flexibility to pick and choose what takes your fancy. If this involves plenty of sightseeing alongside the festival, check out our article that has some advice as to all the best spots to see in Rome, including the famous sights of the Colosseum, and the Trevi Fountain. Don’t forget to dig into some authentic and delicious pizza, pasta, and gelato along your way to fuel all your dancing and exploring!

Photo by Hector Bermudez on Unsplash

Les Plages Electroniques

Finally, if you’ve managed to get this far, a festival on the beaches of the French Riviera is just what you need. Although it’s more famously known for its Film Festival, Cannes is also home to Les Plages Electroniques. Headlining this year, between August 5th and August 7th, are Martin Garrix, Charlotte de Witte and David Guetta, with Folamour, Damso and other upcoming new artists and DJs also appearing in the line-up. You can relax and wander through the city during the day knowing your evening will be jam-packed with fantastic sets along the sandy beaches, all before your return to hotel accommodation, which can be organised through the festival website. Tickets for individual days are €50.00, but if you don’t want to stop there, your spot at the front row barrier every night is just €120.00. From Rome, you can make your way to Cannes via either Genoa or Ventimiglia, and even though this is a slightly longer trip than the connections between the other festivals we’ve mentioned here, it’ll offer you the chance to catch up on some much needed sleep!

Photo by David Švihovec on Unsplash

Other festivals that are definitely worth checking out:

If outstanding views alongside big names in pop and rock music takes your fancy, Bilbao BBK Live, held every year on the slopes of Mount Cobetas in Spain’s Basque Country, is the place for you. This year The Killers, Stromae, Bicep, J Balvin and LCD Soundsystem are all performing at the iconic festival from 7th to 9th of July. While the festival site is walking distance from the city centre, trams and metro routes will allow you to reach the music in no time. 

Given its location in northern Norway, this rock festival is one of the few festivals in the world that can boast 24-hours of daylight, and so if non-stop partying is what you’re searching for, head up to Telegrafbukta in Tromsø from 21st to 23rd July this year to join over 20,000 others for acts following in the footsteps of the likes of Motörhead and The Stooges. 

Also in Scandinavia, Flow Festival is welcoming Gorillaz, Florence and The Machine, Jamie XX, Princess Nokia, Burna Boy and Sigrid to the old Suvilahti power plant, alongside over 80,000 spectators. Fuel your dancing from kitchens providing an eclectic range of food from locally sourced to Michelin-starred dining. With no car parking on the festival site, metro trains and public transport will definitely be your best friends for the duration of the festival. 

If your feet are already tapping and you’re ready for a great time, all that’s left to do now is get a bunch of mates together and pack your festival essentials: tent, sleeping bag, some funky outfits and, most importantly, your Interrail pass!