France's music festival scene surges from Rock en Seine, Lollapalooza Paris, Hellfest Open Air and Main Square Festival all the way to the eclectic electronic experience of Nuits Sonores.
From a huge selection of iconic music festivals that are well worth your time, here are 10 that should be at the top of your list. Honourable mentions to Solidays and Garorock too.
Lineup (2020): The Lumineers, Cage the Elephant, DJ Snake, Massive Attack, Foals, Simple Minds
25km from the Swiss border and right up there alongside the continent's most important festivals, Les Eurockéennes holds the kind of prestige that only 30 years of consistently high-class events can secure. Expect pioneers – the likes of Iggy Pop, Jack White and The Cure in recent years – as well as stars of the moment and homegrown talent in abundance.
When & where: 2-4 July 2020; Belfort
Les Eurockéennes 2020 Guide / Book Les Eurockéennes 2020
Hellfest Open Air
Lineup (2020): Deftones, Faith No More, System Of A Down, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Korn
Dripping with every subgenre of heavy metal in existence, Hellfest is grand-scale darkness in a league of its own. The self-proclaimed "extreme music festival" doesn't do anything by halves, including its 100,000+ attendance.
When & where: 19-21 June 2020, Clisson
Hellfest Open Air 2020 Guide / Book Hellfest Open Air 2020
Lineup (2020): Massive Attack, Body Count feat. Ice T, Sum 41, Nekfeu, PNL, Lorenzo
Fronted by a fictional but widely adored man by the name of John Beauregard, the festival that shares his surname is a medium-sized affair in the north of France. Set in the grounds of Château Beauregard, this winery provides a backdrop full of character, while big international names regularly light up the main stage.
When & where: 2-5 July 2020, Normandy
Festicket Guide / Book Festival Beauregard 2020
We Love Green
Lineup (2020): Lana Del Rey, Young Thug, Disclosure, Four Tet, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Set in the picturesque setting of leafy woodland and possessing an eco-friendly ethos and an impressively eclectic lineup, We Love Green sets the bar high for other festivals. Beyond the music, the program offers a range of insightful activities including discussions and workshops on sustainable living.
When & where: 6-7 June 2020, Paris
We Love Green 2020 Guide & Mailing List
Main Square Festival
Lineup (2020): Black Eyed Peas, Pixies, Sting, Twenty One Pilots, Alan Walker, LP
About 180km north of Paris, Main Square Festival packs out the (yep, you guessed it) main square of the small provincial town of Arras. In and amongst a strong foundation of rock and indie, mainstream performers of many other genres crop up most years.
When & where: 3-5 July 2020, Arras
Main Square Festival 2020 Guide / Book Main Square Festival 2020
La Route du Rock
Lineup (2020): Beak>, Squid, Nova Materia, Kit Sebastian, Egyptian Blue, Sebadoh, Prettiest Eyes
Now more than 25 years old, La Route du Rock is almost exactly what you'd expect it to be. A generally guitar-heavy lineup does allow a few stray electronic acts in, while the real joker in the pack is the festival's evening venue, the 18th-century fort of Saint-Père.
When & where: 19-22 August 2020, Saint-Malo
La Route du Rock 2020 Guide & Waiting List
Lineup (2020): DJ Harvey, Helena Hauff, Honey Dijon, Caribou, Bicep, Squarepusher
France's frontline explorer of techno music's finer details, Nuits Sonores shines a light on ambient electronic music, within the confines of some of Lyon's most intimate venues. DJs, visual artists and even the odd live orchestra help create a progressive atmosphere that stands tall on the European scene.
When & where: 19 May-24 May 2020, Lyon
Nuits Sonores 2020 Guide & Waiting List
Lineup (2020): Billie Eilish, Pearl Jam, Khalid, Vampire Weekend, Burna Boy, Haim
Like all festivals under the Lollapalooza brand, the Paris festival does not conform to one genre or sound, locking in some of the world's greatest pop, rock, rap, and electronic artists. Now in its fourth edition, Lollapalooza is continuing to grow into one of Paris' biggest festivals.
When & where: 18-19 July 2020, Paris
Lollapalooza Paris 2020 Guide / Book Lollapalooza Paris 2020
Rock En Seine
Lineup (2020): Rage Against The Machine, Run The Jewels
Just outside the western reaches of the Paris city centre and perched, unsurprisingly, on the banks of the capital's famous river, Rock en Seine is one of France's real festival giants. Think Glastonbury, just a bit further south.
When & where: 20-23 August 2020, Paris
Rock En Seine 2020 Guide & Mailing List
Calvi On The Rocks
Lineup (2020): Octavian, Ross From Friends, Loco Dice, Booka Shade, Guy Gerber, Kevin Saunderson
Indoor and open-air venues bring techno and house A-listers to the beautiful commune of Calvi, on the island of Corsica. It's pretty much the perfect summer combination of location and curation, with a chilled vibe taking you through six days and nights.
When & where: 3-7 July 2020, Corsica
Calvi On The Rocks 2020 Guide & Mailing List
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