Germany's festival scene has something for everyone. No matter what you want to see, no matter what kind of festival you want to go to, you can find it here.
Festivals have been set up everywhere from the beach to the mountains and every genre you've heard of and more are all represented.
However, the sheer volume of choice is a bit much to take in, so to help cut through the noise here is the cream of the crop; the top 20 festivals in Germany, in no particular order.
Airbeat One Festival
Festival lineup (2021): Afrojack, David Guetta, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Marshmello, NERVO, Yellow Claw, Charlotte de Witte, Timmy Trumpet
Think of any major electronic act of the last 15 years and they've more than likely played Airbeat One Festival. Beginning in 2002 with a crowd of 1,000, the festival has grown dramatically every year since. Airbeat One now welcomes more than 40,000 people over four days of straight up partying.
When & where: 7th - 11th July 2021, Neustadt-Glewe
Time Warp DE
Festival lineup (2020): Richie Hawtin, Nina Kraviz, Adam Beyer, Sven Väth, Charlotte de Witte, Amelie Lens, Seth Troxler
Taking place at the beginning of April, Time Warp DE sets the tone for the techno music you'll be dancing to all summer. Ever since it began in 1994, this festival has been about innovation and creativity. Add pristine sound systems and top of line stage production to this, and you've got one of the best festivals in the world.
When & where: 20th March 2021; Mannheim
Festival lineup (2020): Adam Beyer, Amelie Lens, Angerfist, Dubfire, Dax J, Claptone, FISHER, Joris Voorn
Another electronic monster, heading into its 30th year, MAYDAY Dortmund annually offers an expertly curated lineup of techno and house pioneers along with rising talent. Brought to you by I-Motion, the same promoters who created Nature One, Exodus, Syndicate and other major electronic music festivals, it's safe to say these guys know how to throw on a killer party.
When & where: 30th April 2021, Dortmund
Rock am Ring & Rock im Park
Festival lineup (2020): System of a Down, Green Day, Volbeat, Deftones, Billy Talent, Korn, Weezer, Broilers
Combined, these twin rock festivals draw some of the biggest crowds in the world. The allure is no secret, the festivals offer nothing short of legendary rock acts and seriously revved up fans who eat, sleep and breath rock and roll.
When & where: 11th – 13th June 2021; Mendig and Nürnberg
World Club Dome
Festival lineup (2021): Lil Pump, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Timmy Trumpet, Angerfist, Headhunterz, Steve Aoki, Claptone, Oliver Heldens
World Club Dome is one of the biggest EDM parties in Europe. The festival transforms Frankfurt's Commerzbank Arena into the world's biggest club and packs it full of amped up partiers. Offering the biggest DJs in the world and utterly mesmerising lights displays, the vibe here is insane.
When & where: 3rd – 6th June 2021, Frankfurt
World Club Dome – Winter Edition
Festival lineup (2021): Angerfist, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Boris Brejcha, Headhunterz, Gestört aber GeiL, Nina Kraviz, Timmy Trumpet, Steve Aoki
Considering the summertime WCD is so good, we couldn't leave out its wintery partner-in-crime. Taking place just after the cusp of the new year the temperatures outside can be sub-zero, but inside the famous Merkur Spiel-Arena things get seriously heated.
When & where: 8th – 10th January 2021, Düsseldorf
Festival lineup (2019): Martin Garrix, Major Lazer, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Project One, Don Diablo, Timmy Trumpet, Alison Wonderland, REZZ
Dubbed 'seven festivals in one', this futuristic utopia merges elements from across the dance music spectrum, inviting over 150 DJs to perform at its dance wonderland.
When & where: August 2021; TBA
Hurricane & Southside Festival
Festival lineup (2021): The Killers, Twenty One Pilots, Martin Garrix, Deichkind, Kings of Leon, Rise Against, The 1975, Seeed
Another set of twins, Hurricane and Southside are good old massive outdoor festivals. These festivals present some of the biggest names in music every year, seeing The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and Foo Fighters formerly headline, to name a few. Ever since their inception in 1997, these twin festivals have been key dates on the German festival circuit.
When & where: 18th - 20th June 2021, Scheeßel / Neuhausen ob Eck
Festival lineup (2021): Earl Sweatshirt, Little Simz, Marcel Dettmann B2B DJ Stingray, FKA Twigs, Honey Dijon, Jamie xx, Ellen Allien,
Set amongst a former coal mine, complete with industrial structures and a picturesque lake for a backdrop, Melt Festival is in the running for Germany's most unique and stunning festival site. The music offered here is distinctly alternative, with organisers firmly committed to offering the best and brightest outside the mainstream.
When & where: 4th - 6th June 2021, Gräfenhainichen
Sea You Festival
Festival lineup (2020): Boris Brejcha, Monika Kruse, Claptone, Neelix, Pappenheimer, Pan-Pot, Paul Kalkbrenner, Eats Everything
Sea You Festival is Germany's premier lakeside getaway music festival. Featuring a lineup of some of the biggest names in house and techno, Sea You takes place on the shores of lake Tunisee and has been dubbed the "beach republic." The festival separates itself from the competition by incorporating water sports and other activities on the lake into its festivities.
When & where: 16th – 18th July 2021, Freiburg
Festival lineup (2020): Armin Van Buuren, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Markus Schulz, Rezz, Neelix
If Tomorrowland is your mecca, PAROOKAVILLE should be in your sights. Only heading into its third year, this festival has already become one of the best EDM festivals in Europe. Its lineups are consistently stacked with the biggest DJs in the world and its stage production is insane. But what's really great about PAROOKAVILLE is its immersive atmosphere. This is not just a festival, but a metropolis dedicated to big beats, massive drops, and a good time.
When & where: 16th – 18th July 2021, Weeze
Wacken Open Air
Festival lineup (2020): Judas Priest, Amon Amarth, Sodom, Mercyful Fate, Hypocrisy, Death Angel, At The Gates, Venom
Ask your metal friends about Wacken Open Air and watch their eyes light up. This festival is the crown jewel of heavy metal and hard rock in Europe. What started as a smalltime, local festival in 1990 has grown into the largest metal festival in the world, with almost 100,000 people attending each year. Attendance is mandatory for anyone who considers themselves a metalhead.
When & where: 29th – 31st July 2021; Wacken
Festival lineup (2019): Paul Van Dyk, Sven Väth, Neelix, Richie Hawtin, Eric Prydz, Angerfist, Len Faki, Rødhåd
The younger sibling of MAYDAY Dortmund, this massive open-air electronic festival has actually surpassed its elder in size and attendance. This festival features over 20 stages, crowds of more than 60,000 and state of the art stage, sound and light production. Taking place on a former NATO missile base, the campground is a massive party and can hold up 65,000 people.
When & where: 30th July – 1st August 2021, Kastellaun
Festival lineup (2020): Faber, Yungblud, Yung Hurn, Little Simz, Easy Life, Denis Sulta, Alli Neumann
The largest river island in Europe is Hamburg's Wilhelmsburg district, aka the home of MS Dockville. This outdoor festival is set in the woods along the shores of the Elbe. Genre doesn't really apply to this one, instead it's all about creativity. Focusing their attention not only on big names here, instead producers also strive to curate a lineup of bands bucking trends and carving their own path.
When & where: 13th – 15th August 2021, Hamburg
Festival lineup (2020): Richie Hawtin, Peggy Gou, Helena Hauff, FJAAK, Objekt, Job Jobse, Peach, Sam Paganini
Taking their famed reputation to Dortmund's Revierpark once more, complete with saltwater lake surroundings that encompass each of the woods, beach, hilltop, and open lawn stages, PollerWiesen invites an impressive lineup of techno's finest DJs and producers, making the annual 12-hour party a must for techno purists.
When & where: 23rd May 2021, Dortmund
Echelon Open Air & Indoor Festival
Festival lineup (2020): Charlotte de Witte, Len Faki, Carl Cox, Neelix, Brennan Heart, Pan-Pot, Deborah de Luca, Da Tweekaz
With almost 30,000 people attending every year, Echelon Open Air & Indoor Festival is the largest of its kind in southern Germany. Set in an old Cold War NSA satellite tracking station, the festival has spent the last 10 years transforming the site from a place of division and suspicious to one of unity and positivity.
When & Where: 20th – 22nd August 2021, Bad Aibling
Festival lineup (2020): Rage Against the Machine, Miley Cyrus, Annenmaykantereit, Deichkind, DJ Snake, Die Antwoord, Run the Jewels, Timmy Trumpet
The German outpost of the iconic Chicago festival, Lollapalooza Berlin is a massive multi-genre festival in the nation's capital. The Lollapalooza series is one of the most influential and successful festival series in the world and simply put is one of those festivals you have to see before your time's up.
When & Where: September 2021, Berlin
Festival lineup (2019): Angerfist, Radical Redemption, Miss K8, Atmozfears, Dr. Peacock, Warface, Mad Dog, Thorax
House and techno are great, but sometimes you just need to let go and rave to something more intense. For over 10 years Syndicate Festival has presented the best of the harder electronic styles for one crazy night of partying. The beats are booming, the BPM is up, the lights and pyrotechnics are egging you on and so are the thousands of possessed fans around you. Nothing to do but let go and have an amazing night.
When & Where: 2nd October 2021, Dortmund
SEMF - Stuttgart Electronic Music Festival
Festival lineup (2019): Sven Väth, Amelie Lens, Chris Liebing, Monika Kruse, Deborah de Luca, Neelix, Reinier Zonneveld
Heading into its second decade, Stuttgart Electronic Music Festival has become an unmissable night for any serious techno fans. While the majority of festivals choose the summer, SEMF takes place in mid-December during the lead up to Christmas when everyone is in a festive mood. This can at least partially explain the festival's electric atmosphere and its DJs penchant for going above and beyond during their sets.
When & Where: 12th December 2020, Stuttgart
Love Family Park
Festival lineup (2020): Nina Kraviz, Sven Väth, Amelie Lens, Richie Hawtin, Boris Brejcha, KiNK, Reinier Zonneveld
A true haven for techno purists, Love Family Park merges the ethos of the underground with an outdoor summer experience, exhibiting the finest work from various mainstays of the genre. From minimal and tech-house to the straight-up hard-hitting techno, it's a no-brainer for disciples of the scene.
When & where: 24th July 2021, Rüsselsheim am Main
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