Music is one of the best means of expressing our emotions and feelings. It often works as a healer to a sour heart and an accompaniment in our happy times. We can associate music to almost every event of our life. There is a vast range of assortment of this art which suits various occasions – happy or sad, lonely or crowded, we never dissociate with music. Probably this form of art has evolved more than any other art forms, and eventually, has developed large number of genres which cater to the choice of different ears. We do not know what triggered it, or where and how this started but as rightly quoted by Walter Savage Landor “Music is God’s gift to man, the only art of Heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to Heaven.” Definitely it struck to some musical genius or ardent music lover that this art form should be celebrated in all its grandeur and the music festivals emerged. Today these music festivals count as some of the major festivals throughout the globe and those stated herein are credited as biggest music festivals of the world.
1. Electric Daisy Carnival
The Electric Daisy Carnival dates back to 1991 when it was organized at Shrine Expo Hall, LA, by Gary Richards and Steve Kool-Aid. A few years later, this was made into a large music event by the Insomniac Events Company and after about a decade it has risen to become one of the biggest music festivals of North America. From a one day event it has turned into an eventful three days where millions of music lovers gather to drink, dine and dance. The electrifying atmosphere provided by Kaskade, Afrojack, Tiesto, Steve Aoki and David Guetta among many others soaks the audience into the magic of music.
2. Sunburn Festival
India is not behind in participating in the world of electronic music festival. The ushering in of a new year, long stretched beaches of Goa and thunderous music, conjure up a vivacious environment renowned as the Sunburn Festival. This is a new member in the music festival clan but has been able to make a mark of its own. The three days celebration which began in 2007, witnessed performances by famed musicians like David Guetta, Pleasurekraft, Swedish House Mafia and big names of Indian music fraternity.
Famed round the globe, Tomorrowland, is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in these music bashes. Held usually at the end of July, this magnanimous festival of Belgium has a huge fan following. Tickets for the show are sold out soon after its announcement as people eagerly wait for this fest. The popularity of Tomorrowland has initiated a franchise in Brazil and rumors suggest the organization of the same in India as well. Apart from performances by top-notch Djs like LMFAO, David Guetta and Armin van Buuren, the creative construction of stages is worth a mention.
Dubstep, house, reggae, techno, grime, garage, electronic, hiphop, just name it and Outlook has it all. Referred as the grandest Soundsystem Culture festival of Europe, this four days celebration throbs the otherwise desolate fort situated above the Adriatic Sea. One of the major attractions in the festival is the boat shows travelling through the Adriatic Sea, wherein one can board the boat with their favourite artist giving it a more personalized feel.
5. Rock In Rio
Recording a 1.5 million music lovers from round the world at it onset way back in 1985, this festival has grown insanely since then. Rock music followers flocked at the fest in 1985 where performances by AC/DC, Queen and Iron Maiden were magnetic. With its increasing vogue, this celebration is now held in Madrid and Lisbon, apart from Rio de Janeiro. Rio hosts it on the odd years while Lisbon and Madrid editions are held in the even years and tickets for this show are sold in seconds.
Many consider Ultra as the grandest music festival of the US, where early bird tickets get over at the wink of an eye and advance tickets takes a few minutes to get sold out. Considering the huge fan following they have, the organizers also provide a live coverage of the festival on YouTube, catering to the wishes of those who miss out on the tickets. The first show was held in Miami with performances by Tiesta, David Guetta and deadmau5. Since then it has spread its branches to countries like Brazil, Argentina, South Korea, Chile, Croatia and Spain.
Beginning as a hippie assembly in 1971, Roskilde has made its way to become a much awaited music festival. Since its inception, it has witnessed performances by Bob Marley, U2, Radiohead and Metallica. This festival includes acts by more than 3,000 artists who perform inside large tents. Two high school students were instrumental in creating this festival. Apart from entertaining music lovers from around the world, this event also has a humanitarian approach as the profit from this show goes in to support music, culture and charitable organizations. Food which remains is distributed among institutions that refuge homeless people and during the show free water is also provided. Adding to the fun of the celebration a naked run is organized on the Saturday of the festival, hence, if you attend it for the first time, be prepared for the stark surprise.
Mawazine which began as an initiative to provide a platform to the Moroccan population is now one of the most celebrated music festival around the world. It was established by the government to uphold a better image of Morocco and with the fame this festival earned, Morocco must definitely be proud of it. Setting a benchmark for itself every year, this promotional initiative it is also referred to as Rhythms of the World. Mawazine stages popular names from the music world like Rihanna, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder and Lionel Richie, along with many other artists who visit it from nook and corners of the world.
Winner of the ‘UK Festival Award For best major European Festival’ in 2007, Exit did not begin as music festival rather an activist movement. This was meant as an outlet for the oppressed Serbian masses which has helped to bring Serbia into mainstream cultural scenario. The student movement which rose from a movement for freedom and rights still supports a social cause every year and is attended by millions of people. This four daylong celebration has staged artists such as David Guetta, Guns N’ Roses, Diplo, Duran Duran, Housecat, Felix da and Thieves like us, along with other locals musicians.
Sziget began as a form of summer youth camp and has since then grown magnanimously, winning the ‘UK Festival Award for Best Major European Festival’. This was the festival to be chosen as an alternative to the music festival Glastonbury, when in 2012, the latter show could not be organized. The seven days celebration absorbs the attendants in music of all kinds, be it folk, jazz, authentic or metal. The festival also includes circus, theatre and exhibitions, and the island of Budapest echoes the enthusiastic atmosphere.
11. Fuji Rock Festival
Naeba Ski Resort situated amidst lusciously green mountains and streams is the venue of this three day long music festival. There is a cable car to take you high up in the mountains where the stage is set. This is the largest Japanese music festival which witnesses the performances of more than 200 Japanese as well as international artists. Mesmerizing nature, enchanting music and appetizing food combine to create the Fuji Rock Festival.
12. South By Southwest
SXSW is not only a music festival but it is also a festival of films and interactive media. Launched in 1987 as a regional show, it instantly gained national status with 700 attendees which was way beyond the expected the number of audiences. For the past two decades it has extended its horizon and is today counted as one of the biggest festivals globally. SXSW is held in Austin, Texas and goes on for around ten days providing a platform for new talents as well as staging distinguished stars like Lady Gaga, and premiere of films like Fast & Furious, Insidious, Chef, 21 Jump Street and Bridesmaid.
13. Governor’s Ball
Governor’s Ball is one summer music festival which brings together music belonging to different genres as well as carries a gist of the culture of New York. There are also various activities in case you want a diversion from the music like lawn games and Silent Disco. Along with these, there are photo or gif stands helping you to capture the memorable moments in the frame. Performers such as Madonna, Disclosure, Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) and André 3000 (André Lauren Benjamin) are known to have set the stage on fire with their performances.
In 1991, this music festival was initiated by Perry Ferrell as a touring festival bidding farewell to his band Jane’s Addiction. It travelled through US and Canada and has now emerged as one of the grandest music festival destinations. Its musical part consists of heavy metal, punk rock, pop, alternative rock, hiphop and EDM. It also has a non-musical setting which includes exhibition of art pieces, games, and promotes cultural and political awareness.
Donauinselfest is undisputedly one of the biggest names in the world of music festivals which has been running for the past three decades. The festival runs for three days during which it attracts millions of attendees to the island of Danube, Vienna. During the days of this celebration we get to listen to some of the most famous Austrian musicians like Rainhard Fendrich and Wolfgang Ambros, and also international figures like DJ Otto Knows and Zucchero. Star performers for the 2025 season were Vienna Symphony, Master Blaster, Shaggy, Christina Sturmer Basshunter and Bonnie Tyler.
A constellation of both famed artists and rising stars, Coachella has maintained uniformity in its ticket sales since 2002. The event was established by Paul Tollett in 1999 and it is managed by the company Goldenvoice. This art and music festival showcases talents in EDM, rock, hip hop, indie, and sculpture and art installations. The lineup of this festival has managed to surprise its followers as it gets bigger and better with every passing year. Held amidst the desert, this fest still has a hippie cultural essence and is sure to amuse music lovers.
17. Reading & Leeds Festivals
This event is held simultaneously at Reading and Leeds during the Bank holiday weekend of the month of August. In this festival one can find nothing but pure music, coupled with an unmatched zealous environment. The reading festival began in 1961 as a jazz event which later expanded its scope and reach and began to be organized at Leeds too. Organized by the music promoter group Festival Republic, this pair of festival encompasses genres such as indie, rock, metal, punk and alternative.
18. Rock Al Parque
This concert held in Bogota, Columbia is dedicated to the celebration of rock music and is the biggest rock music festival of South America as of now. This festival endorses local talents and entire Latin America join hands in this event. This festival also stages international musicians and one of the unlikely things about Rock al Parque is that is does not sell tickets and attendees can enjoy the show without any admission fee. This event caters to the preference of every rock music lover as it has in store hardcore rock as well as ska-punk music.
Summerfest has got its name engraved in the Guinness Book of World Records as World’s Largest Festival in 1999. The festival is held at the Henry Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee and is celebrated for eleven days. The park which stretches to 75-acre of lands houses the eleven stages for the festival where one stage is dedicated to the headliners, one is reserved for the local artists, one for the upcoming musicians and one for each genre like rock and electronic, and every year it is attended by almost a million people, helping it maintain the title it received years ago.
These five days of celebrating music dates back to 1970 and is probably the longest running music festivals. Held in farmland near Pilton, Somerset, this event also includes theatre, circus, dance, comedy and cabaret shows. It maintains the spirit of hippie culture with which this festival began. The headliners include various renowned rock and pop artist and along with them we can witness the talent of local musicians. The tickets of this show are sold out within hours of its announcement and Glastonbury enjoys overwhelming coverage by the media.