That extraordinary pain of sitting in front of your computer, jabbing at the refresh button. You’re not going to be able to see the Rolling Stones at Glastonbury this year: it’s time for plan B, and one that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a laptop screen for five hours on a Sunday morning. Enter Burning Man festival (26 August – 2 September, northern Nevada), a week-long hedonistic jolly in the middle of the scorching Nevada Desert. Join the community of ‘burners’ who come together to create Black Rock City: a space of community and arts, although essentially a 24/7 bacchanalia fuelled by booze and narcotics which finishes with the burning of a giant pagan effigy, of course.
Over in Asia, the Rainforest World Music Festival (28 – 30 June, Borneo) is the continent’s answer to Glasto. Indigenous Malay artists and world music are on the menu for visitors, with the artists providing workshops in the day.
To Europe, where Flow festival (7 – 11 August, Helsinki), which celebrates its 10th birthday this year, makes good use of the country’s long summers by bringing Kraftwerk and Kendrick Lamar to a disused power plant. Sun-seekers should check out Primavera (22 – 26 May, Barcelona) or Sonar (13 – 15 June, Barcelona) in Spain, or head to the aptly named town of Boom in Belgium for Tomorrowland (26 – 29 July), one of the biggest dance festivals in the world; 185,000 people attended in 2012, and the waiting list for tickets reached a glow-stick snapping 2 million people. This year, a sister festival called TomorrowWorld debuts in Atlanta, US in September. Eastern Europe is equally well- represented for offbeat festivals. Unknown (10 – 14 September, Rovinj) is this year’s new face to the Croatian music scene, while established cousin Soundwave (18 – 22 July, Tisno), set on the Adriatic coast, welcomes an esoteric mix of artists over three stages and various boat parties. Bonobo, Quantic and funk king Craig Charles provide the soundtrack. Additionally, Bulgaria’s Meadows in the Mountains (7 – 9 June, Smolian), set in the Rhodope mountains, is straight out of the Sound of Music. Festival goers are encouraged to ditch inhibitions and run with wild abandon through the countryside while listening to music from unsigned acts, natch.
Closer to home, Secret Garden Party (25 – 28 July, Huntingdon), in a field in Cambridgeshire continues to draw crowds for its anti- festival vibe. Fancy dress is almost compulsory, and its headline list gets more arcane by the year. Former government drugs tsar David Nutt (who was doused in controversy last month for claiming cocaine-sniffing bankers landed the UK in recession) is speaking this year, and Soulwax and Bastille are also on the music bill. Other UK festivals to consider include Bestival (5 – 8 September, Isle of Wight) and Latitude (18 – 21 July, Southwold) in Suffolk, where last year the credit crunch was acted out on a bouncy castle. It’s full of dads and hipsters seeking the quieter life, if you like that kind of thing.