VF's Top 10 overseas festivals of 2011 - vote for yours!

Where did our critics get their greatest kicks this summer?


Photographer:ian woodhouse

Austria Austria | by Rosie Baker-Smith | 22 September 2011

We've already re-lived our Top 10 breakthrough acts of 2011, and now it’s time to hop around the globe to check out the finest foreign festival fare of the last 12 months.

But don’t just take our word for it, vote for your favourite in the UK Festival Awards at the bottom of the article.

One lucky fan who votes in the Awards will win a pair of tickets to every winning festival in 2012, so just in case that last cider made things a little bit too hazy, we’ve had a look through our reviews to find who got the best verdicts. Maybe it’ll help you out with yours?

The countdown:

15 = Les Eurockeennes de Belfort 2011
Scrore: 8/10 
Where? France
‘Les Eurockéennes is back with another traditional French knees-up, boasting cracking headliners, a sprinkling of pleasant musical surprises and the odd pleasantry, generally personified by a French comedic act whose songs consist of eulogising about bananas.’

14 = Heineken Open'er Festival 2011
Score: 8/10 
Where? Poland
‘This is Open’er, a festival that won the Best Major European Festival for 2010, spread over four-days it has all the trappings over a UK festival but at over half the price. The site is well organised and maintained although it’s somewhat lacking in food stalls in the campsite.’

13 = Rock en Seine Festival 2011
Score: 8/10
Where? France
'It may sound trite, but the melting pot of some 100,000 fans across the three days of this intimately sized venue simmers with an alluringly laid back ambience, rendering Rock en Seine as cheerful, friendly and relaxed a festival site as you could ever wish to lay your senses on.'

12 = Melt! Festival 2011
Score: 8/10 
Where? Germany
'Jarvis Cocker failing to disappoint, the group’s amazing song reel reminding us just how important Pulp has been for the British music scene and how much their music influences indie bands today. Melt! itself offers a kick ass line-up in a spectacular setting.'

11 = Sonar 2011 
Score: 8/10 
Where? Spain 
‘Set in the midst of an early Barcelona summer, visitors have travelled from all over the world to lose their mind in a weekend of indulging in the best that electronic music has to offer.’ 

10 = Hurricane Festival 2011 
Score: 8/10 
Where? Germany
‘About 80,000 rock fans have turned up here for Hurricane Festival 2011; a feast of massive rock bands, god awful burgers, torrential rain and gorgeous sunshine. Dave Grohl is in town, the numerous dance tents are thumping everything from punk to techno and the German beer is strong – very strong.’

9 = Rock Werchter 2011
Score: 8/10 
Where? Belgium 
'Fans here are treated to longer-than-usual festival sets. With two stages, efficient changeovers and only 16 acts per day, most bands play for at least an hour, time enough to make each one feel like a proper headline set.'

8 = Outlook Festival 2011
Score: 8/10
Where? Croatia
'A varied line-up of reggae, dubstep and drum and bass, as well as some excellent visuals, keeps thousands locked-in here all weekend, and it's one of the few stages where there's room enough for everyone.'

And the winners are…

7 = Roskilde Festival 2011
Score: 9/10 
Where? Denmark
'It’s not just PJ Harvey, but the whole of Roskilde Festival 2011 is enchanting. Whether it’s the innovative art and installations dotted around the site, the cinema, skate park and palm readings or, of course, the music, the Danish event excels in entertaining.’

6 = Hellfest 2011
Score: 9/10
Where? France
'It's impossible not to be impressed by the levels this ever-expanding metal pitbull of a festival will reach to succeed.'

Crowds at Roskilde Festival

5 = Wacken Open Air 2011
Score: 9/10 
Where? Germany
'Veteran Wacken band Motörhead’s headline slot was a fitting end to this monster metal-fest, with legendary rock god Lemmy’s gravelly voice resonating into the black night. Wacken Open Air 2011 is every bit the metal-fan’s Valhalla and promises to be back next year even harder, faster and louder.’

4 = EuroSonic Noorderslag 2011
Score: 9/10 
Where? The Netherlands
'If sex and drugs and rock and roll make the perfect festival, then the Netherlands is something close to the Garden of Eden. But each January, this year for four days, it’s all about one thing at Eurosonic Noorderslag: emerging bands.'

3 = Pohoda Festival 2011
Score: 9/10
Where? Slovakia
'The organisers cannot have known it, but they saved the best till last. Portishead, denizens of the murky depths of the beat seem to found a home from home. As reverential as a catholic mass, the crowd are awestruck. There are even tears. There must be something in the national psyche here, or in the water, but this is a ‘Glastonbury moment’.’

2 = Ibiza Rocks 2011
Score: 9/10
Where? Spain
'The fact Biffy Clyro, like so many acts, ask personally to return to this still fledging festival shows how much thought it packs into getting the ingredients just right, between the escapsim of a sunny summer holiday and the serious business of rock and roll, this sits pretty close to perfection. Many happy returns Ibiza Rocks.'

1 = Volvo Snowbombing 2011
Scroe: 9/10 
Where? Austria
'Snowbombing is a brilliant non-stop, no-sleep, clusterfuck of an event. One part ski holiday, one part music festival and enough Jagermiester to keep the Austrian National Drinking Team hammered for a year, it’s the type of affair Hunter S Thompson would jump headfirst in to, except when you see a group of gingerbread men diving down the slopes, it won’t be thanks to the mescaline.'

Do you disagree? Then vote for your favourite in the UK Festival Awards below:



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