How to Heal (or Harm) Yourself at Summer Festivals Worldwide

Frequency Festival rocks Austria with beer, babes, pretzels, and love

Warning: Attending ALL of these concerts might be hazardous to one’s health

photos by Christopher Johnson

In case you have absolutely nothing to do this summer (like work), you could embark on your own worldwide concert tour.

You don’t need a band or even an instrument. Just go. (Oh, and bring money, a tent, and maybe a change of underwear.)

Here are just a few of the shows and festivals worth the extremely arduous effort:

A group of old bluesmen — The Stones — roll into Toronto June 6 and Montreal June 9. And while you’re in the Toronto area, catch a little local band called Broken Social Scene June 8, and their bigger brothers Big Sugar June 15 in Barrie. As if Now Magazine’s NXNE festival June 10-16 isn’t enough, there’s also Luminato June 14-23. In fact, you could just stay in Toronto and catch more than enough music to stay buzzed all summer (which apparently the Mayor will be doing).

But why stop there? The Who, known for their hit “Who are you” and a few other witty ditties, are on tour in the UK in June: Glasgow 12, London 15, 16, Sheffield 18, Newcastle 20, many others all year worldwide. (What? You never heard The Who? That’s what many of their fans say, who lost their hearing at deafening concerts in the 1960s and 70s.) (But don’t worry. So did Pete, and his ear has never been better.)

If The Who aren’t loud enough, there’s the Download Heavy Metal fest June 14-16 near Nottingham: Rammstein, Iron Maiden, Slipknot, Papa Roach, Limp Bizkit, Alice in Chains, Motorhead, Dir En Grey, Gogol Bordello, Mastadon, the Sword, and Korn.

Korn exorcizes demons at Frequency Festival in Austria

Also June 14-16, Nova Rock in Nickelsdorf, Austria features plenty of rock: Rammstein, Korn, Kiss, Bullet for my Valentine, The Sword, Kings of Leon, Cradle of Filth, and Japan’s own Dir en Grey. 

From there, hop over to Hurricane Festival June 21-23 in Bremen, Germany, 62 km southwest of Hamburg, or go to Southside the same time near Munich and Switzerland to see the same bands in a nice setting: Arctic Monkeys, Smashing Pumpkins, Sigur Ros, Queens of the Stone Age, National, Portishead, Bloc Party, Jimmy Eat World, NOFX, Editors, Gogol Bordello, Tame Impala, Maccabees. and

The Maccabees carry Brit rock flame at Frequency Festival in Austria

Wasting no time, hurry over to Zagreb, Croatia in time for the InMusic Festival June 24-26: Iggy Pop, NOFX, Monkeys, Bloc Party, Editors. It’s a great deal: only 65 GBP for a 3-day pass including camping.

MUSIC: Fuji Rock photos set 2

Rush back to London and catch Kasabian, Paul Weller, Miles Kane in London for Hard Rock Calling June 29, followed the next day by The Black Crowes, Bruce Springsteen, and The Cribs.

Mad energy rising from The Cribs at Frequency in Austria

Another great deal, only about $60 for tickets, is the Opener Festival July 3-6 near Gdansk, Poland: Blur, Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, Animal Collective, Tame Impala, Skunk, Modest Mouse, Editors, Nick Cave.

From there, head back for another amazing weekend in London. In addition to catching the Big Four — Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray — at Wimbledon, there’s another talented, hardworking, physically-fit group playing — the Rolling Stones — in Hyde Park July 6 and 13.

While in London, you have a big and important life decision to make.

You could catch Thom and Flea in Atoms for Peace in Slovakia July 12 and then the next day at EXIT in Serbia (June 10-14), which is another fantastic deal at GBP 100: Fat Boy Slim, Snoop Dog, Bloc Party.

Ed Sheeran, Blood Red Shoes, Hot Chip, Bloc Party, XX, others at Frequency Fest in Austria

Or you could use the return ticket to Canada to catch new Hall of Fame inductees RUSH at the Ottawa Blues Fest July 8 and the historic Plains of Abraham in Quebec July 10. Slide down to that other London (Ontario) for Pearl Jam July 16, or head west for the Calgary Stampede July 5-14, catching KISS along the way in Calgary 13, Saskatoon 14, and Regina 16. Big Sugar ( play up north in La Ronge Saskatchewan July 20, while Rush play in Calgary July 24.

Big Sugar aims to "Eliminate Ya" across Canada in November

While it’s hard to leave the Canadian summer behind, you absolutely cannot miss two of the world’s best festivals in Japan. Fuji Rock Fest in the Niigata mountains July 26-8 features The Cure, My Bloody Valentine, XX, NIN, Bjork, Gary Clark Jr, Mumford and Sons, Tame Impala, Tower of Power, Asai Kenichi and Bad Teacher Kill Club, all in the most wondrous festival setting and peaceful vibe in the world.

Fuji Rock photos: the Sherbets

After catching up on sleep and proper showers, get ready for the heat of the seaside SummerSonic near Tokyo August 8–10: Metallica, Linkin Park, Beady Eye, Muse, Smashing Pumpkins, Fall Out Boy, Cheap Trick, Bullet For My Valentine, Hiatus, EarthWindFire, Cyndi Lauper, Marr, Zebrahead.

Japan photos for Summersonic Festival of Endurance story

Still not tired?

Fly across Asia and Europe to catch the end of Sziget in Budapest Aug 5-12: Cribs, Tame Impala, John Digweed, Dry the River.

Dry the River flowing with currents of music at Frequency Festival in Austria

From there, catch a train to Vienna and nearby St. Polten and camp by the river at the excellent Frequency Festival in Austria Aug 15-17: System of a Down, Franz Ferdinand, Bad Religion, Fratellis.

Better than ever, Gavin Rossdale of Bush comes down from cloud into crowd at Frequency Festival in Austria

Frequency Festival rocks Austria with beer, babes, pretzels, and love

Stay live at Leeds Aug. 23-25 for Green Day, Eminem, NIN.

While in Europe, don’t miss Soundgarden: Stockholm September 6, Oslo 7, Copenhagen 8, Berlin 9, Amsterdam 11, Manchester Apollo 13, Birmingham 14, Dublin 02 16, London Brixton Academy 18.

And, just in case you want more summer, there’s a whole new summer about to start in Africa, South America, Australia and New Zealand, all with amazing festivals of their own.

Don’t miss any of it. You only live once (and maybe not much longer after this schedule.)

Japan photos for Summersonic Festival of Endurance story