The best winter music festivals in Europe
These days barely a year goes by without your social media feeds being bombarded by photos of friends living it up on the slopes at Snowbombing, easily the most well-known of all of Europe’s winter music festivals. However, if you look a little wider, you’ll find that the continent has plenty of equally exciting snowbound parties to get your kicks at.
Here are some of the best alternatives:
- Sneeuwbal Winterfestival
- Rock the Pistes
- Horizon Festival
28 January 2017
Definitely the quirkiest and most distinctive event on the winter calendar, Sneeuwbal Winterfestival brings the joy of après-ski to a major European city-centre. Electronic music lovers will be treated to a banging mix of techno, tech-house, deep-house and house across four heated arenas, all embodying a decidedly Dutch vibe. It might be set in the heart of Utrecht, a far cry from any mountain ranges, but with the suggested dress code of ski and snowboard wear accepted by much of the crowd, you’ll soon forget the urban environment surrounding this mini-winter wonderland.
- Headliners: ANOTR, Juan Sanchez, La Fuente
18-25 March 2017
A relatively new addition to the ski fest landscape, Snowboxx takes place over the course of a week, combining all-day après-ski parties, snowboarding events and club nights in the modern winter sports resort of Avoriaz. With fancy-dress on the slopes, stages in the snow and parties in pools, ice caves and igloos, all eight days provide an unforgettable experience, soundtracked as they’ll be by some of the UK club scene’s hottest acts.
- Headliners: Basement Jaxx, High Contrast, Hannah Wants
Rock the Pistes
19-25 March 2017
Portes du Soleil, France and Switzerland
Over 80 concerts a day in an area spanning two countries, the week-long Rock the Pistes festival caters to over 25,000 people in one of the largest linked ski regions in the world. Portes du Soleil on the French-Swiss border combines free live acts on the slopes with DJ sets in the resorts below. There are five gigs a day on the mountains with over 70 other concerts to see out the night off-piste featuring French and international rock and pop acts.
- Headliners: Matmatah, Julian Perretta, Chinese Man
26 March – 02 April 2017
With next year’s event taking place high in the breath-taking Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain, Horizon has become known for its all-embracing and eclectic line-up, offering everything from house, techno and drum and bass to grime, soul and hip-hop. Its mountain-top main stage, intimate bars, late night clubs, forest parties, warehouses, secret hostel, avalanche tunnels and pop up venues will play host to 120 DJs and live acts, as well as Horizon’s famously weird and wonderful side shows.
- Headliners: Craig Charles, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Rockwell
6-9 April 2017
Caprices is a four-day festival spread out across three different stages positioned on both the top and bottom of the slopes at the Swiss ski resort of Crans-Montana. With the highest arena sitting almost 1500m above sea level, the views on offer are simply breath-taking – and that’s before the party gets going. Attracting some of the biggest names in house and techno, Caprices can justifiably claim to be one of the winter’s coolest festivals.
- Headliners: (TBC) 2016’s line-up included Ricardo Villalobos, Sven Vath, Nina Kravil