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Friday Fives: Far Flung Festivals

To launch our new Friday Five feature, we’ve compiled a list of five overlooked festivals from around the world that we think are well worth your attention. 

Whilst the pleasures of Croatian beach festivals are undeniable (we’re very likely to indulge in a few ourselves this summer), we felt the following five events all offered something unique and exciting-in terms of both line-up and setting. Read on for Bulgarian moutain parties, a knees up in a Polish mine, Electronica in a Japanese forest, Mad Rabbits in a Serbian city and a lake-side session in Ireland….

Tauron Nowa Muzyka
Katowice, Poland.
21st-24th August
Musical highlights: Nozinja, Ben UFO, 10 Years of Hyperdub (Kode 9, Laurel Halo, Scratcha DVA, Cooly G, Ikonika), Jaga Jazzist & Aukso, Kelela

poland festival

For the 2014 edition of Tauron Nowa Muzyka the festival will return to it’s original location, the abandoned KWK Katowice (Katowice Coal Mine), located in the centre of Katowice, the capital city of the Upper Silesia region of Poland. The organisers founded the festival as a platform to showcase interesting electronic music artists to the local people of Poland, acts that weren’t necessarily present at that time in the Polish media. Over the years they’ve hosted the likes of Autechre, DJ Krush, Prefuse 73, Jamie Lidell, Amon Tobin, Flying Lotus, Battles, Bonobo and Fever Ray – most of them performing for the first time in Poland.

Fast forward from 2006-to-2014 and Nowa Muzyka is still the first and only outdoor festival to be staged in closed down coal mine with its entire infrastructure still intact. The balance of a wonderfully desolate location with an enticing line-up of left-of-centre electronics means Hyponik will be setting sail for Katowice this Summer. Oh, and by the way, it’s only £30 for the weekend.

MAD in Belgrade
Park in Front of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia
24th-25th May
Musical Highlights: Neneh Cherry w/ Rocketnumbernine, Omar S, Tony Allen, Evian Christ, Dean Blunt

mad in belgrade

A new venture from the team behind the enduringly popular EXIT festival, this 48 hour non-stop spectacular in the Serbian capital looks intriguing to say the least. It’s insanely colourful website boast three dimensional rabbits and a tantalising blurb declaring the organiser’s intention that festivalgoers, ‘lose it to the maximum’. Alongside the tastefully curated line-up, consisting of a nicely considered mix of interesting live acts and popular underground DJ’s, there is also the promise of ‘installations, gigantic sculptures…masks, performances, video art’, and a ‘Mad Dog and Crazy Rabit’ stage. We’d be lying if we said we fully understood the significance of the latter, but we’re definitely looking forward to finding out…

Taico Club
Kodama no Mori, Nagano Prefecture, Japan
May 31st – June 1st
Musical Highlights: Venetian Snares, James Holden, Mount Kimbie, Bibio, Jon Hopkins

Taico Club

As seems to be the custom with Japanese festivals, Taico Club is set in an impossibly beautiful mountainside location-which conveniently is just a relatively short journey away from the futuristic metropolis of Tokyo. Another endurance test, the music at Taico Club doesn’t stop once during its two day duration, although some respite will be provided in the form of the adventurous electronica on this year’s line up-a change from the Villalobos led Techno orgy of 2013’s event. An excuse-if you ever needed one, to start saving up for a trip to the land of the Rising Sun,, Taico is increasingly becoming regarded as a close to the second the more established likes of Fuji Rocks.

Meadows In The Mountain
Sasse Manor, Smolyan Polkovnik Serafimovo, Bulgaria
13th-16th June
Musical highlights: Moomin, Andrew Ashong, San Proper, Jazzanova

bulg-horse1

Nestled in the middle of the Rhodope Mountain near Bulgaria’s border with Greece, the setting of Meadows in the Mountains (check the featured image at the top of the article as well) is up there with the most beautiful in the world. Back for its fourth edition this June, the ‘festival’ (a term many reviews seem loathe to use when describing it)  carries an unmatchable level of intimacy thanks to the average turn out of no more than a few hundred people. Run by the Sasse brothers, MITM is their attempt to emulate vibe they found at more celebrated counterparts such as Burning Man and Secret Garden, with one glowing review commending it as being ‘devoid of douchebaggery’. With not a bad word to be heard about the festival itself  and Bulgaria relatively unspoilt, those looking for something a bit different could do a lot worse than making a trip to the middle of the mountains.

Life Festival
Belvedere House & Gardens, Ireland
23-25 May
Musical Highlights: LFO, Four Tet, Nathan Fake, Rødhåd, Ben Klock, Dj Koze

life festival

For it’s 9th installment, what started off as a psy-trance gathering between a group of friends has grown to become one of Ireland and Europe’s most cutting edge electronic music festivals. Situated in what one can best describe as the Narnia of Belvedere House and it’s surrounding forest gardens nestled along the shores of a majestic lake, the festival is one hour outside of Dublin, with this location setting the scene for an extended weekend of bass orientated hedonism. With a strong line up, a variety of arenas big and small, the best sound systems, healing areas, installation pieces and treats scattered throughout in the woods, this is a more than adequate excuse to visit the Emerald Isle this festival season.