It’s that time again. You might have read our Guide to UK Festival Applications for 2018; this year we’re moving even further afield to bring you the Guide to European Festival Applications for 2019.
In this post we’ll take you through
• Important things to consider or prepare before applying to a festival
• A month by month break down of the best European festivals, including what you need to apply and the application closing date
Festivals are an invaluable opportunity for recognition; an almost-guaranteed audience, playing to a range of new people and potential fans. Plus, we find audiences at festivals are usually more willing to give up-and-coming bands or artists a chance. We’ve all discovered some of our favourite artists and bands at festivals.
To help you get on that festival bill among some of your favourite artists, we’ve put together a list of some great European Festivals and how to apply to them. But before we dive in, take some time to consider a few vital things.
Read the instructions carefully…
Some of these festivals, for example Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent stage, only allow UK and Ireland-based acts to enter, so make sure you read everything first and pay attention to these details!
Make sure you can get there
Especially if you do decide to apply to those further afield. You will need to consider whether you have the budget for travel and if you’re free to play those dates.
Be actively gigging and rehearsing
Make sure the most important thing is up to scratch – your performance. This is your opportunity to shine, so don’t waste it! Get in as much practice beforehand as possible to play your best gig ever. You never know who might be in the crowd watching at these festivals. Also, having gigs lined up near the time of the festival can be great to promote your slot and create more hype.
Make sure all of your social platforms are up to date and accessible
Social media is usually the first port of call for promoters and festival organisers. Similarly, you’re going to want these to be up-to-date for potential new fans. Present yourself the best you possibly can on social media, your Spinnup and Spotify profiles and Soundcloud etc.
An up-to-date artist bio
You’ll most likely need this for most festival applications. In your bio include your latest and best achievements to date. Just like a job application or resume you’ll want to STAND OUT.
Have video content ready
Some of these applications require you to have video content of yourself playing, so make sure you have this ready, even if it’s only a bedroom recording.
When submitting tracks…
Send good quality music that represents your current musical direction and also bear in mind that your music suits the festival you’re applying for. So, if you’re an EDM DJ, maybe don’t apply for Sweden Rock.
Be ambitious, but start smaller
Apply to as many as you see fit, but also if you’re new to playing festivals, don’t write off some of the smaller ones as these could be the stepping stones to the larger ones!
Know what to bring
Indeed, if you are playing overseas, there will be a lot more to consider such as travel arrangements, for example how you are going to transport your equipment and whether some instruments/equipment will be provided or not. If you are going to bring your own, make sure you have insurance and your electronics are pat tested.
Merch merch merch!
Bring merchandise and promotional material! There’s nothing better for a new fan than to be able to buy you t-shirts and CDs or know where else you’re playing over the summer from a tour flyer. Not only will you be promoting yourselves, but also making a profit.
Look for alternatives
There are a heap of companies and brands who offer alternative entries to festivals via competitions or being able to play on their curated stage.
Check out our friends at Pirate Studios and submit an application for the chance to play at one of their curated stages and line-upsat the likes of Isle of Wight Festival, Liverpool Sound City, Simple Things and more.
Le Printemps de Bourges is held in Bourges, France. It is now a major event in France and Europe. Last year, Spinnup had a stage at this festival and the French team will also be curating a lineup to perform at this year’s Printemps also. Stay tuned to the Spinnup Francesite for more details on this year’s competition.
Dubbed as ‘simply one of the best festivals in the UK’, critically acclaimed and award-winning Are You Listening? takes place in various venues around Reading. The festival raises money for charity Mencap and strives to support the local music scene.
Apply asap by emailing email@example.com with a link to your music and paragraph of background info.
c/o pop Festival & Convention takes place in Cologne, Germany and offers insights into current trends and pop culture from urban to electronic. One of its focal points is the presentation and promotion of upcoming artists and young talents from the region. The festival is known for its high-standard of artist management and discovery of young talent.
Live at Leeds is an award-winning metropolitan festival that takes place across various venues in Leeds. It’s aim – to showcase the best new music alongside established artists from around the world.
The Great Escape takes place in Brighton, one of the top music cities in the UK. It showcases new music from all over the world across 30+ venues and has been described by The Times as “the best place in Europe to discover new bands”. It’s hosted early shows from the likes of Adele, The Kooks, Bon Iver, Wiley, Gotye, The xx, Ellie Goulding and many more.
Enea Spring Break Showcase Festival & Conference
Enea Spring Break is the biggest showcase festival in Poland. Established in 2014, so far it has hosted over 350 bands from Poland and abroad, and in its first year bands that played went on to play festivals such as Open’er, OFF and Jarocin. The event presents young, Polish bands to influential people within the music industry such as representatives from the biggest Polish record labels, festivals, streaming services, cultural institutions as well as an opportunity to perform to an audience.
Sweden Rock Festival is a rock festival outside the town of Sölvesborg in Blekinge in southern Sweden. The festival offers the best possible mix of classic rock, hard rock, metal, blues and related genres.
A truly energetic, vibrant and Independent boutique festival showcasing new music. Artists this year include Bondax and DJ Zinc.
Sea Sessions is the biggest surf and music festival in Ireland, taking place right on the beach in Bundoran, the capital of Irish Surfing. It has been dubbed as “one of Ireland’s most eclectic, unique, enjoyable and multi-faceted festivals” by the Irish Independent. Acts this year include Sigrid, Clean Bandit, and Le Boom.
Apply asap by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The biggest on this list and also the biggest greenfield festival in the world. Glastonbury is a five-day festival and a major event in British Culture. This year’s tickets have already sold out with Stormzy, Kylie Minogue and Janelle Monae confirmed so far.
Apply for the emerging talent competition (UK acts only) for a chance to play until 4th Feb here.
Couleur Cafe is a 3-day urban world music festival in Brussels, Belgium with more than 60 concerts and DJ-sets. Its main genres include hip hop, soul, funk, world, reggae, dub electronic music and Latin. Previous acts include Snoop Dogg, Damian Marley & Nas and Tracy Chapman.
Big Love is a small independent 3-day festival that boasts a DIY attitude! It takes place in and around abig country mansion near Hay-on-Wye (on the Wales/England border). The festival promises a weekend packed with great live music, parties, discos, street food and downtime with like-minded souls.
World-famous Isle of Wight Festival takes place in Newport, Isle Of Wight, and is a festival for real music lovers of all ages, with stages that have hosted massive acts such as The Rolling Stones and Jay-Z. Apply for their ‘New Blood’ competition to have the chance to play on the same bill as Biffy Clyro and Jax Jones!
Music in the park is Montreux Jazz’s outdoor venue located in Parc Vernex next to Auditorium Stravinski, drawing an audience that loves to discover new artists. All styles of music are welcome but need to be accessible to a wide audience.
Electric Fields takes place in an intimate and unique setting, within the stunning forests of Dumfries & Galloway. Up and coming duo from Scotland, and Spinnup artists, Chuchoter played this festival last year!
A four-day festival of music, street art, skate + BMX. The UK’s only professional action sport and music festival. Held at Bath and West Showground near Bristol, the festival includes act this year such as Loyle Carner and Cypress Hill.
Nozstock was founded by a fun-loving family and is hosted at Rowden Paddocks Farm near Bromyard, Herefordshire. It boasts 9 stages of entertainment and takes on a Wizard of Oz (WizardofNoz) theme this year.
Boardmasters Festival is a weekend of live music and surfing/skateboarding competitions in Cornwall. The festival site is situated on the cliff top at Watergate Bay with stunning views. See live music, stunning visual performances and explore local acoustic talent, whilst in the town of Newquay, Fistral Beach hosts pro surf competitions, skate, BMX and live music.
Green Man is an independent festival set in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, with the impressive Black Mountains and the river Usk flowing around the perimeter. It draws a brilliant lineup every year from indie psychedelia, electronica, folk, to dub-reggae and stoner rock.
Rock en Seine festival is one of the biggest festivals in France, and among the most important music events in Europe. It takes place in the Château de Saint-Cloud’s park, West of Paris, inside the garden designed by André Le Nôtre. The festival welcomes pop and rock bands, big and new. This year the lineup includes Major Lazer and Jorja Smith.
Waves Vienna – Music Festival & Conference is a yearly international showcase festival with a lineup mainly focused on alternative and indie music. It features numerous international alternative, electronic, rock and club acts and also local artists from Eastern Europe. This year it focuses on acts from Portugal and Slovakia in its live programme.
The Amsterdam Dance Event is a global electronic music conference and largest club festival in the world for electronic sub-genres. It offers a conference with dedicated programming for business professionals, start-ups, aspiring producers and musicians, students, VJs, visual artists and stage designers.The festival has over 2,500 artists performing in 140 of Amsterdam’s finest music and nightlife spaces.
Located in Luxembourg, Sonic Visions creates a networking and showcase platform for artists and professionals. It is also one of the founding members of INES – The Innovation Network of European Showcases, a project initiated by eight international showcase festivals and gigmit, the European digital platform for artist booking.
Make sure to check back here over the coming weeks and months for updates to application closing dates, and other special opportunities to get the chance to play on a festival lineup.