INTO THE VALLEY
Set in a truly out-of-this-world location – a gigantic 360 million-year-old meteorite crater in the middle of the forest, complete with a stunning crystal lake – Into The Valley festival is one of the most magical places to party on Earth. With rich and reverberating quarry-cum-amphitheater acoustics and a light show to boot, prepare to be immersed in a house and techno experience like no other; including premium sounds from the legendary likes of Nina Kraviz, George Fitzgerald and Dixon. Perfect for musical connoisseurs, the “club in the countryside” environment is designed for intimacy, with its four stages – the theater, the temple, the pyramid and the hanging garden – making up a relatively low 6,300 capacity. Entering only its second year, Into The Valley is still something of a hidden gem in the European festival scene, but this Swedish wonder certainly won't stay under the radar for long.
Imagine a sublime seaside escape in a private bay, soundtracked by some of the world's finest broken beat, reggae, afro, acid jazz, hip-hop, soul, funk and drum and bass music – that's a pretty inspiring picture on its own, without the added embellishments of local street artists and illustrators, using the idyllic festival grounds as their dynamic canvas. It's no surprise, then, that Soundwave has been acclaimed as one of Europe's top ten festivals. Spread over five days, it's more holiday than mini-break, giving you the time to enjoy the Adriatic sea-nery – snorkeling, diving and boating – as well as drinking in the music, sunshine and gorgeous views. Be sure to attend one of the famous Soundwave boat parties, held aboard the Argonaughty; a heroic thirteen in total, there's one for every aural sensibility. Tickets are sold separately, so it's recommended to buy in advance.
“Burning Man is a place to find out who you are, then take it a step further.” A unique festival concept, Burning Man is not about music – although there's always music in the air – but culminates with the symbolic burning of a 60-foot-tall wooden effigy. The Black Rock City community is a temporary space where “burners” co-operate, creatively express and, ultimately, leave no trace when the festival is over. Ingenious experimental and interactive sculpture, performances and wild-and-wacky art cars are ubiquitous, but transient. And, aside from tea and coffee in the main “village”, you simply cannot buy anything at this non-profit affair: it's all about gifting and trading, so come prepared and do not be surprised if you are handed the odd ice-cold beer by a stranger or “sparkle pony” as you explore the vast grounds. Look out for the festival's daily newspaper, which will familiarize you with the sights, characters and lingo before you lose yourself in the dreamy atmosphere.
What better way to end the summer than a couple of days spent in an oasis of music and luxury. Oasis is held at the private The Source resort – complete with stage-side pools and gardens, intimate dance floors, atmospheric amphitheater, and spectacular views of the almighty Atlas Mountains – by day, a laid-back retreat; by night a star-lit celebration. This is no mirage! Although an unconventional location for electronic music, the festival's “dance somewhere different” mentality has already put the young festival on the international map for house and techno; with an expertly-curated line-up which places legends such as Derrick May alongside bright and forward-thinking new talent. Just as well-curated are the extensive lifestyle offerings – including yoga classes, live painting, henna and reflexology – and the tantalizing selection of local cuisine, straight from Marrakech's most-celebrated restaurants and eateries.