5 Festivals Worth Getting Your Passport For This Summer

wavebreakmedia / shutterstock.com
wavebreakmedia / shutterstock.com

For many Americans, the idea of getting their passport seems daunting. Since traveling to other countries takes some serious effort, there has to be something special to make them travel. One of the best and under-appreciated reasons to travel abroad is for a festival. You can still take in some of the local culture and enjoy some of your favorite tunes in one trip. It’s not a bad way to spend your summertime.

Kicking off the summer in Porto, Portugal, from June 6-8, Primavera Sound Porto originally was a one-day festival in Barcelona for “Spanish noise music.” Now grown into a three-day event with a mix of artists, the lineup is always top-notch, and English is widely spoken. This year the lineup includes Mitski, Lana Del Ray, Justice, PJ Harvey, Pulp, The National, SZA, Lambchop, Tropical Fuck Storm, Blonde Redhead, and many others. Single-day tickets start at $82, with all three days will run $182.

Glastonbury Festival is one of the largest festivals in Europe. Kicking off in 1971 with 12k people in attendance with David Bowie as a headliner, this festival was legendary right out of the gate. Running June 26-30 this year, they have yet to release the lineup for 2024. With sets by Elton John, Blondie, Rick Astley, Artic Monkeys, and Lana Del Ray across three days in 2023, you can guarantee they’ll do even more with four this year. Each year, they have outdone themselves, and the surprise makes preordering tickets worth the risk. Get camping and a five-day GA pass for $405.

Despite the name, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland, has become far more diverse after festival organizer Claude Nobs realized he needed to expand the variety of bands on the bill. Running from July 5-20, they are waiting to announce their lineup, but they bring in some of the biggest names yearly and rarely announce everything early. The city itself is the backdrop behind Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” and also served as the final home for the iconic Freddie Mercury. Hosted at a legendary casino with sets spread out over 11 stages, there is never a dull moment. Tickets vary depending on the stage and day, and while much is free, some performances could run $100.

Craving some cooler temps? A 30-hour flight to Byron Bay, Australia, might be the ticket. A newer festival (comparatively), Splendour in the Grass, runs July 19-21 and regularly sees highs from 59*-67* Fahrenheit. While they have yet to set their lineups, in the past, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lizzo, Flume, and Mumford & Sons have all headlined here. A few years ago, the festival was rained out, the city has a lot to do, and the locals are exceptionally welcoming. With interactions like a Global Village, a science tent, a comedy stage, and an Indigenous-led dance showcase, there is always something to do. The cost for this year has yet to be released.

The Sonus Festival in Novalja, Croatia, is a great way to cap off the summer. Going from August 18-22, the mid-week schedule is a tad unusual, but then again, so is the entire event. With house and techno music running from dusk to dawn, it’s held on the Zrće Beach on the party island of Pag. While the town is known for its cheese, the ability to party all night and then dip in the Adriatic Sea is something that only happens for a short time. Rock climbing, off-roading, and bungee jumping are a great way to fill the downtime.

No matter what festival you decide to attend, it offers something special and a great opportunity to learn more about our world. Just like food, music is universal, and festivals are a great way to experience all a nation has to offer. So get that passport, take those vacation days, and make some memories you can share with the grandkids.