Think music festivals and see massive assemblages of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people all in one place to partake in a collective live concert experience. From the sweat-soaked ecstasy of one rhythm surging through the multitude to the filthiness of having to battle your fellow fans for the ground on which you stand, the sensory environment of music festivals brings both highs and lows. Yet the exhilaration of such events inevitably outweighs the frustration as people flock each year to open fields with gigantic sound systems and a plethora of bands.
Ever since the summer of ’69 when the counter-culture and anti-war movement merged together in the most famous festival in the history of rock music, Woodstock, it seems that in some ways all of today’s concerts exist in the shadow of the indescribable, beautiful mess that was “three days of peace, love, and music.” Though the significance of Woodstock for America will probably never be recaptured — its spirit certainly wasn’t resurrected in any of its modern day sequels — it is an ideal towards which music festivals can still strive. The concept of a concert bill packed with enough talent to drop jaws and a venue so open as to facilitate solidarity amongst music fans is still very alive today. From the U.K. to the U.S., here are a few music festivals to make sure to hit at least once in your life