Hart Plaza, Detroit, United States of America
May 26 – May 28
Last year’s edition of Movement took place against a backdrop of cautious optimism in Detroit. The festival’s downtown home is at the centre of an economic revival, which is a positive (albeit a complicated one) for a city that declared bankruptcy five years ago. Movement’s organisers achieve the tricky balancing act of welcoming international DJs and festival-goers, while supporting the artists who make the Motor City’s electronic music scene tick. That means in 2018 you’ll be able to catch homegrown heroes like Carl Craig, Delano Smith, DJ Stingray, Eddie Fowlkes, DJ Godfather, Mike Huckaby and Amp Fiddler sharing the bill with out-of-towners like Nina Kraviz, KiNK and Loco Dice. (Not to mention the festival’s main hip-hop booking: Wu-Tang.) For the second year running, Resident Advisor will cohost the Underground stage. While we can’t tell you the exact lineup yet, we can give you a clue as to the vibe: it starts with “t” and ends with “echno.”
May 7 – May 13
Nuits Sonores hit the road in 2017—satellite events went down in Seoul, Brussels and Bogotá—but there’s no questioning its spiritual home: Lyon. The festival and the French city go hand in hand, a partnership that, in 2018, looks stronger than ever. For the first time, it’ll expand from five to eight days, making space for an extra daytime session at La Sucrière as well as a return to La Piscine du Rhône, one of the city’s most breathtaking spots. Those are just two of dozens of venues used by the festival, where you’ll be able to catch everyone from Larry Heard, Moor Mother and Maceo Plex to Lee Gamble, Pan Daijing and Paula Temple.
RA Pick: It’s no surprise that Floating Points, the man who named one of his hits after the festival, goes down particularly well at Nuits Sonores.
Parc Del Forum, Barcelona, Spain
May 28 – June 2
A number of big festivals around the world try to capture in their lineups the full breadth of the musical zeitgeist. Few do it as well as Primavera Sound, an event that finds room for everything from indie to R&B to experimental techno, and delivering impressively deep cuts of each one. This year, as usual, omnivorous music fans will be spoiled for choice, taking in main stage shows from Björk and Spiritualized, then nipping off to cozier dance floors for sets from Call Super, Donato Dozzy, or Hunee back-to-back with Antal. Like most events of its size, it’s not for the feint of heart—expect a half-hour walk between some of the stages. But in the balmy air of late spring in Barcelona, that’s hardly something to whinge about.
Durham, United States of America
May 17 – May 21
When it comes to mixing social justice and music, Moogfest puts its money where its mouth is. While other festivals scramble to introduce gender-balanced lineups by 2022, Moogfest unequivocally pushes female, transgender and non-binary artists to the forefront—even if not everyone agrees on the execution. The festival provides plenty of dance music kicks, courtesy of the Discwoman crew, Noncompliant and Shanti Celeste, but the experimental side of the programme is especially strong, with promising new faces like Caterina Barbieri and Katie Gately making their festival debuts.
Closer, Kiev, Ukraine
May 19 – May 20
The Kiev club Closer might be Europe’s best-kept secret, and its annual Strichka Festival is a great reason to get acquainted. Beginning on Saturday evening and wrapping up sometime on Monday morning, this extended session features a mixture of house, techno and experimental acts (Ion Ludwig, Luke Slater, Wolfgang Voigt) across the former ribbon factory Closer calls home. This year Strichka also serves as the official spring opening of Lesnoy Prichal, the stunning outdoor courtyard that’s been home to magical DJ sets every year, so make sure to save your energy for a Sunday dance under
Het Twiske, Amsterdam, Netherlands
May 26 – May 28
What could possibly be better than one day of Lente Kabinet? Two days of Lente Kabinet. This year the beloved Dutch festival, best known as Dekmantel’s cosier sibling, expands into two days for the first time. That means twice the fun, twice the tunes and twice as many DJs, who this year include DJ Fett Burger, Tzusing, DJ Assault and Peggy Gou alongside live acts such as DMX Krew, DJ Python and Alexander Robotnick. Returning to the lush Het Twiske parklands just north of Amsterdam, the first Lente Kabinet weekender promises to be great.
Love Saves the Day
Eastville Park, Bristol, United Kingdom
May 26 – May 27
The big news on the UK festival scene this year is that Glastonbury isn’t happening. So what else can scratch the itch? Love Saves The Day, which will return for its seventh edition, has plenty in common with the beloved giant—it’s independently run, the booking policy is youthful and open-minded, and, well, it’s in the West Country. (There’s something else, too: Team Love, the company behind Love Saves The Day, runs Glastonbury’s Wow Stage.) If, then, you’re looking for somewhere to get your big festival fix, head to Bristol’s Eastville Park and dance to sets from Sampha, Andy C, The Black Madonna, Shanti Celeste, Bicep, Four Tet, Moxie and many more.
MUTEK San Francisco
San Francisco, USA
May 3 – May 6
For as long as MUTEK has been happening in Montreal—the home city of the now global event series—Americans have plotted annual road trips there. This year the festival returns the favor with their first stateside event, taking place in early May at nine venues across San Francisco. This being MUTEK, you know what to expect: bleeding edge electronic music, mostly played live, with dazzling visual accompaniment. Highlights from the lineup so far include Tim Hecker, Lee Gamble and Underground Resistance act Galaxy 2 Galaxy. MUTEK have also done well to draw from the Bay Area’s rich local scene, bookings artists like Christina Chatfield, Russell E.L. Butler and Solar.
The Star Festival
Stihl No Mori Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan
May 19 – May 20
In among all the kick drums, Star Festival offers its attendees an atmosphere of serenity: it takes place a 40-minute drive from Kyoto in a grassy expanse surrounded by trees and mountains. Like many Japanese festivals, it is a family-friendly event—you’re guaranteed to see kids scurrying between the adults’ legs during the daytime. At sundown, the site takes on a different vibe, with trippy visuals lighting up the tall trees behind the stage. The music policy centres on bass, house and techno, with Fumiya Tanaka and Zip’s back-to-back sets now a festival staple. (Last year they played for ten hours straight.) They’ll be back in 2018, along with a healthy batch of festival debutants like Ikonika, Shigeto and Florian Kupfer.
Funkhaus Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Mira hails from Barcelona, but it’s beginning to lay roots in Berlin, and it’s easy to see how the daylong festival’s interdisciplinary approach suits the city’s scene. Pairing an emphasis on audiovisual performance with the cavernous GDR-era Funkhaus studio complex and the multi-dimensional 4DSOUND rig, Mira Berlin strives to represent the cutting edge of modern electronic music. The lineup of live acts is particularly striking. Laurel Halo, Yves Tumor and Lorenzo Senni are all at the top of their game, but be sure not to miss DJs like Vladimir Ivkovic and Inga Mauer, whose sets push the envelope as far as any live act.