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Top 10 music festivals for winter and spring 2017

Snow-capped mountains and leafy paradises battle it out before the summer festival season hits

It's 2017, folks. That means summer is just around the corner and won't be long before we're all crying in excitement on the cheapest RyanAir flight to the White Isle. But, in the spirit of mindfulness, let's focus on the pleasures of the present, because there are plenty of festivals dotted throughout the first quarter of the year to bump up your dance music quota.

With that in mind, we had a sweep of what's happening across the world's hemispheres and created a list of the best festivals in both hot and cold climates. And whether you're chucking on the tan accelerators or the fluffiest of ear muffs, excellent music shall be heard from each of our selections.


What: Igloofest
Who: Anja Schneider, Apparat, B.Traits, Carl Cox, Laurent Garnier, Mind Against, Catz 'N Dogz, Chris Liebing, MK, Dave Clarke, Eats Everything, Green Velvet, Jennifer Cardini and Lauren Lane, among more
Where: Montreal, Canada
When: 12 January to 19 February
Cost: From $15

Igloofest is a winter must-do and while it's already started, the festival still has five weekends remaining. It's been cracking the whip for 11 years, with hundreds of thousands of electronic music fiends sniffing out the Old Port of Montreal for a date with the bass. To celebrate Montreal's 375th anniversary, two weekends have been added to its programming, and you have 12 nights of music from the best local and international DJs, an even bigger selection of outdoor winter activities, including an update on the historic Nordik slide, and an interactive village complete with igloos.

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What: Sónar Reykjavik
Who: Ben Klock, De La Soul, GusGus, Fatboy Slim, Helena Hauff, Glowie, Moderat, Oddisee, Vatican Shadow and FM Belfast, among more
Where: Reykjavik, Iceland
When: 16 to 18 February
Cost: 170€

Promoting music, creativity and technology, Sónar Reykjavik's 2017 festival program will take place across four stages at one of Europe's most unique concert venues, Harpa Concert Hall, in downtown Reykjavik. Fatboy Slim, Moderat and De La Soul were the first acts to be announced for the fifth Icelandic edition of Sónar, but, international talent isn't favoured over homegrown acts, as Reykjavik boasts its own vibrant scene. Local acts include Emmsjé Gauti, Aron Can and Kött Grá Pje, FM Belfast and Sin Fang. Your teeth might be chattering with the cold, but your heads will be buzzing with the bass.

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What: Horizon Festival
Who: Floating Points, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Ben UFO, KiNK, Oneman, Craig Charles, Midland, OR:LA, Romare, Jasper James and Channel One, among more
Where: Arinsal, Andorra
When: 26 March to 2 April
Cost: From £67.00

It's boldly billed as Europe's greatest ski party, and after skimming over the festival's finer details, we'd have to agree it sounds rather brilliant. Last year's Horizon was based at the Bankso Ski Resort in Bulgaria, and this year its bagged itself a new home – Arinsal ski resort in Andorra. No less than 120 DJs have been confirmed to play across a host of eclectic new venues, including a mountain-top main stage, late night clubs, forest parties, warehouses, a secret hostel, avalanche tunnels and pop up venues. Hangovers can be remedied with hot tubs, cinema screenings, snow yoga, camp fires and acoustic sets.

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What: Snowbombing
Who: Courteeners, Dixon, Chase & Status, Denis Sulta, De La Soul, Cassy, DJ Koze, Hot Since 82, Gorgon City, Mistajam, My Nu Leng, Claude Vonstroke, Artwork, James Zabiela, Grandmaster Flash, Gerd Janson, Doorly and Eli & Fur, among many more
Where: Mayrhofen, Austria
When: 3 to 8 April
Cost: From £299 inc. accommodation

Snowbombing is another giant in the snow-capped mountain game, and it's a winner for those who want to throw themselves into its mantra of “Eat. Ski. Rave. Repeat.” It's another that can boast some pretty epic venues, including a tennis club turned super club, cable car karaoke and a sky-high igloo. You'll also be a witness to Austria's biggest fancy dress street party, and bag yourself a partner in clubbing crime via the chair lift speed dating. The line-up is reeking with eclectic goodness, and for the specimens who don't take themselves too seriously, check out Mr Motivator and Pat Sharp for some '90s warfare.

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What: Caprices Festival
Who: Ben Klock, Leon, Mano Le Tough, Marco Farone, Marco Carola, Dana Ruh, Osunlade, Sven Väth and Seth Troxler, among more
Where: Crans-Montana, Switzerland
When: 6 – 9 April
Cost: From CHF69

Five dreamers had a vision for an event that would dance to the beat of its own drum, and so Caprices Festival was launched in 2004. Originality is what drives it, and quite simply, the organisers want music lovers to discover this corner of Switzerland because it's knock-out beautiful. The first edition brought in 10,000 concertgoers and by 2015, numbers had more than doubled. Constantly evolving, it's musical programming is always on point and has hosted quintessential acts from hip-hop, rock, folk-pop, reggae, and electronic music. On paper, this year is strictly electronic music, but when you have the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Seth Troxler and Sven Väth on the line-up, you can't guarantee what genre will be utilised for a spin.

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What: Babylon
Who: Planetary Assault Systems, Magda, Marc Houle, Lee Burridge, Speedy J, Danny Daze, Fur Coat, Claude VonStroke, Boogs and Late Nite Tuff Guy, among more
Where: Victoria, Australia
When: 10 to 13 March
Cost: From $199

New kid on the festival circuit, Babylon, will be headed by Planetary Assault Systems – an act who you may also know as Luke Slater. Those in charge of promoting this new beast had our interest rumbling, with teasers that the festival “sits in the corner of perception and reality” and is an experience that is “equal parts dystopian playground and bohemian gathering.” We'd call those phrases out on saying plenty, and simultaneously, nothing at all. Riding around a man-made dystopia conjures nightmarish images, but we imagine that in the Australian countryside, this will be pretty damn cool.

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What: SXM Festival
Who: Andhim, Âme, Audiofly, Black Coffee, Blond:ish, Fur Coat, Bob Moses, Honey Dijon, Jamie Jones, My Favourite Robot, Nina Kraviz, Francesca Lombardo, RPR Soundsystem, The Martinez Brothers and Thugfucker, among more
Where: Saint Martin, Caribbean
When: 15 to 19 March
Cost: From 67.35€

SXM Festival made its debut in 2016 and while a solid line-up doesn't always guarantee victory, it had an absolute blinder. It's clear that it ploughed right into organising the second edition, as programmers have curated another beauty. Blissful ocean views, sublime sunsets and sunrises, intimate jungle gatherings and a diverse local culture are what will sell this haven for techno souls. On Saint Martin, you'll find some flesh-baring nudist beaches, so get your kegs off, if you wish.

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What: Dekmantel
Who: Nicolas Jaar, Jeff Mills, Nina Kraviz, Moodymann, Ben Klock, John Talabot, Ben UFO, Joy Orbison, Fatima Yamaha, DVS1, Palms Trax, Dekmantel Soundystem, Call Super, Tom Trago and Helena Hauff, among more
Where: São Paulo
When: 4 to 5 February
Cost: From R$90

Next month, Dekmantel makes the trip across the Atlantic for its debut in São Paulo. The festival, which is based in Amsterdam, will host a two-day event in the Brazilian city and is joined by a lot of firm favourites who've featured on its rosters for years. In an interview with Resident Advisor, Dekmantel co-founder, Thomas Martojo, sounded buzzed for the venues chosen as The Jockey Club offers an amazing view of the city's skyline, and Fabriketa will bring clubbers into an open-air courtyard of an old industrial warehouse.

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What: Equation
Who: Konstantin, Ateq & DJ Dustin, Telephones, San Soda, Shlømo, Phred, Alex from Tokyo, Borrowed Identity, Hibiya Line, Maggie G and Dan Lo, among more
Where: Ba Vi, Son Tinh Camp, Vietnam
When: 14 to 16 April
Cost: From $89

Equation is the first of its kind for Southeast Asia, and its debut lands as a three-day getaway in Northern Vietnam. On the line-up, you have international names chucked in with some leading Asian artists across the house and techno spectrum. As a corner of the globe that's a hotspot for travellers and expats, some will no doubt be missing the electronic music scenes that are bubbling away in other continents, so we're expecting a big turnout. Capacity is limited to 1,000 festivalgoers, so grab your tickets now to be part of the experience.


What: Lost & Found
Who: Annie Mac, Armand van Helden, Jamie Jones, J.E.S.U.S, Andy C, Andrea Oliva, Yousef, Dusky, Toddla T, David Rodigan, MJ Cole, Butch and Kölsch, among more
Where: Malta
When: 13 to 16 April
Cost: From £85

All night raves, pool parties, boat parties, castle raves, and sunsets and cocktails are the ingredients of Annie Mac's festival, Lost & Found. For Mac, this edition will be a biggie as it'll be her first DJ performance in six months. As with every other year, 2017 will be remembered for a carefully curated line-up that not only represents electronic dance music, but also jungle, dub, UK garage, grime and hip-hop.

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WORDS l Aimee Lawrence