Summer ‘23 is almost here, which means festivals galore are about to have people partying all over the world. And after a few tentative years for major events, we have a feeling this is going to be an especially vibrant season! Get out there and celebrate with our picks for the best summer events. From the venerable Art Basel in Miami to the rocking Summer Sonic music fest in Tokyo, there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy.
Sónar, which takes place day and night across several venues in Barcelona, has been one of the world’s leading electronic music and technology festivals since 1994. A thoroughly immersive experience, this year’s headliners include English electronic experimentalist Aphex Twin, South African house music producer Black Coffee and a rare appearance by Swedish singer and art icon Fever Ray. Make plans to attend if you love being exposed to new, body-moving music and visual art on the edge of technology. Sónar has held sister events in several cities over the years, including festivals held earlier this year in Lisbon and Istanbul, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the brand continue to grow.
Art Basel Miami Beach (June 15-18, Miami, FL)
Art Basel originally launched as an art festival in Switzerland in 1970 and has been drawing global travelers to a satellite event in Miami since 2002. The main event brings over 250 galleries to show off their goods at the Miami Beach Convention Center, but you’ll also find ancillary exhibits, parties and other events all over the greater Miami area that week. Some locals and travelers alike may not even make it to the main event because they’re too busy checking out everything else. Be warned: this is a four-day stretch where you probably won’t get a whole lot of sleep.
Food + Wine Classic (June 16-18, Aspen, CO)
Open since 1889, Aspen’s Hotel Jerome, Auberge Resorts Collection will be the place to be for the Food + Wine Classic, the premiere culinary event that’s been tantalizing taste buds since 1983. Both the event and the Hotel Jerome Epicurean Passport, which grants access to a slew of exclusive events during the week, are currently sold out, but both have a waitlist to join just in case more space becomes available.
La Défense Jazz Festival (June 26-July 2, Paris, France)
If you’re spending the summer in Paris, you’ll be spending plenty of money, which is one reason why we love the free and open-air La Défense Jazz Festival, which takes place in what’s described as Europe’s most prominent economic center. Artists scheduled to perform this year include American bassist Marcus Miller and rapper Joey Bada$$, Armenian jazz pianist Tigran Hamasyan and Ivory Coast drummer Anne Paceo, who is bringing a sextet and two choirs to present her latest work.
Outside Lands (August 11-13, San Francisco, CA)
Music and food get nearly equal billing at this three-day festival in San Francisco’s gorgeous and rugged Golden Gate Park, so it’s a great event to choose in order to get a real taste of the Bay Area’s well-developed restaurant and band scenes and get some good exercise in the process. The visual production is also on point, with art installations and surprises seemingly lurking around every corner, and there’s even an entire area that’s dedicated to legal cannabis sales. This year, Kendrick Lamar returns as a headliner alongside Foo Fighters and Odesza and will even feature a rap performance by NBA star Shaquille O’Neal as a curveball. Though it is a summer festival, San Francisco can actually be a little chilly in August, so it’s a good idea to layer up just in case.
Summer Sonic (August 19-20, Osaka and Tokyo, Japan)
Japan has finally lifted COVID restrictions for international travelers, so it’s a great year to hit up the major music festival known as Summer Sonic, which has been rocking since 2000. This year’s event, which is held over two days in both Osaka and Tokyo, will bring over a broad spectrum of international artists, including Kendrick Lamar (who is having a busy August!) and pop punk group Fall Out Boy from the U.S. as well as Britpop legends Blur and Scottish duo Wet Leg.