While everyone’s speculating who’ll be headlining Glastonbury 2016, this winter chill is a timely reminder that there’s plenty of alternative festival fun for those who’d rather swap wellies, rain and mud for skis, high altitudes and fresh snow.
With line-ups ranging from stadium-filling artists to cutting-edge DJs, all performing on some of Europe’s best ski slopes complete with stunning panoramic backdrops, these unmissable events treat festival-goers to the likes of igloo discos, tropical pool parties, forest raves, 2000 player snowball fight and luxe spas.
Go off-piste with your festival picks this year and find out what really goes down above the clouds.
Transition in Avoriaz, France
Launching this year, Transition is the all-mighty Snowbombing’s little sister but with a world-class music bill headlined by Mercury-winning grime master Dizzee Rascal, eight bespoke clubs, daily mountain-top raves, forest-lit outdoor stages, intimate gigs, igloo disco battles and unique pop-up parties, not to mention some of the best skiing in France – there’s no chance this festival will be in anyone’s shadow.
Transition will also host Europe’s largest alpine meal where skiers will dine under the stars, a momentous mountain BBQ (or barbiflette) at the incredible natural snow playground and a show-stopping 2000 player organised snowball fight.
13-19 December 2015
Prices start from £114 for 6 night’s accommodation and wristband
Polaris in Verbier, Switzerland
Also making its debut this season is Swiss fest Polaris – an intimate two day festival that’s all about skiing, boarding and electronic apres-ski partying above the clouds. Dancing under a crystal dome on top of a 2,200 metres high mountain (complete with panoramic views of Switzerland’s Alps), guests will be dancing to the sounds of Laurent Gaurnier, Carl Craig, Seth Troxler and Mirko Loko, to name a few. Additional activities include a sledge race between the performing DJs and full blown apres-ski mayhem in local clubs til 4am.
11-12 December 2015
Tickets from £48
Snowbombing in Mayrhofen, Austria
With sixteen years’ of ‘snowcasing’ the best live music from headliners to underground acts, and with high altitude perks including mountain top sky-high igloo parties, open-air forest raves, secret backcountry barn dances, pool parties and Austria’s biggest fancy dress event, Snowbombing has truly earned its rights as the king of the slopes.
Dancing against an unparalleled panoramic backdrop, your spring pass also allows you to chill out in a luxury spa, ride fresh white powders and party with the likes of The Prodigy, Bastille, Fatboy Slim, Andy C, Jamie Jones and Jungle.
4-9 April 2016
Ticket prices start from £299
Horizon Festival in Bankso Ski Resort, Bulgaria
If you’re up for some serious snow-based partying, this is the mountain festival for you. Your six day ticket gives you entry to thirty hedonistic parties from 2pm until 7am every day. DJs spanning genres from Techno to Hip Hop, Dub to Grime and Bashment to House will be performing in the unique venues including boutique mountain hotels, forests clearings, super clubs, medieval banquet halls and abandoned factories.
If you’re in need of a little R&R after all this partying your hangover cures include fresh air, blue skies, black runs, beginner’s playgrounds and off piste slopes, all in Bulgaria’s biggest, most stunning ski resort.
12-17 March 2016
Accommodation and festival ticket from £175
Snowboxx in Port du Soleil, France
Feel like balancing out the craziness of apres ski with a bit of luxe? Then Snowboxx is your ideal party haven. This year you’ll find an exclusive festival village only 5 minutes walk to the slopes, secret events on mountain tops and tropical paradise pool parties. In this completely pedestrianised snow zone you can also relax in Deep Nature Spa, settle down in 5-star accommodation and take in stunning views of the Morzine valley.
17-19 March 2016
Packages from £229 including accommodation, lift pass and festival ticket
Sónar Reykjavik in Reykjavik, Iceland
If you’d rather by partying surrounded by, rather than on top of mountains, head to Sónar Reykjavik. Set against stunning Icelandic landscapes, Sónar draws in festival goers from all over the world with its unrivalled showcase of international and local talent. Taking place across five stages, including Harpa – one of Europe’s most unique concert venues – this year’s line-up includes Boyz Noize, Floating Points, Angel Haze, Ellen Allien, Ben UFO and Copenhagen’s 4×4 techno queen Courtesy.
18 – 20 February 2016
3 day pass €127
Original source: Evening Standard