In some ways, the festival is the ultimate holiday. A life-changing experience, crammed into a few days, which transforms you from jaded commuter into free spirit, or opens your mind through art, music, poetry, performance.
Glastonbury may have sold out in seconds flat - but there are enough festivals around the world to keep us happy all year long, from literary highs to euphoric trance. So pack your wings and stilts. Take your clothes off and paint your bum blue, try unidentifiable street food and circus skills, crowd-surf to the front and launch yourself into space from a giant catapult. And lose it, just for a few days. You don't even have to get travel insurance. Will this be the year you finally make it to Burning Man and turn into a silver fish?
Pick and choose, where are you going this year?? We selected the best festivals in May & June 2014.
Primavera Sound | 29-31 May 2014
Europe's most fun festival where of-the-moment indie bands (The National) and crowd pleasers (this year: Pixies, Foals; previous years: Hot Chip, Pulp) perform on six outdoor stages at the waterside Parc del Fòrum.
The Comedy Hullabaloo | 22-25 May 2014
The Comedy Hullabaloo is making a return to Shakespeare's birthplace of Stratford-Upon-Avon this summer. Comedians Al Murray, Milton Jones, Jason Manford, Shappi Khorsandi and many more will all be vying for the last laugh.
SunSplash | 1-8 June 2014
The Turkish Riviera town of Antalya is home to the five-star Hillside Su Hotel, a minimalistic design residence that also hosts the exclusive SunSpash music festival. Limited capacity means there are only 400 attendees at the week-long event, which last year had acts like Jamie Lidell, Gilles Peterson and Norman Jay MBE lined up to perform. As well as music, there are talks on raw food and living, music production seminars and yoga workshops on the bill this year.
Distortion | 4-8 June 2014
Distortion, a party-culture festival in Copenhagen that attracts DJs from across the globe, sees the city's streets overwhelmed with thousands of revellers over its five-day span. Free street parties take place each day in a different district of the city (imagine impromptu crowd surfing, cooking, singing, live DJing and street-food aplenty). By night, clubs, record labels, magazines and party venues all host ticketed events. Plus, being eco-friendly Copenhagen, partygoers are invited to purchase a street bracelet ('Gadearmbåndet'), the funds of which go towards the clean-up afterwards, as well as future merrymaking.
Field Day | 7-8 June 2014
Field Day is a catwalk for cool kids modelling double denim and expensive haircuts in Victoria Park, East London. The Village Mentality area is Field Day's stab at a traditional fête: try your hand at 'bat a rat' or join the contenders for tug-of-war. Alternatively, get back to nature or channel your inner scribe in the creative Caught by the River tent, fresh from an ultra-successful run at literary festival Port Eliot. Venn Street Market also pops up away from its south London home for the duration.
Paris Jazz Festival | 8 June-28 July 2014
Big names as well as emerging talents will perform at the Paris Jazz Festival, in the city's beautiful Parc Floral.
Sonar | 12-14 June 2014
Barcelona's franchised electrofest comes to the Anhembi suburb of Brazil's second city. With acts such as Lykke Li, Rudimental, Bonobo and Yelle this is a festival that shouldn't be missed. The after-party at D.Edge, the city's coolest techno club, is legendary - so don't peak too soon.
Echo Festival | 18-24 June 2014
This year, Croatia's leading electronic music festival, Echo, is based in Kanegra, Istria. The line-up specializes in up-and-coming house music acts, predominantly from the UK - but the blazing heat and beachside set-up is about as far from British as can be.
Meadows in the Mountains | 13-15 June 2014
Meadows in the Mountains and its Rhodopian Mountain setting on the Bulgarian border of Greece promise sublime vistas and a vibe that's been described as 'wild and romantic'. The festival's focus is dance music, but there are also things going on for arts and literature lovers.
The Midnight Sun Film Festival | 11-15 June 2014
The Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä, Finland, held during the 'white nights', is a five-day-and-night celebration of new cinema.
Art Basel | 19-22 June 2014
See some of the world's best contemporary art at Art Basel; more than 2,500 artists are represented. Art Basel also has outposts in Miami and, more recently, in Hong Kong.
For | 19-22 June 2014
Tame Impala, Horse Meat Disco and 2manydjs rocked the Croatian island of Hvar last year at For's debut festival. This summer, the Klaxons and one-to-watch singer Kelela will play to an intimate crowd of 2,500 dancing in a converted monastery, and mash-up masters Mark Ronson and Erol Alkan will be behind the decks. Beach parties are day and night; glow sticks at the ready!
Wyndstock - A Midsummer Night's Ball | 20-22 June 2014
There's an element of Gatsby to this country-house party (pictured). But this is not your average 20s-themed, just-bung-on-a-Next-faux-stole event. Rather than simply harking back to glorious heyday, Wyndstock is creating a new belle époque for the bright young things and dandies of today. It's set in the grounds of the Marquess of Cholmondeley's Palladian home, Houghton Hall in Norfolk. In the daytime there are games on the lawn; literary and art talks and tours around the grounds, afternoon tea and (decidedly un-20s) outdoor yoga classes. Then as evening falls, sundowners precede a candlelit banquet from the estate's own produce and, later, live music and DJs. Trip through the woods to find the secret cocktail bar and dancefloor that will be jumping until sunrise. It's a collaboration between Viktor Wynd of The Last Tuesday Society and the Bourne & Hollingsworth cocktail bar brigade, so we're expecting great things. And please, no high-street-faux-fur - only your finest threads. And possibly some wellies.
From £70. For tickets or more information, email email@example.com or call 020 7724 1617
Glastonbury Festival | 25-29 June 2014
What started as a few whacked-out friends playing prog rock on a farm has become the world's biggest festival, the size of a city. Every year it gets bigger, louder, messier; every year new fields of weirdness are added; every year Madonna is rumoured to be playing (she never does). Everyone will tell you it wasn't as good as it was in '94/'89/'78. Ignore them. Open your mind. Drink pear cider and mushroom shakes and spend three days wearing a ballgown over your wellies.
Roskilde | 28 June-6 July 2014
Roskilde is Denmark's opportunity to prove they're more than just exceptional crime drama exporters, and bring some of the world's best rock, pop, hip hop and dance acts to Scandinavia.
World Bodypainting Festival |29 June-6 July 2014
Meet colourful people at the World Bodypainting Festival, a blend of art, fashion and music that attracts tens of thousands of visitors.