Music festivals in the mountains have gone from strength to strength in recent years. Along with best ski festivals in Europe 2015, like The BRITS and Snowbombing which are already established, there are new events launched every year. There are new destinations to try too besides the Alps. Recent new festival venues have included Andorra, Bulgaria and even Bosnia.
Most festivals take place in March or April when spring is in the air, the daylight hours are longer, the slopes sunnier and the atmosphere laid back. But there are an increasing number of events earlier in the winter too. The Wow Glacier Love festival takes place on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun from Nov 7th to 9th this year, before most resorts are even open, with partying in the evening in Kaprun and nearby Zell am See. The next month another Austrian resort, Saalbach Hinterglemm, will stage its Rave On Snow.
Most of the new festivals have a common theme. High energy music for evening parties with fast and fun events in the snow during the day. But if you have a particular musical niche in mind you’ll probably find a festival to suit you somewhere in the mountains this winter.
There’s jazz in Avoriaz for example, country and western in the Swiss Jungfrau and even an 18th century festival recreating the atmosphere of the imperial Hapsburg Court in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy.
Here’s our list of a twelve of the best ski festivals in Europe to visit in 2015.
Snowboxx is making the leap from cheap and cheerful Arinsal in Andorra to one of the big resorts in the Alps this spring – Alpe d’Huez, home of the world’s longest black run (16km) and glacier skiing. Of course, the winning format of great snowsport and partying remains the same at Snowboxx. It’s one of the newest festivals to really establish itself (quite often they appear one year but are never seen again), going from strength to strength.
Now in its third year, Horizon showcases the hottest electronic dance music across 30 hedonistic parties in Bulgaria’s leading resort. Seven days and six nights are crammed with mountain-based fun and low-cost drinking.
For a more laid back vibe Zermatt stages an acoustic music festival each spring, partly showcasing the fact they’re still open when most of the resorts in the Alps are closed or closing. The line up for Zermatt Unplugged has not yet been announced but past performers have included Susanne Vega, Chris de Burgh and Alanis Morissette.
A series of ski-in/ski-out concerts staged in the afternoons at venues on the slopes around the vast Portes du Soleil. Last year there was a British bands theme, but Rock The Pistes have not said yet where the vibe will be for 2015.
The Grand Massif’s central resort already stages a swathe of musical events through March, kicking off with an electro music week, then a classical music week, and a rock and pop week, but the new ‘Flaine Goes Wild’ week is getting top billing from the resort in the pre-season build up. It sounds very much like ‘Rock The Pistes’ if we’re allowed to suggest that(?) with different afternoon and apres ski parties staged around the slopes and resort through the week.
The focus of British freestyle skiing and boarding is the annual British Championships staged at The BRITS Festival in Tignes each spring. Although the competitors take their performances very seriously, this is also one of the best ski festivals with lots of fun events both day and night. Packages are online now and include a 10% discount on lift passes.
Not all of the big festivals involve high energy music. The Altitude Festival is a truly remarkable gathering of comedians in the Alps each winter, and festival goers get the chance to enjoy seeing some of Britain’s best (Eddie izzard, Jimmy Carr, John Bishop and most other British comedians you can think of have appeared in recent years, and there’s usually several dozen top names appearing through the week) in intimate venues and on the slopes.
A slow burner that has grown in popularity since its launch in 2008, the highest festival in the Alps (possibly anywhere now we think about it) brings top DJs to play house, trance and other modern pop hits to Val Thorens for 72 hours of pretty well non-stop partying. It’s accompanied by events like a big air show, and a huge bonus is FestiValTho is all free.
For the eighth consecutive year, a wave of electronic music will unfurl on the Chamonix valley during Black Weekend. The festival will take music to greater heights this season, with concerts programmed up in the mountains for enthusiasts’ pleasure.
The ‘big one’ of British music festivals in the Alps, Snowbombing is a full immersion experience that takes over the Tirolean resort of Mayrhofen with more than 5,000 partying Brits arriving, some having taken part in a mass London to Mayrhofen rally. There are also pre and apres event parties for Snowbombers in London and other cities. Acts so far announced for 2015 include Rudimental, Fat Boy Slim and Basement Jaxx.
Billed as the biggest rock music event in Switzerland, Snowpenair last spring featured Deep Purple, quickly selling out. Past stars have include Kim Wilde and Bryan Adams, but the big name for 2015 has yet to be announced.
Ischgl has built a reputation for staging the biggest acts at the start and end of its long season, highlighting its snowsurety and attracting a lot of media attention. This year’s big closing act (to follow Robbie Williams last spring) is yet to be announced, however they have James Blunt launching the season opening at the end of November. Other superstars to play on the mountain top in recent years include Kylie, Elton John, Rihanna, Deep Purple and more.
So, there you have it. A pretty diverse line up and plenty of fun to be had at the best ski festivals in Europe 2015. Get booking now.