Summertime in Europe is known for its abundance of tourists flooding their cities on vacation.
But it is also known for the countless amount of festivals that are happening all over.
I might like 1 or 2 acts out of the 50+ there, but nothing I’d be willing to drop more than $70 for.
I’m an unapologetic metal head.
I’ve been told many times that I don’t look the part.
Be that as it may, I love my music fast and heavy.
It seems like most backpackers are looking for the next EDM festival with DJ IWearThingsOnMyHead.
But I’m out there finding fests with bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse, Cattle Decapitation, All Shall Perish, and Aborted.
So without further ado…
The Best European Metal Festivals.
Started in 2006.
Hellfest is such a well-rounded festival that any type of metal head would be pleased by going.
The diversity they have every year is crazy.
The main stages have some of the biggest bands in the world.
They’re usually good ones too: Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Kiss, and Black Sabbath.
But for all the crap they’ve added they also have bands that a lot of people aren’t usually lucky to see.
For instance: Refused, Faith No More, Converge, and Dead Kennedys.
The rest of the fest is incredibly diverse.
Bands like Between The Buried And Me, Trap Them, Ulver, Skinless, Audrey Horne, and Joe Satriani.
Another great thing Hellfest does is break up their stages really well by genre.
MAIN STAGE 1 and MAIN STAGE 2 (hard rock/thrash).
TEMPLE STAGE (doom/pagan metal/black metal).
ALTAR STAGE (death metal/grind).
VALLEY STAGE (sludge/stoner).
WARZONE STAGE (punk/HxC).
If you’re into Stoner Metal you don’t have to go from stage to stage to see your favorite bands.
You can just sit your stoned, Black Sabbath lovin’ ass in one spot and enjoy the festivities.
LOCATION: Clisson, France.
HELLFEST 2019: June 21, 22, 23.
***WITH FULL FORCE***
Started in 1994.
But WFF is where you’ll get more bands like Sick Of It All, Agnostic Front, Madball, Terror, Hatebreed, Caliban, and Heaven Shall Burn.
LOCATION: Lobnitz, Germany. 34 km north of Leipzig.
WITH FULL FORCE 2019: June 28, 29, 30.
***WACKEN OPEN AIR***
Started in 1990.
Wacken Festival always blew me away with their line-ups.
It was like a poor mans Wacken Festival.
Wacken was always the king of European metal festivals for me.
WACKEN 2019: July 31 – August 2.
***PARTY SAN METAL OPEN AIR***
Started in 1996.
Party San is like the German version of Obscene Extreme(Czech Republic) but with more Black Metal.
Catering to the darker, and more brutal genres like Black Metal, Death Metal, and Grindcore.
This is not a metal fest where you’re gonna find too many melodic bands.
Brutality is key here.
Some bands over the years have been: Anaal Nathrakh, Misery Index, Naglfar, Lock Up, General Surgery, and Impaled Nazarene.
LOCATION: Schlotheim, Germany. 176 km west of Leipzig.
PARTY SAN 2019: August 8, 9, 10.
Started in 1997.
Similar to Hellfest or Wacken in their well-rounded genre approach.
But unlike Hellfest, Summer Breeze wont have someone like ZZ Top headline.
They’ll still keep their main stage acts relatively underground.
The rest of their line-ups are also really diverse.
With bands like Wintersun, Benediction, Agnostic Front, Watain, Ghost Brigade, and Bloodbath rounding out the bill.
LOCATION: Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria. Germany.
SUMMER BREEZE 2019: August 14, 15, 16, 17.
Started in 2003.
Their 1st year they had Iron Maiden, Audioslave, and NOFX headline their stages.
Metallica, Guns N Roses, System Of A Down, and Tool to name a few.
It is rare to see bands like that at this fest.
Certainly not a fest where you’ll see Gorgoroth, Rotten Sound, or Exhumed.
LOCATION: Donington Park in Leicestershire, England.
DOWNLOAD 2019: JUNE 14, 15, 16.
Bloodstock started in 2005.
Bloodstock is probably the only festival where I’d spend most of my time watching bands on the Main Stage(Ronnie James Dio Stage).
Bands like Exodus, Megadeth, Overkill, Venom, and Slayer have played this fest.
Usually headlined by a band that could be on the main stage.
Bands like Goatwhore, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Scar Symmetry, and Dying Fetus have all headlined that stage.
It’s nice to give these bands an opportunity to play to a small festival crowd.
If they focused on making the 2nd stage full of more well-known bands they could do fine with 3 stages.
Learn from the failures of Milwaukee Metalfest.
Quality is better than Quantity.
LOCATION: Walton-on-Trent, Derbyshire, England.
BLOODSTOCK 2019: August 8, 9, 10, 11.
Started in 1999.
If you want the crustiest, grindiest metal out there then this is the fest to be at.
Brutal Death Metal and Grindcore is what you’re getting here.
Leng Tch’e, Extreme Noise Terror, Nasum, Pig Destroyer, Incantation, and Lividity are the types of bands that play this fest.
Guarantee you’re gonna be broken and bruised after this one.
LOCATION: Trutnov, Czech Republic. 160 km Northeast of Prague.
OBSCENE EXTREME 2019: July 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
Started in 1996.
Became a major event in 2006.
But this fest is BRUTAL Assault, so you’re definitely gonna get your brutal bands.
LOCATION: In an 18th-century army fortress (Josefov Fortress) in Jaromer, Czech Republic.
BRUTAL ASSAULT 2019: August 7, 8, 9, 10.
Started in 1996.
But they also have complete dog shit like Limp Bizkit, Disturbed, Alter Bridge, and Hollywood Undead.
Bands like Watain, At The Gates, Arcturus, Hypocrisy, and Dimmu Borgir have all played there.
The Haunted, Zakk Wylde, Lacuna Coil, and Dragonforce have all played that stage.
Although the occasional random band like Nails, Alcest, or The Dillinger Escape Plan will show up on that stage too.
This is the newest stage; started in 2014.
It caters to bands like Anti-Flag, Atreyu, Pro-Pain, and Walls Of Jericho.
LOCATION: Dessel, Belgium. Located between Antwerp and Eindhoven.
GRASPOP 2019: June 16, 17, 18.
The line-ups they’ve had so far are quite diverse and make this an interesting little fest.
Bands like My Dying Bride, Combichrist, Katatonia, Gojira, and Textures have played here.
LOCATION: Rasnov, Romania. 178 km from Bucharest.
ROCKSTADT 2019: August 1, 2, 3, 4.
Started in 2004.
Formerly known as METALCAMP(till 2012)
Aggressively growing each year they actually had to stop ticket sales in 2010 at 12,000 tickets.
MetalDays is also a powerhouse because it’s an actual week-long festival.
Similar to Summer Breeze their main headlining bands aren’t too big either.
They keep the headliners slightly more underground.
LOCATION: Tomin, Slovenia.
METALDAYS 2019: July 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27.
Started in 2001.
If you’re looking to wear your corpse paint and not standout, this is the festival for you.
Inferno definitely caters to the brutal and dark.
LOCATION: Oslo, Norway.
INFERNO 2019: April 18, 19, 20, 21.
Started in 1992.
The majority of their line-ups are still hard rock and classic rock.
On the heavier spectrum they’ll have bands like Mayhem, Obituary, Emperor, and Behemoth.
LOCATION: Norje(Sölvesborg) Sweden. 146 km east of Helsingborg.
SWEDEN ROCK 2019: June 5, 6, 7, 8.
***TUSKA OPEN AIR***
Started in 1998.
They’ve also been extremely European.
In the last couple of years they’ve started to have more North American metal bands come over.
While the rest of the festival is rounded out with a variety of bands from:
The variety of genres at Tuska would make this my favorite fest to go to in Scandinavia.
LOCATION: Helsinki, Finland.
TUSKA 2019: June 28, 29, 30.
Many More Of Course.
With proper planning and funds these festivals could be the highlight of a European backpacking trip.
They’re all so close to each other, why not!??!
Have you been to any Metal Festivals in Europe?
Tell me your stories below.
My name is Jeremiah and I'm a photographer from Arizona.
I'm always in search of picturesque landscapes and adrenaline pumping adventure.
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