things that have caught our eyes and ears

Ruark’s Best Places To Visit 2018

If you’ve not yet booked your next summer holiday, let our best places to visit 2018 guide inspire you. We’ve covered the best hotels and sites to visit in our top four 2018 destinations!

Best places to visit 2018: Jodhpur

From history to culture, Jodhpur is a truly amazing and magical place, located in the state of Rajasthan in India. It is known for its blue-washed buildings and constant sunshine, which is how it landed the name “Sun City” and “Blue City”. Once a princely seat to the Maharaja of Jodhpur it’s filled with many historical sites and important cultural artefacts.

What to see and visit in Jodhpur

Even from the air, the imprint of Jodhpur’s erstwhile royal family is not only visible, it’s the defining feature of this otherwise low-rise landscape. Rising above the city like something from a fairy tale, Mehrangarh Fort; the majority of which was built in the 17th century by Maharaja Jaswant Singh, is at once colossal and delicate, imposing and organic. This is a monument that’s dominance of the skyline feels well earned.

Touching down in Jodhpur also affords a birds-eye view of Umaid Bhawan, the modernist marvel constructed by Maharaja Umaid Singh in the 1930’s and 40’s, when the family finally decamped from Mehrangarh. It’s a palace so sprawling and so surreally futuristic, in fact, the current Maharaja still lives in a part of the palace to this day, while the other half is a luxury hotel.

A visit to both palaces is a must for any visitor to Jodhpur. Make Mehrangarh your first port of call, and go early if you’re visiting outside of the winter months, as the midday heat can be pretty punishing up in the fort.

Where to Stay

Umaid Bhawan Palace

For the height of opulence stay like the Maharaja, in one of the largest royal residences in the world, the Umaid Bhawan Palace in its Indo-Art Deco style is one of the world’s finest hotels and differently worth the expense.

Best places to visit 2018: Seville

In the heart of Andalucia, Seville lures the middle-class Spaniards with its days of past glamour. With its Moorish influences, rich history and striking buildings it’s a must visit on anyone’s list. It’s also the birthplace of flamenco, which makes it a must visit for anyone looking some traditional Spanish dancing.

What to see and visit in Seville


The home of royal families since the Caliph of Andalucía decided to build it in the early 9th-century, the Alcázar is the oldest active royal palace in Europe. The site offers a collection of palaces built at different stages in Andalucía’s history, and the entrance fee gives you access to their ground floors and gardens. The powerful romanticism of its
Moorish interiors and formal gardens draw visitors in their droves, but you can still find a quiet place.

Seville Cathedral

One of the last Gothic cathedrals to be built in Spain, the Seville cathedral is an impressive building influenced by the Renaissance. It is the third biggest in the world - with a top height at the central nave of 42 metres, it is beaten in size only by the Vatican’s St Peter’s and London’s St Paul’s. The peaceful orange tree courtyard is a good spot for some serious thinking. The Pardoner’s Door used to be the entrance to the mosque that preceded the cathedral on the site, and the former Minaret, the Giralda, was fitted with a bell and transformed into a bell tower. It is one of Seville’s greatest landmarks.

Plaza de España

The Plaza de España, designed by Aníbal González, was a principal building built on the Maria Luisa Park’s edge to showcase Spain’s industry and technology exhibits. González combined a mix of 1920s Art Deco and “mock Mudejar”, and Neo-Mudéjar styles. The Plaza de España complex is a huge half-circle with buildings continually running around the edge accessible over the moat by numerous bridges representing the four ancient kingdoms of Spain.

Where to Stay

Hotel Alfonso XIII

This place has been the benchmark for luxury in Seville since 1929 and, following a major overhaul has regained its rightful place as the grandest of Spain’s grand hotels. Alfonso XIII is housed in a neo-Moorish mansion commissioned by its namesake king for the 1929 Great Ibero-American Exhibition.

Best places to visit 2018: Valletta

Valletta is Malta’s capital, built by the Knights of St John on a peninsula that’s only 1km by 600m. Its founder decreed that it should be ‘a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen’, and it retains its 16th-century elegance. It may be small, but it’s packed full of sights; including; churches, palazzo’s, galleries, fountains and museums. The entire city, in fact, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it described it as ‘one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world’.

What to see and visit in Valletta

Casa Rocca Piccola

On the outside Casa Rocca Piccola is in ways unassuming, while it has baroque features that implies something much grander inside, it’s not till you step over the threshold that its true grandeur is revealed. To this day the palace is still home to the noble de Piro family who has lived in the palace since 1580 when it was built. The palace contains one of the largest private collections of antiques and art in Malta.

The Grand Masters


The Grand Master’s Palace has been the administrative centre of Malta for almost three and a half centuries. The original palace, built in 1571, was the seat of the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitalliers of St John and later, during the British colonial period, served as the Governor’s palace.Today it is home to the House of Representatives of Malta and the office of the President of the Republic of Malta.

St John’s


St John’s Co-Cathedral is a gem of Baroque art and architecture. It was built as the conventual church for the Knights of St John. The Grand Masters and several knights donated gifts of high artistic value and made enormous contributions to enrich it with only the best works of art. This church is till this very day an important shrine and a sacred place of worship.

Where to Stay

Valletta Suites

Valletta suites is a collection of 3 historic Maltese townhouses, they are considered one of the best places to stay in Valletta and have been voted so by Conde Nast Traveller, GQ & Vogue. They have been lovely and creatively styled by their owners to give these townhouses and authentic Maltese feeling.

Best places to visit 2018: Venice

With its 150 canals, 400 bridges and magnificent 16th- and 17th-century palaces and piazzas, its unsurprising that Venice is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Gloriously romantic in spring, triumphant in summer, noble in autumn and seductive in winter, it is a popular city break destination year round.

What to See in Venice

Basilica Di San Marco

For sheer sensory overload, the mosaic-encrusted interior of the Basilica di San Marco is difficult to match. Ruskin saw it as a ‘vast cave’, and its wall-to-ceiling glitter sent him into raptures: ‘Waves of marble heave and fall in a thousand colours on the floor… underfoot and overhead, a continual succession of crowded imagery, one picture passing into another, as in a dream.’

Peggy Guggenheim


Installed in Peggy Guggenheim’s former residence, the collection includes works by some of the 20th century’s greatest artists, such as Max Ernst Guggenheim’s former husband, Dalí, Picasso, Kandinsky and Pollock.

Palazzo Ducale

Formerly the Doge’s residence and the seat of Venetian government, the Palace is the very symbol of Venice and a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The Doge’s palace also happens to be located in Piazza San Marco, meaning it’s right in the world famous square and close to Basilica Di San Marco, the grand canal and the historic Café Florian.

Where to Stay

Ca’Sagredo Hotel

Majestically overlooking the Grand Canal and dating back to the 15th century, the Palazzo of the 5* Ca’ Sagredo Hotel has been declared a National Monument. Amazingly, even after five centuries, it preserves the untouched beauty of an ancient noble residence with; ballrooms and spacious corridors displaying important paintings, frescoes and stuccoes by the most representative Venetian painters of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Best Places to Visit 2018

There you have it - a round up of four beautiful
destinations that are a must on any
bucket list!

Ssh… New products at the Little Red Rooster Summer Showcase

Summer Showcase

On a normal Tuesday afternoon as you walk out of Great Portland Street station you would usually be greeted by the extravagant sights of One Marylebone; however, the afternoon of Tuesday 10th July 2018 was no ordinary afternoon. It was the day that Little Red Rooster held their annual Summer Showcase; the day that all of their signature brands joined together to show off their latest and greatest products to a selection of key journalists and Influencers from the world of Tech, Fashion and Design. The day that LRR branded banners rolled down from the sky to display their signature cockerel to the World.

MRx Unveiled

Dave and I (Topaz) attended the Summer Showcase, formally known as ‘Christmas in July’ to showcase Ruark’s brand-new product, MRx - the first released in 5 years! Our first ever “connected wireless speaker,” MRx has truly been designed without compromise and features a wide range of connectivity options from Bluetooth to Spotify Connect. On the day, we took along with us the MRx finished in Soft Grey and teamed with its signature grey fabric grille; MRx attracted a lot of attention.

Accompanying MRx, we displayed 2 new limited-edition colourways for our award winning R1. We predict the new colourways to be very popular choices when they are released in
September! We can’t give away too much at the moment but keep an eye on our website for more information very soon!

Of course, it would not be a showcase without our flagship product, R7. A truly unique product and designed to make a statement, R7 stayed true to its nature and did just that; with the walnut finish R7 was as ever a popular talking point amongst many journalists and influencers.

Little Red Rooster


This year was the first year of the Little Red Rooster still-life room sets, designed by Hannah Franklin. Four room sets were built; a living room, kitchen, bathroom and office, and included products from a range of LRR clients, including a walnut Ruark R1 which was paired alongside the beautiful pastel blue 50’s style fridge by Smeg. A few other brands of note showcased in the room sets were the gorgeous products from Bisque, Victoria + Albert Baths and B&O play.

Of course, an event would not be complete without some delicious food and bubbly to sip on throughout the day. The smell of smoky BBQ drifted through the open windows of One Marylebone as The Back Street diner cooked a delicious array of burgers from the forecourt, including my personal favourite ‘The Frenchie’, a succulent burger topped with gooey brie, crispy onions all set inside a freshly toasted brioche bun – delish!

All in all, Dave and I had a brilliant day chatting to journalists and influencers a like, whilst strengthening our bond with the other brands in attendance. We’d like to thank our PR company and friends, Little Red Rooster for putting on a fantastic event and we can’t wait for the next one!

5 minutes with Charles Watson

Charles Watson

We recently had the pleasure of sitting down and grabbing 5 with Charles Watson. For those not familiar with Charles Watson or his work, he’s a London based songwriter/producer/writer and member of the indie duo Slow Club and garage-rock supergroup The Surfing Magazines.

Hi Charles! When did you first get into music?

Mmm, my earliest memory is trying to learn the viola. I really didn’t enjoy it but kind of wish I’d stuck with it now. It would be pretty handy to be able to bosh out a string arrangement!

Does music run through your family?

My folks really love music, but they don’t play any instruments. My Dad used to make these home movies and put really dark 80’s Leonard Cohen songs over the top. They’re pretty strange films!

Charles Watson
Charles Watson

You’ve just released your new album ‘Now that I’m a River’, where did your inspiration for this album come from?

From lots of places really. I’m into eavesdropping on stranger’s conversations. I liked the idea of the words being informal and direct on this record. Some of the songs themes were drawn from the book ‘Hello America’. It’s full of big American cars and lizards. David Ike is basically going to love it!

Could you briefly describe the music-making process?

Normally I tend to repeat the same bit of music over and over until it’s sitting properly. That’s what takes the most time for me. I like recording versions of the same thing and seeing how it evolves. Most of the time the very first time you play something it’s full of mistakes, but there’s an intensity there that’s impossible to recreate. I tried to do things a little different on this record though. I kept the songs as bare as possible until I played them to the band in the studio. I wanted the first recording to be the album version rather than getting attached to a crappy demo version. I’ve been there, it’s annoying for everyone involved. So what you hear on the record is essentially everyone learning the song and trying to figure it out as we go.

Charles Watson

How has your music evolved since you first started?

Musically there are things I’m always drawn to and I always go back to. I guess you go off and get into one thing for a while and then that informs the next thing you do and so on. I’ve kind of got an idea of how I want the next record to sound but have no idea how to achieve so will need to do a bit of trial and error stuff. I still like the same lyrical themes I’ve always liked. I’m not sure how to describe what that is in a meaningful way, but I think that stuff gets forged when you’re a teenager and it’s almost impossible to get away from. Sorry that was a waffler!

What’s your most favourite and least favourite thing about touring?

Favourite thing is probably eating out all the time!!! Love to find good places to eat!! Least favourite is… bad meals!

What’s your fondest musical memory?

I like seeing people in guitar shops playing Metallica solos. That’s the best!! It’s even better if they’ve got a mate waiting for them to finish!

You’ve recently been in the BBC Radio 6 live lounge, could you give us an overview of that experience?

The 6music session was good fun. It’s always a bit nerve wracking doing those things but it’s best to think about them like you’re in a room with your mates playing some songs.

When you were growing up, who was your inspiration and why?

I really liked Randy Rhodes because he was a total badass guitar player. It’s completely over the top and brilliant. I was a shredded once upon a time.

What piece of advice would you give to somebody starting out in the music industry?

Make friends with change.

Charles Watson

We had the pleasure of you performing at the John Lewis Summer of Sound event, what were your thoughts on the event?

I really enjoyed it, thanks for having me! The sun was shining, the cocktails were flowing!! What’s not to love?!

What do you think of your Ruark R4?

I’ve just got back from a two week tour and have been really eager to get back and set it up. I’ve just got it all plumbed and I’m listening to James Brown through it right now, and let me tell you… it’s cooking! I love it. It looks and sounds brilliant. I didn’t realise there were speakers on the underside too! Nice touch.

If you could describe your unique style, what would it be?

Pioneering Yorkshire Dream Rock! Haha.

How do you like to relax when you aren’t working?

I like to cook. I have just had a major breakthrough with Moussaka. It blew my mind. I can’t tell you what the breakthrough is, but it’s fairly major. Tray bakes are never going to be the same.

Charles Watson

How would/do you handle mistakes during a performance?

Do it again and everyone thinks you were meant to do it!

Do you get nervous before performing?

Half of the time I’m nervous all of the time.

What’s the ultimate direction you would like to take your music?

I’m not sure you know. I never plan that far ahead. I try and think about what’s right in front of me. I like to think I’ll just keep making records. I love the process of starting a new one and the excitement of not knowing where the thing will end up. It’s like the longest, most expensive box set you’ll ever watch.

5 Minutes with Graeme Le Saux…

In the run up to the World Cup 2018 Graeme Le Saux kindly gave us 5 minutes of his time to discuss all things football, dancing and charity, including how he chose which team to play for, why he retired when he did and his predictions for the World Cup winner 2018!

Hi Graeme, please could you tell us a little about what you’ve been up to?

Hello, yes of course! I work with NBC Television covering the Premier League but in England! So that takes up the majority of my time as I’m going up and down the country watching matches and commentating for the US - I have been working for them for 5 years. I also do some work with Real Mallorca Football Club, so that’s been another of my main focuses over the last year.

Most of the work I do is with the Premier League and FA so I’m still heavily involved in football.

You played football for England and Chelsea; what was that experience like?

Obviously, it was my childhood dream to play professional football, I never dreamed I would play at the level I did and play for England! The best way to describe it is that afterwards you look back and see what a privilege it was. I played for 18 years at the top level, and to play for those crowds you realise how lucky you’ve been to play for that long.

You rely on so many factors, for example your body must be able to cope at the level you are playing at, but that’s not really something you are in control of! You can work as hard as you want but that doesn’t mean you can play regularly at that level. Every game requires 100% commitment and I tried to appreciate every match I played in. Particularly for the National teams; it is very competitive to get into the team and you have to perform your best at every game as you are always playing for the next game! It’s unreal to play for big crowds where sometimes they will be singing your name, and to represent England in the World Cup in 1988 – I could never have imagined doing that as a boy growing up in Jersey!

How do you feel about this years World cup, do you have any predictions for who will win?

I think it’s an exciting tournament this year, I don’t think anyone is a standout favourite necessarily. For most of the teams who are playing, the gap between the best and the worst isn’t as big as it used to be. Of course some teams are there to make up the numbers, but I look at the teams in the tournament and think its very hard to predict who’s going to win a match. Belgium has some fantastic players and we are waiting for them to deliver, so they have great potential. England has some great players and has young players which can work for or against you. I think we are in an era now where you can never underestimate the players, the teams play in a lot of countries, the coaches have a lot of experience. They are fit, well organised, and always have technical players.

I am really excited, I think the favourite is down to the level of belief that the players and the team have. Having been successful in the past, playing in the tournament is very different to playing qualifiers. Germany and Brazil are teams that have pedigree in Cups, so you can imagine them getting through to the later stages, but I am optimistic with England, if we play with the freedom to express ourselves, and if the fear of failure doesn’t overplay then we will be a very difficult team to come up against. I’m not saying we are going to win it, but we can get to the quarter finals or similar, maybe even the semi, if we can get that momentum.

In 2009 you competed on Dancing on Ice, how would you compare the sport of Ice Skating against Football?

Oh dancing on ice, that was an experience. I have got so much respect for both the men and women that compete on the ice, it really is brutal. It’s one of the toughest sports in terms of when you get hurt, you get really hurt. The power and strength that the guys have and their balance is incredible. And then you also have the toughness of the women, they get thrown up in the air and all over the place, they get damaged ribs and bad backs as they get put in all these positions and always continue fighting for more.

It’s hard to imagine unless you’ve been on the ice with professionals and seen them perform. As a spectator the art of ice skating is elegant and graceful, but when you see the training you realise there is a lot of training behind it, and there is a lot that goes wrong, I saw peoples thighs being cut with blades amongst many other injuries! I’ve always been a fan of sport, not necessarily ice skating specifically, but when you see any sport performed at that level you really appreciate how much work it is, and the sort of skill level these people have.

It seems like you are a fan of Ruark with both an R7 and R2s, what do you think of both products?

Well I am a fan, absolutely. The R7 first caught my eye because of what it looks like, it is a beautiful piece of furniture. From a design view it certainly stands out, there are a lot of products out there but the R7 really stood out from an aesthetic point of view. But you also want it to work well and have all the features. We have a big open plan kitchen, and the R7 sits up against the wall and its brilliant. It’s the first thing turned on in the morning and the last thing turned off at night. It has all the technology, DAB radio, FM, and the sound quality is fantastic! I’ve got lots of CDs that I’ve collected over the years, so we will often pick a random CD and put that on as well. Just fantastic.

The R2s look great and are very practical. We have them in the bedrooms, the sound quality is brilliant especially from something so compact, in fact if I was to say what would stand out from a Ruark compared to the other products I’ve had over the years it is definitely the sound quality.

Why did you choose Ruark Audio as your sound system of choice?

I saw the R7 advertised, and it was the flagship of the Ruark range. We saw it in a John Lewis magazine pull-out when they were doing a feature on sound systems, and it stood out. I think it’s like anything, you’re attracted to how something looks first, and then you find out more. And that’s what happened, we saw the R7 and thought it would look really nice in the house. Its not cheap, not that it needs to be, but you pay the money for the quality and you get so much from it. The amount of people who come round and say they love the stereo and ask where’s it from! It just looks quite iconic I think as a piece, so that’s certainly how we came across it, it caught our eye and so we found out more – and now we are part of the Ruark family.

You were part of the winning Premier League team in 1994-95, tell us about that experience? How did the team celebrate after winning?

We won on the last game of the season, and everyone in football is super superstitious, so nothing was planned and it was all very spontaneous. I was playing for Blackburn at the time, so we ended up in a restaurant come music venue. Once the staff and waiters finished serving they’d play live music, they’d do different sets, soul etc and that’s where we used to go sometimes after games. So we phoned the owner up and said we need to go out, he organised it and we all ended up in this restaurant place in Preston, and then because it was the last game that was it – we all went off on our holiday or met up with National teams.

It’s very hard to explain the feeling when you achieve something like winning a league title; you work so hard to achieve it, it’s almost a disappointment when it’s over. The achievement is in the doing rather than finishing. Managers, I think in a funny way, probably get to enjoy the success more than the players do. For the players as soon as you finish one season, you have to get over it and start again. You don’t get the chance to look back until after you’ve finished. Now I can look back to see we achieved 4th, 2nd, and 1st, with Blackburn winning the premier league. It was a great achievement and privilege to play.

In your opinion, who is the most underrated player you’ve ever played with?

Oh my word, underrated?! That’s a really difficult question actually. Most of the players I played with that were good got recognition for that. I think when we were at Blackburn two players Stuart Ripley and Jason Wilcox were players who weren’t necessarily appreciated as much from the outside as they were from us as a team. They played left midfield and right midfield and they worked so hard, as well as having really good quality, they gave so much on the pitch, in those positions they had to. It’s not necessarily they were underrated but undervalued from the outside. They were appreciated but not to the level they deserved I think.

Why did you decide to retire when you did?

Because I couldn’t run anymore! I was 36, and I had a horrific ankle injury before Euro 96 which took nearly a year to recover from. Then I had more surgery that year and by the time it got to 2005 my body was starting to really struggle, and I was getting quite a few muscle injuries from the recovery time from that injury too.

I played 18 years you know, if I was a car I’d have been taken straight to the scrapyard at that point! I was very lucky that I stopped when I could and didn’t have to stop due to injury at a young age like some players do. That’s something I’ll always be grateful for, I had fulfilled my potential in terms of playing for as long as I could, whereas other people didn’t get that chance.

How did you choose which club to play for?

There aren’t many times where you get to choose, it’s the middle of your career when you may be in more control of where you go. When I was young I had trials with various clubs and no one wanted me, but then when I was 18 Chelsea gave me a contract but it was more they chose me then I chose them. Then when Blackburn approached me I was having a tough time with Chelsea, and again they chose me. They were very interested in buying me, and I felt they were an ambitious team and club. I think when you move from one club to another, you have some choice but its not like you can choose to go anywhere, you must choose the best option based on the opportunities you get to be successful.

Some people move for contracts, some people see it as another opportunity, whereas I would urge players to consider if the club is right for them, and to look at the long-term benefit rather than what’s in front of you. When big clubs come after you, its very flattering! They have a greater choice of players to choose from for what they want, so if they choose you they make you feel like you are what they’re after.

You’re also a trustee for ‘Fields in Trust’, the UK charity protecting green spaces and promotes sports and recreation, what made you choose to become a trustee for this charity?

I’m so glad you mentioned that as they don’t get as much recognition as they deserve as a charity. Fields in Trust protect parks and green places from being sold off or built on. Obviously, I love sport and growing up I had a lot of access to outdoor green space. To think all these places that we take for granted, all these parks we can play in, we just assume that they will always be there but that’s not the case.

With local councils, and the lack of protection the government give to these places we see more and more green spaces being sold off. Whether you live in a city or a rural area you should have access to parkland, sports facilities etc. Its very much a core part to any community, especially to people who live in flats and don’t necessarily have a garden. The problem is, once you’ve lost a green space, it’s never going to be a green space again, so for me the most important thing I try to do when talking to people is make them aware of how important these places are. And to protect them so they can’t be developed. It’s a very important charity that needs I think, a bit more recognition. Prince William is our current patron, but for many years Prince Phillip was the patron of the charity. It was set up in the 20’s and it’s evolved over time.

And finally Graeme Le Saux, what’s your biggest bucket list goal?

We like to travel a lot, so it would have to be something to do with a family trip. My 19 year old daughter is desperate to go to Japan, so I would say a family skiing trip to Japan - that would be up there. I don’t know if it’s a bucket list goal, but she’d disown me if I didn’t take her!!

Ruark’s European Festival Guide 2018

With summer on the horizon (though perhaps the weather has forgotten), it could mean only one thing; the start of the music festival calendar! While some big name events may have passed, including Coachella & SXSW, there’s still plenty more to come including Isle of Wight and Burning Man in the coming months.

Ruark’s European Music Festivals 2018 List

As an audio producer, we like to think we know a thing or two about music festivals, that’s why we’ve pulled together a list of the best European music festivals happening this summer. Ranging from electro to indie, from Barcelona to Berlin, we’ve covered this year’s must-attend music events.

One of the greatest things about European based festivals is, unlike their American based counterparts, they tend to fall later in the year.

So what music festivals do we here at Ruark recommend?


In ways, Latitude is the UK’s only alternative to Glastonbury, perfect for those who want that care-free bohemian vibe and a kid-friendly environment. Awash with colourful tents and sheep for that matter, this year’s event sees; The Killers, Solange, alt-J, Wolf Alice, the Vaccines, Jessie Ware and many more take to the stage.

Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk.
Jul 12-15. £197.50 (weekend) £77.50 (day).

Isle of Wight

Now in its 50th year, and a far cry from its hippy loving roots, the festival is now one of the biggest in the UK drawing thousands of attendees from all over the UK. This year see’s Kasabian, The Killers, Depeche Mode, Liam Gallagher, Street Preachers, The Script, James Bay and many more take to the stage.

Newport, Isle of Wight.
June 21-24. £209 (weekend), £65 (Fri), £75 (Sat/Sun).


For those who like dance music in a quirky setting, Gottwood, now in its ninth year, continues to offer a stellar mix of DJs and artists for everyone who likes beats and bass. This year’s line-up sees Andrew Weatherall, Axel Boman, DMX Krew, Jackmaster, Margaret Dygas and many more.

Carreglwyd Estate, Wales.
Jun 7-10. From £165 (weekend).

Primavera Sound

One of Europe’s most hip festivals at the moment, Primavera’s achingly cool line-ups are a guaranteed hit for their mix of cutting-edge acts, classic indie, rock and pop.

Running across two sites on consecutive weekends, first in Barcelona followed by a smaller version in Porto, the music starts late, and so can be combined perfectly with a morning pottering around the city streets or escaping to the beach. This year see’s acts including Alex G, Gerd Janson, Grizzly Bear, Haim, Hinds and raft of others take to the stage.

Parc del Fòrum, Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona (entrance: £160)
May 30-June 3 and Porto (£93) June 7-9

Meadows in the Mountains

As much about atmosphere as it is music, this, quite magical gathering, has expanded from its initial word-of-mouth appeal to growing in confidence each year. Stages are lovingly crafted from the forest by the organisers, bonfires burn each night and attendees camp or stay in houses in a rustic village below the festival. Act’s this year are yet to be announced.

Rhodopes Mountains, Bulgaria.
7th, 8th, 9th & 10th June. £125

Pop Kultur

Pop Kultur is one of Berlin’s newest high-profile music festivals. This year, it will be held in venues and concert halls throughout the district of Neukölln, and its focus will be on musical interchange and diversity of both people and sound with the hopes of starting conversations and enacting social change within the music industry and beyond. In addition to concerts, there will also be talks, readings, and various forms of scientific discourse making up the program. Artist this year include Chastity Belt, Chelsea Wolfe, Harsher, Myrkur, Nadine Shah, Noga Erez, Vivien Goldman and lots more.

Venues throughout Neukölln, Berlin, Germany
15th – 17th August. £56.98

Bilbao BBK Live

BBK allows festival-goers to slip easily from the beach, a 10-minute drive away, to the galleries of the Guggenheim and then into the crowds for some of Europe’s best-known bands. The festival site occupies a scenic spot on the slopes of a leafy hill and people often walk up to it in the afternoon to enjoy its views of the city. This year’s line-up includes The XX, Florence + The Machine, Alt J and many more.

Kobetamendi, Bilbao, Spain.
6th-8th July. £135.48 (3-day ticket).


Considered one of the European alternatives to Burning Man. Taking place over a week, though better seen in a few days, this vast site on an island in the Danube features a small beach and a bewildering array of stages, hosting everything from big names in rock to jazz, blues and gipsy. In amongst all this are art installations in the trees and random outbursts of improvised fun and mayhem from the Sziget “community”. This year’s line-up includes Dua Lipa, Liam Gallagher, Gorillaz, Stormzy and the Arctic Monkeys.

Hajógyári Island, Budapest, Hungary.
8th – 15th August. £158 (3-day ticket)

Pete the Monkey

Created to help raise money for the largest monkey reserve in Bolivia (hence the name), Pete the Monkey is a family-friendly festival in the seaside village of Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer in Seine-Maritime, Upper Normandy. The line-up is yet to be released but, expect a summery blend of indie pop, disco and electronic, past acts include Acid Arab, Blue Hawaii, We Were Evergreen, Songhoy Blues and Nicola Cruz.

Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, Seine-Maritime, France.
13th-15th July. From £86.10 (3-day ticket)


Terraforma fosters an atmosphere of artistic experimentation in Villa Arconati, a baroque palace and gardens just outside of Milan. The classic setting belies programming that is grounded firmly in the now. This year’s line-up features Plaid & Felix’s Machines, a one-of-a-kind show featuring surreal musical sculptures; DJ and producer Nkisi decolonising the dancefloor music; and Donato Dozzy, an Italian producer known for hypnotic sounds that probe deep into the mind.

Villa Arconati, Milano, Italy.
29th June – 1st July. £82.99

So there you have It, our essential guide to European Music festivals happening this summer. But if you can’t make it to the live event, don’t fret, you can always stream it online with our acoustically stunning speakers.

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