Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

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While summer is usually associated with outdoor music festivals, the fun doesn’t have to stop in the winter months. From ski resorts to intimate theatres, some of the world’s best musicians put on amazing sets during alternative winter festivals. Here’s a roundup of some of the most interesting this year, to put on your travel to-do list.

winter music festivals

Winter music festivals

  1. Eurosonic Noorderslag

Are you pondering a trip to Amsterdam this winter? Plan a side trip to the university town, Groningen as well. Every January, it hosts the Eurosonic Noorderslag festival. This showcases up-and-coming indie bands from all over Europe, including many hometown heroes from the Netherlands as well. It’s just a short train ride away from central Amsterdam, featuring all the canals and charm of the capital without the crowds.

  1. Tallinn Music Week

Another exciting showcase of Europe’s new music scene is in Estonia’s capital, Tallinn. Tallinn Music Week is held at the end of March. Although it’s technically the start of spring, it still feels very much like winter in Estonia at this time! There’s a lot of pride here, and the president of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves has even been spotted DJ’ing at this intimate festival. Genres vary so you can take in a little bit of everything from rock to electronica here.

Winter music festivals

Check this list for winter music festivals

  1. Rise Festival

If it’s a straight-up dance party you’re after, combine your ski holiday with a dance music festival at Lees Deux Alpes in France. The Rise Festival is hosted by the likes of Ibiza Rocks, so you can expect top-notch drum n’ bass, garage and house music from all over the continent and beyond. The parties go well into the wee hours of the morning and party-goers tend to dress up in outlandish costumes so don’t be afraid to wear glitter and 80s fancy dress here. As a bonus, you’ll get a stunning alpine backdrop to admire from the hot tub. Festival tickets include the cost of a lift pass so you can spend your days on the slopes and your nights dancing outdoors.

  1. Tomorrow Never Knows

Away from the European festival scene, the USA also has plenty of alternative music events to check out when the temperature drops. Chicago residents can visit venues tucked away all over the city’s North Side during the Tomorrow Never Knows concert series. Lincoln Hall and Schubas are two of the main options, offering an innovative line up of hip-hop, comedy, and psych rock acts.

Winter music festivals

Winter music festivals

  1. Igloofest

Montreal’s Igloofest occupies the city’s picturesque Old Port. This wild electronic dance fest is hosted by the Quays of the Old Port and Piknic Electronik. The festival first took place in 2007. Now in its 10th year, it brings tens of thousands of visitors from all over Canada and beyond. Festival goers enjoy the trippy visuals, temporary ice sculptures and international DJ’s. One fun feature here is the “Iglooswag” competition. Participants dress up in their unique winter fashions, and they compete to win fabulous prizes.

Don’t hibernate this winter; instead, visit one of the world’s top music festivals and you could discover the next big thing to hit the summer stages.

Adventure on!

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