Best Of
Selection by Loreta Sindi

Its the time of the year when its appropriate to fully nestle into the shenanigans waiting for us in the summertime. So! Weve gathered together 5 of the newest, wildest and most unusual festivals you should plan your next trip to. 


When? 20 - 22 June
Where? Where the sun doesnt set in the northernmost tip of Finland

Marie Ots, IDA radio’s former producer, vinyl collector, festival organizer and all around big music fan, describes Solstice as follows: 

“Solstice Festival takes place during Midsummer, i.e. summer solstice, in northern Finland, close to the Arctic Circle. Although at first glance the ETA might seem hefty (depending on point A), you can hold me accountable when I say that it is worth every kilometer of the drive. The festival grounds are situated in the arctic fell of Rukatunturi that rises half a kilometer above sea level (the site is accessible no less than by ski lifts), meaning 360° of stunning views of pine forests and lakes stretching to the undetectable horizon. During this time of the year, the sun does not set at all in these parts, but the midnight to midday sun creates a distinctively unique ambiance. Carefully curated and highly fun program features local and international usual suspects and soon-to-be hot names spread across the picturesque site. Unlike the commercial behemoths of festival-ing, Solstice is at the peak of the art, delivering exciting sets while not sacrificing the charm of a cozy, stress-free, and almost-no-lines-detected type of boutique festival. Unusually smiley and gleaming Nordic people vigorously chilling on the moss with a bottle of (a reasonably priced) natural wine or spicing it up on of the stages amidst the backdrop of the often surreal seeming scenery, Solstice truly caters, whatever are your cravings.”

*Writers note: Last year, Estonian label-heads, duo Ajukaja & Ats played a live set at Solstice Valley Stage.


When? 28 - 30 June
Where? Valga, Estonia

Estonian Valga, bordering Latvia’s Valka, is where different cultures, languages, and histories meet. For one weekend in June, the border town will become a playground for film enthusiasts. This is the inaugural edition of VHS, a one-of-a-kind event!

The main program features five distinct film cassettes, all exploring the festival's core theme inspired by the general concept of Tartu 2024 “Arts of Survival”. Each cassette, focusing on a specific subject, offers a unique perspective on what it means to be human and how we can survive as a society in the era of chaos.

In addition, the festival will screen short documentaries specially prepared for Tartu's 2024 program. The premiere of the newly restored Estonian film classic "Daisy Petal Game", supervised by the great Andrey Tarkovsky himself is also a must-see.

Anne Vetik, one of the VHS organizers describes why one should visit a film festival in the middle of the summer: “Border towns always hit differently. They feel broken in a good way. Our group of friends fell in love with Valga 2 years ago while tripping in Southern Estonia and since then we have been thinking of organizing an event there. As we all are film lovers, it was only logical to share our passion with the others.”


When? 11 - 13 July
Where? Slovakia

Pohoda is a music and arts festival with international acclaim, where alternative, indie, electronica, world music & punk meet classical; alongside literature, dance, visual art, film, and theatre.  It is the biggest Slovak music event organized annually, the current venue being Trenčín Airport.

In Pohoda's history, musical acts have included Liam Gallagher, The Chemical Brothers, Björk, Tame Impala, James Blake, Mulatu Astatke, Kraftwerk, Moby, Mac DeMarco, etc. Need we say more?

But don't just take our word for it. Helena Eharand, who has visited the festival, tells us more: "Pohoda" translates to "ease" or "chill" in Slovak, which perfectly encapsulates the vibes it delivers. Pohoda doesn't stand out with a headliner-packed lineup, but rather with a well-curated mix of diverse talent and some more recognized names, guaranteeing discoveries for every taste. With an intentional cap of 30,000 attendees, the festival hits the sweet spot — large enough to offer a full camping festival experience yet small enough to keep a relaxed atmosphere. You know, the kind where artists casually announce where on the grounds they'll be after the show, in case you feel like meeting up for a beer. What makes the festival unique to me is how you feel treated as a guest, not merely an attendee!"


When? 12-13 July
Where? Hungary, Inota, Budapest's abandoned power plant

Hungary’s newest (and largest!) audio-visual festival was created in a joint project between two Hungarian event collectives as part of the European Capital of Culture program for the Vezprem-Balaton region. Get ready for forward-thinking music, light installations, mappings, and all kinds of contemporary artworks, which, in many cases, are an integral part of the musical performances. The coal fire plant, initially built in the communist era as part of a large factory complex in the 1950s and shut down in 2001, forms a striking backdrop for the festival. The shows are spread across a vast 200,000-square-meter site, including the turbine hall, boiler room, old depots, and cooling towers. Interesting fact! Proof of how photogenic the place is is the fact that it has been used as the location for Blade Runner and John Wick films. Musical artists who have performed at the festival in previous years include Daniel Avery, Ellen Allien, Oscar Mulero, Caterina Barbieri, Extrawelt, and Nils Frahm.


When? 26 July - 6 August
Where? Hungary

Ozora is more than a festival; it's a whole alternate reality and psychedelic tribal gathering nestled in the Hungarian countryside. Ozora is also one of the biggest festivals of its kind in Europe.

What makes Ozora truly special isn't just its lineup of visionary artists; it's the community - you're not just a spectator; you're an active participant in a symphony of self-expression and discovery. It's a unique experience that will leave you intrigued and curious.

Whether you're a fan of techno or psytrance, high bpm-s, or downtempo, Ozora has it all. But it's not just about the music. You'll also find sanctuaries for the soul — yoga shalas, meditation circles, art galleries, and more. From solar-powered stages to eco-conscious initiatives, the festival pioneers a new way forward — one where the rhythms of nature are honored and cherished. And remember, there is no internet connection in Ozora, end of the question. Our familiar festival-goer has highlighted the importance of good physical stamina for the seven-day festival: one more reason to start going to the gym tomorrow!