Top 5 the most exciting music festivals you need to visit

Afro Nation

Portimao, Portugal

August 1-4

Featuring: Wizkid, Stefflon Don, Octavian, Ms. Dynamite

If you’ve ever wanted to see the holy trinity of Afropop—Wizkid, Davido, and Burna Boy—in the same weekend on a glistening beach, Afro Nation Portugal is your answer. The weekend celebrates all things Afropop, dancehall, hip-hop, and R&B. Aside from those Nigerian stars, there will also be eclectic offerings from their diasporic brothers and sisters based in the UK (Stefflon Don, Ms. Dynamite, Octavian) and Jamaica (Busy Signal, Kranium). Come December, the festival will head to Accra for its Ghanian installment. –Michelle Kim

Flow Festival

Helsinki, Finland

August 9-11

Featuring: Cardi B, Tame Impala, the Cure, Robyn

Flow Festival is making a name for itself as one of the best festivals in Scandinavia, combining great international headliners with eclectic, brilliantly curated supporting acts (many of them from the region). This year might be its best yet: Cardi B, Tame Impala, and the Cure top the bill, joined by Robyn, Neneh Cherry, Earl Sweatshirt, Blood Orange, Mitski, and more. This year, the Finnish National Opera presents their own slate of art programming and performances, and choreographer Wayne McGregor presents his piece Autobiography, with its original score performed live by its composer: Jlin. –Noah Yoo

Railbird Festival

Lexington, Kentucky

August 10-11

Featuring: The Raconteurs, Mavis Staples, Brandi Carlile, Tyler Childers

If you’re looking for an excuse to drink your way along Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, the inaugural Railbird Fest is a great one. The two-day event takes place at the historic Keeneland horse racing grounds and, in true Lexington fashion, it offers horse betting and drink tasting. With your highball glass and big floppy hat, it’s a perfect moment to bask in the glory of queens like Mavis Staples, Lucinda Williams, and Brandi Carlile. The Raconteurs and Gary Clark Jr. provide the full-on shredding, there are plenty of bluegrass bands in tow, and for the full Kentucky experience, you can’t miss Paintsville singer-songwriter Tyler Childers. And bring your parents—Hozier’s headlining! –Evan Minsker

Mutek Montreal


August 20-25

Featuring: Jlin, Gaika, Call Super, Huerco S.

Mutek celebrates its 20th year in Montreal with a typically heavily slant towards technological innovation and immersive experiences. The weekend will feature A/V sets from futurists Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones, as well as digital tinkerer Ash Koosha. The lineup is rounded out with artists like Jlin, the dancehall experimentalist Gaika, and the heady techno Call Super. Alongside the week of musical performances, Mutek also touts a three-day technology conference surrounding topics like AI, immersive media, and blockchain, so you can get true galaxy brain. –Michelle Kim



August 24-25

Featuring: FKA twigs, Kamasi Washington, Tierra Whack, Jill Scott

Welcome to Afropunk, where you will sweat all of the product out of your hair, stand shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of strangers just as sticky as you are, and get trapped in an overflowing walkway navigating Commodore Barry Park. Afropunk can be messy but, regardless, everyone always returns, because it’s rare to find a space this inclusive and representative. Throughout the weekend, black culture will be honored and underrepresented communities will have their voice heard, without any gimmicks or disingenuity—and the performances by FKA twigs, Kamasi Washington, Tierra Whack, and more will reflect that. –Alphonse Pierre