The 10 Biggest Music Festivals in the World

Vienna is renowned for its musical heritage, and it's no surprise that it is now home to the world's largest festival. There are many music festivals around the world that attract quite spectacular numbers, and the 10 biggest music festivals have attendance numbers that will leave you speechless. New Orleans, Louisiana, is one of the most important cities in the history of jazz—and the New Orleans Jazz& Heritage Festival is perhaps its most important musical event. As its name suggests, the festival celebrates the city's vibrant history, recruiting the talents of the best local musicians in New Orleans (not only from jazz but also from other genres).

The music festival is historically significant because its first editions were overshadowed by the racial segregation of the Jim Crow era. If New Orleans Jazz& Heritage Festival celebrates local culture, Essence Music Festival celebrates the global impact of African-American culture. Organized by Essence, a magazine aimed at African-American women, this festival has a record attendance of 470,000 people and has welcomed artists such as Mariah Carey, Diana Ross, John Legend, Snoop Dogg, The Roots, Solange and Janelle Monáe in recent years (to name just a few).

Sziget Festival

takes place in Budapest, Hungary, and takes place on an island of 108 hectares (266 acres).

It's seven days of the best pop-rock music and features fan-favorite performances from all over the world. Interestingly, the first editions of the festival were organized in the 90s as a response to a music festival crisis motivated by a lack of government funding. The Sziget Festival rose from the ashes of the end of the communist era in Hungary to become one of the most famous musical events in Europe. In 1985, Brazilian marketer Robert Medina announced the creation of Rock in Rio as a way to celebrate the end of João Goulart's dictatorship.

The largest edition of Rock in Rio brought together 700,000 spectators. The Rock in Rio Lisbon event is one of the largest music festivals in Europe, with more than 350,000 people reaching its third edition.


held the Guinness World Record for the largest music festival in the world until 1999 and today it is still very close to the podium. Organized for the first time by jazz-enthusiast Rouè-Doudou Boicel, this Milwaukee-based event was attended by some other jazzy greats such as Ray Charles and Chick Corea at its first official edition and was enthusiastically received by approximately 12,000 visitors.

Donauinselfest, held annually on Donauinsel Island near Vienna since 1983, is free and organized by Austria's Social Democratic Party. It exceeded expectations from its start: while organizers were expecting 15,000 attendees at its first edition, they met with an unexpected crowd of 160,000 festival attendees.


, held annually in Manchester since 2002, presents a diverse lineup of more than 150 musicians and other performance artists every year. With more than 10 stages and entertainment that lasts all night long, you won't be bored.

Mysteryland, held annually near Amsterdam since 1993, is one of Europe's main electronic music festivals. Year after year they come together to celebrate friendship and love for music among glittering ponds, rivers and forest hills of Floriade grounds near Amsterdam. More than 300 artists perform on 17 stages covering all genres within electronic music spectrum.

Raleigh's Hopscotch Music Festival

, held annually since 2010 at Dorothea Dix Park—Raleigh's largest urban park with over 300 acres of public green space—aims to provide a unique opportunity for locals and traveling visitors alike to gather and enjoy a musical celebration.

Austin City Limits Music Festival

, held annually since 2002 at Zilker Park in Austin Texas presents a varied programme with 8 stages and more than 125 performances over two weekends.

It fuses rock, hip hop and electronic music with American culture giving it a unique touch.


, held annually since 1987 in Austin turns it into a musical playground with shows spread all over the city. Every year new developing and established exhibiting artists from more than 60 countries are represented among more than 2000 official artists looking to improve their careers by reaching new audiences.Primavera Sound, held annually since 2001 in Barcelona has developed a strong commitment to music so that spectators of different generations can fully enjoy live music experience. It's a party for all five senses combining an eclectic poster with first-class art food wine and much more.

Outside Lands Music Festival

, held annually since 2008 at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco continues to shine as a totally original festival and 100% San Francisco experience.