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This is my ranking of the best European metal festivals. Naturally, I can only the rank the one’s I’ve been to, which excludes big metal festivals like Hellfest and Graspop. It’s also strictly from my viewpoint, which means a focus on partying and sometimes obscure extreme metal bands. I also often prefer more rowdy crowds on the gigs, which everyone might not do. I prefer something simple and practical with maximum freedom, and I would never stay on a hotel if there’s a camping available. Some of the festivals might have changed, since I literally attended some of them in the middle-ages. I’ll extend this list as I attend more European metal festivals. I hope you can find one that suits you!

summer-breeze-open-air-main-stage

Summer Breeze Open Air

Location: Dinkelsbühl, Germany

Year attended: 2009

Website: www.summer-breeze.de

Good things about Summer Breeze

Fantastic line-ups every year
Dinkelsbühl is a beautiful town, perfect for a break in the festival madness

Bad things about Summer Breeze

Quite tricky to get there without a car

Brutal Assault

Location: Jaromer, Czech Republic

Year attended: 2015, 2016

Website: brutalassault.cz

Good things about Brutal Assault

Dirt cheap alcohol and high quality food
Professional arrangements in terms of both schedule and sound quality
Energetic crowds

Bad things about Brutal Assault

The camping lacks festival feeling
The risk of getting things stolen in town or in the non-VIP camp

Metaldays

Location: Tolmin, Slovenia

Year attended: 2014, 2017

Website: metaldays.net

Good things about Metaldays

Beautiful surrounding area where you can do more than just festival things
Convenience store and town very close
It’s a whole week, which means you’ll have time to explore

Bad things about Metaldays

Hard to reach the festival site cheaply or without a car

Read my Metaldays guide here ->


Rockstadt Extreme Fest

Location: Rasnov, Romania

Year attended: 2017

Website: http://www.rockstadtextremefest.ro/

Good things about Rockstadt Extreme Fest

Prices for tickets, food and drinks are low

Bad things about Rockstadt Extreme Fest

The location is Rasnov is a bit tricky to get to without a car
No partying (or life whatsoever) on the campsite

Read my Rockstadt Extreme Fest guide here ->

facebreaker-at-party-san-2008

Party San

Location: Bad Berka, Germany

Year attended: 2008

Website: www.party-san.de

Good things about Party San

Anti-commercial attitude means lower prices
Interesting line-ups with some obscure extreme metal bands

Bad things about Party San

Very tricky to get there without a car

soliloquium-puff

Neurotic Deathfest (now Netherlands Deathfest)

Location: Tilburg, Netherlands

Year attended: 2015

Website: http://www.deathfests.com/event/ndf-2017

Good things about Neurotic Deathfest

Tilburg is a really nice town to hang out in
Great line-ups filled with extreme metal gems
Crazy audiences

Bad things about Neurotic Deathfest

No matter how you twist it, indoor festivals are less fun
Getting a (cheap) place to stay unless you know someone

Dark Days of Stockholm

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Year attended: 2016

Good things about Dark Days of Stockholm

Interesting line-ups with an extreme metal focus

Bad things about Dark Days of Stockholm

Indoor festival, no camping
Swedish alcohol policies

Getaway Rock Festival (now Gefle Metal Festival)

Location: Gävle, Sweden

Year attended: 2012, 2013

Website: geflemetalfestival.se

Good things about Getaway Rock

Easy to get there no matter if you’re Swedish or coming with a plane to one of the Stockholm airports

Bad things about Getaway Rock

Distance between camping and stages means you’ll likely skip some bands
Swedish alcohol policies

Sabaton Open Air

Location: Falun, Sweden

Year attended: 2014, 2015

Website: www.sabaton.net/sabaton-open-air-festival-2017/

Good things about Sabaton Open Air

Fun camping where you can meet a lot of original people
Cheap tickets by Swedish standards

Bad things about Sabaton Open Air

Usually bad line-ups
Swedish alcohol policies
Can get extremely cold in the nights

Wacken Open Air

wacken-open-air-crowd

Location: Wacken, Germany

Year attended: 2010

Website: www.wacken.com

Good things about Wacken

A lot of crazy stuff going on in the campsite
A thing everyone who listens to metal should experience once
The whole Wacken town becomes part of the festival

Bad things about Wacken

Insane overcrowding, which means you might not get into the festival area to see bands and other problems that don’t belong in a good festival experience
After I experienced it once, I had enough


Sweden Rock Festival

Location: Sölvesborg, Sweden

Year attended: 2004, 2005

Website: www.swedenrock.com/

Good things about Sweden Rock

Safe starter festival when you’re doing your first trip

Bad things about Sweden Rock

Ridicilously expensive tickets
Swedish alcohol policies

List of some recurring European metal festivals:

  • Blastfest (Norway)
  • Bloodstock Open Air (United Kingdom)
  • Brutal Assault (Czech Republic)
  • Copenhell (Denmark)
  • Dark Days of Stockholm (Sweden)
  • Download Festival (United Kingdom)
  • Gefle Metal Festival (Sweden)
  • Graspop (Belgium)
  • Hellfest (France)
  • House of Metal (Sweden)
  • Inferno (Norway)
  • Metal over Malta (Malta)
  • Metaldays (Slovenia)
  • Motocultor (France)
  • Mörkaste Småland (Sweden)
  • Netherlands Deathfest (Netherlands)
  • Nummirock (Finland)
  • Obscene Extreme (Czech Republic)
  • Party San (Germany)
  • Resurrection Fest (Spain)
  • Roadburn (Netherlands)
  • Rockstadt Extreme Fest (Romania)
  • Sabaton Open Air (Sweden)
  • Stonehenge (Netherlands)
  • Summer Breeze Open Air (Germany)
  • Sweden Rock Festival (Sweden)
  • Tuska Open Air (Finland)
  • Vagos Open Air (Portugal)
  • VOA Heavy Rock Festival (Portugal)
  • Wacken Open Air (Germany)

More metal articles from this site:

Best doom metal bands ->
How to prepare for (and survive) a European metal festival ->
Metaldays guide ->
Rockstadt Extreme Fest guide ->
Rockstadt Extreme Fest 2017 review ->
Soliloquium, swedish doom metal ->

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