10 Awesome Music Festival Photos

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of music festivals. I’ve been to 15 Oppikoppi festivals, 2 Mieliepop Festivals, 5 RAMFest festivals, 1 Up The Creek festival, 1 Synergy Live festival, 3 STRAB festivals, 1 FORR festival and countless other smaller festivals over the years. I’ve also been to my fair share of Park Acoustics and Old Mutual Music in the Gardens shows since 2011. I think it’s safe to say that I really love local music and live music in general.

Since I love music festivals so much, I’ve decided to post a collection of 10 Awesome Music Festival Photos today. This collection features photos from a few festivals that I’ve been to and a few that I still have to attend abroad. I’ve tried to make this list as diverse as possible so it features photos from festivals all over the world and South Africa.

Tomorrowland (Boom, Belgium): Every year 180,000 people (from over 200 countries) make their way to this 3 day celebration of dance and electronic music at the end of July. The festival was first held in 2005 and attracted only 10,000 people. 400 DJ’s play sets on 10 different stages at Tomorrowland. Festival goers are encouraged to wave their country of origin’s flag at the festival.

The 2013 line-up for the festival included David Guetta, Afrojack, Nicky Romero, Avicii, Armin van Buuren, Tiësto,  Carl Cox, Sebastian Ingrosso, Axwell, Fedde le Grand, Martin Solveig, Steve Aoki, Knife Party, Hardwell, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, NERVO, Arty, Sander van Doorn, Markus Schulz, Zedd, Laidback Luke, Paul van Dyk, Cosmic Gate,  Chuckie, Benny Benassi,Steve Angello Yves V and Alesso. The photo below was taken during Hardwell’s set at the festival this year.

Tomorrowland 2013

Ultra Music Festival (Miami, Florida, USA): This electronic music festival takes place at Bayfront Park every year in March and attracts 330,000 people over two weekends. The festival attracts visitors from all over the world and most visitors stay at hotels within the Downtown Miami or Brickell neighborhoods. The main event is held in Miami and attracts the most visitors, but Ultra Music Festivals are also held in Ibiza, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, South Korea and Croatia.

Ultra Music Festival started in 1999 in South Beach and moved to bigger locations as the festival grew year on year. David Guetta, Deadmau5, Tiësto and Swedish House Mafia headlined the 2013 edition of Ultra Music Festival. The photo featured in this post was taken at the main stage during this year’s festival.

Ultra Music Festival 2013

Roskilde Festival (Denmark): This festival was first held in 1971 and has grown to be the largest music festival in Europe. Since 1972 the festival has been run as a non-profit organization for development and support of music, culture and humanism. +/- 130,000 people attend Roskilde festival annually in June. The festival’s Arena stage features the largest tent in Europe – it has an official capacity of 17,000 people. The festival has a naked run which allows both men and women – the prize is a ticket to the next edition of the festival.

During the Pearl Jam set of the 2000 edition of Roskilde Festival 9 people were killed as a huge crowd rushed to catch a glimpse of the band. Crowd surfing was sighted as one of the causes of this accident and has since been banned at festivals across the European continent. The 2013 edition of Roskilde festival was headlined by Metallica, Kraftwerk , The National, Queens Of The Stone Age, Rihanna and Slipknot.  The photo below features an aerial shot of the camping area at Roskilde Festival.

Roskilde Festival

Reading Festival (UK): This festival started out as the National Jazz Festival in 1961 and changed names and venues over the  years before reaching its permanent home at Reading in 1971. In the 1960’s some of the headliners at the festival included The Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters, The Yardbirds, The Animals, The Who, Cream, T. Rex, Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd.

Throughout the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s acts like Cat Stevens, Deep Purple, Arthur Brown, Genesis, 10cc, Yes!, Golden Earring, Thin Lizzy, The Jam, Status Quo, The Scorpions, Peter Gabriel, The Police, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, The Kinks, Iggy Pop, James, Alice Cooper, the Ramones, The Sisters of Mercy, The Prodigy, The Stone Roses, Nirvana, Blur, Red Hot Chili Peppers and various others headlined the festival.

Reading Festival is held on the same weekend as the Leeds Festival. The festival can accommodate 87,000 music fans and is one of the most notable music festivals in the UK and in Europe. This year’s festival featured performances by Green Day, Eminem, Biffy Clyro, Fall Out Boy, Imagine Dragons, Foals, Bring Me The Horizon and tons of other awesome acts. The Daily Mail published this photo featuring scenes of the aftermath of this year’s edition of the festival.

Reading 2013 Aftermath

Wacken Open Air Festival (Germany): This heavy metal festival is the biggest of its kind in the world. More than 80,000 heavy metal, black metal, death metal, power metal, thrash metal, gothic metal, folk metal, metalcore, nu metal and hard rock fans flock to this festival (which is held near the town of Wacken) every year in August. Wacken Open Air festival was first held in 1990 as a small event for local German bands, but by 1998 the event had become a major festival on the European metal calendar.

This year’s edition of Wacken festival featured performances by Alice Cooper, As I Lay Dying, Danzig, Deep Purple, Devil Driver, Fear Factory, Lamb of God, Manowar, Motorhead, Nightwish, Rammstein, Trivium, Ugly Kid Joe and various other acts.  I’m not a huge fan of the heavy metal genre, but this is still a festival that I want to check out. Judging by the photo below there seems to be a lot of mud (a trademark of many of Europe’s festivals)

Tuska Open Air Metal Festival 2012

Oppikoppi Festival (Northam, Limpopo, South Africa): I’ve been to 15 editions of this festival and it’s still my favorite festival on the SA Music calendar. The first edition of this festival was held in 1994 and attracted only 600 people. By 2004 the festival had reached the 12,000 mark and by 2012 more than 20,000 people were attending the festival. To list all the local acts that I’ve seen over the years would be impossible but I could point out that some of the memorable acts that have performed here over the years include Koos Kombuis, Valiant Swart, David Kramer, Mango Groove, Springbok Nude Girls, Fokofpolisiekar, Karen Zoid and various others.

Some of the international acts that have performed at the festival include Ben Lee (Australia), the Hothouse Flowers (UK), Jimmy Eat World (USA), Groove Armada (UK), The Used (USA), Sum 41 (USA), Seether (USA), Eagles of Death Metal (USA), Enter Shikari (UK), Bullet for my Valentine (UK), Yellowcard (USA), Manchester Orchestra (USA) and Deftones (USA). The photo below was taken by Sean Brand and features Bittereinder on stage at Oppikoppi 2013 Bewilderbeast.

Bittereinder @ Oppikoppi 2013

RAMFest (South Africa): The first edition of this festival was held in 2007 near Worcester in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Since then it has expanded to a festival in multiple cities. Real Alternative Music Festival (or RAMFest) attracts thousands of festival goers every year in early March and has become one of the premier events on the SA Music calendar.  Some of the memorable local acts that I have seen at the 5 RAMFests that I’ve attended include Gazelle, Fokofpolisiekar, Van Coke Kartel, Bittereinder, Ashtray Electric, ISO, The Narrow and Dance You’re On Fire.

Like Oppikoppi Festival, RAMFest has also started featuring international acts over the last few years. In 2010 Pendulum (UK and Australia) headlined the festival, in 2011 Funeral for a Friend (UK) and Alkaline Trio (USA) headlined the festival, in 2012 In Flames (Sweden), Infected Mushroom (Israel) and AWOLNATION (USA) headlined the festival and in 2013 headline acts included Bring Me The Horizon (UK) and Rise Against (USA). I took this photo of Bring Me The Horizon earlier this year at the Johannesburg edition of the festival

Bring Me The Horizon @ RAMFest 2013

Rock Wrechter (Belgium): This festival was first held in 1976 and is now the largest rock festival in Belgium. The 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2012 Rock Wrechter festivals received the Arthur award for best festival in the world at the International Live Music Conference. The festival can host 85,000 people daily. Until the 1990’s the festival attracted mostly Flemish people, but in recent years it has become more and more international with an especially large influx of Dutch, French, Walloon, British and a notable Australian and South African contingent.

Headlining acts that played at the 2013 edition of this festival included Depeche Mode, Blur, Rammstein, Green Day, Kings of Leon, The National, Editors, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds & Volbeat. This year’s edition also featured appearances by Biffy Clyro, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Netsky, The Hives, Two Door Cinema Club, Gogol Bordello, 30 Seconds to Mars, Kesha, Bastille, Jake Bugg, Bloc Party, The Lumineers, Alt-J and others. My good Belgian friend and Aandklas quiz team mate has told me that this is her favorite festival in her country, so I guess I’ll have to check this out some day.

Rock Wrechter

Bonnaroo Music Festival (Manchester, Tennessee, USA): The first edition of Bonnaroo was held in 2002 and attracted 70,000 people. The festival is held every year in June at Green Stage Park and features multiple stages of live music. The festival has a diverse array of musical styles including indie rock, world music, hip hop,jazz, americana, bluegrass, country music,  folk,  gospel, reggae, electro and other alternative music. The festival was voted as the best festival by Rolling Stone in 2008.

Over the years the festival capacity has been expanded – 150,000 people attended Bonnaroo in 2013. This year’s edition featured 12 stages and performances by Alt-J, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Paul McCartney, Wu-Tang Clan, ZZ Top, Foals, Jack Johnson, Bjork, The Lumineers, R. Kelly, Billy Idol, Empire of the sun, Weird Al Yankovic, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and various other acts. Just check out the hands in the air in the photo below, doesn’t this just make you hope that you don’t miss the next one?


Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (California, USA): The first edition of Coachella was held in 1999 (only 6 months after Woodstock ’99). 10,000 people attended the first festival (which generated a huge financial loss). Coachella only returned in 2001, but has since then grown into one of the biggest music festivals in the USA. It started out as a 2 day event, then expanded to a 3 day event over a single weekend and by 2012 Coachella was being held over two 3 day weekends. The festival features 6 stages and can handle a capacity crowd of 75,000 people per day.

In 2011 the festival featured 190 acts including Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, Kanye West, The Strokes Duran Duran, Mumford and Sons, PJ Harvey and The Black Keys. 2012’s line-up included a holographic performance by the late Tupac Shakur, Pulp, Radiohead, The Black Keys, The Hives, Arctic Monkeys, Kaskade, Miike Snow, Afrojack, Gotye, Bon Iver, Kaiser Chiefs, The Shins, AWOLNATION, Band of Skulls and various other artists.

This year Coachella featured performances by  Blur, The Stone Roses, The Lumineers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Infected Mushroom, Wu-Tang Clan, Tegan and Sara and various other artists. Coachella is definitely on my list of festivals that I have to check out one day. Just take a look at the scenery below and you’ll see why I say so.


Well, there you have it, 10 Awesome Music Festival Photos. Which one of these festivals are your favorite? Leave a comment and let me know. Feedback is appreciated and welcome here.

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Watch this space for regular updates in the Music and Photography categories on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Henno Kruger
Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant and co-founder of SA Music Zone

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