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Is Glastonbury the biggest music festival in the world?

Is Glastonbury the biggest music festival in the world?

It’s a big date in any music fan’s calendar, but is it the biggest festival? (Picture: Harry Durrant/Getty Images)

Glastonbury is, of course, an iconic festival – and the very name conjures images of music’s biggest names descending upon Somerset’s Worthy Farm to make history.

From Kylie Minogue’s emotional comeback appearance in 2019 after having to cancel in 2004 due to her breast cancer diagnosis, to Dolly Parton’s truly unforgettable Legend’s Slot, Glasto always delivers.

And that’s not even mentioning some of the titans of rock who’ve appeared over the years – Bruce Springsteen, The Cure, Paul McCartney, Artic Monkeys and more.

For 2023’s festival, thousands have already enjoyed Lizzo’s body-positive performance and Lana del Rey’s unplanned acapella singalong after being cut off.

But is Glastonbury the biggest festival in the world?

Despite its legendary status, Glastonbury – with a reported maximum attendance of 210,000 people – is not in fact the biggest music festival in the world in terms of crowd size.

It’s not even the biggest festival in the UK. That would be Creamfields, which takes place in Cheshire every year and has attendance of around 280,000 – surpassing Glastonbury, but still not enough to crack the top 10 festivals across the world.

Still, according to Somerset Council, Glastonbury is the largest performing arts festival in the world.

What is the biggest music festival in the world?

We take a look at global festivals with the biggest (estimated) crowds, counting down to the largest we could find…

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Lollapalooza Chicago

  • Where: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Attendance: 400,000

The story of Lollapalooza – referred to by regulars as Lolla – starts back in 1991 when Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell wanted to do a farewell tour for the band.

The tour stopped in more than twenty North American cities and proved super successful.

Lollapalooza is one of the biggest festivals in the US (Picture: Getty Images)

Over the years, the likes of Sinead O’Connor, SZA and Amy Winehouse have performed there.

It usually takes place in the summer, and in 2023 it’s taking place from August 3 to 6. The lineup hasn’t been announced yet.

Summerfest

Summerfest is different in that it takes place over three consecutive weekends in summer, bringing over 1,000 performances across 12 stages.

All genres are welcome at Summerfest, and past years have included the likes of Jennifer Lopez. 2023’s lineup includes country artists Eric Church, Elle King, and Sheryl Crow.

Sziget Festival

  • Where: Obuda Island, Budapest, Hungary
  • Attendance: 450,000

Sziget Festival is one of the biggest in Europe and welcomes artists spanning a range of genres to perform to a couple hundred thousand music fans each year.

This year it takes place between August 10 to 15 and the lineup includes Billie Eilish, David Guetta, Florence + The Machine, Imagine Dragons and Sam Fender.

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

  • Where: New Orleans in Louisiana, USA
  • Attendance: 475,000

The festival has a whopping 14 stages, which explains how they can attract such large names as 2023’s lineup, which included Lizzo, Ed Sheeran, Santana, Jill Scott and the Wu Tang Clan.

Primavera brings out people in their thousands (Picture: Xavi Torrent/Redferns)

Primavera Sound Barcelona

  • Where: Parc del Forum in Barcelona, Spain
  • Attendance: Up to 500,000
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One of Europe’s most popular festivals, this year’s lineup included the Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Calvin Harris, Kendrick Lamar, Four Tet, FKA Twigs, and Måneskin. It took place from May 29 to July 4.

Tomorrowland

  • Where: Boom in Flanders, Belgium
  • Attendance: 600,000

Tomorrowland is arguably the biggest EDM festival in the world and attracts thousands from all over who want to witness the best of dance, house, techno, hardstyles, and everything else electronic dance music.

This year, it’s taking place July 21 to 23 and July 28 to 30.

Tomorrowland is an all-out, huge scale festival(Picture: Getty)

Pol’and’Rock Festival

  • Where: Czapline, West Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland
  • Attendance: Up to 750,000

Pol’and’Rock Festival, also known as Woodstock Poland, is one of the world’s largest free festivals – and says on its website it hosts huge audiences of up to 750,000 people.

This year it takes place between August 3 to 5.

Rock lovers flock to Rock in Rio, which has welcomed some of the genres biggest names (Picture: Getty)

Rock in Rio

  • Where: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
  • Attendance: 700,000 plus, with 1 million some years

Rock in Rio has been around since 1985 and always attracts huge crowds. Acts who’ve performed at the South American festival include Ozzy Osbourne, Queen and Iron Maiden.

Mawazine

  • Where: Rabat, Morocco
  • Attendance: 2,750,000

Mawazine, which translates to ‘rhythms of the world’, is a mammoth festival in Morocco.

It started in 2002 and is overseen by the personal secretary of the Moroccan King Mohammed VI as a way of shining a light on the country in Northwest Africa.

Stars who’ve performed there include Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder and Elton John.

Donauinselfest

Donauinselfest is one festival you wouldn’t want to lose your friends at… (Picture: Getty)
  • Where: Donauinsel in Vienna, Austria
  • Attendance: 2,500,000 – but reported attendances of over 3 million
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With a whopping 2.5 million attendees – some reports suggesting attendance has hit close to 3 million before – Donauinselfest is the biggest free open-air festival in the world and takes place over three days.

The festival takes place on an island and has eleven open-air stages, 16 tented areas, and features many local bands and DJs alongside some of the biggest names in the industry.


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  • June 25, 2023