16 of the BEST Winter Music Festivals in the World

Let’s take a look at the best winter music festivals around the world shall we? If you want to experience a festival in winter then save your pennies for one of these…

Out of the 60 festivals in 22 countries I’ve been to, not many of the festivals have been in winter. Looks like 2023 should be the year to change that! 

There are some great winter festivals we all need to check out…

festival in canada

Think ‘festivals’ and you might think of the slick, sweat-dotted skin of a summer’s crowd, the deep bass that reverberates through our bodies; tents, campers and rooms that barely see any sleep because its occupants are too busy partying to banging tunes.

You might picture heated atmospheres where musicians collide at either open-air venues or anonymous dark halls.

But how does that work at our winter festivals? 

The BEST Winter Music Festivals

Break those winter festival stereotypes in your mind – these winter music festivals will have you jumping in the snow. Well, you have to make your own heat at these winter solstice events!

Here are some of the best winter music festivals across the globe – check out the best January festivals too. Make sure to check out the official websites for the exact dates of fun… and, whether they’re still going ahead, closer to the time. 

More winter travel tips?

Winter music festivals in November

Here are the best music festivals in winter, starting with what November has for us. Here are the best music festivals November has to offer.

Winter festivals in November

1. Polaris Festival – Verbier, Switzerland

17th – 18th & 24th – 25th November 2023

As we veer into winter, Verbier waves farewell to November with a fitting tribute: the Polaris Festival. One of the earliest music festivals in winter, the stage is set at an impressive altitude of 2,200 meters. And I don’t just mean a regular stage at the mountain base; its famous le Mouton Noir is perched on the slopes within Verbier Ski Resort.

This winter music festival’s tickets come with free ski lift passes so you can access the main stage at no extra cost.

Headliners include house and techno masters who play for four days across two weekends. I suggest pairing the festival with an actual ski trip to make the most of the location. Book lodgings ahead of time though, as it gets extremely busy during the season.

2. MIRA Digital Arts Festival – Barcelona, Spain

10th – 11th November 2023

The Barcelona I know has always been an astonishing gallery of arts and innovation, which is why MIRA Digital Arts Festival came as a delightful addition. Emerging in 2011, the event encourages visual arts and music to mingle – to great success.

The program is an astounding mish-mash of installation work, concerts, audiovisual projects and workshops. The icing on the cake is that this festival is produced by volunteers and non-profit associations. Cultural and artistic exchange is the main goal, not money making.

Creative projects and meaningful subtext in one winter music festival? Love to go!

READ MORE: The Sapporo Snow Festival, and the Otaru Winter Light Festival in Japan

3. Iceland Airwaves – Reykjavik, Iceland

2nd – 4th November 2023

For such a small population, Iceland has produced a startling amount of musical stars (Asgeir is my all time favourite). And the first place they debut at? The winter music festival of Iceland Airwaves.

Best of all, you get to know them on an intimate stage before the big break-out.

winter festivals in Europe

Most of the venues fit hundreds of people versus thousands, marking a community feel rather than anonymous stomping grounds. Performances aren’t limited to big concert halls either; some take place in bars, basements and even churches. Having run for over 20 years, you can expect new ideas every year as well as solid execution.

Past headliners include Cashmere Cat, HATARI, Blood Orange and Tommy Cash. It’s one of the best festivals in November.

I’ve been wanting to go this for years, but been too scared of the price. Maybe this could be my year! 

4. Popload Festival – Sao Paulo, Brazil

TBC 2023

Just as Brazil is known for its vibrant community and festive atmosphere, Popload Festival brings a unique colour to winter music festivals. Posing between international sensations and underground local scene, it favours indie acts that have some degree of notoriety.

Previous performers include Iggy Pop, Beirut, Tame Impala and The XX. It markets itself as a niche festival outside of mainstream music and it works.

If you appreciate indie bands or follow certain Brazilian names, this is the festival for you. As a bonus, you get to enjoy warm weather too!

winter music festivals

5. Clockenflap – Hong Kong

1st – 3rd December 2023

As if Hong Kong isn’t a bustling hub all hours, every day; Clockenflap winter festival debuted a decade ago to add to the noise. Featuring international bigwigs and local artists, this outdoor festival endeavours to showcase various flavours of music. Like the city’s blending of East and West, the music acts emphasise diversity.

Clockenflap takes over Central Harbourfront to a backdrop of Hong Kong’s skyline. It’s an incredible sight as the city of lights emerges during dusk. The location is conveniently close to the party district of Lan Kwai Fong too.

When you’re high on throbbing bass and electronic beats, pop over to the clubs to show-off your moves. You can also find classy and quiet bars to come down from that high, or grab bites at late-night eateries. Not just a winter music festival, you can also enjoy the city. 

READ MORE: The Best Places to Visit in Canada in Winter

6. Visa for Music – Rabat, Morocco

22nd – 25th November 2023

How many of us have dreamed of visiting sultry Morocco?

Well, here’s a convenient excuse to go. Visa for Music gathers artists from across the Middle East and Africa to mix concerts and music workshops. It also offers a cultural dive into Morocco’s capital, charming Rabat.

winter festivals

While the line-up changes year by year, you’ll notice that these names are often musicians on the rise that haven’t quite made it to the top yet. One of the best advantages you’ll have is catching their show before they’re running the stage solo, with no tickets to spare.

One of the few winter music festivals in Africa. 

Winter Music Festivals in December

All the best festivals in winter – let’s see what we can do in December. Here are the best music festivals December has to offer.

winter festival

7. Trans Musicales – Rennes, France

6th – 10th December 2023

If you dream of disappearing into anonymity while head banging to rock tunes, Trans Musicales is a December festival you won’t want to miss. Sign up for a romantic France trip with a side dish of local music; French indie bands and rock artists gather in Rennes to scream out their soul messages. This winter music fest is known for producing the ‘next best thing’, perfect for avid music lovers.

What I like about this winter solstice event is that the bands share a multi-room venue, meaning you can pop in and out of simultaneous shows as you like. Since the festival lasts for 3 to 4 days, you won’t feel pressured for time. As one of the top music festivals in winter, the ticket price is more than affordable too!

Lake Tahoe festival

8. Rise Festival – Les Deux Alpes, France

9th – 16th December 2023

Bet you never thought there’d be a six-day fiesta happening up in the French Alps!

Combining winter magic and music, Rise Festival will have you set up in comfortable lodges with optimum mountain-top views, yoga in fresh air and six-day lift passes for the requisite ski hours. When your face has skimmed red from the cold, mulled ciders and frothy drinks get passed around cafeterias.

Check out their video on YouTube

Maybe you’ll even sign up for a husky safari – or skip straight to the main event. Shed your thick coats at night as you jump to the beat of fantastic stages, hosted in various venues. Some performances are cast in a green glow while others fire up streamers and confetti bombs. It’s not exactly your typical winter holiday!

Sounds like a great music festival in December for us.

And this is one of the coolest skiing festivals in Europe – get your ticket!

9. Your Paradise Fiji – Mamanucas Islands, Fiji

10th – 16th December 2023

Yes, it’s time to bring your Fiji dreams to reality with this winter music festival fun. Fiji is known as one of the most stunning places in the world.

Clear, sparkling water and luxurious resorts are the least of what you’ll find; friendly locals, fellow tourists to be excited with, gorgeous landscapes and water-bound activities will keep you busy when you’re not dancing on the beaches.

Watch the winter music festival video on YouTube

Early December brings a musical fervor to the Mamanucas Islands; specifically at Malolo Lailai. There are only 600 spots at this festival. With limited attendees, you can get much closer to stage without feeling like a packed sardine. Expect electronic dance music curated to fit the beach theme.

Of course, there are loads of other things to do in Fiji too, including snorkelling in Fiji’s waters, and surfing too. Don’t skip the Kava!

10. Rakastella – Miami, Florida

TBC 2023

Florida isn’t just about spring break – its thriving art scene is brought to the forefront with the annual Art Basel. For 16 non-stop hours, Rakastella takes over the famous Virginia Key Beach Park with specially prepared stages and lighting design.

While you dip in and out of shows by techno DJs and other pop favourites, there’s also a hi-fi tea garden and sunset hors d’oeuvres to keep you fuelled. The event isn’t restricted to Miami artists only, so look forward to hot debuts by European artists too at this winter music festival.

Winter music festivals in January

Always fun to have a winter festival booked for January – something to look forward to!

winter music festivals in January

11. Day Zero – Tulum, Mexico

12th January 2024

Celebrate new beginnings with the end of the Mayan calendar at one of the world’s most transformative and acclaimed parties. Taking place in the Tulum jungle, they call upon all those in pursuit of an exhilarating passage in to the new year to join them on their voyage through the realms of music, nature and culture.

This proudly environmentally sustainable festival invites to experience some os the world’s best electronic live acts amongst the setting of their ancient land. Self-described as a modern rave which offers you a path to a transcendental awakening, who could resist?!

Find out more here

12. Eurosonic Noorderslag – Groningen, Netherlands

17th – 20th January 2024

The party almost always reigns supreme where the students are and you’ll find that this rings true at Groningen, a college town that can boast about its status as music magnet. Drawing in new musicians every January, it’s one of best places to find your next favourite sound.

As the name suggests, the four-day festival Eurosonic is sectioned in a three-to-one day ratio; first, a broader range of European artists (Eurosonic) followed by performances by Dutch artists only (Noorderslag).

winter music festivals around the world

This winter festival is an opportunity for Dutch artists to show off to an international crowd so head up there to support the community!

The festival gives established fan bases a voice too as several awards are presented throughout. From the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards to Pop Media Award, cheer on the winners. Since the festival hops around a variety of venues, you’ll get to experience different sides of Groningen too.

13. Sydney Festival – Sydney, Australia

5th – 28th January 2023

Spending winter months in Australia is like arriving into perpetual paradise. From the balmy breezes that wrestle with your clothes to hearty brekkies, Sydney welcomes with natural and homey comforts. But from the second week of January, the laid-back atmosphere is discarded for an eclectic range of performances and laughter-filled activities at the Sydney Festival.

Even better, this winter music festival lasts for three weeks. Definitely one of the best festivals in January.

The Sydney Festival takes place across 48 venues around town, so you can discover different neighbourhoods while you party. And if almost 500 performances of varying genres aren’t enough for you, there are plenty of other things to do – including circus acts, theatre troupes, art instalments and riveting dance sets.

14. Igloofest – Montreal, Canada

TBC January 2024

Even temperatures in the negatives can’t stop this outdoor winter music festival from taking place… across four weekends. Tens of thousands flood into Montreal, Canada’s artsy quarters, for throbbing music in an ice-cold stage for Igloofest.


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Dernière chance pour faire la fête avec ta gang au festival de musique le plus froid au monde! ❄️ – Last chance to party with your squad at the world’s coldest music festival! ❄️ 📷 @waktr #Igloofest2020

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Well-established and offering a global range of artists, it’s one of the biggest winter solstice festivals in general. With a focus on electronic music, you can expect the matching strobe lights and urge to dance. Do check out the line up before you go as it switches every weekend, or cover all of them to be pleasantly surprised.

One of the coolest festivals in Canada.

Montreal has plenty of cultural and historical highlights so I recommend spending a few days just exploring the area. As one of the top music festivals in winter, pack snow shoes just in case!

15. The FriendShip – from Miami, Florida to CocoCay, Bahamas

6th – 11th January 2024

You’ve most likely heard of travelling circuses but what about travelling music festivals?

This one of a kind cruise (the Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas) will take you on a four-day journey from Florida to the Bahamas with music on full blast. Pool-side sets, elevated rave balconies and more electrifying stages define the theme of this boat ride, known as The FriendShip.

Winter Music Festival

Music festival shenanigans aside, there are other attractions too!

The boat’s ice rink hosts Ice Disco for those who are slick on their feet while comedy performances are catered to those who prefer comfortable sit-downs. You’ll also get to party on a private island when you reach your destination – so there’s that.

16. Holy Ship! Wrecked – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

12th – 16th December 2023

Pretty sure ships aren’t the the only things that get wrecked here; anyone attending this on-beach festival will need to sleep for a few days afterwards. If you’re planning on an exotic getaway in the winter anyway, this Dominican Republic specialty is a great option.

winter music festivals

Taking over the resort for four consecutive days and nights (it’s all-inclusive), the winter festival of Holy Ship! Wrecked is all about chilling in beach gear and sipping lemonade to the beat of dance music. Previous lineups have invited the likes of Diplo, Chris Lake and Claude VonStroke so you know quality is guaranteed.

READ MORE: The Best Festivals in January Around the World

9 more winter music festivals!

  • 1. by:Larm – Oslo, Norway
  • 2. Tallinn Music Week – Tallinn, Estonia
  • 3. Snowboxx – Avoriaz, France
  • 4. Tomorrowland Winter – Alpe D’Huez, France
  • 5. Rock the Pistes – Portes du Soleil, France
  • 6. E Komo Mai – Oahu, Hawaii
  • 7. Snowbombing – Mayrhofen, Austria
  • 8. Zermatt Unplugged – Zermatt, Switzerland
  • 9. SXM Festival – Saint Martin, the Caribbean


What do you wear to a festival when its cold?

When heading to a festival in cold weather, make sure you layer your clothing. Start with thermal or moisture-wicking base layers to keep sweat away from your skin. Over that, add insulating layers like jumpers or fleeces. Finish with a waterproof and windproof outer layer, and hats, gloves and a scarf. Try to bring cosy footwear too.

What are the festivals of light in winter?

Winter is a time when several cultures around the world celebrate festivals of light. Notably, Diwali, the Indian festival, is a dazzling display that signifies the triumph of light over darkness. Similarly, Hanukkah, known as the Jewish Festival of Lights, celebrates the enduring light of the Menorah. And in Sweden, Saint Lucia’s Day is marked by processions led by young women donning crowns of candles.

Which are the best ski festivals in Europe?

Europe has a great range of ski festivals to pick from. Snowbombing in Mayrhofen, Austria, is a week-long event combining skiing and DJs. There’s also Tomorrowland Winter, which unfolds in Alpe d’Huez, France, Rise Festival in Les Deux Alpes, France and Rock the Pistes in Portes du Soleil, which stretches across France and Switzerland.

What are the best winter festivals in the world?

There are so many incredible winter festivals around the world. China’s Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is a mesmerising showcase of monumental ice and snow sculptures. Another amazing one is the Quebec Winter Carnival in Canada with parades, intricate snow sculptures, and an Ice Palace. Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival is also a top winter festival around the world, with snow statues and illuminations.

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