The long hot summer of music has well and truly wound up in New Zealand, but for anyone seeking a thrilling outdoor music experience, there are plenty of options offshore.
The European music festival scene swings into action next month, with hundreds of multi and single day festivals to choose from.
You can dance among the ramparts of a Serbian castle, sleep al fresco in a Portuguese vineyard or sway the night away beside the Mediterranean.
My own personal festival epiphany came 18 years ago, standing in the English countryside amongst 100,000 or so muddied festival-goers on the 25th of June 2000.
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David Bowie was singing the final song of a his headlining set on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.
David Bowie performing at the Isle of Wight festival in 2004.
Like an echo from a dream, I can still hear and see Bowie belting out that final tune "I'm Afraid of Americans" as everyone around me went bananas. I can't recall the wet, the cold, the queues, or the trains, the rubbish I picked up for my free ticket and board, but that memory still reverberates around my head all these years later.
There's no Glastonbury in 2018, as it takes a gap year to replenish the dairy farm Worthy Farm, but there's no shortage of other options.
There are now so many festivals across the continent that picking which ones to go to can be a little daunting.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
The Arctic Monkeys are bringing their new album to several European festivals.
PRIMAVERA SOUND, Barcelona, 30 May – 3 June
Barcelona kicks off the summer festival season in style with its annual urban gathering at the inner city Parc del Forum.
Primavera means spring in Spanish, but with Barcelona's Mediterranean climate, conditions are almost guaranteed to be balmy during the daylight hours at least.
The lineup is A plus; headlined by the Arctic Monkeys as they return from their four year hiatus with a new album.
Speculation has been rampant among fans how Sheffield's finest will be able to back up their monster AM, and the Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is causing great excitement among fans, weeks before it's due for release.
Björk will perform - with tracks from her 9th album Utopiasure to feature.
Utopiasure to feature.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra will play Primavera Sound.
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds will bring their new album Skeleton Treeto a major European festival stage after 18 months of arena visits around the world.
Skeleton Treeto a major European festival stage after 18 months of arena visits around the world.
The National and The War On Drugs, A$AP Rocky and Migos will be there: giants of the rock, hip hop and world music scenes.
And then there's our very own Lorde, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, who will be slamming their new album Sex & Food.
Sex & Food.
Lorde is bringing her Melodrama tour to the Primavera Sound music festival.
There are also free events around the city, including a set by Belle & Sebastian playing before the start of the festival proper.
If the idea of camping in a field submerged in mud isn't for you, then Primavera Sound could be a good option. Enjoy all of the conveniences of a big, bustling beautiful city, and rest in a comfortable bed.
According to Primavera veterans, the key thing to do is find accommodation close to the venue or transport links, but not in overly touristy areas. When you get home at 4 or 5 am, you'll want to sleep through without the hustle and bustle outside your balcony.
Unlike other festivals, Primavera Sound runs throughout the day and night. It's important to get a a good night's sleep in between and pace yourself. It's best to stay somewhere close, or along Avenida Diagonal, as the trams stop around 3am and don't start again until about 6am.
Nick Cave is playing several European music festivals this norther hemispeher summer.
The Parc del Forum is 5km from Plaza Catalunya and even closer to the city's mesmerising Gothic Quarter. During the day there are a heap of things to do: Pablo Picasso museum, Gaudi's exotic creations, or simply head to the beach, just up the road from the Parc del Forum, and recharge for the evening's activities.
Once inside there are people walking around with mini-keg backpacks so you can easily get a drink wherever you are and can easily avoid queueing, so you can essentially be watching a gig and get another drink without moving.
There's also an amazing food court with heaps of seating and great variety. The venue is next to the sea, one of the stages' seating actually looks out over it, so make sure you take a jacket.
Icelandic singer Bjork is touring on the back of her 9th studio album Utopia.
It can be quite a trek from one side to the other so wear really comfy shoes, and take hat/sunglasses. It helps to print the schedule out beforehand and pre-select the bands you want to see.
Getting to the venue is straightforward, with a Metro station right nearby.
TIPS FOR YOUNG PLAYERS
Book accommodation now - in one of the hotels nearby - so you can break up the day if you need to. Try seeing the local bands on the smaller stages.
Learn a few Catalan phrases. A really important thing is to visit one of the offices before the festival begins to get your entry band. The queues at the gate get pretty bad - particularly after 8 or 9 pm, which is the time that most locals finish work and start showing up.
Full festival tickets cost $363, and limited day tickets are also available for $143from the Primavera Sound website.
Originally a student protest for democracy in Novi Sad, Serbia, EXIT is now considered one of the best major European festivals.
EXIT, Novi Sad, Serbia, 12 – 15 July
Sometimes referred to as the Glastonbury of the east, Exit is a hedonistic explosion of music held every year in the Petrovaradin Fortress, in Serbia's second largest city Novi Sad.
The name of the game here is electronica: with several huge stages built into the picturesque 18th Century fortress, the music mixes seamlessly with the beautiful surrounds to make for a unique festival experience.
My only visit to the festival came in 2009, when the lineup included the Arctic Monkeys (them again!), Prodigy, Carl Cox, Korn, Chase & Status, Lily Allen and on and on. French DJ Etienne de Crecy's set inside a giant collapsible 3D cube was unforgettable.
This year, David Guetta, Grace Jones, Ziggy Marley have already been announced, with many more bands to come.
Exit tends to attract a younger crowd. There is plenty of camping available near the site, and Serbia is a relatively inexpensive country to eat and drink in. Just make sure you store up your energy reserves for a big few days.
Early bird tickets are available now for $171, plus booking fee.
ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL, Newport, Isle of Wight, UK, 21-24 June
The Killers' Brandon Flowers will be at Isle of Wight festival.
There's something incredibly cathartic about jumping on a train, and then a boat, and leaving all of your troubles behind you as you head for a weekend on an island filled with music, dancing and good times.
By the same climactic quirk that seems to dictate that it will always rain at Glastonbury, the opposite usually occurs at the Isle of Wight festival.
The Isle of Wight has an incredible history - half a million people came to see Jimi Hendrix play their in 1970, just a month before the great man's death.
It's that heritage that keeps attracting crowds and great, great bands. This year's lineup includes The Killers, Kasabian, Depeche Mode, Liam Gallagher and many more. Weekend tickets are $435.
OTHER HONOURABLE MENTIONS
* For sheer scale and spectacle though, Denmark'sRoskildeis offering up a music celebration on a massive scale. Bruno Mars, Eminem, Cardi B, Gorillaz, David Byrne, First Aid Kit, Fleet Foxes and Stormzy all perform between June 30 and July 7. Tickets for the week are around $500.
* Jack White? Tick. Pearl Jam? Double tick.Tame Impala, Kasabian, MGMT, QOTSA, Arctic Monkeys. Triple tick. The Mad Cool Festival may have a pretty corny name, but who cares, the lineup is amazing. Limited numbers of day tickets to Friday and Saturday are available for $153.
Grace Jones performing in Queenstown in March. She's coming to Exit.
- Sunday Star Times