October 30 – November 1
Theatro Circo Club
Portugal’s Semibreve festival offers a simple and alluring proposition: three days of avant-garde electronic music at Theatro Circo, an early 20th century theater in the city of Braga. Since it started in 2010, this lovingly curated boutique event has played host to some of the most adventurous artists working in electronic music, and this year will be no different. Acts announced so far for the 2015 edition include contemporary artists like Vessel, Heatsick and Oren Ambarchi, as well as Gerald Donald’s influential Drexciya spin-off, Dopplereffekt.
09. Treasure Island Music Festival
October 17 – October 18
San Francisco, USA
In this day and age, there are only so many ways to make your festival stand out. Presenting it on a man-made island near San Francisco, a short dinghy ride from Alcatraz, is one way. Instituting a “no overlap” policy, so that all attendees can see everyone on the bill, is another. Then, of course, there’s the lineup, which tends to be more interesting when it attempts to somehow capture the zeitgeist rather than hewing to a particular genre. Treasure Island does all of these things. As usual, the bill for this year is short, sweet and impressively dynamic, jumping between such varied acts as Deerhunter, Cashmere Cat, Hudson Mohawke and The War On Drugs.
08. Elevate Festival
October 22 – October 26
Dom Im Berg
There aren’t many festivals in our orbit that would count an acclaimed environmentalist amongst its headliners, but Elevate is that kind of festival. Held in the Austrian city of Graz, this event truly makes good on its name each year: it’s an electronic music festival striving to fulfill a higher purpose. The environmentalist in question, Vandana Shiva, will be joined by a handful of fellow scholars from Europe and the Americas leading lectures, workshops, screenings and exhibitions. And then there’s the music, which is no less illuminative, especially for fans of more experimental sounds. At this year’s edition, Low Jack, Demdike Stare, Heatsick, Suzanne Kraft and Prostitutes should all keep your brain ticking long into the night.
07. Movement Torino
Movement Torino occupies a special place in the hearts of electronic music fans in Northern Italy. During the late ’00s, it was the region’s most visible dance music festival, giving residents a rare chance to catch world-class house and techno lineups in an interesting location every year. The next 12-hour session will be its tenth showing, and the bill is as heavy as ever. Headed up by Derrick May and Robert Hood, the Detroit contingent is a bit smaller than usual, but made up for by a Chicago quartet of Derrick Carter, DJ Sneak, Lil Louis and Tevo Howard. A cast of European heavyweights includes Dixon, Âme, Chris Liebing and Marcel Fengler.
06. Simple Things
October 23 – October 25
Simple Things is now established as a pillar of Bristol’s musical calendar. With each passing year the festival outdoes itself with yet another selection of vital artists. Scan the 2015 lineup and it’s hard to find a name that isn’t striking: Skepta, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Factory Floor, Holly Herndon, HEALTH, Savages, Jam City and Dean Blunt are just a few of the live acts locked in. The selection of DJs, meanwhile, is no less killer, thanks to the likes of Ron Trent, Helena Hauff, Objekt and Hunee.
05. Great American Techno Festival
October 8 – October 11
John Templeton, the Denver promoter behind Great American Techno Festival, once described his work as “fighting the battle.” Indeed, booking heady techno acts in Colorado can’t be easy—from curfews to lack of venues to moderate-at-best local interest, it can seem downright quixotic. But sometimes the best approach is to throw caution to the wind and simply throw the party you yourself would attend. That’s what GATF has done every year since it started, and that’s what it will do for its final festival in October. The lineup they’ve amassed for their farewell edition is their finest yet, with Function, Patrick Russell, DJ Skurge, Headless Horseman and Carlos Souffront among the artists seeing them off.
October 21 – October 25
Mexico City, Mexico
For a few days every October, Mexico City becomes the best place to hear electronic music in Latin America. That’s thanks to MUTEK.MX. Just like its big brother in Montréal, the five-day event champions innovation over functionality—Lee Gamble, Koreless and Takami Nakamoto will all present audiovisual shows at this year’s edition. The rest of the bill is an intriguing mix of international stars (DJ Koze, Tale Of Us, Ben UFO), outsider acts (Lotic, Lee Bannon) and local favourites like White Visitation. Combine all of this with the exhilarating hustle and bustle of the gargantuan metropolis, and you’re left with a truly electrifying event.
03. roBOt Festival
October 7 – October 10
Few places are better suited to big music events than Bologna, the Italian city that roBOt Festival calls home. Its rich history, striking architecture and wonderful food are all huge pluses, but the real winner is its cozy size, which makes moving between clubs and venues more of a pleasure than a chore. Oh, and then there’s the festival’s two main venues—the club-ready Bologna Fiere and the 1,000-year-old Palazzo Re Enzo—which this year will play host to a glowing cast of techno, house and experimental acts from across the globe. Ben UFO, Levon Vincent and John Talabot have all signed up, as have Lena Willikens, Holly Herndon, Powell and Trentemøller.
October 11 – October 18
The theme for Unsound 2015 is “surprise.” Though a solid portion of the lineup has now been revealed—Holly Herndon, Laraaji, Shackleton, Surgeon & Starlight and Charles Cohen among others—large parts of the programme will remain secret right up until the performer walks onstage. “Unexpected pleasures are the best kind,” organisers of the Kraków festival say. This should be music to the ears of anyone exhausted by our era’s information overload. The surprises won’t be restricted to the lineup either, with gigs set to go down in strange, unexpected locations. Our advice? Go with the flow.
01. Amsterdam Dance Event
October 14 – October 18
Is anyone not playing Amsterdam Dance Event this year? Probably. But as you’re strolling the broad canals and winding streets of the Dutch capital this autumn, it might not feel that way. From Ibiza favorites (Solomun, Apollonia) to masters of grit (I-F, Ron Morelli) to techno royalty (Robert Hood) to the Romanians (Raresh, Petre Inspirescu) to well, the Guettas and Hardwells of the world, the gang’s all here. If there’s a more complete week of music anywhere in the world, we haven’t heard of it. So grab your DJ bucket list, secure a rental bike and prepare for the sort of gloriously sleep-deprived marathon only ADE can deliver.