Ten years ago I thought that being 30 was being old. I also thought that by the time I was 30 I’d have children, a mortgage and my own vintage tea room. I also thought that by 30 I’d have no interest in things like festivals and all-night parties. Ten years later at the grand young age of 31, I am (happily) child, mortgage and tea room free and somewhat worryingly I haven’t shaken off my lust for festivals and all-night parties, though the latter has started to take its toll.

fesival rock am ring crowd

However, when it comes to festivals there are two things I don’t even want to think about; mud and camping. This girl likes a proper bed, a warm shower and the option to wear open-toe footwear. This is why I’ve created a wish list of mud and tent free festivals that my 31 year old self would love to go on…

EXIT, Novi Sad, Serbia


Who says you can’t mix culture and history with banging beats and pumping basslines? Nobody in Serbia, is the answer, as this country is host to one of the most varied music festivals set in a castle. Yes, an actual castle. Next week will see the likes of Bloc Party, Chic, Alice Russell, The Prodigy and David Guetta perform in Petrovaradin Fortress across more than 11 stafes. The fortress, which dates back to the 18th century, is in a dreamily picturesque setting overlooking Novi Sad on the River Danube. Admittedly you’ll find most festival goers camping for the occasion but a little organisation will mean you can stay in nearby hotels and guest houses for a very reasonable rate. While we’re all too late this year, EXIT festival is top of my list of reasons to spend next summer in south east Europe, if ever there was one.

POP Montreal, Canada


POP Montreal is not only a mud and tent free festival, but it’s also a not-for-profit event that aims to support emerging local and international artists. With five days of gigs and concerts – including full days and nights of free live music across Montreal – the festival catches the surprisingly warm end of summer in Canada. I was there last year for POP Montreal welcomed Grimes, Ben Howard and St Vincent and this year, I’ll be sad to miss out on Local Natives and Shuggie Otis.

North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam, Netherlands


The North Sea Jazz Festival continues to grow each year and despite the usual image attached to jazz music – think that Fast Show “Jazz Club” sketch, niiiice – it is an incredibly vibrant and young festival. This year The Roots, Anthony Hamilton, Gary Clark Jr and the legends that are Sting and Santana are going to be doing their thing in Rotterdam before a host of DJs and upcoming artists take Rotterdamers and music enthusiasts into the early hours as they dance on the mud free floors of bars and clubs. Thanks to my parents and grandparents – all fans of jazz music – I’ve long wanted to go to North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam. And this year it is finally happening! Stand by for my report for Travelettes soon and follow along on my Instagram feed.

Snowbombing, Mayrhofen, Austria


Completely mud-free unless you go way off piste, Snowbombing is to festivals what Game of Thrones is to historical-fantasy-fiction; it is not one to missed. Its combination of snow sports and all night music – Kasabian, Example and Rudimental headlined last year – is a lethal one for those who want to get the most out of their ski pass. Having survived three Snowbombings in a row I can say they are absolutely worth the aching legs and liver damage. Believe it or not, it’s also where I met my boyfriend of three years so don’t dismiss it as an opportunity for romance although you’ll have to look past the crazy fancy dress and panda-eyes goggle tans that everyone wears.

Vintage Glasgow, Scotland


So we’ve covered music, fortresses and snow, so let’s go back in time to a festival that is as civilised as they get, in a classic, timeless kinda way. Vintage Festival – this year in Glasgow – is the brainchild of Wayne “Red or Dead” Hemingway and celebrates peoples’ passions for British music, film, cars, design and fashion from times gone by. Curl your hair, rouge your cheeks and pile on as many petticoats as you can find, this is the festival for those who prefer jiving over head-banging. And maybe it’s where I’ll source inspiration for my vintage tea room… Better late than never.

(Photo credits:  Festival crowd by Katja Hentschel, EXIT – Source, Q-Tip at North Sea Jazz Festival – Source, Arcade Fire at POP Montreal – Source, Vintage Legs! – Source.)


This post was written by Frankie Thompson who was a Travelette from 2012 – 2015. Originally from London, UK, Frankie was nomadic for several years before settling in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where she lives with her Australian partner and baby boy. She spends her time buying vintage dresses, riding a rusty old bike around the canals and writing books inspired by her travels. Frankie blogs about travel, writing and motherhood at As the Bird flies blog.