Music festivals are a staple of the summer season, drawing in thousands of music lovers from all over the world to enjoy a diverse lineup of artists and genres. They provide a euphoric atmosphere like no other, as thousands unite to share their passion for music and having a good time. So if you enjoy being part of the crowd, take a look at our countdown of the 10 biggest music festivals in the world, ranked by attendance, to see where most people head to. From Summerfest to Rock in Rio, discover the world’s biggest music festivals and start signing up for tickets!

10. Electric Daisy Carnival

Electric Daisy Carnival, commonly known as EDC, is an annual music festival that takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. It is held over the course of three days in May and attracts around 410,000 visitors. It’s one of the biggest electronic dance music festivals in the world, featuring artists from a wide range of genres, such as techno, house, drum and bass, and trance. Past headliners include Tiësto, Armin van Buuren and Calvin Harris. It also showcases a variety of art installations, costumed performers, and carnival rides. In addition to the music, the festival also includes an array of food, drinks and other activities to keep visitors entertained and engaged.

9. New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Taking place in the Jazz capital of the world, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival welcomed over 450,000 visitors in 2022. It takes place annually over the course of two weekends in April, delivering some of the best names in jazz, blues, gospel, R&B, and Cajun music. Jazz Fest is a celebration of New Orleans’ rich musical heritage and has a diverse line-up of performers, both local and international. Past headliners at Jazz Fest include Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith, and Santana, explaining why it’s one of the biggest music festivals in the world.

It also features a variety of art installations, cultural exhibits, and food vendors and a special area dedicated to children where they can enjoy music, games, and other activities. It is a great opportunity for visitors to experience the rich culture and music of New Orleans, and to appreciate the city’s unique heritage.

8. Essence Music Festival

Another of the world’s biggest music festivals takes place in New Orleans; The Essence Music Festival is an annual celebrating the African American culture and music. The festival is known for its diverse lineup of performers, including R&B, hip-hop, and gospel artists. It’s been held annually since 1995 and in 2022, welcomed half a million visitors. Over the years, headliners have included Mary J. Blige, Diana Ross, and John Legend, which explains why it draws such a huge crowd. Essence Music Festival not has great music, a variety of activities such as seminars, panel discussions and vendors selling food, and clothing. Overall, it’s a family-friendly event that offers a variety of activities for people of all ages.

7. Sziget Festival

Sziget festival
Source: Sziget Festival

Sziget Festival is not only one of the biggest music festivals in the world, it’s also one of the best in Europe. It’s a music and cultural festival held on an island in the Danube river in Budapest, Hungary. It first took place in 1993, but has grown to attract hoards, as 570,000 visitors have visited in recent years.

Sziget has a wide-ranging lineup, as well as a variety of cultural activities such as theatre, dance, and art performances. There’s also a cinema, a circus, and a beach party. The festival has attracted huge acts like Ed Sheeran, Arctic Monkeys, and Kendrick Lamar, and is likely to keep doing so. It’s unique location provides festival-goers with an unforgettable and immersive experience that will continue to draw people for years to come. The festival is also famous for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere, making it a popular destination for music lovers from all over the world.

6. Rock in Rio

Maybe one of the best locations for one of the biggest music festivals in the world? Rock in Rio takes place every year in September in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It attracts 700,000 visitors to the carnival city, who enjoy the eclectic range of rock, pop, and electronic dance music. The week-long festivities feature art installations, exhibits, great food, massive stage setups, elaborate lighting, and impressive pyrotechnic displays. Past headliners at Rock in Rio include some of the biggest names in the music industry such as Queen, U2, and Iron Maiden. The festival also has a strong focus on sustainability, with a focus on recycling, reducing waste and promoting environmental awareness. As one of the biggest festivals in the world, Rock in Rio branched out to European sites, such as Lisbon and Madrid.

5. Summerfest

Hosted in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Summerfest is one of the biggest music festivals in the United States and the world, with around 720,000 people attending each year. The festival has featured headliners such as the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Bruno Mars, and Lady Gaga, and features a wide range of genres including rock, pop, and hip-hop. It describes itself as the world’s largest festival, which is mainly due to its impressive 800 acts and over 1000 performances to keep festival-goers entertained. Although it hosts the biggest acts in the world each year, you’ll also get a chance to enjoy emerging artists too. At Summerfest, there’s interactive activities, art installations and much more to keep you going across the three summer weekends it takes place.

4. The Pol’and’Rock Festival

Also known as the Przystanek Woodstock,  The Pol’and’Rock Festival is a huge music and cultural festival in Kostrzyn-on-Oder, Poland. Over 750,000 – three quarters of a million – people visited in recent years, making it one of the biggest music festivals in Europe and the world! Oh and it’s also one of the biggest free festivals in Europe! It was formerly known as the Woodstock Festival Poland due to being inspired by the original, iconic Woodstock Festival. As noted in the name, Pol’and’Rock Festival is generally a celebration of rock, with artists such as Skindred, Prodigy, Kaiser Chiefs and more taking the stage. However, it’s also a great choice of festival if you love metal, or folk too.

3. Festival International de Jazz de Montreal

In June, the renowned Festival International de Jazz de Montreal attracts a huge 2 million visitors to the Canadian city. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it’s the biggest Jazz festival in the world. Although with so many people attending, it’s also the third biggest festival in the world of any genre. The festival is an non-profit organisation that seeks to boost emerging Jazz acts as well as leading artists – local and international – in the genre. Past headliners at Montreal Jazz Festival include Diana Krall, Herbie Hancock, and Chick Corea. In addition to jazz music, the festival also features other genres such as blues, world music and R&B. There’s also a variety of free outdoor concerts, making it more accessible to the crowd. It’s a great atmosphere, especially if you love Jazz in the summer, and definitely worth travelling to Canada for!

2. Mawazine

It’s often less discussed than other popular festivals, but the Morrocan music festival is actually the second-biggest in the world! Over 2.8 million visitors flock to Rabat to witness huge international acts play at Mawazine. Translated as ‘rhythms of the world’, the festival is aptly named symbolise the welcoming nature of Morocco and music – as explained in a guide to Mawazine. It’s hard to believe, but many of the shows are free, and they’ve featured the likes of Maroon 5, Rihanna, Beyoncé and other top stars.

The festival usually takes place in May or June, just before the peak of summer where Morocco gets quite hot! If you’re planning to go to Mawazine, it’s worth booking travel and accommodation way in advance – after all you’re competing with millions!

1. Donauinselfest

Our countdown of the biggest music festivals in the world has come to an end with Donauinselfest coming in first place! It’s officially the world’s biggest, with a huge 3 million visitors heading to Danube River in Vienna, Austria each year. Donauinselfest is also one of the largest open-air music festivals in Europe, creating a great atmosphere with huge crowds! Although it’s not your typical beach festival abroad, it’s an epic celebration of music against a beautiful backdrop.

Donauinselfest is free and takes place across three days. DJs and other world-class performers take to the 12 open-air stages, such as Billy Idol, Amy Macdonald, and more. The lineups are always wide-ranging, cover genres such as techno, pop, rock, electronic, funk and everything else! It’s truly the place to be if you love music!

From Moroccan cities to Austrian islands, this list covered the biggest music festivals in the world, ranked by attendance. If flying to New Orleans or Canada might be a bit too expensive, why not check out the best European festivals for 2023.