There’s more to Alpine holidaying than the classic chalet scene. It’s been 14 years since Snowbombing – the very first Alpine music festival – hit the slopes, and 2014’s events calendar is fit to bursting with everything from DJ-led parties and high-intensity sporting events to mountain-side comedy performances and classic rock gigs.
If you’re the kind of festivalgoer who feels at home in the Alps – not the tent-pitching, muddy-boot-wearing sort who frequents Glastonbury, but one with a taste for deluxe lodges and Michelin-starred dining – plan your next trip to coincide with these six Alpine festivals. Whether you’re seeking debauchery or relaxation, they’ll raise the stakes on traditional après-ski.
Occupying the various slopes and resorts of Portes du Soleil is the five-day music and ski festival Rock the Pistes, one of the youngest on the Alpine scene. Returning for its fourth edition this year, the event will take place across two stages for the first time, with a line-up of high-profile acts like Babyshambles, Klaxons, and Ben l’Oncle Soul set to perform.
Portes du Soleil, 26th-30th March 2014, Tel: +33 (0)4 50 73 32 54, www.rockthepistes.com
Not to be confused with the UK’s annual pop music awards, the BRITS, hosted in Tignes, France, claims to be the original weeklong winter festival. Combining high-intensity sporting events (like the British Halfpipe and Slopestyle Championships) with live acts and DJs, the festival attracts its fair amount of debauchery – and did we mention the legendary after parties? This year’s musical line-up will include acts like Tek One, Starsky, and Sunset Sons.
Tignes, France, 30th March-5th April 2014, Tel: +44 (0)208 780 8937, www.the-brits.com
Altitude, billed as ‘the funniest show on snow,’ attracts huge crowds for a full week of performances. Some of the biggest names in comedy are featured in this year’s line up, with John Bishop, Al Murray and Nina Conti set to headline. Though relaxation is on offer – nearby spas let guests soak or steam prior to taking in comedy sets – there are also still ample opportunities for partying. From Mayrhofen you can expect first class bars, luxury dining and accommodation, and some of the best powder in Europe.
Mayrhofen, Austria, 31st March-4th April 2014, Tel: +44 20 7604 2944, www.altitudefestival.com
The original, the best, Snowbombing was founded all the way back in 1999. 15 years later, the festival has grown so popular that it now takes over the town of Mayrhofen, Austria, to deliver top-notch bands, hot runs, and unmissable nightlife. This year’s line-up includes The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, and Rudimental, the latter of which is set to perform in the Superdry Arctic Disco (a specially built igloo located on a plateau far above the town).
Mayrhofen, Austria, 7th-12th April 2014,Tel: +44 (0)844 3264 264, www.snowbombing.com
The clue is in the name with Zermatt Unplugged: an Alpine music festival whose focus is on acoustic instruments and authentic sounds. The range of artists is often eclectic, with past performers ranging from Billy Idol and Lionel Richie to Mando Diao, with this year’s line-up including popular acts like Jamie Cullum and Band of Horses. As the only festival of its kind in Europe, Zermatt just keeps getting bigger, so grab tickets while you can.
Zermatt, Switzerland, 8th-12th April 2014, Tel: +41 (0) 27 967 69 33, www.zermatt-unplugged.ch
Ever since the first concert was presented by Roger Moore in 2004, Caprices has been dubbed the Cannes of the Alpine festival circuit (despite a distinct lack of film screenings). Although that moniker suggests refinement, plan to party: a number of top DJs and acts will kick things into gear. Caprices promises to be bigger and bolder this year than ever before, with acts like Angel Cielo, The Strypes, and Ziggy Marley set to perform. It’s now also nine days long, and while that might sound like a marathon, trust that nothing in life is strenuous at the upmarket ski resort of Crans-Montana.
Crans-Montana, Switzerland, 11th-19th April 2014, Tel: +41 (0)21 620 04 10, www.caprices.ch
Words by David Wheeler
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