Best music festivals above the clouds

1st December 2019 | Emma Taylor

Resorts in this article: Vail, Avoriaz, Morzine, Alpe d'Huez, Les 2 Alpes, Courmayeur, Mayrhofen

Tomorrowland Winter in Alpe d'Huez

Tomorrowland Winter in Alpe d'Huez

Copyright: Tomorrowland Winter/Alpe d'Huez

Forget tiny tents and stuck-in-the-mud wellies, the best music festivals for 2019/20 are on snow! Ranging from igloo parties, world-class music sets and huge comedy acts, to doing downward-facing dog above the clouds. Even for beginners, rocking up to a ski and snowboard music festival is the perfect opportunity to dip a boot into the powder of winter sports; because if you don’t like it, there’ll be plenty of off-piste activities to keep you busy.


The party on the pistes kicks off with RISE, a boutique music festival on snow in Les 2 Alps, France, Dec. 14-21, 2019. If the 220km of slopes, an award-winning snow park and one of the continent’s most beginner-friendly resorts isn’t having you reach for the credit card, then maybe the blood-pumping catalogue of activities and entertainment will. With a headlining DJ set from Chase and Status, live music après, adventure sports, glacier yoga (blast away those Jägerbombs) and an orchestral rendition of Destiny’s Child and ‘Christmas Hits’ at the closing party.

RISE festival in Les 2 Alpes  - © RISE/Les 2 Alpes

RISE festival in Les 2 Alpes

Copyright: RISE/Les 2 Alpes

Tomorrowland Winter

EDM summer festival favourite Tomorrowland moves from Belgium to the mountains of Alpe d'Huez, France, in the colder months for Tomorrowland Winter. The week-long music festival runs March 14-21, 2020 and attracts roughly 25,000 like-minded people. With a stonking 52 acts confirmed (not including surprise guests and performances), bizarrely-beautiful fantasyland theatrics, lasers and pyrotechnics that the Tomorrowland team are known for.

Tomorrowland Winter in Alpe d'Huez  - © Tomorrowland Winter/Alpe d'Huez

Tomorrowland Winter in Alpe d'Huez

Copyright: Tomorrowland Winter/Alpe d'Huez

Rock the Pistes

If you’ve booked a trip to the area of Portes du Soleil (Morzine/Avoriaz) between March 15-20th, 2020, then give yourself a pat on the back. Rock the Pistes puts on five music concerts a day over the entire ski area during this whirlwind week-long extravaganza, and that’s before you’ve wobbled down to the dozens of après parties dotted around the resort towns. For the price of a lift-pass, this festival puts on broad buffet of musical acts from all over Europe with the magical backdrop of the French-Swiss mountains. Headlining acts include The Kooks, Skip the Use and Deluxe.

Rock the Pistes in the Portes du Soleil  - © Rock the Pistes/Avoriaz

Rock the Pistes in the Portes du Soleil

Copyright: Rock the Pistes/Avoriaz


Still in Les Portes du Soleil region, the French town of Avoriaz will host Snowboxx for the third year running from March 21-28, 2020. Work through a whirlwind list of DJ sets, headlining stage acts, bottomless brunch, fancy dress day, snowball fights, inflatable sleds, igloo parties and pop-up comedy gigs. The Snowboxx music festival schedule is packed with enough fun to entice the most hungover raver out of bed. Headlining acts include Andcy C, Annie Mac and DJ Ez. 

Snowboxx in Avoriaz  - © Snowboxx/Avoriaz

Snowboxx in Avoriaz

Copyright: Snowboxx/Avoriaz


Now we’re back to Mayrhofen for Snowbombing, one of the longest partying grandads of winter festivals celebrated its 20th birthday in 2019. The stein-sized fun starts before Snowbombing even leaves the UK, with a party road trip across the Alps which concludes with a processional street party through the centre of town. Taking over the whole of the ‘hof April 13-18, 2020, festival venues range from a secret forest, to the subterranean Raket Club, mountain stages, the illustrious Fun Haus, igloos and a butcher’s shop (yep, a butcher’s shop). This year's line-up includes Liam Gallagher, The Streets, Foals and Rudimental, with many more. Top tip: if you’re looking for the one or just the one for a night, let the Snowbombing matchmakers’ set you up on a different type of romantic rendezvous with chairlift speed-dating.

Snowbombing in Mayrhofen  - © TVB Mayrhofen

Snowbombing in Mayrhofen

Copyright: TVB Mayrhofen

The last three are not strictly billed as music festivals, but they do all feature live music and much more besides . . . 

Altitude Comedy Festival

Hailed as the world’s number one alpine comedy festival, Altitude returns to Mayrhofen, Austria, from March 30 to April 3, 2020. Co-founded by lederhosen-lover and comedian Andrew Maxwell, Altitude has attracted some of the biggest comics in showbiz. The line-up is still being announced but with confirmed acts this year counting Marcus Brigstocke, Zoe Lyons and 2019’s smash hit Emmanuel Sonubi on the bill; expect an avalanche of laughs (ba-dum-tss!) and live music too.

Andrew Maxwell at Altitude Comedy Festival, Mayrhofen  - © Altitude Comedy Festival

Andrew Maxwell at Altitude Comedy Festival, Mayrhofen

Copyright: Altitude Comedy Festival

Spring Back Festival

Crossing the pond to Vail, Colorado, celebrate the end of the season with a not-so-typical American spring break. Saddle up for free concerts in-town and the on-mountain during Vail’s Spring Back festival from April 10-19, 20202. The usual after-dark apres antics apply with parties and a lively festival village to explore. But the highlight? As is the spring tradition, the World Pond Skimming Championship takes place which sees participants ski or board off a jump and skim a pool of watery slush clinging to a hope of making it to the other side in style.

Spring Back to VailTuaca Pond Skimming  - © Thomas H Green

Spring Back to VailTuaca Pond Skimming

Copyright: Thomas H Green

Momentum Ski Festival

Now in its 21st year, the European financial community come together in Courmayeur, Italy, for the Momentum Ski Festival which incorporates the City Ski Championships and the Financial Times Alpine Forum. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s just Paxman-types in matching black jackets shaking hands and closing deals (admittedly there probably is a little bit of that). Under the majestic gaze of Mont Blanc, the Momentum Ski Festival is being held from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2, 2020 with a high-brow mix of downhill racing, music and comedy. 

City Ski Championships in Courmayeur  - © Momentum Ski/Courmayeur

City Ski Championships in Courmayeur

Copyright: Momentum Ski/Courmayeur


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