My only festival recommendation for 2013 is Sziget.
"This is what the party at the end of history looks like" GQ Magazine
Sziget Festival is a week long festival in Budapest. On an Island in the Danube. In the 30 degree sunshine. With showers. 24/7 HOT SHOWERS. And CLEAN toilets - with toilet paper.
Seriously...why would you go to a cold muddy festival in the UK where beer costs a fiver and the food even more when you can go on a holiday and a festival in a oner for a week and spend the same money!
Hungary doesn't have the Euro which means that a pint costs about £1.20 - the food is cheap and amazing. The people are incredible, and most of the aren't british. I think the British were 5th down the list of where the most visitors had come from. In my eyes this is a great thing - you meet people from all over Europe because when the festival describes itself as the European meeting point it really isn't joking.
Lots of Dutch, Croatians, Germans, Italians, French, Hungarians (of course) Irish, even Australians (they get everywhere!) and Americans. It's a multicultural heaven and everyone wants to be your friend.
I've been 4 times and have never seen any trouble. It's like a dream!
You find yourself walking slower, thinking slower, you just forget about your real life for a week and enjoy the sunshine, the music, the city (which is insanely easy to get to for outdoor swimming pools/spas and an AMAZING zoo) and the people.
I could go on and on. Now I've been to UK festivals before - The Isle of Wight Festival, V Festival, Glastonbury - they just don't compare.
I even met Michael Eavis last year at Sziget - see! In his year off he decided to come over and see what all the fuss was about - needless to say he loved it!
Sziget is "a fantastic festival, more colourful and probably a lot cleaner than Glastonbury." Michael Eavis
Much like Glastonbury Sziget is about way more than just music. With music from all over Europe, encompassing all genres, from Romany Gypsy folk, to a 24/7 Drum n Bass tent and all sorts of arts and crafts (yes crafts!) including the always incredible giant street theatre (which one year ended in a huge outdoor foam party).
You can easily walk around and see people covered in chocolate head to toe having just had a chocolate wrestle on a bouncy castle to then be hosed down by scantily clad women at the Lynx tent who take great pleasure in cleaning you off in front of a jealous crowd.
Its hot. It can get dusty, sometimes its rains - but in a good way. Like the best storms you've ever seen - and then it's hot again. And what do they do with the puddles? They fill them with sand. Often the main stage looks like a beach by the end of it - great to chill out in. (May or may not have fallen asleep while watching the Hives back in the day - hey it was day 4 - I was tired!)
I implore you to think about Sziget this year - tie it into a little bit of European travel - it's so easy to get to on the trains, and from the airport there are shuttle buses to the enormous supermarket down the road where you can buy your supplies.
I love it, I think I'm going to go every year for as long as I can - UK festivals aren't even an option for me anymore, it doesn't make sense to go to them when you can have the best week of your life for the same money and get a holiday at the same time.
This video does a much better job of explaining what its like than I ever could - check it out. I'm even in it! (3:26!)