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The world's best music festivals

By Nick Thompson, for CNN
  • Milwaukee's Summerfest, the world's biggest festival, will feature Kanye West, Katy Perry and Britney Spears
  • Iron Maiden, Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon and M.I.A. will headline Denmark's Roskilde festival
  • The Cure will headline Bestival, which also features a fancy dress contest and an inflatable church

(CNN) -- Grab your tent and your sunglasses -- the summer music festival season is upon us once again.

Whether it's the world's biggest festival in Wisconsin or a rock fest at a Japanese ski resort, there will hardly be a weekend without a major music festival somewhere in the world from now until September.

Here are CNN's picks for the best upcoming music festivals of 2011:

BONNAROO, Tennessee, U.S.

June 9-12 ($250)

It is difficult to argue that the Bonnaroo festival has been anything but one of America's best festivals since 2001. Now in its tenth incarnation, Bonnaroo once again features some of music's biggest names -- from Eminem and Arcade Fire to The Black Keys and The Strokes. Known for its eclectic lineup, Bonnaroo -- slang for "the best on the streets" -- may well be the only festival, this year or any other, with a bill featuring rapper Lil Wayne and psychedelic jam band String Cheese Incident. Festival-goers can also take to Bonnaroo's 100-acre entertainment village, which includes a classic arcade, on-site movie theater and silent disco.

GLASTONBURY, Somerset, England

June 22-26 ($330)

Easily England's best-known festival, Glastonbury was first held on Michael Eavis's Somerset farm in 1970. Forty-one years later, the festival remains the destination of some of the world's biggest bands, including U2, Coldplay and Beyonce. Over 700 acts will entertain crowds of well over 100,000 at this year's festival, which will feature an acoustic tent and a Bourbon Street area showcasing a range of jazz musicians from around the world. Prepare to be amazed, but also prepare to get your hands dirty -- heavy raining has turned Glastonbury into a muddy free-for-all several times in recent years.

SUMMERFEST, Wisconsin, U.S.

June 29 - July 10

Declared "The World's Largest Music Festival" by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1999, Summerfest is an 11-day music festival that has taken place in Milwaukee for over 40 years. With over 700 bands playing on 11 stages -- and drawing anywhere from 800,000 to one million fans each year, according to the festival -- the festival has the star-studded lineup to match its colossal billing: Kanye West, Katy Perry, The Flaming Lips, George Clinton, Kid Rock and yes, even Britney Spears, will be on hand for this year's Summerfest.


June 30 - July 3 ($330)

The Roskilde Festival has grown in stature from its relatively modest beginnings in 1971 to northern Europe's biggest summer rock festival, with over 70,000 fans turning up to see headliners Alice in Chains and Prince celebrate Roskilde's 40th birthday last year. This year's lineup is no slouch -- everyone from Arctic Monkeys and Iron Maiden to Kings of Leon, M.I.A. and TV on the Radio will be at Roskilde, which boasts the daily Orange Press newspaper and a 24-hour radio station. Festival-goers can also compete in the "Camp of the Year" competition and the "Naked Run," the annual race in the buff for free tickets to next year's festival.

EXIT, Novi Sad, Serbia

July 7-10 ($150)

What started in 2000 as a protest against Slobodan Milosevic had grown into Europe's premier electronic festival by the end of the decade -- and in 2011, Exit festival has expanded its roster of rock bands to appeal to an ever-wider spectrum of music fans. Taking place in the picturesque confines of Petrovaradin Fortress near the Danube River, over 150,000 people will watch Arcade Fire, Pulp and Portishead before raving the night away to dance and electro groups from Underworld and Jamiroquai to Tiga and Magnetic Man.

PITCHFORK, Chicago, U.S.

July 15-17 ($135)

The youngest festival on our list, the Pitchfork festival will celebrate its sixth year with another showcase of some of the best groups independent music has to offer. Organized by the Pitchfork music magazine website, one of the most influential indie-rock tastemakers in the United States, the festival's relatively small lineup of roughly 45 groups operates in stark contrast to other stateside mega-festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo. This year's Pitchfork festival, which sold out in one day, features groups ranging from indie darlings Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes and TV on the Radio to controversial California rap group Odd Future.

FUJI ROCK, Naeba, Japan

July 29-31 ($500)

Those wishing for a truly different festival experience would do well to get to Fuji Rock, Japan's biggest outdoor festival. Music fans from across the world will gather at the Naeba ski resort, taking gondolas and trails through the forested mountains to see dozens of groups including Coldplay, Chemical Brothers and Wilco during the three-day festival. Named for Mount Fuji, where the first festival was held in 1997, Fuji Rock's combination of great music and stunning scenery make it a can't-miss for anyone who can afford a ticket.

BESTIVAL, Isle of Wight, England

September 8-11 ($280)

England's summer festival season ends on the Isle of Wight at the eighth annual Bestival. Voted the Best Major UK Festival in 2010 by, this year's Bestival headliners include The Cure, Primal Scream and Pendulum. Bands are only part of the equation at Bestival, which also boasts a Bollywood tent, the Big Love Inflatable Church, and a fancy dress competition -- this year's theme: "Rock Stars, Pop Stars, and Divas."

PARKLIFE, Australia

September 25 - October 4

Billing itself as "the sound of next summer," Parklife sets the tone for the upcoming southern-hemisphere summer music festival season with an eclectic mix of electronic, hip-hop and rock acts. This year, tens of thousands of music lovers will attend the series of five one-day festivals across Australia featuring established electronic acts including Sinden and the legendary Mix Master Mike, pop rock icons The Dandy Warhols, and hip-hop hall-of-famer Missy Elliot.

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