Marseille is the second-largest city in France and the largest city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. Found on the country's southeast coast close to the border with Italy, Marseille is on most peoples' lists of places to visit in France due to the many tourist-friendly things to do here. You can't visit this colorful port city without stopping in at the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde and the Palais Longchamp.
As one of the busiest ports in Europe, Marseille has a long maritime and commercial history which has helped to put it on the map. It's an important commercial center for many industries, including fishing, chemicals, petroleum, electronics, and pharmaceuticals.
Marseille has a population that is fast approaching one million, and with all these residents, you get an abundance of restaurants and bars, excellent public transportation, and a number of exciting annual festivals. From jazz to hip hop to electronic dance music to pop, there's a Marseille festival for everyone. Most of the festivals happen in the center of town or by the beach, and there are a few worthwhile events just outside Marseille in Vitrolles and Istres. This list will make sure that you don't miss out on a single one!
Before you head straight to your favorite festival, visit a Bounce luggage storage in Marseille. Drop off your bags with us because most (if not all) venues will deny you entry if you're carrying a bunch of suitcases. This will also help you navigate the city easier either on foot or using public transport. And, if you need tips on how to get around, just check out our Marseille transportation guide.
With four different stages in one of Marseille's most beautiful parks, Marsatac is just the right event to kick off the summer festival season. This year, the electronic music festival will be held from June 10 to 12, although it normally happens in early September. The main music you can expect to hear is, of course, dance music, but hip hop, rap, and other genres do feature as well. The lineup this year at Parc Borely is stacked with over 40 different performers spread over three days.
Marsatac is very popular, and many people will travel to attend. Get your tickets early and book your accommodation ahead of time to avoid any disappointment. Since the festival is such a well-regarded event, you might be surprised to learn that the tickets are quite affordable. A 3-day pass is only €90, and if you prefer to only go for one or two days, you can buy a single-day pass for €39. Also, to do a little good for the world while dancing all day to your favorite tunes, Marsatac will double any donations made when you buy a ticket.
The Freestyle Cup
Taking place between June 16 and 26, The Freestyle Cup is definitely one of the more unique festivals in Marseille. It combines urban sports and watersports competitions with trendy music and interesting street art. In one spot you can watch a BMX race, kiteboarding demonstrations, and some fabulous skateboarding. Music plays throughout the weekend, so even though this isn't technically a music festival in the truest sense, it still belongs on this list.
This year's Freestyle Cup takes place at Prado Beach, which is very close to Parc Borely and the stunning coastal views only add to the experience here. Another great element of Freestyle is that it's completely free. So, whether you're in town for another purpose or solely for music festivals, there's no excuse not to fit this one in.
The Marseille Festival
Dance, theatre, concerts, performances, and movies are all part of the Festival de Marseille, which runs for three weeks, from June 16th to July 9th. Eclectic is the best way to describe this festival's program with everything from belly dancing to dance workshops to some of the best international artists. Some of the headliners for 2022 include Dorothee Munyaneza, Into The Open, and Saharan. Tickets for individual events are as low as €10 apiece and the performances are spread out all over the city.
The message of this festival is a powerful one. It promotes peace, inclusivity, and education to make a difference using the arts. Workshops, poetry, dance, and music are all used to help get the message across in one way or another. This festival may be outside some people's comfort zone, but it's a great way to expose yourself to new art forms and experiences.
Held at the Esplanade J4, the Watts Summer Festival Marseille is the festival to attend if you're into electronic dance music. This year, it's on June 24 and 25 and has headliners like Afrojack, Florian Picasso, Citadelle, and Chico Rose, among many others. This is another of the most popular festivals in town, especially for EDM fans. Unlike Marsatac, the Summer Festival doesn't vary its performers very much from the electronic genre. So, don't go if this isn't your thing.
There are various tiers of tickets to Summer Fest that range from single-day passes for the dance floor for €42 to two-day passes at the Clubber Level for €150. The Clubber Level does include stage access, a nice lounge area, and a couple of free drinks. The in-between level is the premium one. It will set you back €100 for a two-day pass and offers access to an exclusive bar, free gift, and all the privileges of the dance floor level.
Delta Festival 2022: World Edition
2022 will be the seventh year of the iconic Delta Festival from June 29 to July 3. There are five stages and over 250 artists making this the largest music festival in Marseille and in the entire south of France. It takes place at Prado Beach and offers stunning Mediterranean views to go with your music. There are too many great performers to mention, but some highlights include Sean Paul, The Gypsy Kings, Cacti and Mammoth, and DirtyPhonics. And, new artists are constantly being announced.
Time is ticking when it comes to buying your tickets to the Delta Festival, and such amazing live music doesn't exactly come cheap. If you don't want to miss a thing, the early bird five-day pass is €256 and doubles if you want VIP tickets. If you leave it too late, you can add at least €20 to the cost of each five-day option. Since five days can be a little much for some, Delta provides various multi-day ticket packages down to a single day pass for €54 for regular and €100 for VIP. Obviously, the multi-day passes offer the best bang for your buck, but if you can't afford that, just pick the day that has the majority of your favorites and go with that.
Les Nuits d'Istre
Less than an hour outside Marseille in Istre at the Pavillion de Grignan, Les Nuits d'Istre runs from July 4 to 10. It's another eclectic mix of unique artists and tribute bands. The festival kicks off with the Avishai Cohen Trio, then the Earth Wind & Fire Experience featuring Al McKay. You can also see The Australian Pink Floyd Show, Sofiane Pamart, and Louane. Although it's a little outside Marseille, if any of these artists appeal to you, it could be worth the trip.
You purchase tickets to the individual events that interest you, and the prices range from €22 to €45, depending on the show. The trip to Istres can also be combined with some of the sights there, like the sandy beaches, picturesque parks, and the contemporary art gallery.
Marseille Jazz from 5 Continents
No guide on music festivals is complete without an entry for all the jazz lovers. As with most large European cities, Marseille has its own jazz festival that will rival any of the best. It takes place from the 7th to the 23rd of July and offers access to some of the most interesting venues of any music fest. You can see concerts in the outdoor Silvanus Theater, Saint-Victor Abbey, and the gardens of the Palais Longchamp. Honestly, even if you're not super excited about jazz, these amazing venues might change your mind.
Diana Krall ends the performances with a show in the gardens of the Palais Longchamp, and Herbie Hancock also performs here. There are too many great talents to mention, but you can expect lots of fabulous voices, saxophone solos, and tons of enthusiasm.
Tickets for Marseille Jazz vary and can be purchased for individual artists. Hopefully, your artist of choice is playing at one of the unique venues. The prices are quite reasonable, and as an example, a regular ticket to see Diana Krall will only set you back €35.
Sound Garden Festival 2022
we round out our list of Marseille music events with another one that's technically outside the city. Sound Garden 2022 is in nearby Vitrolles, just a 30-minute drive away. This year, the performances are scheduled between July 20 and 23. The most expensive day of this festival is the last one and tickets will set you back €50, but the program is worth it. Toto and Jeff Beck are the headliners. On other days, you can expect tickets for a little cheaper at about €40. All events are at the Domaine de Fontblanche, and other than Toto and Jeff Beck, there are many French artists performing here to give the festival more of a local feel.
Are you planning to stay some more days in Marseille?
It almost seems wrong to come to Marseille and not stay any longer than your favorite music festival. Consider adding a few days to your trip and our guide on how to spend 3 days in Marseille can help with all the planning. Marseille has an abundance of history, an incredibly scenic location, and great food. What more do you need to convince you to stay?
If you do need a little more prodding, some of the places we've mentioned in this guide as venues are also worthy of a visit in and of themselves. The Palais Longchamp is a great example. The palace is gorgeous, and the fountain out front celebrates the construction of the Canal de Marseille, which brought water to the city back in the 1800s. It's also the sight of some of the best museums in Marseille - the Marseille Museum of Fine Arts and the Natural History Museum.
Marseille is a city that's a little gritty and run down in some areas, but the overall charm and great beaches certainly pretty it up. The shopping is world-class, and you can get food from all around the world here, especially Turkish, Italian, and Moroccan. The street food in Marseille is everywhere and is always a tasty experience. If you like to dine on local cuisine, don't worry; you can always get amazing French food like in other cities in France. The city is also famous as the creator of the bouillabaisse, and fragrant fish soup that you can't leave without trying.
If you still want to stick to a music festival-only trip, that's totally up to you. But just know that Marseille is famous for a lot more than that, and who knows if you'll ever be back?