This is the biggest music festival of all time

17 August 2020, 10:34

The biggest festival of all time:  Donauinselfest DIF 2015
The biggest festival of all time: Donauinselfest DIF 2015. Picture: Manfred Schmid/Getty Images

In the age of COVID-19, huge outdoor gigs with thousands of people seem like a dream, but here's a festival that had an audience of millions!

What, would you say, was the biggest music festival ever held?

Glastonbury before the wall went up? One of the massive free festivals in the 1960s, maybe? Something ridiculously large in South America perhaps?

The answer is none of the above.

There has been a music festival that bought in a crowd so enormous, it actually broke a Guinness World Record.

The festival in question was Austria's Donauinselfest - the Danube Island Festival - which was held in Vienna between 26 and 28 June 2015.

The three day event attracted an unbelievable crowd of 3.3 million people!

An aerial view of the the FM4 Planet stage at Donauinselfest DIF 2015 on June 27, 2015 in Vienna, Austria.
An aerial view of the the FM4 Planet stage at Donauinselfest DIF 2015 on June 27, 2015 in Vienna, Austria. Picture: Manfred Schmid/Getty Images

The festival is held on Donauinsel, which is a 13-mile island in the centre of Vienna in Austria. The festival site itself takes up 4 miles and is broken up into several areas that play host to over 2,000 artists. There are 13 stages and 17 themed areas.

While other events can boast a larger attendance, Donauinsel is the largest open air festival in one single location, as opposed to a collection of venues across a town or city.

And the most amazing thing is that Donauinsel is FREE. It's organised by Austria's Social Democratic Party, which is a bit like the LibDems putting on Glastonbury.

A aerial view of the main stage at Donauinselfest DIF 2015 on June 27, 2015 in Vienna, Austria.
A aerial view of the main stage at Donauinselfest DIF 2015 on June 27, 2015 in Vienna, Austria. Picture: Manfred Schmid/Getty Images

The event had notched up 3.2 million people in 2013, but went on to break the record two years later when, according to Guinness World Records, 1.1 million people attended on the Friday, 1.3 million on Saturday and 1 million on Sunday.

Imagine the queue for the toilets.

Natalie Imbruglia performs at the world's biggest open air festival, 27 June 2015. Yes, she did Torn.
Natalie Imbruglia performs at the world's biggest open air festival, 27 June 2015. Yes, she did Torn. Picture: Manfred Schmid/Getty Images

All the people were there to see the likes of Natalie Imbruglia, Anastacia, Taio Cruz and hundreds of DJs and other bands and artists.

One of the other main attractions is the Rock The Island contest, which sees unsigned artists compete for a slot on the prestigious main stage.

Just some of the crowd that turned up for Donauinselfest 2015
Just some of the crowd that turned up for Donauinselfest 2015. Picture: Manfred Schmid/Getty Images

Beacuse of the COVID-19 pandemic, Donauinselfest 2020 has been spread across 80 days, with a special open-top double-decker bus touring Vienna's parks to provide entertainment across the summer. There will be three big shows across the weekend of 18 to 20 September, but with a much reduced capacity. Maybe one day, Donauinselfest will break that world record again.