Ten outdoor music festival installations and pavilions

This week sees the start of Glastonbury festival. As summer begins, we have rounded up 10 unique pavilions installed at outdoor music festivals.

Salvaged timber pavilions and colourful steel-framed towers are among the many bespoke projects created annually for popular music festivals.

Both entertaining and accommodating to festival goers around the world, these projects showcase the imagination, creativity and craftsmanship of many contemporary designers.

Read on for 10 installations with the most innovative designs and constructions.

Photo by Gurpreet Chawla

BitCube by Colin O’Donnell, Burning Man, USA, 2023

Designer Colin O’Donnell stacked 224 standard IBC water containers to create the BitCube structure at last year’s Burning Man festival.

Festival goers were able to climb the cube’s exterior, and even enter the cube through a doorway to one side.

At night, each cube acted as a single pixel in a colourful light display. Projections ranged from abstract shapes to minimalist representations of life.

Find out more about BitCube ›

Playground installation by Architensions for Coachella festival, USA, 2022
Photo by by Michael Vahrenwald/ESTO

Playground by Architensions, Coachella, USA, 2022

Architecture studio Architensions created four colourful steel-framed towers with polycarbonate cladding to form a playground that mimicked piazzas and arcades.

Named Playground, the installation had tower that ranged in height from 12 to 17 metres.

Architensions used dichroic film to create the Playground’s vibrant colours. The dichroic film modulates the light during the daytime, making the material appear digitally rendered.

Find out more about Playground ›

Chair installation by Esrawe + Cadena for FORMAT Festival, USA, 2023
Photo by Ismael Quintanilla III

Los Trompos by Esrawe + Cadena, FORMAT Festival, USA, 2023

Esrawe + Cadena, a collaboration between Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena, staged a series of woven spinning objects with platforms as playful seating.

Covered in colourful nylon straps, the Los Trompos (which translates as Spinning Tops) were first exhibited in Atlanta, before travelling around the USA and showcasing at the For Music + Art + Technology (FORMAT) Festival in Arkansas.

According to the designers, the installation was based on the spinning tops commonly used as kids’ toys.

Find out more about Los Trompos ›

Light installation by Dennis Parren for Lowlands festival, USA, 2015

Lift by Dennis Parren, Lowlands music festival, the Netherlands, 2015

For the Dutch festival, designer Dennis Parren created a light installation standing at a height of 18 metres which took around a week to complete.

Intended to function as a central meeting point during the festival’s three-day span, the Lift tower was built from a metal scaffolding framework and covered in evenly spaced steel cables and triangular fabric panels.

Housed at the centre of the structure was a computer-controlled platform with built-in LEDs that created shifting light and shadow effects when moving up and down the tower.

Find out more about Lift ›

Pavilion installation by Simon Carroll for Glastonbury festival, UK, 2023

Hayes Pavilion by Simon Carroll, Glastonbury, UK, 2023

Designed as both a gathering space and a conversation piece, Glastonbury 2023’s spiralling Hayes pavilion by festival set designer Simon Carroll was crafted from salvaged timber and mycelium – a biomaterial grown from the root structure of fungi.

The installation explored the use of mycelium as a viable, sustainable replacement for polystyrene in the building of elaborate festival sets.

Created for disassembly and reusability, the pavilion made from reclaimed materials also repurposes tents in its construction as roofing.

Find out more about Hayes Pavilion ›

Steel stage by Piovenefabi for Horst festival
Steel stage by Piovenefabi for Horst festival – SQUARE

The Ring by Piovenefabi, Horst Arts and Music festival, Belgium, 2024

Architecture studio Piovenefabi created The Ring stage from repurposed steel beams for this year’s Horst Arts and Music festival in Brussels.

Created as the festival’s main stage, the eight-metre-high decagonal structure comprised of yellow-painted steel beams sourced from a deconstructed on-site structure.

Find out more about The Ring ›

Sculpture installation by Güvenç Özel for Coachella festiva, USA, 2023
Photo by Lance Gerber

Holoflux by Güvenç Özel, Coachella, USA, 2023

Created by LA-based designer Güvenç Özel, Holoflux was a 18-metre-high architectural sculpture with a steel structure wrapped in iridescent fabric.

During the day, the large installation reflected sunlight while blowing slightly in the wind. At night, the fabric covering was used to exhibit digital art.

Integrating the physical and the digital, some of the projects shown through were generated from cameras that faced outwards from the projectors, modulating images of the surroundings.

Find out more about Holoflux ›

Seating installation by Office Kovacs for Coachella festival, USA, 2019
Photo by Lance Gerber

Colossal Cacti by Office Kovacs, Coachella, USA, 2019

Colourful, block-like structures modelled on the form of cacti filled the Californian desert site for the 2019 edition of Coachella.

Designed by Los Angeles studio Office Kovacs, the sculptural Colossal Cacti installation doubled as seating with multiple staggered platforms.

Angular arms extended overhead to provide shade from the sun, while road reflectors illuminated the structures at night in alignment patterns resembling the arrangement of cacti spikes.

Find out more about Colossal Cacti ›

Inflatable installation by Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange for Burning Man festival, USA, 2022
Photo by Jane Hu

SKUM Thundercloud by Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange, Burning Man, USA, 2022

SKUM Thundercloud was a unique installation made from an inflatable material similar to that used in the construction of hot air balloons.

The installation resembled a foam, cloud-like formation. Designed by Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange, partners at Danish architecture studio BIG, the installation was named after the Danish word for foam.

During the day, it provided shade against the sun for festival goers. Meanwhile at night, noise activation would signal illuminations evoking the appearance of “lightning strikes” inside the structure.

Find out more about SKUM Thundercloud ›

the orb bjarke ingles jakob lange burning man 2018 highlights dezeen sq a

The Orb by Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange, Burning Man, USA, 2018

Also created by BIG partners Ingels and Lange, The Orb was designed to reflect on the Burning Man festival in 2018.

The huge, inflatable sphere, which was created after a crowdfunding campaign, was anchored to the ground by a 32-metre inclined steel mast.

Find out more about The Orb ›

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