Got the blues because Glasto isn’t running this year? Crushed that you’re not going to Creamfields? This summer, forget about paying hundreds of pounds for a weekend ticket to a music festival and check out some of the UK’s top free festivals. You’ll be surprised at how many big-name acts perform at smaller, local festivals. Take a look at some of our favourite most popular free festivals to head to this summer!
31st August – 2nd September
Free by name, free by nature, the Freedom Festival in Hull is one of the most diverse free UK festivals out there. Expect top notch music, amazing dance displays, street theatre, performance art and other entertainment from around the world. The multicultural Freedom Festivals celebrates inclusiveness with past artists including pop sensations Florence & the Machine, JLS, Alesha Dixon and The Saturdays, as well as incredible local talent such as Punjabi Akhara and Zagros Band.
16th – 17th June
Love musicals? West End Live in Trafalgar Square is a must-see! The free two-day musical theatre festival showcases songs from West End’s most beloved musicals. Previous performances include snippets from Les Mis, The Lion King, Wicked, Dreamgirls, The Phantom of the Opera and many more.
31st May – 30th June
Billed as the ‘Scottish Mardi Gras’, Glasgow’s West End Festival is not to be confused with London’s West End. It’s the second biggest carnival in the UK…and for a good reason! West End Festival is a paradise of music, comedy, outdoor theatre, children’s events, talks and street performances, as well as the main parade, street party and markets. The entire festival itself is a month long, but one of the biggest events is The Big Sunday on the 17th June, which is packed full of live music performances, food, drink, funfair rides and even a skateboard competition.
28th – 29th July
Sure, you could go to Brighton Pride…but unfortunately, tickets for most days are sold out now. But luckily Liverpool Pride is completely free of charge and it’s set to be an action-packed weekend! Starting in 2010, it’s one of the newer pride events but it’s one of the most popular in the UK. Previous headline acts include Katy B and Atomic Kitten, with this year’s acts soon to be announced. Liverpool Pride boasts three stages, a VIP section, a chillout area, a pride march through the city centre (of course!) and a community exhibition celebrating local businesses.
31st August – 2nd September
Named the UK City of Culture 2021, Coventry really is the place to be if you want to check out fresh, new up and coming artists. The three-day festival is in its 20th year and has attracted some of the biggest acts in the UK such as Newton Faulkner, Scouting for Girls, Happy Mondays, Lightning Seeds, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Darkness, The Human League, Biffy Clyro and much much more. Godiva Festival is usually made up of two sections: the main stage and a family area – making it the perfect weekend escape for everyone!
1st – 2nd September
Who says festivals just have to be about the music? Kent is renowned for brewing some of the UK’s top beers and ales (way before craft ale was a glint in our eyes), so what better place to celebrate beer and music than in Faversham, a great little market town in the heart of the Kent countryside? As one of the UK’s biggest beer festivals, it’s home to plenty of rock bands, swing and jive groups, blues quartets and soul singers, not to mention street entertainment and delicious food.
11th – 17th June
London may be one of the most expensive cities to live in, but it’s one of the best places if you’re looking for thrifty fun. The Crystal Palace Festival is one of the biggest free events in the capital…and it isn’t just a music festival. You’ll be treated to theatrical and spoken word performances, a huge maze, stand up comedy, wellbeing workshops, arts and crafts, talks and tours and dance acts, to name but a few!
26th – 28th August
This wouldn’t be a ‘top free festivals’ list without mentioning the Notting Hill Carnival! With over 2 million people attending last year, the event celebrates Caribbean culture through music, storytelling, comedy, theatre, poetry and more. Notting Hill Carnival brings entire communities together and is easily one of the most vivid and enchanting festivals out there! Sunday is traditionally ‘family day’ and the following Monday is usually reserved for those who like more of a wilder party!