You can’t picture the UK summertime without thinking about the countless music, food and drink festivals across the country during the summer months. However, with the average spend of UK festival-goers working out at around £420* a pop including the ticket price, food & drink, festival clobber, camping year and transport – the costs can really stack up! While tickets for the big hitters such as Glastonbury, Lovebox and Download can be close to £200 apiece, there are plenty of large-scale, FREE music festivals where you can see the next big thing. So put your wallet back in your pocket and stock up on ‘I saw them first’ bragging rights at the UK’s top free festivals.
Africa Oyé: 18-19 June, Sefton Park, Liverpool
Considered one of the UK’s best free festivals, Africa Oyé in Liverpool’s beautiful Sefton Park is the biggest free festival of music and culture from Africa. Headlining in 2016 is Mbongwana Star, Ghanian highlife legend Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band and Tanzanian street rumba group, Ifa Band. Africa Oyé is not just about music; festival goers can feast on delicious African food – and there’s even children’s entertainment for all the cool mums and dads out there. Basically, if you fancy a few drinks, a bit of a dance and some incredible food – this is the festival for you!
Leigh Folk Festival: 23-26 June, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
Located on the Thames Estuary, just over an hour’s train ride outside of London, is the picturesque fishing town of Leigh-on-Sea. Spread over a number of venues, this free festival showcases more than 300 performers over four days. Some of the UK’s most famous folk artists have performed at the Leigh Folk Festival, and there are plenty of stalls selling food and crafts to keep you occupied between gigs. Get your favourite fedora on, grab your sunglasses and head down for one of the coolest festivals in England. Maybe bring your wellies too – as we all know, UK festivals are renowned for being somewhat muddy.
Notting Hill Carnival: 28-29 August, Notting Hill, London
The Notting Hill Carnival has been brightening up the streets of W10 since 1964. Primarily located in Notting Hill but taking part in Holland Park and Ladbroke Grove, the Carnival is now Europe’s biggest street festival. It takes place on the roads, in pubs, bars and restaurants – basically anywhere you can put a sound system. Highlights include the colourful parade, Caribbean food and dancing in the streets. Why don’t you throw on your most colourful outfit and head down this summer to bust a move? At Notting Hill Carnival, all levels of dance skills are welcomed!
West End Live: 18-19 June, Trafalgar Square, London
This is a music festival with a difference – instead of bands rocking up a field, the crème de la crème of musical theatre put on spectacular free performances in London’s Trafalgar Square. Previous events have seen the stars of Wicked, Jersey Boys, Let it Be, Les Miserables, Avenue Q and Billy Elliot transform Trafalgar Square with the West End’s best loved songs. Thousands of people pack the famous square, so get there early for a good spot – there are also exhibits from London’s leading cultural institutions. (Our advice would be to print out the lyrics to your favourite musicals to take with you in case you want to sing along – but this is totally optional.)
Strawberry Fair: 4th June, Midsummer Common, Cambridge
Strawberry Fair has been kicking off the summer season in the university town of Cambridge for 40 years. Primarily a music festival, you can enjoy an eclectic range of music and performances from more than 100 groups. Mostly made up of local bands and singers, famous acts who have played Strawberry Fair include Zion Train, Horace X and John Otway. This year’s theme is wildlife and wild life – in terms of outfit choice, this means anything from a leopard print shirt to a full lion costume is acceptable. The choice is yours.
Disclaimer: These festivals are not in any way affiliated with Lending Stream. Please be sure to check with each individual event about any entry requirements or potential date changes.