Festivals are rarely cheap. In fact, a recent survey by MSN found that the average cost of attending a music festival is £423.01, while Glastonbury charges upwards of £210 for the ticket alone. That might be enough to put most people off the idea of booking a festival this summer – but there some good budget-friendly options about if you look for them. And we’re not talking about dodgy wristbands here…
For a start, you can actually save a lot of money if you eschew the camping tickets and source your own accommodation with mates. By the time you’ve paid for your camping ticket, your tent, your equipment, your food and access to basic amenities (because you WILL need a hot shower at some point), you may as well have pre-booked a cottage or villa nearby.
Whatever you are looking for from your summer festival, we’ve tracked down ten great options that won’t empty your bank balance, including a few freebie options…
Location: All over Sheffield
Date: 24-26 July
Cost: From £20 for a weekend ticket
Tramlines is perfect for anyone who has an aversion to muddy fields and unexpected downpours. Most of the gigs take place indoors, at a different location across Sheffield city centre. Simply choose the acts you most want to see (e.g. Wu Tang Clan, Billy Bragg, The Charlatans, Slaves) and track them down at their given location. You could find yourself dancing like a maniac in City Hall, at Sheffield Cathedral or at Queens Social Club – there’s no better introduction to Sheffield’s nightlife.
Location: Gilcombe Farm, Somerset
Date: 31 July – 1 August
Cost: £49 for a weekend pass
Since it launched 10 years ago, Farmfest has styled itself as an ethical festival, where tickets are affordable to all, and any on-site profits go to charity (this year’s charity is Send a Cow). Given the quality of its live acts and entertainment, it could really be charging a lot more by now, yet Farmfest has stuck to its roots and still offers full weekend tickets for £49.
Some of this year’s acts include Lamb, Portico and Stealing Sheep, while activities include a graffiti workshop, a pop up cinema and something called ‘sound bath relaxation’.
Perfect for families and couples looking for a stimulating yet chilled out weekend.
Location: Margam Country Park, South Wales
Date: 7-9 August
Cost: From £30 per day
This little-known festival has a dedicated following. Now in its fourth year, it is able to attract an impressive line-up of musicians from across the world – this year’s highlights include The Turbans, Norman Jay MBE, The Brand New Heavies, and Lionstar, plus more than 100 other established names and emerging acts. A giant kids’ area features numerous bouncy castles, a Fairy and Elf Workshop, and West African drumming lessons.
Location: The Hebrides, Scotland
Date: 15-18 July
Cost: From £64
HebCelt is celebrating 20 years of traditional folk music with its biggest line up yet. This year the Scottish islands play host to Afro Celt Sound System, Idlewild, and a whole host of traditional performers. The perfect place to discover Celtic music and dance up a storm.
Location: War Memorial Park, Coventry
Date: 3-5 July
Godiva Festival is probably the UK’s only ticket-free, cost-free festival…that actually has some good bands. This year they’ve got music from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, The Wombats and Embrace, as well as scores of other bands playing across the festival’s four stages.
Craft stalls, a vintage fair, and an actual bungee experience are also in attendance, plus bar, food stalls and plenty of family-friendly activities.
2000 Trees Festival
Location: Cotswold Hills
Date: 9-11 July
Cost: From £72
This award-winning independent festival is still limited to just 5,000 people, but in every other way it has gotten bigger. This year, headliners include The Subways, Alkaline Trio, Idlewild and Deaf Havana, all playing some of their tiniest gigs of the season. As always, there is always a great selection of locally-sourced food and drink to choose from.
Location: Bromyard, Hertfordshire
Date: 24-26 July
Cost: From £80
Nozstock is one of the quirkier festivals on the summer calendar. It features huge acts such as the Wu Tang Clan, as well as quaint traditions such as the annual ‘Celebritree’ tree planting ceremony. Plus there’s comedy from the likes of Andrew Maxwell, a dance arena in a former bullpen, swing classes, interactive theatre and a ‘Tent of Temporary Thought’.
AND A FEW FREEBIES….
Eastbourne Lammas Fair
Date: 25-26 July
Expect Morris dancing, live music, storytelling and an open air ceilidh. The high point is the Open Air Lammas ritual, which takes place at 5.30pm sharp on Saturday 25 July, and features the symbolic cutting of the Lammas loaf, and even more Morris dancing…
Rochdale Feel Good Festival
Location: Rochdale, Greater Manchester
Date: 4-5 September
It’s hard to believe this critically-acclaimed festival is still free. This year the festival has managed to bag a rare appearance by The South (a recently reformed version of The Beautiful South, who are not averse to singing a few of the band’s hits), as well as headlining performances by indie legends Toploader and local ska group The Uplifters. The festival focuses on food as well as music, and this year guests can take part in cooking demonstrations with the likes of Rachel Khoo, Andrew Nutter and Kevin Woodford.
Notting Hill Carnival
Location: Notting Hill, London
Date: 30-31 August
OK, so it’s not technically a ‘festival’, but the Notting Hill Carnival is a British institution. Every year, West London shuts down while Reggae music blasts from every street corner, sequined women shimmy down the roads, and Red Stripe is consumed by the gallon.
Dance til you drop to sets by D Riddim Tribe, Bajan Revellers and Cocoyea, while you eat your body weight in jerk chicken and curried goat.