Five Of The Best Free Festivals

Worried your tight budget might make you miss out over festival season? Have no fear, we give you five of the best free festivals taking place this summer.

Mike Warburton

Date published: 14th May 2015

Photo: Africa Oyé / Tim Edwards

We all know that as brilliant as festivals can be, they can do some serious damage to your bank account. With some of the statures of the line ups on offer, its no wonder that we're having to fork out for those unforgettable weekends on green fields around the country. But if you're pretty skint and sick with jealousy at your mate's festival plans, there is another option - free festivals.

They do exist, and if you look hard enough, there are some incredible experiences ready to be soaked up with absolutely no entry fee and minimal effect on your pocketbook. We've selected five of the best below.

Of course, you can always apply for stewarding posts, which will get you into some of the biggest festivals in the country for essentially nothing - although you will have to stay relatively sober enough to perform your duties, which is a lot trickier than it sounds.

You can also search by your budget in our Festival Guide here.

Africa Oyé Sat 20th - Sun 21st June

Billed as the UK's largest free celebration of African music, the Liverpool festival has been going strong since the early nineties. Highlighting the fantastic range of cultures, food, music and art from the world's second largest continent, Africa Oyé promotes the spirit of tolerance and multiculturalism, whilst supporting African performers and artists, and giving them a platform to reach new people. 

Radio One's Big Weekend Sat 23rd - Sun 24th May

So yes, it is technically a free festival, but there is a certain amount of good luck involved in getting to Radio One's always impressive Big Weekend.

This year the radio station brings the cream of the pop community to Norwich on May 23rd - 24th, although you'll have needed to register on the Radio One website to get tickets. But with a chance to witness Clean Bandit, Charli XCX, Ben Howard, alt-J, Ella Eyre and many more Radio One A listers, there really is no other festival like it.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Fri 7th - Mon 31st of August

The world famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival on the planet, and takes place from the 7th - 31st of August. Although a number of the events are paid entry, there are still plenty of things going on for free. 

With tens of thousands of performers heading to Scotland's capital, there is a tonne of stuff to check out that won't harm you wallet in the slightest. The full line up is released on June 4th, head here for more info.

Notting Hill Carnival Fri 29th - Sun 31st August

Photo: Pass Me On

As one of the most loved festivals in the country, London's glorious Notting Hill Carnival is one of the largest street festivals in the world. Packed to the rafters with almighty sound systems, world class DJs (Norman Jay MBE above is a veteran of the carnival), vibrant, colourful parades and hundreds of immense Caribbean stalls offering the best jerk chicken and curried goat you've ever had, Notting Hill is for many the feel good, cultural highlight of the year. 

BoltFest Sat 23rd - Sun 24th May

Taking place over the Bank Holiday Weekend at Queens Park in Bolton, Boltfest supplies two full days of tribute band goodness. Some of the copycat acts in store include Guns or Roses (in action above), Fu Fighters, Megadeth UK, The AC/DC Experience and much more, largely spanning the greatest bands in rock music history. With booking just at £2.90, its not exactly free, but it's pretty damn close. Head here for more on Boltfest.

Head here to check out our complete Festival Guide.