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Free UK Festivals & Carnivals Region-by-region guide to over 70 events

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Whether you want to listen to jazz, indie or rock music, or be part of a carnival or parade, there are free UK festivals to suit all tastes. Just use the map below to pick your area.

Alternatively, it may be possible to get into the big paid-for festivals without paying a penny, though it can take some work. See the stewarding guide below.

Some festivals are spread across different venues and may have concerts that cost extra, so always check with the organisers before you go

UK-wide festivals

Festival picture BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend
Where: Earlham Park (map) Link: BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend
Dates: Sat 23 - Sun 24 May 2015
Description: Two day music festival taking place in a different UK location each year. 2015's line-up includes Taylor Swift, Foo Fighters, Muse and Snoop Dogg. Register online to enter the random ticketing ballot. The majority of tickets are given to people living in local areas.
Festival picture Superact's Our Big Gig
Where: Over 180 locations across the UK (map) Link: Our Big Gig
Dates: Fri 10 - Sun 12 Jul 2015
Description: A series of concerts featuring a variety of musical styles, from classical and opera to punk rock via jazz and reggae. Events are organised by local people for local people and celebrate local talent.

London Festivals

Show these on a map
Festival picture The Scoop
Where: City Hall (map) Link: The Scoop
Dates: Various
Description: An outdoor sunken amphitheatre which hosts a variety of free events - from free films, free music and free theatre to local community events and activities.
Festival picture Street Feast
Where: Lewisham, Dalston, Shoreditch (map) Link: Street Feast
Dates: Every Fri/Sat from 17 Apr
Description: Large outdoor food festival celebrating a variety of different cuisines, plus bars and DJs.
Festival picture West End Live
Where: Trafalgar Square (map) Link: West End Live
Dates: Sat 20 - Sun 21 Jun 2015
Description: Live performances of a variety of West End hit musicals and theatre shows.
Festival picture Lambeth Country Show
Where: Brockwell Park, Herne Hill (map) Link: Lambeth Country Show
Dates: Sat 18 - Sun 19 Jul 2015
Description: Wide variety of music and entertainment, arts and crafts, trade stalls, farm animals & exotic species, brass bands, storytelling and a funfair.
Festival picture Brixton Splash
Where: Brixton (map) Link: Brixton Splash
Dates: Sun 2 Aug 2015
Description: Mix of music, arts and crafts, food, live music, theatre, dance performances and sound systems celebrating local talent.
Festival picture Notting Hill Carnival
Where: Notting Hill, London (map) Link: Notting Hill Carnival
Dates: Sun 30 - Mon 31 Aug 2015
Description: One of the largest street festivals in the world, it features vibrant colourful costumes, music and hundreds of Caribbean food stalls.
Festival picture London Mela
Where: Gunnersbury Park (map) Link: London Mela
Dates: Sun 6 Sep 2015
Description: Seven zones of urban, classical and experimental music, DJs, circus, dance, visual arts, comedy and the Magic Mela kids area. This year's headliners include the biggest-selling female bhangra artist in the world, Miss Pooja.
Festival picture iTunes Festival
Where: Roundhouse, Camden (map) Link: iTunes Festival
Dates: Sep, dates TBC
Description: Apple's iTunes hosts 30 nights of free live music throughout September at Camden's Roundhouse venue. This year's acts are to be announced.
Festival picture Totally Thames Festival
Where: Central London (map) Link: Mayor's Thames Festival
Dates: Throughout Sep 2015
Description: A whole month of celebration and entertainment, including the Mayor's Thames Festival, the Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival and the Great River Race. Although the festival itself is free to attend, some of the activities charge a fee.

Northern Ireland Festivals

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Museum picture Red Sails Festival
Where: Portstewart (map) Link: Red Sails
Dates: Sun 19 - Sat 25 Jul 2015
Description: A family-friendly festival with lots of free music from local bands and orchestras, Irish dancing and a spectacular firework display to end the festivities. The festival is mostly free but some events may charge.
Festival picture Belfast Pride Festival
Where: Belfast (map) Link: Belfast Pride Festival
Dates: Fri 24 Jul - Sun 2 Aug 2015
Description: Celebrating Belfast's diversity with a week-long celebration including a huge parade, debates, music, comedy, film, a party at Custom House Square and more.

Scotland Festivals

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Museum picture Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival
Where: Edinburgh (map) Link: Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival
Dates: Fri 17 - Sun 26 Jul 2015
Description: Established in 1978, the Edinburgh Jazz Festival is a mixture of free and ticketed events spread over a week in July. Free events include the Mardi Gras at The Grassmarket on Sat 18 Jul and the Edinburgh Festival Carnival on Sun 19 Jul.
Festival picture Youth Beatz
Where: Dumfries (map) Link: Youth Beatz
Dates: Sat 1 Aug - Sat 8 Aug 2015
Description: Aimed at young people aged 12-25 and featuring celebrities as well as local bands. Line-up includes Union J, Scouting for Girls and Neon Jungle. Register for a chance to get free tickets to the main event. Fringe events don't require tickets.
Festival picture Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Where: Edinburgh (map) Link: Edinburgh Fringe
Dates: Fri 7 - Mon 31 Aug 2015
Description: The world's largest arts festival with over 40,000 performances and more than 2,500 shows packed into 250 venues across the city. Many free events and shows to suit all ages.
Festival picture Glasgay
Where: Glasgow (map) Link: Glasgay
Dates: Oct - Nov 2015
Description: A Scottish take on the Gay Pride parade. Events span comedy, music, film, theatre, visual art, performance art, literature, club nights, education events, and community arts projects.

North East Festivals

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Festival picture Newcastle Green Festival
Where: Leazes Park (map) Link: Newcastle Green Festival
Dates: 2016 TBC
Description: A festival run entirely on green power sources, featuring entertainment, activities and workshops.
Museum   picture
Where: Rothbury, Northumberland (map) Link: Rothbury Music Festival
Dates: Fri 17 - Sun 19 Jul 2015
Description: The festival offers traditional outdoor music, Highland dancing, craft stalls, competitions and workshops.
Festival picture Stockton International Riverside Festival
Where: Stockton (map) Link: Stockton Festival
Dates: Thu 30 Jul - Sun 2 Aug 2015
Description: Street theatre, circus, dance, music and pyrotechnics from world class artists and performers.
Festival picture South Tyneside Summer Festival
Where: South Shields (map) Link: Summer Festival
Dates: Jun/Jul/Aug 2015
Description: Live music, brass bands, parades, parties and open-air concerts throughout June, July and August.

Wales Festivals

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Festival picture Big Cheese Festival
Where: Caerphilly Castle (map) Link: Big Cheese Festival
Dates: Sat 25 Jul 2015

Description: Over 50 Welsh producers gather to sell cakes, wine, liqueurs, sweets, chocolate, cheese, pickles and more. Includes entertainment and a grand fireworks display.

Festival picture Monmouth Music Festival
Where: Monmouth (map) Link: Monmouth Music Festival
Dates: Fri 24 Jul - Sat 1 Aug 2015
Description: The festival offers a diverse range of musical genres including rock, classical, pop, folk, jazz, ska, punk, world music and more. Also includes a carnival day on Sun 27 July, featuring stalls, workshops, street entertainers and a funfair.
Festival picture Cardiff Carnival
Where: Cardiff (map) Link: Cardiff Carnival
Dates: Sat 8 Aug 2015
Description: Family fun with parades and workshops featuring costumes, hi-energy dance, samba drumming as well as quirky street theatre, Brazilian martial arts, live music, family-friendly burlesque, magic shows and surprise flashmobs.
Festival picture Cardiff Festival
Where: Cardiff Bay (map) Link: Cardiff Festival
Dates: Jun - Sep 2015
Description: Live music, street and open-air theatre, children's entertainment and funfairs in the city centre and around Cardiff Bay.
Festival picture Talgarth Festival
Where: Talgarth, near Brecon (map) Link: Talgarth Festival
Dates: Sat 30 - Sun 31 Aug 2015
Description: A celebration of food, farming, music and the countryside.

East England Festivals

Show these on a map
Festival picture Museums at Night
Where: Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (map) Link: Museums at Night
Dates: Thu 14 - Fri 15 May 2015
Description: An evening of live music across the Fitzwilliam Museum site, from folk and pop to classical and jazz. Also features short talks from museum staff and drawing activities.
Festival picture Stowfiesta
Where: Stowmarket (map) Link: Stowfiesta
Dates: Fri 19 - Sat 20 Jun 2015
Description: Two-day music festival showcasing some of the best talent from East Anglia and further afield.
Festival picture Willow Festival
Where: Peterborough (map) Link: Willow Festival
Dates: Fri 10 - Sun 12 Jul 2015
Description: Showcasing over 170 live bands on six stages, over three days. A variety of different music genres from punk to jazz.
Festival picture Norwich Pride
Where: Norwich city centre (map) Link: Norwich Pride
Dates: Sat 25 Jul 2015
Description: Norwich's Gay Pride festival with a parade, live bands, yoga sessions and arts and crafts.

South West England Festivals

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Festival picture St Ives Food and Drink Festival
Where: Portminster Beach, St Ives (map) Link: St Ives Food and Drink Festival

Dates: Sat 16 - Sun 17 May 2015

Description: Cooking demonstrations, food foraging walks and local food and drink producers exhibiting and selling their produce. Also features pasty making classes for children, face painting, sand castle competition, an oyster and champagne event and live music.
Festival picture Devizes Food & Drink Festival
Where: Devizes (map) Link: Devizes Food & Drink Festival
Dates: Sat 16 - Sun 24 May 2015
Description: Festival celebrating cuisine from the local area and around the world. Featuring a Grand Market Fair, cake baking competitions, cookery demonstrations and more. Events such as wine-tasting and cookery classes are also taking place throughout the following week, although these charge a small fee.
Festival picture Burnham-on-Sea Food & Drink Festival
Where: Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset (map) Link: Burnham-on-Sea Food & Drink Festival
Dates: Sat 23 May & Sat 31 Oct 2015
Description: A celebration of local and fresh produce. Includes workshops, taster sessions, competitions and a large outdoor market.
Festival picture Folk on the Quay
Where: Poole (map) Link: Folk on the Quay
Dates: Sat 27 - Sun 28 Jun 2015
Description: Free folk festival featuring live music and Morris dancing around the quay and in a host of local pubs.
Festival picture Bristol Harbour Festival
Where: Bristol (map) Link: Bristol Harbour festival
Dates: Fri 17 - Sun 19 Jul 2015
Description: A showcase of international & local artists, plus Bristol's circus and street theatre talent, as well as a display of ships, boats and fireworks.
Festival picture Stompin' on the Quomps
Where: Christchurch (map) Link: Stompin' on the Quomps
Dates: Sat 1 Aug 2015
Description: Christchurch Quay will host an afternoon and evening of jazz and big band music.
Festival picture Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
Where: Bristol (map) Link: Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
Dates: Thu 6 - Sun 9 Aug 2015
Description: The festival celebrates its 37th year with over 100 hot-air balloons, an entertainment village and craft marquee.
Festival picture Devizes International Street Festival
Where: Devizes (map) Link: Devizes Festival
Dates: Sun 30 - Mon 31 Aug 2015
Description: Two days of events and celebration, including a communal picnic, a street festival, bands, installations, stalls and workshops!
Festival picture Folkfest in Burnham-on-Sea
Where: Burnham-on-Sea (map) Link: Folkfest
Dates: Thu 3 - Sun 6 Sep 2015
Description: Acoustic folk festival, with free activities in pubs and over 70 acts, dancers, workshops, exhibitions, market, refreshments and kids' entertainment.
Festival picture B-side multimedia festival
Where: Portland (map) Link: B-side multimedia festival
Dates: TBC

Description: New work created by artists in Weymouth and Portland in Dorset. Works include light projections, choral performances in an underground bunker and more.

Festival picture Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival
Where: Bridgwater, Somerset (map) Link: Bridgwater Carnival
Dates: Sat 7 Nov 2015
Description: Illuminated procession through the streets of the Somerset town.

West Midlands Festivals

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Festival picture National Forest Walking Festival
Where: South Derbyshire (map) Link: National Forest Walking Festival
Dates: Sat 16 - Thu 28 May 2015
Description: Over 70 varied walks with something for all ages, interests or abilities. From a gentle stroll to walks for the whole family, walks suitable for wheelchair users, to longer and more strenuous rambles for keen walkers. Most walks are free, but some may charge a small fee.
Festival picture Leamington Peace Festival
Where: Royal Pump Rooms, Leamington Spa (map) Link: Leamington Peace Festival
Dates: Sat 13 - Sun 14 Jun 2015
Description: Workshops, live music and art all feature in this festival promoting peace, environmental harmony and living in co-operation with others.
Festival picture Godiva Festival
Where: Coventry (map) Link: Godiva Festival
Dates: Fri 3 - Sun 6 Jul 2015
Description: Free family music festival showcasing local, national and international musicians, plus comedy, entertainment and cabaret. This year's line-up includes The Wombats, Embrace, Fun Lovin' Criminals and JME.
Festival picture Birmingham Jazz & Blues festival
Where: Birmingham (map) Link: Birmingham Jazz festival
Dates: Fri 3 - Sun 12 Jul 2015
Description: Jazz & blues artists from across the world alongside the best from the UK.
Festival picture Upton Blues Festival
Where: Upton, Worcs (map) Link: Upton Blues Festival
Dates: Fri 17 - Sun 19 Jul 2015
Description: Set in and around the pubs and streets of Upton upon Severn, this music festival features everything from blues rock to bluegrass, country blues to New Orleans, acoustic to soul and gospel.
Festival picture Worcester Music Festival
Where: Worcester (map) Link: Worcester Music Festival
Dates: Fri 18 - Sun 20 Sep 2015
Description: Live, local and original music staged in pubs, clubs, cafes, and historic buildings around or near the city centre.

East Midlands Festivals

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Festival picture So Festival
Where: East Lindsey (map) Link: So festival
Dates: Thu 25 Jun - Sun 5 Jul 2015
Description: A festival with lots of free events, including participatory art, music from unsigned and local bands, street theatre and street dance.
Festival picture Nottinghamshire Pride
Where: Nottingham (map) Link: Nottingham Pride
Dates: Sat 25 Jul 2015
Description: Mini stage acts, a funfair, three bars and a hundred stalls to celebrate the LGBT community.
Festival picture Nottingham Riverside Festival
Where: Nottingham (map) Link: Riverside Festival
Dates: Fri 31 - Sun 2 Aug 2015
Description: Bustling street fair with vibrant mix of live music, with performances from national and international artists.
Festival picture Leicester Caribbean Carnival
Where: Leicester (map) Link: Leicester Caribbean Carnival
Dates: Sat 1 Aug 2015
Description: Parade celebrating Leicester's Caribbean heritage with music, dance and costumes.
Festival picture Umbrella Fair
Where: Northampton (map) Link: Umbrella Fair
Dates: Sat 15 - Sun 16 Aug 2015
Description: The green festival offers music, poetry, a healing and wellbeing area, food stalls, an environmental education display, and a children's area.

Yorkshire and Humber Festivals

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Festival picture Pontefract Liquorice Festival
Where: Pontefract, West Yorks (map) Link: Pontefract Liquorice Festival
Dates: Sun 12 July 2015
Description: Family celebration of the town’s links with the growing and production of Liquorice confectionery.
Festival picture Clarence Park Music Festival
Where: Wakefield (map) Link: Clarence Park Festival
Dates: Sat 25 - Sun 26 Jul 2015
Description: Features a host of local and national bands. There's also a beer tent, food stalls, and craft stalls. Bands to be announced in June.
Festival picture Freedom Festival
Where: Hull (map) Link: Freedom Festival
Dates: Fri 4 - Sun 6 Sep 2015
Description: An eclectic, family-friendly, and largely free, three-day extravaganza of music, dance, theatre, poetry, visual arts and comedy that celebrates Hull’s independent spirit and contribution to the cause of freedom.
Festival picture Saltaire Festival
Where: Bradford (map) Link: Saltaire Festival
Dates: Sat 11 - Sun 20 Sep 2015
Description: Annual event celebrating the heritage of Saltaire Victorian model village through the arts.

North West England Festivals

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Festival picture Whaley Water Weekend
Where: Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire (map) Link: Whaley Water Weekend
Dates: Fri 12 - Sun 14 Jun 2015
Description: Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, the main attraction of this water festival is the free boat rides throughout the weekend. You'll also find a free canoe experience, market stalls, live music and a fairground.
Festival picture Africa Oye Festival
Where: Sefton Park, Liverpool (map) Link: Africa Oye Festival
Dates: Sat 20 - Sun 21 Jun 2015
Description: Now in its 22nd year, Africa Oye showcases the best of African and Caribbean music and culture in the UK. This year's headline act is soul singer Omar.
Festival picture Dentdale Music & Beer Festival
Where: Dent, Cumbria (map) Link: Dentdale Music & Beer
Dates: Fri 26 - Sun 28 Jun 2015
Description: Community festival hosting over 25 bands across two stages and a wide selection of ales from northern England and Scotland.
Festival picture Keswick Convention
Where: Keswick, Cumbria (map) Link: Keswick Convention
Dates: Sat 11 - Fri 31 Jul 2015
Description: Bible teaching, music and fellowship, with separate kids' and youth programmes.
Festival picture Liverpool International Music Festival's Summer Jam
Where: Liverpool (map) Link: Liverpool International Music Festival
Dates: Fri 27 - Mon 31 Aug 2015
Description: Replacing the 20-year-old Mathew Street Festival, Liverpool International Music Festival is "a celebration of all things music". Summer Jam forms part of the festival and is a chance to watch live music from acts such as Basement Jaxx, Katy B, Labrinth and Echo and the Bunnymen for free.
Festival picture Feel Good Festival
Where: Rochdale (map) Link: Feel Good Festival Facebook page
Dates: Fri 4 Sep - Sat 5 Sep 2015
Description: Celebration of entertainment and culture featuring a high profile line-up of celebrity chefs hosting live cooking demonstrations and top local bands.

South east England Festivals

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Festival picture Watercress Festival
Where: Arlesford, Hants (map) Link: Watercress Festival
Dates: Sun 17 May 2015
Description: The 11th annual festival celebrating the quintessentially British crop. Featuring stalls, live music, cookery demonstrations and a chance to tour a watercress farm.
Festival picture Guildford Summer Festival
Where: Guildford (map) Link: Guildford Festival
Dates: Fri 12 Jun - Fri 8 Aug 2015

Description: Film, sport, theatre, music, walking, art and much more.

Museum picture Thurrock Festival
Where: Thurrock, Essex (map) Link: Thurrock Festival
Dates: TBC
Description: Entertainment, food and live music. This year's line-up hasn't been announced yet, but we'll update you here once the acts have been confirmed.
Festival picture Rox Festival
Where: Bognor Regis (map) Link: Rox Festival
Dates: Sat 25 - Sun 26 Jul 2015
Description: Live music, a procession, kids' activities, carnival, world musicians, club stage, fringe events, music, craft and dance workshops, and other art.
Festival picture Lammas Festival
Where: Eastbourne (map) Link: Lammas Festival
Dates: Sat 25 - Sun 26 Jul 2015
Description: Folk music, morris dancing, traditional giants, carnival and live bands every afternoon and evening.
Museum picture Hastings Old Town Carnival Week
Where: Hastings (map) Link: Hastings Carnival Week
Dates: Sat 1 Aug - Sun 9 Aug 2015
Description: Carnival, music, performances, guided walks and more.
Museum picture Herne Bay Festival
Where: Herne Bay, Kent (map) Link: Herne Bay Festival
Dates: Sat 22 - Sun 30 Aug 2015
Description: Live music, street theatre, performances, workshops, competitions, parades, fireworks and more. This year's has a Victorian theme.
Festival picture Ryde Carnival
Where: Ryde, Isle of Wight (map) Link: Ryde Carnival
Dates: Wed 26 Aug - Sat 5 Sep
Description: Dating back to 1887, this illuminated carnival and children's carnival features music, costumes and dance.
Festival picture Reading Pride
Where: Reading (map) Link: Reading Pride
Dates: Sat 5 Sep 2015
Description: Music and dance festival which aims to help eliminate discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Festival picture Faversham Hop Festival
Where: Faversham (map) Link: Faversham Hop Festival
Dates: Sat 5 - Sun 6 Sep 2015
Description: The 25th anniversary of this traditional, fun festival set in the picturesque medieval town's square and surrounding streets, celebrating the days of hop picking in Kent.
Have we missed any? If you know of any great free festivals in your area that we've not included, we'd love to hear about them. Add any suggestions to our free festivals thread.
View Free UK Festivals in a larger map

Paid festivals for free

As well as the free UK festivals listed above, there are a few ways to get into sold-out festivals for nothing.

Volunteering through charities

Some big charities like the Samaritans and Oxfam look for volunteers to help at big festivals. Don't volunteer if you're in it just for the free ticket - approach a charity you really believe in and do the work properly.

Festival Samaritans provides volunteers for big festivals such as Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading. Anyone is welcome to apply – whether or not they have been a member of the Samaritans before. There are no spaces left for this year, but you can apply online now for next year's festivals.

Oxfam provides stewards and campaigners who have to work three shifts (eight hours 15 mins per shift) over the duration of big festivals like Glastonbury, Latitude, Bestival and Womad. Head to the application page to check out this year's opportunities - though spaces are now very limited, so you're likely to be added to a waiting list.

Odd jobs like litter-picking & car park attending

beer pictureIt's not easy to make a festival run smoothly, and extra help is always required with anything from car park assistance and tent pitching to litter-picking. Organisers usually use firms which provide staff specifically for festivals.

- DC Services provide safety stewards, traffic marshals, recycling and litter teams to the likes of Reading, Leeds, Latitude and Glastonbury (check its events calendar). You can work as paid or volunteer staff, and you'll get free meal tickets and free festival entry. You can apply online for a number of different jobs and shifts and you'll have to be over 16 or 18 depending on the job.

- Seed Staff - You can volunteer to pick up litter at festivals including Parklife, Le Mans 24 Hours or Blissfields when you apply online with Seed Staff. You'll have to work for around 24 hours (depending on the festival) in shifts during or after the event and you'll get fed. You'll have to pay a deposit of £100-£175, depending on the festival. This will be returned upon completion of the work.

- Hotbox provides volunteers for anything from assisting festivalgoers with directions to helping them pitch their tents. If your application is successful, you'll have to work three 8-hour shifts for the duration of the festival. Hotbox have spaces for Latitude, Leeds and Reading festivals.

- Festaff supplys volunteers for stewarding, wristbanding, bar work and other general duties at festivals including Bestival, Wickerman, T in the Park and Creamfields. You can apply online to work 16 hours across two shifts, plus you may be required to attend training.

Volunteering for festivals independently

Another option is to check with festival organisers directly to see if they're looking for volunteers. They usually have a dedicated area on their website for this.

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Free UK Festivals & Carnivals
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