It’s almost festival season, which (weather permitting) means we’ve got many glorious weekends spent in the great British outdoors to look forward to. If you’re somebody who likes to make spur of the moment decisions, here are some of the best free or ticketless events around the country this summer.
Freedom Festival, Hull
Many dared to scoff when Mick Ronson’s hometown was named European Capital of Culture for 2017, but Hull’s Freedom Festival aims to show the world that east Yorkshire is ready to honour the title bestowed upon it. Featuring poetry, music, theatre, comedy and more, the arts festival sets out to celebrate the city’s cultural spirit and role in the story of liberty in Britain.
Africa Oye, Liverpool
18th & 19th June
Now in its 24th year, this vibrant celebration of African culture has become a highly respected mainstay on the festival circuit. This year’s line-up is already looking strong, with music from left field Congolese group Mbongwana Star, Ghanaian High Life legend Pat Thomas and Tanzania’s Ifa Band, all of whom would warrant a place at any major festival around the UK. Best of all, it’s free all weekend.
LIMF Summer Jam, Liverpool
21st – 24th July
The LIMF Summer Jam claims to be the largest free music event in Europe and boasts a line-up to compete with the best of them. From soul queen Lianne LaHavas to drum ‘n’ bass wizards Sigma, the four day, family friendly event aims to cement Liverpool’s place as a UNESCO City of Music.
Notting Hill Carnival, London
30th & 31st August
A joyous celebration of the capital’s cultural heritage, the Notting Hill Carnival has been a much loved fixture on London’s urban festival circuit for decades. All you need is an Oyster card and a pair of sunglasses to join in Britain’s biggest street party, full of non-stop music, street food and celebrations. No wellies required.
Image courtesy: David Sedlecký
Godiva Festival, Coventry
1st – 3rd July
Where else can you see legends like The Charlatans and The Boomtown Rats line up alongside The Mystery Jets for free this summer? Now in its 18th year, Godiva Festival is completely ticketless, which means you can rock up on the spur of the moment at any time over the weekend. As well as live music you’ll find arts and crafts, food, family activities and a fun fair.
Leigh Folk Festival, Essex
23rd – 26th June
The biggest free folk festival in the UK, this Essex favourite mixes traditional and contemporary folk music across a long (hopefully sunny) weekend in June. Committed to its status as a free event since 1992, this diverse showcase retains the kind of traditional community spirit which you won’t find at a big commercial festival.