Three for Free: Summer Festivals, 2017

Music Festivals are a typically  British, ever so slightly traumatic experience-and a great way to spend a sunny- although usually rainy, summer afternoon!

However, in recent years the rising costs, and deteriorating line up (Craig David on the main stage, Seriously?) mean that paying £200+ to sleep in a bag, in a field living off pringles for 3 days when I could be spending the aforementioned amount on a weekend sunning myself in Spain is kind of a no-brainer. Spain-1, muddy field- 0.

There is however, an Ibis hotel-lined light at the end of the tunnel. The increasing rise of the “freebie festival”. Events whereupon Cities, or Towns recognise the economic, benefits that come with such an event- hotels and local businesses reaping the rewards that come with increased visitor arrivals, the bringing together of the local community, and a way of putting the destination firmly on the consumer radar.

Here’s a few of my favourites:


Godiva Festival, Coventry- 7th/8th/9th July, 2017

City of Culture 2021, contender Coventry has held an annual Godiva Festival (naked woman on horse, not included) in Memorial Park since 1997. You can enjoy, three free days at the 12 acre site which has seen performances from everyone from The Happy Mondays, to Kasabian.

Coventry itself is a great city in which to enjoy some “pre-drinks” and a meal that isn’t served from a van prior to your arrival, with a wide array of chain, and independant restaurants and bars, like my personal favourite, Inspire– which serves various craft beers from the base of an abandoned church.

Who’s gonna play?

2016, saw acts from “madchester” scene regulars, The Charlatans, the ever modest Bob Geldof and his Boomtown Rats, Scouting For Girls, and many more.

This year sees the arrival of The Darkness (prepare yourselves for some very pasty, topless men on guitars), and rock heroes, The Stranglers.

Where do I stay?

There are numerous hotels within easy stumbling distance of Memorial Park. Expect to pay around £60 a night for a double or twin room in the Ibis, or Britannia.

Show me the way!

Coventry is one of the most accessible destinations in the UK, with regular train services from London, and Birmingham and situated close to major roads.


LIMF, Liverpool-20th/21st/22nd/23rd July 2017

Home of course to the Beatles, Liverpool’s musical credibility proceeds it. It takes the crown for being Europe’s BIGGEST free festival, with a main stage at Sefton Park showcasing 300 artists, the Itsliverpool stage- featuring rising artists from the city and many, many more bands playing in venues all over town- useful for avoiding the inevitable down pour, and treating yourself to a beer that isn’t 50 percent froth.

The festival aside, Liverpool is a great place to spend a few days, with friends. Grab yourself some tickets to the infamous  Cavern Club, or  save some pennies at the highly drinkonomical Ye Cracke, favourite spot of the late John Lennon (yes, I love the Beatles), which houses an impressive beer garden should the sun shine, or plentiful comfy seating inside, if you need some comfort after a day roaming the main stage.

Who’s gonna play?

If raps your thing, new-ish “grime MC”, Wretch 32 (Free Too- geddit? I only just got it) took to the main stage, alongside Sigma, and Red Dwarf Star/Coronation Street actor/DJ/general party guy, Craig Charles. Or if you’re more like me, and never quite got past the 80’s/90’s, the city held host to lots of more rock and punk with personal favourites The Buzzcocks, and The Lightening Seeds playing at various indoor venues.*

This year’s acts are still a work in progress but it promises to be better than ever! Keep an eye on things via their Facebook page.

*Note, some gigs do require tickets. If in doubt just ask!

Where do I stay?

Being a large city, Liverpool has a large selection of very affordable accommodation. The  YHA hostel, has beds from £15 and is perfect if there’s a group of you. Don’t be put off by the “hostel title”, it’s more like a budget hotel, and no less luxurious than a cheap hotel- just a fraction of the price!

Show me the way!

As well as being only 2 hours via direct train from London, and less than an hour from Manchester (making a day trip, fairly viable if you’re “up north”), and well connected to motorways, Liverpool is also officially recognised a coach friendly destination, making it perfect for a fuss free travel experience.


Festwich, Prestwich-29th/30th July, 2017

The Prodigy, Metallica, Pearl Jam, and The Happy Mondays all for free! Sounds too good to be true, right? Ok, you got me, Festwich is the UK’s biggest, free TRIBUTE festival- so it’s less Slip Knot, and more Slip Knowt. However, this two dayer means you get to listen to all your favourite songs by Bowie (RIP, Ziggy), and Motorhead performed by a live band in an alcohol, and fun filled field.

Festwich is based in St. Mary’s park, Prestwich and is easily accessible from the city by public transport. Although the festival is free, you do need to book tickets in advance and they charge you a £2.90 booking fee- which is less than a big mac meal, and much more satisfying.

Who’s gonna play?

The Police, Madness, The Cure, The Ramones, The Killers, Van Halen, Thin Lizzy, Noel Gallagher, and yet more to be announced.

Just remember, this is the greatest and best festival in the world…..Tribute.

Where do I stay?

Due to the location of Festwich, the nearest accommodation is around 2 miles away, but there is lots of public transport available- which is further explained below. Expect to pay around £45-60 a night, at the nearby Comfort Inn, or the Isis (Unfortunate name, convenient restaurant).

Show me the way!

Parking at the event is limited, so it’s recommended that visitors use the various transport links available. If arriving via train, tram service C to Bury runs from Piccadilly every 12 minutes from 6.00 to 00.30, just get off at the Heaton Park stop and follow your google map app!




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