Student festival guide 2017
Once the exams are over it’s time to pack in as many good times as is humanly possible! We review this year’s hottest festivals, with one eye on budgeting.With so many festivals happening across the UK and Europe this summer, it’s getting more and more tricky every year to decide which ones to go to – ‘specially when they all have equally incredible line-ups and promises of an amazing party atmosphere.
With our help, the summer’s toughest decision is about to get a lot easier!
Note that the prices indicated for these festivals are just for tickets and/or camping, so they don’t include travel to and from each festival. You can save loads by booking your festival travel tickets in advance. See our tips on cheaper train tickets, coaches and flights.
You’ll also need to feed yourself at some point and set yourself a beer budget, and this stuff can really add up – check out our insider tips on how to save money at music festivals to see your cash stretch further.
Best UK festivals
Parklife | Manchester
Cost: £54.50 (day pass), £119 (weekend)
Date: 11th – 12th June
Manchester’s favourite music festival is, unsurprisingly, also a favourite amongst the city’s massive student population.
The festival takes place in Heaton Park, one of Europe’s largest municipal parks, and even has a fully 18-hole golf course and a boating lake!
The weekend of 11th – 12th of June features a top drawer line up with acts like The Chemical Brothers, Major Lazer, Katy B and Jamie xx.
If you’re still not 100% convinced, check out our Parklife festival review from a few years back.
Get buying those tickets ASAP – full weekender tickets are already sold out!
Blissfields | Winchester
Cost: £20-60 (day pass, depending which day you go), £105 (weekend)
Date: 1st – 2nd July
First launched in 2001, Blissfields is the summer event in Winchester. Set within the ultimate chilled out scenery of Vicarage Farm, the festival is ideal for both party people and chilled vibe seekers alike.
This year promises a pretty different festival experience, as they’re offering hot showers and wood-fired hot tubs! Don’t mind if we do.
While they promise loads more acts still to be announced, you can already expect to dance the night away to the likes of Dizzee Rascal and Everything Everything.
Wireless Festival | London
Cost: £60-65 (day pass), £160 (full 3-day weekend)
Date: 8th – 10th July
We’re still in a bit of a grump with Wireless for cutting their Birmingham leg of the festival, making it now London-only affair. Sad face!
The line-up isn’t massive this year, but they have also docked ticket prices which suggests they’re downsizing the festival a bit.
This year, Wireless will be hosting the sounds of Chase & Status, Calvin Harris and Craig David (he’s officially making a comeback!), so Finsbury Park will be a serious party.
For all you Wireless loyals out there, don’t worry! You can still count on this being a packed out and a guaranteed fun weekend in London.
Beautiful Days | Devon
Cost: £135 (full weekend camping only)
Date: 19th – 21th August
Set up in 2003 by rock band the Levellers, Beautiful Days prides itself in being a completely independent festival: No sponsorship, no advertising and an extremely chilled out vibe.
This year it’s headlined by the Coral, James and the Levellers themselves – with a bit of Leftfield thrown in for a good dance when the sun goes down!
Nass Festival | Bristol
Cost: £109-119 (weekend ticket), £39-49 (day pass)
Date: 8th – 10th July
Nass in Bristol is one for all the adrenaline-junky skateboarding and BMXers out there.
Whether you want to take part in the extremities or even just watch from the sidelines, Nass is a great weekend for drum’n’bass, hip hop, grime and dance music lovers too.
This year Nass is hosting the sounds of Jurassic 5, Stormzy and Andy C, as well as an appearance from BMX legend, Matt Hoffmann!
LoveBox | London
Cost: around £65 (day pass) or £95 (weekend)
Date: 15th – 16th July
Another big festival held in London (they get all the luck), this time bang smack in the centre of glorious Victoria Park.
LoveBox has a brilliant line up this year, including LCD Soundsystem, Major Lazer, Diplo and George Clinton from Parliament!
Looks like it’s set to be a big one.
Download | Derby
Cost: £215 (weekend camping), £87.50 (day pass)
Date: 10th – 12th June
Download is the UK festival for rock, metal and punk lovers amongst you.
For the last 13 years, Download has been bringing the biggest and loudest names in rock to Leicestershire, and 2016 is definitely no exception.
With Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, the Deftones and NOFX headlining this year, you’re likely to be left with a smile on your face and a ringing in your ears for a good while afterwards!
Bestival | Isle of Wight
Cost: £180 (student weekender)
Date: 4th – 7th Septemeber
Bestival is a confirmed unmissable date in the UK festival calendar, and its lineup never fails to get us excited.
This time round you’ll get to see the likes of The Cure, Hot Chip, Carl Cox, and Years & Years, but to name but a few.
Savings tip: If you’re planning on going with a group of friends, you could be in for a considerable discount. When you buy 8 tickets in a oner, Bestival will give you one for free! Split the price across all 9 of you that brings your student ticket prices down to £160 per person.
T in the Park | Perthshire, Scotland
Cost: £82.50 (day pass), £184 (weekend), £194 (weekend camping)
Date: 8th – 10th July
T in the Park is Scotland’s biggest music festival, with around 70,000 festival-goers expected to descend on their new location of Strathallan Castle this year.
T in the Park celebrated its 21st birthday last year, and has quite the reputation for its infamously wild party crowds. Definitely the one to go for if you’re up for a seriously good time!
This year, the festival is headlined by The Stone Roses, Calvin Harris, Disclosure and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
Field Day | London
Cost: £54.50 (day pass), £94.00 (weekend)
Date: 11th – 12th June
The line-up for Field Day this year has got us pretty excited, and we suspect they’re pulling out the stops since this year they’ll be celebrating turning the ripe old age of 10!
What better way to celebrate turning a decade old than with the likes of James Blake and PJ Harvey headlining the main stage.
The festival is staying true to it’s usual eclecticity too (yeah we know this isn’t a real word, but it should be), with acts such as Beach House, Bicep and The Temper Trap also gracing the stage.
Boardmasters | Newquay
Cost: £47.50 (day pass), £134 (weekend pass)
Date: 10th – 14th August
If you’re looking for some good old British beach fun (yes, this exists), then look no further than Boardmasters in Newquay.
With surfing competitions, surf art and intimate gigs on the beach, it’s an outdoor-lovers dream.
This year, it’s set to be headlined by Chase and Status, Deadmau5 and James Singin-on-the-dock-of-the-Bay (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Snap your tickets up now, and cross your fingers for some sunshine!
Lamer Tree Festival | Dorset
Cost: £170-230 (3-5 day passes), £260 (‘Holiday’ pass for 1 week)
Date: 13th – 17th July
Billed as the “happiest, friendliest and quirkiest” festival in the land, Lamer Tree has been filling Dorset’s idyllic Cranbourne Chase with new sounds for the last 26 years!
You’ll find Jamie Cullum, Caro Emerald and Calexico amongst others at the festival this year.
Not only is a day pass guaranteed fun, you can also turn Lamer Tree into a kind of mini Dorset holiday, as you can sign up for up to five days of festival frolics, and a ‘holiday pass’ which gives you an entire week on the campsite.
Shambala | Northampton
Cost: £169 (weekend pass)
Date: 25th – 28th August
If you’re on the hunt for something a little bit different with your festival experience, then it’s well worth checking out Shambala in Northampton.
Shambala is kind of like a mini Glastonbury, if you like, so if you missed out on Glasto tickets this year, this would be the perfect alternative.
They’ve got a whole range of events going on as well as the music – from cabaret and stand-up comedy to art installations and wellbeing.
Extra bonus points for being an award-winning ‘green’ festival!
Reading and Leeds
Cost: £66.50 (day pass), £213 (weekend camping pass)
Date: 22nd – 24th August
As one of the longest-running music festivals in the world, Reading and Leeds are somewhat of an institution in the UK. Taking place each year on the August bank holiday weekend, the festivals run the same line up alternating between Richfield Avenue in Reading and Bramham Park in Leeds.
Reading and Leeds started out a lot more rock, metal and punk-focussed, but over the years it’s become a bit more open to mainstream hip hop and dance music (much to the loyal alt-scene festival goers’ dismay – but you have Download Festival so no complaints!).
Reading and Leeds’ impressively eclectic lineup this year features everything from Mastodon and Biffy Clyro to Die Antword and Nas!
Some European favourites
If you’re thinking about summer holidays in Europe, or even doing some budget-friendly interRailing during the summer break, why not factor in a music festival somewhere along the way?
Here’s our top picks for 2016!
Hideout | Island of Pag, Croatia
Cost: £153 (weekend pass)
Date: 26th – 30th (note this festival lands on a Sunday-Thursday)
The Croatian isles are quickly overtaking Ibiza as the number one beach clubbing destination, and Hideout is definitely one of the best.
Every year it seems more and more festivals are popping up across the country, and with drink and accommodation prices still really low, this is a student favourite.
This year you’ll be able to catch the likes of Jamie XX, Skepta and Julio Bashmore on the beachfront, as well as a ridiculous number of boat parties to choose from!
Benicassim | Barcelona, Spain
Cost: £70 (day pass) £100 (weekend)
Date: 14th – 17th July
Benicassim takes place in a coastal town (called Benicassim, surprisingly enough) between Barcelona and Valencia.
Although Barcelona is known for playing host to some of the best music festivals in Europe such as Sonar and Primavera, Benicassim is a really nice alternative for a more out-of-town festival experience.
Headliners this year include Muse, Major Lazer, Kendrick Lamar and the Chemical Brothers, and you’re pretty much guaranteed blistering sunshine, which makes this one a sure-fire winner!
Also, this festival gets extra points for the cheap ticket prices! Although there are very few day passes left, an extra £30 and you’ll get a full 4-day weekend ticket plus camping pass for 8 days.
Dekmantel | Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Cost: €45 /£36 (day pass)
Date: 4th – 7th August
Just in its third year, Dekmantel is a relatively new festival, but with each year that passes is seems to be getting bigger and better (and the tickets selling out faster and faster!).
Set in the stunning Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam forest), you’re also just a short bus ride away from the centre of Amsterdam, where a whole load of additional night events will be taking place over the Dekmantel weekend.
These are ticketed separately, so if you find the day festival tickets have sold out, check for the night events too.
Which festivals have you got on the calendar this year? If you reckon we’ve missed any out that are worth mentioning – let us know in the comments below!
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