Student festival guide 2018
Once the exams are finally done and dusted, 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, 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.
Best UK festivals 2017
Parklife | Manchester
Cost: £59.50 (day pass), £119 (weekend)
Date: 10th – 11th 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 10th – 11th of June features a top drawer line up with acts like Frank Ocean, Stormzy, London Grammar, Chaka Khan and The 1975.
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 and early birds are already sold out!
This year, you can also pay an additional £30 for a VIP upgrade (which includes access to an ‘Escape to New York' themed area that's invitation-only!).
Blissfields | Winchester
Cost: £20-65 (day pass, depending which day you go), £110 (weekend)
Date: 6th – 8th 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 Metronomy, DJ Yoda and The Cinematic Orchestra.
Wireless Festival | London
Cost: £55-62 (day pass), £110 (for Friday & Sunday only – Saturday tickets have now sold out!)
Date: 7th – 9th 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!
This year, Wireless will be hosting the sounds of Chance the Rapper, NAS, Skepta and The Weeknd, so Finsbury Park is set to off the hook this year!
For all you Wireless loyals out there, you can count on this being a packed out and guaranteed fun weekend in London.
Beautiful Days | Devon
Cost: £135 (full weekend camping only)
Date: 18th – 20th 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 Paul Heaton and Jaqui Abbot, Public Service Broadcasting, and of course – the Levellers themselves!
Nass Festival | Bristol
Cost: £119-139 (weekend ticket), £23-49 (day pass)
Date: 6th – 9th 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 Wu-Tang's Methodman and Redman, Pendulum and Kano – as well as appearances from some of the best pro BMXers and skateboarders.
LoveBox | London
Cost: around £72 (day pass) or £126 (weekend)
Date: 14th – 15th 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 Solange, Chase and Status, Jamie XX and Frank Ocean.
Looks like it's set to be a big one, so much so that Friday tickets have already sold out!
Download | Derby
Cost: £170 (weekend day ticket), £195-205 (weekend camping), £75 (day pass)
Date: 9th – 11th 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 2017 is definitely no exception.
With System of a Down, Biffy Clyro, Aerosmith 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!
AND they've got Prophets of Rage playing the festival – with involves members of Rage Against the Machine, Cypress Hill, Public Enemy and Audioslave all in one insane on-stage package. We can't believe it either!
Bestival | Lulworth Estate, Dorset
Cost: £170 (student weekender)
Date: 7th – 10th Septemeber
Bestival, is a confirmed unmissable date in the UK festival calendar, and its lineup never fails to get us excited.
This year, organisers (which includes the festival founder, radio DJ Rob da Bank) have decided to relocate the festival from the Isle of Wight to Dorset.
Lulworth Estate is the same location that festival runs Camp Bestival in July, so although it's a new location for the festival itself, the estate has been used by organisers before.
If you've been to Bestival before, this is likely to come as a relief since getting there and back from the festival is the normally pretty testing (particularly with a raging hangover!).
Bestival also offer a weekly payment plan, where you can sign up to pay for you tickets for £10/week instead of the full wack in a oner.
Field Day | London
Cost: £65.50 (day pass)
Date: 3rd June
This year, Field Day is only running for one day – Saturday 3rd June – instead of a full weekend. It's a shame they've downsized the event a bit, and tickets have gone up by a tenner this year, but the line-up is definitely worth the extra cash.
This year, you'll be able to catch your usual insanely eclectic mix of acts at Victoria Park this year, such as the likes of Aphex Twin, Abra, Moodyman, Nina Kravitz, Flying Lotus and a big of Arab Strap too!
Guess we forgive you, Field Day… kinda.
Boardmasters | Newquay
Cost: £159-169 (weekend camping), £59 (day ticket)
Date: 9th – 13th 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 Alt-J, Two Door Cinema Club and Stormzy.
Snap your tickets up now, and cross your fingers for some sunshine!
Shambala | Northampton
Cost: £179 (weekend pass)
Date: 24th – 27th 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 (minus the mainstream headliners) 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. Music-wise you'll be able to catch acts like Matuki, The breaths and Msafiri Zawose over the weekend.
Extra bonus points for being an award-winning ‘green' festival!
Reading and Leeds
Cost: £65 (day pass), £205 (weekend camping pass)
Date: 25th – 27th 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 Kasabian, Muse, Major Lazer, You Me At Six and Fatboy Slim.
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 2017!
Hideout | Zcre Beach, Croatia
Date: 26th – 30th (note this festival lands on a Monday-Friday)
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 Major Lazer, Diplo and Stormzy on the beachfront, as well as a ridiculous number of boat parties to choose from!
Benicassim | Barcelona, Spain
Cost: €50-65 (day pass), €130 (weekend without camping), €149 (weekend camping)
Date: 13th – 16th 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 the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Deadmau5, Kasabian and the Weeknd, 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: 2nd – 6th August
Just in its forth year now, 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.
Tickets for actual festival are pretty much sold out now, but the event has been such a success that there are multiple fringe events happening that are ticketed separately (and cost around €18), so if you find the day festival tickets have sold out, check for these 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!