Student festival guide 2019
Music festivals are the ultimate summer experience, but they're not known for being student budget-friendly. We review this year's hottest festivals, with one eye on cost...
With so many festivals taking place across the UK and Europe, it's getting trickier every year to decide which ones to go to – and more importantly, which ones you can actually afford.
No music festival is going to be cheap, but if the line-up features lots of your favourite artists, they can be cheaper than going to lots of individual gigs.
Plus, some festivals offer once in a lifetime experiences that are worth the money. Remember, the artists themselves are only part of the full package: the atmosphere, food, surroundings and other activities are all things to take into account.
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. However, we have included booking fees so you don't get any nasty surprises when you get to the checkout.
Top 20 UK festivals 2019
Parklife – Heaton Park, Manchester
Date: 8th – 9th June
Headliners: Cardi B, Solange, George Ezra, The Streets
Cost: £125 (weekend pass), £69.50 (day pass)
Manchester's favourite music festival is, unsurprisingly, also a favourite with the city's massive student population.
The weekend features a top drawer line-up with acts like Major Lazer, Disclosure and Chase & Status alongside the big headliners.
Get buying those tickets ASAP – standard weekend passes and Saturday day passes are already sold out!
You can also pay an additional £50 for a VIP upgrade (which includes access to 'The VIP Colonnade', an exclusive backstage garden!).
Latitude – Henham Park, Southwold
Date: 18th – 21st July
Headliners: George Ezra, Snow Patrol, Lana Del Rey
Cost: £218.70 (weekend pass), £84.50 (day pass)
Latitude is one of the pricier festivals out there, but it wasn't awarded Best Major Festival in 2017 for nothing.
This year the line-up boasts some huge comedy headliners too: Jason Manford and Michelle Wolfe!
It's a great all-rounder festival, where you can get back to nature by camping and lake swimming before dancing to DJs until the early hours.
Oh, and there's also pink sheep.
Wireless – Finsbury Park, London
Date: 5th – 7th July
Headliners: Cardi B, Migos and Tory Lanez
Cost: SOLD OUT
We're still in a bit of a grump with Wireless for cutting the Birmingham leg of the festival, making it a London-only affair.
But it's still one of the most popular festivals in the UK, evident in the fact that tickets have already sold out!
This year, Wireless will be hosting the sounds of grime, hip-hop, rap and R&B in North London's Finsbury Park.
This isn't a camping festival, so you'll have to factor in the price of London accommodation for this one.
Lovebox - Gunnersbury Park, London
Date: 12th - 13th July
Headliners: Chance the Rapper and Solange
Cost: £131.26 (weekend pass), £65.25 (Friday pass), £76.25 (Saturday pass)
Another big festival in London, Lovebox has moved from Victoria Park and will be held in glorious Gunnersbury Park.
Originally the vision of electronic duo Groove Armada, Lovebox boasts a brilliant line-up every year, this time featuring Four Tet, Brockhampton and Annie Mac along with the above headliners.
It looks like it's set to be a big one, so make sure to grab those tickets quick!
Citadel – Gunnersbury Park, London
Date: 14th July
Headliners: Catfish and the Bottlemen and Bastille
Citadel is Lovebox's twin sister – it takes place in the same location the day after but has more of an indie vibe!
You can also expect to see Bear's Den and Friendly Fires on top of the main headliners.
Like LoveBox, Citadel is a one-day festival sans campsite, so remember to add accommodation to your list of expenses (or ask a mate if you can sleep on their floor!).
Download – Donington Park, Derby
Date: 14th – 16th June
Headliners: Slipknot, Tool, Def Leppard
Cost: £226.80 (weekend day ticket), £226.0 - £237.60 (weekend camping), £88.45 - £102.60 (day pass TBA)
Download is the UK festival for rock, metal and punk lovers.
For the last 14 years, Download has been bringing the biggest and loudest names in rock to Leicestershire, and 2019 is definitely no exception.
With Die Antwoord, Slash and Smashing Pumpkins all appearing this year, it's set to be a big one and guaranteed to leave a ringing in your ears for a good while afterwards.
This year will also see the return of the WWE NXT wrestling tent featuring Pete Dunne, Toni Storm and Tyler Bate and many more.
Reading and Leeds - Richfield Avenue & Bramham Park
Date: 23rd – 25th August
Headliners: The 1975, Post Malone, Twenty One Pilots, Foo Fighters
Cost: £221.40 (weekend camping pass), £76.50 (day pass)
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-focused, but over the years they've become a bit more open to mainstream hip hop and dance music (causing a bit of controversy among loyal fans).
This year's eclectic line-up features everything from Chvrches, Bastille, Octavia, Mura Masa, Bowling for Soup, Charli XCX and much more.
Camp Bestival – Lulworth Estate, Dorset
Date: 25th – 28th August
Headliners: Jess Glynn, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Annie Mac, The Human League
Cost: £175 (student weekend pass)
Camp Bestival, Bestival's little sister, is a confirmed unmissable date in the UK festival calendar, and its line-up never fails to get us excited.
Although the festival used to take place on the Isle of Wight, it has now been relocated to the Lulworth Estate in Dorset.
This year the stonking line-up features Nina Nesbitt, Vengaboys, Sister Sledge and so much more.
It is unclear whether or not Bestival will take place in 2019 since the festival went into administration last September. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming announcements!
Creamfields – Daresbury Estate, Cheshire
Date: 22nd – 25th August
Headliners: Calvin Harris, BICEP, deadmau5, Fat Boy Slim
Cost: £85 – £175 (non-camping passes), £185 – £230 (camping passes ranging from two to four days)
Creamfields is a raver's paradise, with some of the biggest DJs in the business making appearances every year.
The line-up is absolutely huge, and basically reads as an A to Z of the industry.
Tickets are on the upper end of the price scale, but they do offer payment plans to help you spread out the cost.
Plus, like most major festivals these days, they offer boutique camping in the form of Dreamfields. Grab your tickets quickly, Saturday and Sunday day passes have almost completely sold out!
Victorious – Southsea Seafront, Portsmouth
Date: 23rd – 25th August
Headliners: Two Door Cinema Club, Rudimental, New Order
Cost: £33 – £49.50 (day passes), £104.50 (weekend pass)
This one is for the indie fans out there, with a brilliant big-name line-up considering this is still a relatively little known festival.
Since there are so many big acts, it's also a pretty cost-effective option too, although you'll need to pay extra for off-site camping.
Their Castle Stage is situated in front of the stunning Southsea Castle, making this one of the most picturesque festivals around.
Isle of Wight Festival – Newport
Date: 13th – 16th June
Headliners: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, George Ezra, Biffy Clyro
Cost: £186.90 (student weekend pass), £69.80 – £80.50 (day passes)
Situated just off the South coast (not far from Portsmouth and Bournemouth), the Isle of Wight might be a slightly trickier destination to get to, but it's well worth the trip for such an amazing line-up.
As well as the main headliners, you can also look forward to Lily Allen, Anne Marie, Sigrid and Bastille.
Mighty Hoopla – Brockwell Park
Date: 8th June
Headliners: Chaka Khan, All Saints, The Artful Dodger
The pop-tastic Mighty Hoopla is back again this year in Brockwell Park, celebrating all things glitz and glam!
Headlined last year by Lily Allen, this year's set is expected to be just as fabulous, with the likes of Fearne Cotton and Gok Wan hanging around the VIP tent!
We Are FSTVL – Upminster, London
Date: 25th – 27th May
Headliners: Cuttin' Headz, Glitterbox, Chase & Status, Love Juice
Cost: £187.28 (weekend pass), £81.15 (day pass)
One of the best EDM festivals around, We Are FSTVL always guarantees a stellar line-up, big beats and jewels – lots of jewels.
It takes places on the Airfield of Dreams (a.k.a. Damyn's Hall Aerodrome) in London, and unlike a lot of festivals in the capital, you can get the full camping experience.
TRNSMT Festival – Glasgow Green, Glasgow
Date: 12th - 14th July
Headliners: Stormzy, Example, Catfish and the Bottlemen
Cost: £164.95 (weekend pass), £114.95 (two-day pass), £65.45 – £70.95 (day passes)
TRNSMT festival started life as a replacement to T in the Park, but has grown into a hugely popular festival in its own right.
It's spread out over a weekend, right slap in the centre of Glasgow, designed for you to spend time exploring the city as well as enjoying the festival.
Just make sure to check that all the artists you want to see are playing on the same weekend.
Field Day – Meridian Water, London
Date: 7th - 8th June
Headliners: Skepta and Jorja Smith
Cost: £85.25 (weekend pass), £44.50 – £52.25 (day pass)
Field Day is back, and it's bigger and better than ever. It's moved from South London's Brockwell Park to Meridian Water in Edmonton, but it's still a two-day bash!
You'll be able to catch your usual insanely eclectic mix of acts, including Bonobo, The Black Madonna and DJ Seinfeld. Have a read of what we thought of it!
Boomtown – Matterley Estate, Winchester
Date: 7th – 12th August
Headliners: Lauryn Hill, Prophets of Rage, The Streets
Cost: £251.50 – £271.50 (festival entry and Boomtown Springs camping)
It's chapter 11 of this completely unique and bonkers festival, and it's titled A Radical City.
The festival is basically a whole city in itself, with locations including the Town Centre, Old Town, Paradise Heights and Copper Country. If you're looking for a festival that's going to make your Instagram pop, this is the one to go for.
Although Boomtown is about so much more than the music, they do have an impressive line-up set to perform this year.
Green Man – Brecon Beacons, Wales
Date: 16th - 19th August
Headliners: Four Tet, Father John Misty, Eels, Sharon Van Etten, Yo La Tengo, Stereolab
Cost: £170.75 (student weekend pass)
If you fancy a more chilled and laid back vibe, then Green Man might be more up your street.
This folk festival takes place against a backdrop of stunning Welsh mountains, with less beats and more acoustic guitars
Boardmasters – Newquay, Cornwall
Date: 8th – 12th August
Headliners: Wu-Tang Clan, Florence + The Machine, Foals
Cost: £197.90 (weekend camping), £182.00 (weekend without camping), £74 (day ticket)
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.
Snap your tickets up now, and cross your fingers for some sunshine!
NASS Festival – Shepton Mallet, Bristol
Date: 11th – 14th July
Headliners: Giggs, Rudimental, Cypress Hill, Loyle Carner
Cost: £182 (weekend ticket), £74 (day pass)
NASS in Bristol is one for all the adrenaline-junky skateboarders and BMXers out there.
Whether you want to take part in the action or 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 some pretty big names – as well as appearances from some of the best pro BMXers and skateboarders.
Shambala – Secret Location, Northampton
Date: 22nd – 25th August
Headliners: Smiley & the Underclass, Night, Smerins Anti-Social Club
Cost: £190.95 (express weekend ticket)
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.
This laid back, intimate festival is all about creativity and participation – from yoga to flash mobs, theatre troupes and cabaret, this festival is more than just music.
They're also one of the most eco-friendly festivals around. They've already got rid of single-use plastics like cups and straws, and they're banning glitter too (unless it's environmentally friendly).
Music ranges from funk, soul, disco and reggae to drum and bass, so there's guaranteed to be something to suit your taste somewhere.
Hurry, only express tickets that must be purchased in conjunction with coach travel are left!
Beautiful Days – Escot Park, Devon
Date: 16th – 18th August
Headliners: Skunk Anasie, Ziggy Marley, Levellers, The Strangers
Cost: £142.50 (full weekend camping only)
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.
Although more acts are still to be announced, this year has already got some great headliners and of course – the Levellers themselves!
Fusion – Sefton Park, Liverpool
Date: 30th August – 1st September
Headliners: Kings of Leon, Rudimental, Little Mix
Cost: £59.95 (day pass), £102.95 (weekend pass)
Fusion is back in 2019 and in a brand spanking new location! After a very successful round last year which included the likes of David Guetta and Jess Glynn, Fusion will take place in Sefton Park this year. The new site is bigger than the previous location, which means more room for fun!
For its seventh year, alongside the headliners, you'll also be able to enjoy Franz Ferdinand, Clean Bandit, Anne Marie and Dizzee Rascal.
Best European music festivals
Here's our top picks for 2019!
Sziget – Óbuda Island, Budapest
Date: 7th - 13th August
Headliners: Foo Fights, Ed Sheeran, Florence + The Machine, Post Malone, The National, Martin Garrix, Twenty One Pilots
Cost: €329 (seven-day pass), €289 (five-day pass), €209 (three-day pass), €75 - €85 (day pass)
Sziget festival has got a huge reputation for being one of the best music festivals in the world – and you can see why.
It's bursting with world-class headliners, and along with the ones above you'll also get to see Franz Ferdinand, Tove Lo, Chvrches, James Blake and Years and Years to name just a few.
Compared to other festivals, the tickets are fairly inexpensive and Budapest itself is a super cheap location to stay in.
Hideout – Zrće Beach, Croatia
Date: 1st – 5th July (note this festival runs Monday – Friday)
Headliners: Alan Fitzpatrick, Andrea Oliva, Artwork, DJ BICEP
The Croatian isles are quickly overtaking Ibiza as the number one beach clubbing destination, and Hideout is becoming the hottest event.
With drink and accommodation prices really low in Croatia, this is a student favourite.
This year you'll be able to catch the big headliners on the beachfront, as well as a stellar line-up on a range of boat parties – what better way to enjoy a festival?
Benicassim – Spain
Date: 19th – 22nd July
Headliners: Kings of Leon, Lana Del Rey, Fatboy Slim, Vetusta Morla
Cost: €167.40 (four-day camping ticket)
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.
Along with the big headliners, the likes of Franz Ferdinand, The 1975, George Ezra, Jess Glynne and Kodaline will also be playing, and you're pretty much guaranteed blistering sunshine, which makes this one a sure-fire winner!
Benicassim is also much cheaper than some of the bigger, more well-known festivals, if you're looking to save some cash.
Dekmantel – Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Date: 31st July – 4th August
Headliners: Jeff Mills, Marcel Dettman, Ben UFO, Blawan, Motor City Drum Ensemble
Cost: €43 – €61 (day pass)
In just its sixth year now, Dekmantel is a relatively new festival, but with each year that passes it seems to be getting bigger and better (and the tickets are 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.
Only day tickets are left for the actual festival, but the event has been such a success that there are multiple fringe events happening that are ticketed separately (and cost around €18), so check for these too.
Primavera Sound – Parc Del Fòrum, Barcelona
Date: 30th May – 1st June
Headliners: Tame Impala, Janelle Monae, Cardi B, Solange, J Balvin, Rosalia, Future, Interpol, Erykah Badu
Cost: €195 - €215 (full festival pass), €85 (day passes)
One of the biggest indie festivals in the world, Primavera Sound puts on an impressive line-up year after year.
It's set in a sprawling waterfront complex, and there's a big emphasis on food – you'll be treated to pop-up restaurants, street food stalls and plenty of culinary delights.
It's on the more expensive side, but you will get to enjoy all the sights Barcelona has to offer while you're there.
Tomorrowland – Boom, Belgium
Date: 19th – 21st and 26th – 28th July
Headliners: The Chainsmokers, Armin van Buuren, Carl Cox, Martin Garrix, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Charlotte de Vitte, DJ Snake, A$AP Rocky
Cost: SOLD OUT
Tomorrowland is the biggest electronic music festival in the world – and it knows it.
The event is known to be of epic proportions, and its slogan "Live Today, Love Tomorrow, Unite Forever" gives you an idea of how momentous the experience is.
Tickets are difficult to get a hold of – they've been known to sell out in an hour, but you can join the waiting list for any that come available.
Tip: if you can't afford to buy a ticket to your dream festival, you could always go as a volunteer!