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Student festival guide 2024

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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...

music festival logos in front of crowd

Credit: Monkey Business Images – Shutterstock

With so many festivals taking place in the UK, 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 correct at the time of writing, but are just for tickets and/or camping. They don't include travel to and from each festival and are subject to availability, and there could be extra booking fees (usually a few quid) on top of the ticket prices.

There are a whole host of ways to save money at festivals – it doesn't have to be a choice between fun and frugal.

Top 17 UK festivals 2024

Here are the best student festivals in summer 2024:

  1. Parklife – Heaton Park, Manchester

    Parklife 2024 logo

    • Dates – 8th – 9th June
    • Headliners – Doja Cat and Disclosure
    • Cost – £135 (weekend ticket), from £79.50 (one day ticket).

    Manchester's favourite music festival is, unsurprisingly, a favourite with the city's massive student population.

    The weekend usually features a top-drawer line-up with loads of acts alongside a few big headliners.

    You can also pay more for a weekend VIP upgrade. You can't camp at Parklife, so you also have to factor in accommodation in Manchester – there are tickets available that include hotel accommodation in the city centre though.

    See our review of Parklife for an idea of what to expect.

    Buy tickets »


  2. Latitude – Henham Park, Southwold

    Latitude 2024 logo

    • Dates – 25th – 28th July
    • Headliners – Duran Duran, Kasabian, Keane and London Grammar
    • Cost – £308 (weekend ticket with standard camping).

    Latitude is one of the pricier festivals out there, but the lineup normally justifies the dollar. The festival will boast big artists alongside its main headliners.

    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.

    Buy tickets »


  3. Wireless – Finsbury Park, London

    wireless festival logo

    • Dates – 12th – 14th July
    • Headliners – Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, J Hus and Doja Cat
    • Cost – From £258.25 (three-day ticket), from £175.50 (two-day ticket) or from £94.60 (one-day ticket).

    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.

    Wireless hosts the sounds of grime, hip-hop, rap and R&B in North London's Finsbury Park.

    Wireless isn't a camping festival, so you'll have to factor in the price of London accommodation for this one.

    Buy tickets »


  4. Reading and Leeds – Richfield Avenue and Bramham Park

    reading leeds logo

    • Dates – 23rd – 25th August
    • Headliners – Fred Again.., Lana Del Rey, Blink 182, Liam Gallagher, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Gerry Cinnamon and more
    • Cost – £325 (weekend ticket with camping), from £115 (one-day ticket).

    As two of the longest-running music festivals in the world, Reading and Leeds are something of an institution in the UK.

    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 more open to mainstream hip-hop and dance music (causing a bit of controversy among loyal fans).

    Buy tickets »


  5. Camp Bestival – Lulworth Castle, Dorset and Weston Park, Shropshire

    camp bestival logo

    • Dates – 25th – 28th July (Dorset) and 15th – 18th August (Shropshire)
    • Headliners – Paloma Faith, Orbital, McFly, Jake Shears, and The Darkness, plus Pete Tong and Sophie Ellis-Bexter (Dorset) and Faithless and Rick Astley (Shopshire)
    • Cost – £221 (weekend ticket with camping in Dorset), £199 (weekend ticket with camping in Shropshire).

    Camp Bestival, the little sister of Bestival (RIP), 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 Lulworth Castle in Dorset. And since 2022, they also have a version of the festival in Shropshire a few weeks after the Dorset event – keep in mind that the lineup is different though.

    Buy tickets »


  6. Creamfields – Daresbury Estate, Cheshire

    creamfields festival logo

    • Dates – 22nd – 25th August
    • Headliners – TBC
    • Cost – £290 (four-day camping ticket), £270 (three-day camping ticket), £240 (two-day camping ticket).

    Creamfields is a raver's paradise, with some of the biggest DJs in the business making appearances every year. The line-up is usually huge and basically reads like an A–Z of the industry.

    If you're looking for a fancier camping experience, you could consider the premium accommodation on their Dreamfields campsite.

    Buy tickets »


  7. Victorious – Southsea Seafront, Portsmouth

    victorious festival logo

    • Dates – 23rd – 25th August
    • Headliners – Fatboy Slim, Snow Patrol, Jamie T, Courteneers, Biffy Clyro and more
    • Cost – from £195 (weekend ticket with camping), from £70 (day ticket).

    This one is for the indie fans out there. It has a brilliant big-name line-up considering this is still a relatively little-known festival.

    As there are so many big acts, it's also a pretty cost-effective option too.

    Best of all, the Castle Stage is situated in front of the stunning Southsea Castle, making this one of the most picturesque festivals around.

    Buy tickets »


  8. Isle of Wight Festival – Newport

    Isle of Wight Festival 2024

    • Dates – 20th – 23rd June
    • Headliners – The Prodigy, Pet Shop Boys and Green Day
    • Cost – From £225.95 (student weekend pass).

    Situated just off the South Coast (not far from Portsmouth and Bournemouth), the Isle of Wight might not be the easiest destination for a lot of people 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 The Streets, Keane, Simple Minds, Zara Larsson and more.

    Buy tickets »


  9. Mighty Hoopla – Brockwell Park, London

    mighty hoopla logo

    • Date – 1st – 2nd June
    • Headliners – Nelly Furtado and Jessie Ware
    • Cost – At time of writing all Weekend and Saturday tickets sold out. Sunday tickets available at £69.50 (day ticket).

    Mighty Hoopla is back again this year in Brockwell Park, celebrating all things glitz and glam.

    The festival is spread over two days and the main headliners will be accompanied by the likes of Kim Petra, Rita Ora and more.

    Buy tickets »


  10. We Are FSTVL – Central Park (Dagenham), London

    we are fstvl logo

    • Dates – 25th – 26th May
    • Headliners – Eric Prydz and Chase & Status
    • Cost – £150 (weekend ticket), £85 (day ticket).

    One of the best EDM festivals around, We Are FSTVL always guarantees a stellar line-up.

    In previous years, there's been the option to camp at We Are FSTVL. However, they say on their website that there won't be camping at the 2024 event.

    Buy tickets »


  11. TRNSMT Festival – Glasgow Green, Glasgow

    Trnsmt 2024 logo

    • Dates – 12th – 14th July
    • Headliners – Liam Gallagher, Gerry Cinnamon and Calvin Harris
    • Cost – £279.80 (three-day pass), £204.80 (two-day pass), from £107.40 (one-day pass).

    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 bang in the centre of Glasgow, designed for you to spend time exploring the city as well as enjoying the festival.

    If you're going for a one-day pass, just make sure all the acts you want to see are playing on the same day.

    Buy tickets »


  12. Green Man – Brecon Beacons, Wales

    Green Man festival logo

    • Dates – 15th – 18th August
    • Headliners – TBC
    • Cost – SOLD OUT.

    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 fewer beats and more acoustic guitars. There are 10 different areas with something for everyone to enjoy, be it literature, comedy, science and/or Welsh beer.

    Buy tickets »


  13. Boardmasters – Newquay, Cornwall

    Boardmasters logo

    • Dates – 7th – 11th August
    • Headliners – Stormzy, Chase & Status and Becky Hill
    • Cost – £309 (Wednesday camping).

    If you're looking for some good old British beach fun (yes, this exists), then look no further than Boardmasters in Cornwall.

    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!

    Buy tickets »


  14. Shambala – Secret Location, Northamptonshire

    shambala festival logo

    • Dates – 22nd – 25th August
    • Headliners – TBC
    • Cost – From £297.45 (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 Northamptonshire.

    This laid-back and intimate festival is all about creativity and participation – from yoga to flash mobs, theatre troupes and cabaret, Shambala is more than just music.

    It's also one of the most eco-friendly festivals around. They've already got rid of single-use plastics like cups and straws. Plus, they don't allow glitter, encouraging you to use face paints or masks instead.

    Music ranges from funk, soul, disco and reggae to drum and bass, so there's guaranteed to be something to suit your taste somewhere.

    Buy tickets »


  15. Beautiful Days – Escot Park, Devon

    beautiful days festival logo

    • Dates – 16th – 18th August
    • Headliners – The Saw Doctors, Richard Ashcroft and Levellers
    • Cost – £190 (weekend ticket with camping).

    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.

    The festival site even has a Walkabout Theatre, family camping, real ale bars and Folk Sessions.

    Buy tickets »


  16. British Summer Time Hyde Park, London

    british summer time bst hyde park logo

    • Dates – 5th July, 6th July and 14th July
    • Headliners – Andrea Bocelli, Robbie Williams and Stray Kids
    • Cost – From £101.15 (day ticket).

    BST Hyde Park started back in 2013 and generally includes a line-up of international superstars and epic supporting acts.

    The festival is held over quite a few days, with various fantastic acts performing across different dates. If you're only going for one day, make sure you don't miss any of the acts you really want to see!

    Buy tickets »


  17. All Points East, Victoria Park, London

    all points east festival logo

    • Dates – 17th – 25th August
    • Headliners – Loyle Carner, LCD Soundsystem, Field Day, The Postal Service and Death Cab for Cutie
    • Cost – From £69.50 (one-day ticket).

    All Points East is also a London-based festival spread over multiple days. There are tons of free activities during the week, but if you want to see some of the headliners during the weekends, you'll have to get a ticket.

    Buy tickets »


Check TicketSwap if you're struggling to find tickets to your favourite festivals (and for last-minute bargains!).

How to reduce festival waste

Festivals are great fun, but did you know that they generate 25,800 tonnes of waste each year? From broken tents to single-use plastic cups, all of this waste causes a lot of harm to the environment.

Many festivals are already tackling some of these issues by banning glitter and getting rid of plastic cups, but there are things you can do to help.

Here are some tips to reduce waste when going to a festival:

  • Get a quality tent – Instead of buying a cheap tent that will likely break at the festival, try to get a quality one you can reuse instead. It's estimated that 250,000 tents are left at UK festivals every year – that's a lot of plastic going to landfills.
  • Wear pre-loved festival outfits – Rather than getting a brand-new outfit, see what you already have at home. Or check out your local charity shop for some pre-loved outfits.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle – This can help you cut down on all the single-use plastic cups you'll use. Just check the festival's website beforehand to make sure you're allowed to bring these with you.
  • Volunteer to clean up litter – One of the best summer jobs for students is to volunteer at a festival in exchange for free tickets. Picking up litter is a common voluntary role – good for the environment and your bank account.
  • Take everything home – Don't leave stuff at the festival. Bring everything home with you and try to recycle as much as possible. Things left at festivals likely won't be recycled and could end up in a landfill.

Don't forget to read our tips on how to save money at festivals before you go!

Jessica Murray

WRITTEN BY Jessica Murray

As an Editor of Save the Student, Jessica Murray has written extensively on student money news and money-saving tips. She was co-host of our podcast, No More Beans, and is now a journalist at the Guardian. Her tips and insights range from fun guides for freshers, to information for graduates entering the workplace.
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