Thanks for all your comments on my blog entry about free activities and our Billericay Green Day. It strikes me that volunteering, as many of you mention, is a great way to occupy yourself if you have the free time. Not only is it free but it can also be really satisfying.
Part of my task this week in my ‘best things in life are free challenge’ is to find out about the free events that are going on, not just in my local area but nationwide. One of my neighbours is at Glastonbury with her husband and father. They are big fans and attend every year. I have also been twice myself in the past and loved it. My highlight was watching Rod Stewart and realising that the girl in the crowd next to me had stripped naked and was trying to get on the stage. Sadly her bid was unsuccessful.
But the rising price of the tickets, as well as my ‘love’ of camping have deterred me from going again, so instead I am making myself useful by looking after my neighbour’s pets while she’s away. The price of a standard ticket this year is £185 plus booking fee. The last time I attended it was only about £110. I’m not knocking Glastonbury. It’s a great festival and my friends are there most of the week so they will get their money’s worth, but it made me wonder if there are any good music events which cost nothing to attend.
Surprisingly, there are and some feature high profile acts as well as lesser known but intriguing sounding ones that might just prove more fun to see to than the same old bands we’ve followed for years:
– London-based charity Cultural Co-operation has been running a series of free music festivals for the past 27 years known as Music Village and this year is no exception. Events take place in Victoria Park on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 July and on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 July in Hyde Park. The festival features 60 London groups and soloists, including everything from Irish folk and Cuban timba to Transylvanian jazz-rock (sounds interesting!) and Romany violins.
– The Godiva Festival runs each year in Coventry at the War Memorial park and is free to attend. This year it’s on from 2-4 July and will showcase some of the best local, national and international music and comedy acts. There is also a carnival procession and many other activities for children and adults. Last year the festival won an award in the Heart of England Excellence in Tourism Awards.
– Tramlines is an urban music festival based in Sheffield City Centre in 50 venues and three outdoor stages. This year it runs from Friday July 23rd – Sunday July 25th 2010 and features Pixie Lott, Craig David and Echo and the Bunnymen among many other acts and events.
– Festival Too in West Norfolk is one of Europe’s biggest free music festivals and this year, among a number of different acts, features Lemar. Dates include Saturday 26th June, Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd July and Friday 9th and Saturday 10th July.
– Even our nearest big town Basildon is doing its bit for culture. Basfest is a free music festival featuring many local Essex music acts and runs from Sat 3 to Sun 4 July at Gloucester Park. Seventies band Heatwave and Eurovision’s Josh Dubovie – (who I’ve just realised is from Laindon and went to school in Billericay – good man!) are among the line-up and there are also stalls and other activities for adults and children.
– Monmouth Music Festival takes place on 10 nights from Friday 23rd July to Sunday 1st August and is absolutely free. Click on the website link above to find out more about the line-up which includes music from the Commitments film and the Hillman String Quartet.
– Enjoy open spaces with or without music? Then why not check out Love Parks Week and the free events happening in local parks and green spaces around the UK, run by parks charity GreenSpace.
So, if you’re stuck for something to do, and fancy a bit of a dance, why not try some of these events? You may have to pay for your transport and drinks, but it will probably still work out cheaper than a trip to the heaving fields of Somerset.
Have you been to any free music festivals or events? How did they compare with the likes of Glastonbury, Reading and other famous ticketed festivals? Leave a message and let me know.
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