People in the United Kingdom are passionate about music. It’s the national obsession. And this obsession has helped to produce some of the world’s best, and most inventive, music.
Throughout the UK, you will find thousands of live music events each day – from pop, rock and dance to classical, metal and jazz. Even in the smallest towns you should find lots of events to enjoy.
For a truly unique experience, why not check out some traditional UK folk music? Get ready for fast-paced fiddles, pounding drums and beautiful vocals.
Music gigs and concerts
One of the best – and cheapest – ways to enjoy live music is to go to a gig. Music gigs are small concerts, held in a pub or small music venue. Most are free of charge or charge a small fee. Gigs are a great place to check out up-and-coming bands. Who knows, you might be watching the next Radiohead or Adele!
Bigger concerts for popular bands and classical music are usually held in purpose-built concert halls, football stadia or theatres. Your Students’ Union might host concerts too.
Have a look on noticeboards around your campus or read local papers to see what is on offer.
Music festivals are very popular in the UK. There are hundreds on offer across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Some take place in cities – others take place in the countryside in summer and offer camping.
Here are some of our favourites. Some festival tickets can be expensive, but there are hundreds of smaller events that are either free-of-charge or charge low fees. Have a look in your local newspaper to see what is on offer near you....
...or check out Music and arts festivals: The ultimate UK guide for even more!
Rock, dance, techno and pop
- BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend (location changes each year)
Radio 1 is one of the most popular radio stations in the UK. At this three-day party, you can see some of the biggest pop acts performing live. This event is free of charge, but tickets can be allocated fast so apply quickly!
Glastonbury, Somerset, England (June)
With an estimated crowd of 180,000 this is the big one. Set on a farm in the glorious Somerset countryside, you can listen to big-name rock and dance bands and discover weirdly wonderful new acts.
T in the Park, Kinross-shire, Scotland (July)
Close to the lochs, this weekend festival is a must for Scottish music fans.
Latitude, Suffolk, England (July)
This festival attracts more of a laid-back crowd, who come for the music as well as for the comedy and art.
Green Man, Brecon Beacons, Wales (August)
Located in the stunning Black Mountains, this intimate festival has a 10 year tradition of championing great music, good times and good causes.
Belsonic, Belfast, Northern Ireland (August)
With dance, techno and rock, this is a chance to discover Belfast as well as see your favourite acts.
Classical, folk and world music
Celtic Connections, Glasgow, Scotland (January–February)
A winter music festival featuring artists from around the globe alongside the best Scottish talent.
Celtic Fusion, Castlewellan, Northern Ireland (June)
Celebrate the passionate Celtic traditions of music, song and dance.
WOMAD, Wiltshire, England (July)
The World of Music, Arts and Dance festival is a unique chance to see the best musicians and artists from around the world.
Cambridge Folk Festival, Cambridge, England (July)
Hear the best traditional folk artists from the UK and Ireland. Bluegrass, gospel, cajun, zydeco, jazz, world, klezmer and a ceilidh are regular features.
BBC Proms, various locations (July–September)
Now in its 119th year, this is the world’s largest classical music festival, an eight week extravaganza of orchestras and performers.