Best Festivals on a Low Budget

Best festivals for any budget: Budget

Don't want to splash cash this summer, but still wanna party like it's going out of fashion? Here's some ideas

Whether you’re flash with cash or counting the pennies, there’s a festival for you somewhere in this world. Charlotte Runcie sums up the best festivals for every budget, starting here with Best Low Budget Festivals. So if you're trying to keep the overdraft in check, or saving for something bigger next year, here's some ideas for how to festival up a storm this summer without spending a too much …

Also check out: Best Festivals on a Mid-range budget / Best Festivals on a Big Budget

How the Light Gets In / Hay Festival
Where: Hay-on-Wye, Powys
When: Thu 21--Sun 31 May
How much: individual ticket prices vary
The Hay Festival transforms the Welsh borders town of Hay-on-Wye into a star-studded, genteel riot of ideas. This year you can catch Stephen Fry, Germaine Greer, Kazuo Ishiguro and Jacqueline Wilson talking all things books. How the Light Gets In is Hay's upstart neighbour, a ‘philosophy and music’ festival that takes place in the same town at the same time: like a Hay fringe. Visit both for a healthy mix of literary elites and up-and-comers.,

Eden Festival
Where: Raehills Meadows, Dumfries
When: Thu 11--Sun 14 Jun
How much: weekend tickets £99 or £115 on the gate
Performers include Grandmaster Flash and Ms Dynamite; elsewhere, there’s a kids' arena, circus tent, drive-in cinema and ‘Indian wedding marquees filled with hammocks, bath tubs and chai cafes’. Why don’t Scottish weddings feature hammocks and bath tubs? That’s the real issue here.

Kelburn Garden Party
Where: Kelburn Castle, near Largs
When: Fri 3--Sat 5 Jul
How much: weekend tickets £89--£99
Taking over the grounds and glen of a 13th-century castle famously covered in graffiti for an international art project, Kelburn Garden Party is an independent-spirited festival, defiantly free from corporate interference. The line-up represents a range of local music, so expect your mind to be blown by a mix of jazz, dubstep, and gypsy folk. Proper tea and coffee are on hand to help you regain your senses afterwards.

Where: East Kirkcarswell, near Dundrennan
When: Fri 24 & Sat 25 Jul
How much: weekend tickets around £110
The highest quality line-up you’re likely to get for your money in 2015: Tom Odell! The Waterboys! The Errors! John Cooper Clarke! Even Squeeze and Lulu are making the trip to Dundrennan! There’s the burning of a giant wicker man on the Saturday night, of course, just to freak you out. Try not to think about the ending of the film while you’re jiving away to Lulu’s greatest hits.

Tartan Heart
Where: Belladrum Estate near Inverness
When: Thu 6--Sat 8 Aug
How much: £110
With a family-friendly reputation (children under 12 go free), Tartan Heart is an inclusive little summer festival gem. Headliners are Kaiser Chiefs, the Proclaimers and Eddi Reader.

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival

This favourite of the Scottish music festival scene is back with, as well as the music, a family-friendly atmosphere, theatre and spoken word events, ceilidhs, arts and crafts workshops and fancy dress. 2018's lineup features Amy MacDonald, Frightened Rabbit, Craig Charles, The LaFontaines, Lucy Spraggan, Tide Lines…

Belladrum, Inverness

Thu 2 Aug 2018

£16.20–£155.49 (£77.75–£101.17; Children £0–£9.72)

Fri 3 Aug 2018

£16.20–£155.49 (£77.75–£101.17; Children £0–£9.72)

Sat 4 Aug 2018

£16.20–£155.49 (£77.75–£101.17; Children £0–£9.72)


A giant festival of philosophy and music, with live concerts, discussions, talks, breakfasts and all forms of rumination, punditry and talking head (but not Talking Heads, who remain broken up.) Guests have included Natalie Bennett, Roger Scruton, Ken Livingstone, Diane Abbott, and hundreds of others.

Globe at Hay, Hay-on-Wye

Fri 25 May 2018

Prices vary / 01497 821762

  • 19:00

Sat 26 May 2018

Prices vary / 01497 821762

  • 19:00

Sun 27 May 2018

Prices vary / 01497 821762

  • 19:00
…and 7 more dates until 3 Jun 2018

Kelburn Garden Party

Kelburn Castle provides the fairytale setting for this eccentric music festival. The graffiti project for which Kelburn is known is just one of the items of hand-made décor, art and lighting that make the event a feast for all the senses. Six stages and various pop-up nooks host the musical programme – an eclectic mix of…

Kelburn Castle and Country Centre, Largs

Fri 29 Jun 2018

Times & prices vary / 01475 568685

Sat 30 Jun 2018

Times & prices vary / 01475 568685

Sun 1 Jul 2018

Times & prices vary / 01475 568685

Mon 2 Jul 2018

Times & prices vary / 01475 568685

The Wickerman Festival

The Wickerman festival is quite probably the world’s only family-friendly music event inspired by a cult horror film about human sacrifice. Located in the prime Wicker Man territory of Dundrennan in Dumfries & Galloway, the festival’s unique selling point is its annual climactic burning of a bespoke wicker man (sans a…

Hay Festival

Internationally renowned writers come together for a 10-day event to share ideas, and enjoy stories, music, film and more with the arts loving public.