Find and enjoy live music for free (part 1)
Time for some new inspiration from our Things To Do in Britain When You’re Broke series, and today we’re looking at a few ideas for finding free live music to enjoy. This is not an exhaustive list, so please feel free to add your own tips and ideas.
Free rock and pop gigs (small bands)
If you want to watch up and coming bands then most towns have pubs or small clubs where you can see new or local bands playing for free. That might be earlier in the week, usually Monday or Tuesday, or maybe at Sunday jam sessions where all kinds of people join in.
Check local entertainment listings and also visit sites such as allgigs, list.co.uk and TimeOut London. You might be surprised by how many free events you can find…
Free live music by better known bands
Many local councils fund activity days and day festivals where there’s live music as part of the entertainment. Find your nearest council site and check what’s on near you.
You can also find promotional gigs in record shops, bookshops, and clothing brand shops, and it helps to get yourself on a few mailing lists and following your favourite artists on social media.
They sometimes need live audiences for radio shows and TV show recordings (music shows, chat shows and magazine shows), and you can find free tickets for those in our previous article . There may also be competitions or draws for radio and TV events where you get free entry to outdoor shows or recording studios.
Free national music events
The Our Big Gig series of free concerts and community events takes place between the 10th and 12th of July at multiple locations around England. It’s organised by not for profit arts organisation Superact, with funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government, Arts Council England and the National Lottery.
Music Day is an annual celebration of free music which started in France and it now takes place worldwide in midsummer. A variety of free gigs will be held in the UK on the 21st of June, and last year these were mainly hosted in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
The much more well known Apple Music Festival (used to be iTunes festival) is several nights of live gigs in September in London, with a lottery system for the free tickets. If you can’t be there in person these events are all streamed live so you can watch them anywhere in the world.
Be a superfan
The more closely you follow a band, the more likely you are to find free gigs. Join official mailing lists and unofficial fan forums for news and tips. Some famous bands have been known to play smaller clubs under fake names known only to their closest fans, for example.
Stay tuned for another article in a few weeks about finding even more types of free live music. Do you have any more tips of your own for finding free gigs?