Missed out on a Glastonbury festival ticket? Here are some alternatives | Money

If you missed out in the scrum for Glastonbury tickets – they sold out in half an hour last autumn – don’t despair, because you have another chance to bag a spot at Worthy Farm.

The festival’s official ticket resale – where tickets bought by people who now can’t attend/have changed their mind/haven’t paid what they owe are put back on sale – kicks off at 9am, Sunday 28 April, so make sure your phone, laptop or iPad is charged, and set an alarm (or two).

This year’s Glastonbury, taking place on 26-30 June, will be the first since 2017, and acts playing include the Killers, the Cure, Stormzy, Kylie Minogue and Miley Cyrus.

Nile Rodgers & Chic

Nile Rodgers & Chic will headline at Bestival this summer. Photograph: David Jensen/PA

But if you don’t manage to strike it lucky in tomorrow’s mad scramble, don’t be downcast. There are stacks of other festivals to choose from, including many cheaper options and a number of free events with surprisingly decent lineups.

Glastonbury prices triple in 20 years

Undoubtedly the year’s hottest festival ticket, Glastonbury always sells out in a flash, boasts a vast and raises millions for good causes – but it’s not cheap. This time, general admission tickets cost £248 each (plus £5 booking fee) – up from £238 in 2017, and £228 in 2016.

Back in 1999 the cost was £83. That 1999 wasn’t too shabby either: REM, Manic Street Preachers, Fatboy Slim, Hole, Blondie, Al Green …

But the truth is that Glastonbury could probably charge a lot more than it does. And those attending this year will get much more for their money than a few years ago.

Britain’s most expensive music festival?

Tickets to this year’s House festival, at Kenwood House in Hampstead, north London, cost £250 each, plus fees. However, that hefty price-tag didn’t stop them selling out in double-quick time, even though it only runs from 2pm until 11pm on one day, Thursday 4 July. And they haven’t even announced any of the acts yet. Organised by Soho House, the event usually boasts a strong pop lineup: acts playing last year included Nile Rodgers & Chic. And the price includes as much luxury food and booze as you can manage – at the 2018 event, guests chowed down on 4,500 lobsters.

Lana del Rey

Lana del Rey joins the line-up at Latitude this year. Photograph: Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images

Alternatives to Latitude

Noel Gallagher memorably described Latitude in Suffolk as a “Guardian readers’ rally”, and while they will certainly feel at home there, it’s one of the pricier events: this year, tickets broke through the £200 barrier for the first time. It takes place on 18-21 July, and an adult weekend ticket will set you back £202.50 plus fees – up from £197.50 last year. If that sounds steep, and/or this year’s acts – George Ezra, Snow Patrol and Lana Del Rey are the headliners – don’t appeal, there are cheaper alternatives.

For example, that same weekend (19-21 July), Sheffield’s Hillsborough Park plays host to Tramlines, which at the time of writing was charging just £75.50 plus fees for a three-day weekend ticket. The organisers claim “there’s not a better-value three-day festival in the country”, and it’s a strong – acts include Nile Rodgers & Chic, Two Door Cinema Club, Manic Street Preachers, Johnny Marr and Doves. There’s no on-site camping at Tramlines, so strictly speaking it’s not a fair comparison, but there are plenty of budget hotel/Airbnb/camping options in the city.

Alternatively, Truck festival in Oxfordshire on 26-28 July was at the time of writing charging £120 plus fees for a weekend ticket. Bands playing include Foals, Wolf Alice, Two Door Cinema Club, Kate Nash and Johnny Marr.

Fewer notes than last year

Some festivals are bucking inflation by keeping prices level or even slashing them. For example, the Isle of Wight festival is this year charging £175 plus fees for an adult weekend ticket – down from £209 last year. It runs from 13-16 June and the headliners are Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, George Ezra and Biffy Clyro.

The cheap and the free

If money is tight, there are many events that will set you back very little – or even nothing at all.

Liverpool International Music festival (LIMF) is charging just £6 a day to see acts including Maverick Sabre, De La Soul, Sigma and Ella Eyre. LIMF takes place in Sefton Park on 20-21 July and used to be free. That is the early bird price including booking fee – on 31 May it rises to £11 (and there are also VIP options).

Coventry Godiva festival in War Memorial Park claims to be “the UK’s biggest free family music festival” – last year it attracted crowds of 115,000 over the three days. This year it’s on 5-7 July, and acts announced so far include the Levellers and Busted.

Dancing to Barry Gibb at Glastonbury 2017.

Dancing to Barry Gibb at Glastonbury 2017. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Other big free events include:

Walthamstow Garden Party in Lloyd Park, north-east London, on 13-14 July.

Dartford Festival in Central Park on 13-14 July, where acts will include the Lightning Seeds, The Farm, Bjorn Again and the James Taylor Quartet.

Festival Too, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, 29-30 June, 5-6 and 12-13 July.

Top ticket-buying tips

Many of the leading festivals offer payment plans, allowing people to spread the cost over several months.

And if you are not wedded to a particular event, there will almost certainly be some special offers and other deals as we get nearer to summer.

At the moment, Gig in the Goil, a boutique festival taking place on the Drimsynie Estate in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, from 17 to 19 May, is running a “12 tickets for the price of 10” deal, while London’s Field Day on 7-8 June was running a “four tickets for the price of two” promotion over Easter.

Monitor the websites of the main ticketing companies such as Ticketmaster, check out the festival online forums and keep a lookout for offer emails.

Keeping the festival fields green

If you’re heading off to a festival this summer, green campaigners say the aim of the game is to leave no trace that you were ever there.

So only bring things with you that you can take home afterwards, use the recycling bins correctly, avoid single-use plastic, and bring or buy a reusable water bottle.


Glastonbury has banned single-use plastic bottles from the site this year. Photograph: Carl de Souza/Rex

At the end of last year’s UK festival season, photos and footage emerged showing thousands of abandoned tents and piles of rubbish at some sites.

Many festivals are taking action to try to change people’s behaviour. For the first time, single-use plastic drinks bottles won’t be available to buy at this year’s Glastonbury (more than one million plastic bottles were sold at the 2017 event), and there will be fewer camping equipment stores on site than in the past. Glastonbury’s “what not to bring” list includes gazebos (“an awful lot of them get left behind”), non-biodegradable body glitter and disposable wipes.

One in four people leave their tent behind at the end of a festival, according to a Netherlands-based company called KarTent, which specialises in temporary festival tents made out of recyclable cardboard that is apparently resistant to water. It has partnered with a number of festivals across Europe, and can also deliver them to people’s homes – if you are in the UK, the cost is €54.95 plus €58.08 shipping – though the firm says that because the tent is quite big, “it’s not that easy to take it to a festival yourself”.

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