The capital hosts exciting and eclectic music festivals all year round, featuring some of the biggest names in music, and showcasing up-and-coming talent.
Big Summer Music Festivals
Come summer, London is awash with music festivals, and stages pop up all over the city.
Barclaycard presents British Summer Time
Held over two weekends in the summer, Barclaycard presents British Summer Time brings a stellar line-up of international artists to Hyde Park. Past headliners have included the Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Arcade Fire, Blur and Florence and the Machine. If you can't get a ticket, come for the free events during Open House, in the week between performances, and enjoy open-air film screenings, street food and entertainment.
Head to Victoria Park in East London for a two-day celebration of dance, hip-hop and pop music. Lovebox festival was founded by British electronic music duo Groove Armada in 2002, and has since seen music stars such as Duran Duran, Goldfrapp, Ed Sheeran and Snoop Dogg walking its many open-air and tented stages.
Join revellers at Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park for three days of big music hits. Past editions have seen celebrity headliners such as Depeche Mode, Jay Z, The Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake and Rihanna.
Capital FM’s Summertime Ball
Listen to the best of international pop music scene at Capital FM’s Summertime Ball at Wembley Stadium. Promoted and broadcast by Capital FM, the festival’s past editions have featured performances by Craig David, Calvin Harris and One Direction.
For one night only Victoria Park transforms into a spectacular stage as Citadel Festival gathers indie stars such as Bombay Bicycle Club, Ben Howard and Sigur Rós. Also, catch talks by an eclectic array of speakers throughout the day, try croquet or yoga at special workout workshops, and refuel at the many street food stalls.
South West Four
Catch the best of the world’s electronic music scene at South West Four in Clapham Common. For one summer weekend some of the world’s top DJs perform across five stages; past editions have boasted big names such as Alesso, Deadmau5 and Loco Dice.
Head to the Southbank Centre and enjoy a week-long arts and music celebration along the Thames. Meltdown Festival is curated every year by top music artists, who create fresh programmes and line-ups. Past festival curators have included M.I.A, Patti Smith, Yoko Ono, David Bowie and David Byrne.
Join London's cool kids for the popular Field Day music festival in Victoria Park. Listen to a mix of independent and mainstream artists as they perform across various stages, including the spectacular The Barn, a giant hangar-like structure with top-notch acoustics. Village Mentality’s village fete features fun entertainment and games such as sack races, and egg and spoon races.
Open Air Music Festivals
Catch one of these wonderful music festivals in magical London locations, from parks to royal palaces.
Kew the Music
Enter the magical haven of Kew Gardens as Kew the Music festival brings international indie, pop and house music artists to the open-air stage. Bring your own picnic and blanket and soak up the atmosphere.
Greenwich Music Time
See some international musical legends on the background of the magnificent Old Royal Naval College, overlooking the river Thames, with the Greenwich Music Time festival. Past performers have included Seal, David Gray and Little Mix. An inviting street food market will make sure you get your fix of pulled pork, pizza and tacos.
Hampton Court Palace Festival
Be amazed by some fabulous summer nights of music at Hampton Court Palace Festival. Music stars such as Elton John, Andrea Bocelli, Van Morrison and Buena Vista Social Club have all performed in the royal palace’s stunning courtyards. Enjoy a picnic or tuck into some street food in the East Front Gardens before the show starts.
Summer Series at Somerset House
The splendid Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court at Somerset House plays host every year to an exciting line-up of artists, right in the centre of the city, for Summer Series. Past years have seen Amy Winehouse, Adele, Sam Smith and Everything Everything step on the festival’s stage.
Free Music Festivals
Summer Festival at Alexandra Palace
Expect a giant water slide, a silent disco, open-air DJ sets and film screenings, plus world, indie and brass live music performances as the Summer Festival returns to Alexandra Palace. Entrance is free, but advance booking is recommended for activities.
Walthamstow Garden Party
Celebrate Waltham Forest’s creative community with Walthamstow Garden Party, a free festival of music, theatre, crafts and family activities run by the Barbican and Create London. Gigs, film screenings and performances showcase the area’s local talent over two fun-filled days.
Crystal Palace Overground Festival
Enjoy great food, music and arts as the Crystal Palace Overground Festival returns to Crystal Palace Park with an array on exciting free entertainment. This family-friendly feast showcases South London's local artists and musicians, as well as arts and crafts from all over the world.
London Bridge City Summer Festival
Enjoy free theatre, film screenings, street food and music in an al fresco setting at the summer-long London Bridge City Summer Festival. An eclectic music programme featuring London songwriters, singers and rock bands will keep you entertained as you soak up amazing views of Tower Bridge.
Jazz, Blues and Classical Music Festivals
Be dazzled by the greatest classical music festival in the world as the BBC Proms bring amazing concerts to the Royal Albert Hall and other venues in the capital. Enjoy two months of brilliant performances at affordable prices, and don’t miss the BBC Proms in the Park’s grand finale in Hyde Park.
EFG London Jazz Festival
Enjoy up-and-coming artists and world-class musicians as the EFG London Jazz Festival takes over London with a host of concerts scattered around the city. International jazz stars such as Paolo Conte Abdullah Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela have featured in the latest editions, alongside Harlem Gospel Choir.
Boogie on down to some of the biggest names in blues, rock and soul music at Bluesfest. A three-day festival held at London’s iconic The O2 Arena, Bluesfest has seen Jamie Cullum, Tom Jones, Imelda May, Van Morrison and other legends walk its renowned stage.
Jazz in the House
Catch high-profile artists and concerts at Jazz in the House, an intimate festival running twice a year at Lauderdale House. The historic 16th-century manor house has hosted greats such as Jacqui Dankworth, Ian Shaw and Stacey Kent.
Small and Quirky Music Festivals
Discover emerging artists at Bushstock festival and enjoy one day of live music across various venues in Shepherd’s Bush. Catch the best up-and-coming talent on the international music scene, alongside big names such as Bastille, Hozier and George Ezra.
Lambeth Country Show
Get a taste of rural fun as the Lambeth Country Show returns to Brockwell Park. Catch horticultural shows and homegrown flower and vegetable competitions, and tuck into some delicious organic food while the best afro-beat, dub, reggae and folk live music performers keep you entertained.
Rediscover classic indie bands from the 80s and 90s with the Indie Daze festival at The O2 Forum in Kentish Town. Past editions featured artists such as James Atkin, Jim Bob, Gaye Bykers On Acid, PWEI and EMF.
London International SKA Festival
Discover the best of the capital’s SKA music scene with the London International SKA Festival. Happening across several London venues, the festival boasts big names in the industry, plus fringe events including film screenings and DJ sets.