No cost of living crisis is gonna stop this party! Radio Presenter and DJ Maria Hanlon shares 10 of the best free music events and experiences taking place this summer. From live performances to virtual festivals, we’ve got the season sorted…
BBC Music Introducing in London x Summer By The River
BBC Music Introducing in London presenter Jess Iszatt brings us the best emerging talent from the capital this summer. Every event is carefully curated by Jess and the BBC Music team, featuring three exciting up-and-coming artists. The events are taking place at The Scoop (London Bridge) and are free and unticketed, so just turn up and enjoy! The first event took place on Thursday 16th June and featured rising stars VC Pines, GRAMN. and GLOWE. The next event is happening on Thursday 14th July, so get the date in your diary!
BBC Music at Glastonbury
Glastonbury is back IRL this week for the first time since 2019! Thousands of music lovers will be (navigating train strikes) and heading to Somerset to see their favourite artists play. Although, if you’re not going, don’t worry – the BBC will be broadcasting over 35 hours of coverage across each of its TV channels from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th June. You’ll be able to watch the likes of Little Simz, TLC, Kendrick Lamar and even Diana Ross as she performs for the Sunday legends’ slot along with your favourite musician, all from the comfort of your home!
Notting Hill Carnival
One of the world’s biggest celebrations, Notting Hill Carnival, returns to the streets of west London this year (again, for the first time since 2019), to see the colourful world of Mas, Soca, Calypso, sound systems and so much more in real life. The carnival is completely free and there’s also a handy official Notting Hill Carnival app (also free) for you to use. The app has a GPS-tracked map showing all of the floats and their locations on the August Bank Holiday, plus maps showing all food vendors, toilets, transport links and sound systems. You can also post in-app to meet fellow carnival-goers and vote for your favourite band at Panorama. Notting Hill 2022 runs from Saturday 27th August until Monday 29th August.
International Busking Day
London’s largest celebration of street performers and artists is back at Wembley Park this summer. The Mayor of London backed the free all-day festival which takes place on Saturday 16th July 2022. The day showcases the hottest home-grown talent and world-class street performers with over 150 acts across 10 stages. This year, we’re looking forward to block party vibes with The Bridge’s classic all-in, hip hop jam, with dance, DJs, graffiti and more. Expect circus acts ‘n’ all! It’s totally free to attend, so get involved!
BEAM is a Voices Radio event co-curated by UD’s very own Jojo Jones and Maria Hanlon. BEAM’s mission is to shine a light on women, NB, GNC & trans DJs and takes place monthly at Hackney Bridge. Every BEAM event is free and hosts an impressive lineup of non-male DJs. There’s also food, drinks & a new outdoor space which is perfect for sitting in the sun whilst listening to the superb sounds of BEAM. The next BEAM event takes place this Saturday 25th June at Hackney Bridge. Come on down!
Streaming service Mixcloud lets you explore millions of radio shows, DJ mixes, playlists and podcasts made by passionate creators around the world for free! So whenever you’re looking for something to watch or listen to, simply head to mixcloud.com/live to catch some of the best live streams worldwide from wherever you are. You can also follow your favourite creators on the platform and be notified when they upload something new, so you’ll never run out of things to listen to or watch.
Voices Radio has just celebrated its 1st birthday and is quickly becoming one of London’s most popular radio stations. Voices Radio also curate events and takeovers, most of which are free. So far, Voices DJs have taken over Cafe 1001, Two Tribes Campfire and Hackney Bridge (to name a few) and are currently curating a brand new basement party, Sweetwater Lates at Sweetwater every Thursday, Friday and Saturday through summer. It’s free, so just turn up with your dancing shoes on! As well as all this – you can pop down to Voices Radio in Coal Drops Yard during summer on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to hear Voices residents broadcasting outside in the sunshine on Stable Street. If that wasn’t enough there’s street food, independent stalls and a couple of Voices Radio bars too. Summer weekends sorted, tick.
The UK’s biggest pride is taking place on Saturday 2nd July in London with a headline performance from Ava Max in Trafalgar Square. The event will also star Emeli Sandé, Samantha Mumba, Netta, Kat Graham and many more LGBT+ icons and allies performing across four stages around central London. This year is super special as it celebrates 50 years since London’s first ever Pride march in 1972. The event is free, although if you would like to donate or volunteer you can.
Hackney Carnival is one of the nation’s largest carnival events and returns to the streets of London this September. After a two year break, it’s set to be even bigger and better than before. This year residents and visitors will once again be able to enjoy live music, colourful costumes and energetic dancing when thousands of performers take to the borough’s streets on Sunday 11th September. Hackney Carnival is family friendly and if you’re a local resident you can get involved by taking part in the procession, performing on stage, providing a sound system, bringing a stall, or volunteering.
Boiler Room is an online music broadcasting platform based in London, commissioning and streaming live music sessions around the world. Boiler Room connects club culture worldwide, on screen, through parties, and through film and video. It was first founded in London in 2010 and now hosts shows in around 100 cities worldwide. Boiler Room also has films and documentaries, documenting the underground music scene, rap videos from both sides of the Atlantic, live performances from some of the most exciting artists in the industry right now and plenty of incredible DJs sets. Head to boilerroom.tv/video and see what takes your fancy!