From jazz to pop to metal, the capital offers free music to cater for all tastes. Check out our guide below and find great free gigs and music in London.
The best free music in London
What’s the most annoying thing about the London gig circuit? Is it people taking photos on their phones? Expensive tickets? Overpriced drinks? Nope: according to the people behind this unusual gig series, it’s definitely those big speakers on either side of the stage. Mega-mall Westfield has found a way to solve that problem: put the singer in a soundproof, transparent cube, and give everyone a pair of headphones so they can hear him. It’s basically like a silent disco combined with an aquarium. Genius, right?Over two weekends you can experience this concept at both of London’s Westfields, Shepherd’s Bush and Stratford. Acts are still under wraps, but last year’s line-up (which included hip young producer MNEK and girl band Neon Jungle) should give you an idea of what to expect.It’s a good opportunity to catch some up-and-coming chart acts in a cosy setting, although the sheet of transparent plastic between the audience and the stage might reduce the intimacy factor a bit. Tickets (which include a pair of headphones on arrival) are free from the Westfield website, and you can also hear the performances through a dedicated iPhone app. Points to any acts who play a cover version of ‘Living in a Box’.Read more
Since Notting Hill Carnival began in the mid-’60s it has grown and morphed into Europe’s largest street festival, attracting ever more revellers than ever. As well as the main parade of floats featuring calypso, mas and pan bands, there are nearly 40 soundsystems for alfresco dancing and countless Caribbean food stalls serving up jerk chicken, fried plantain and goat curry. You can be sure of dense crowds and a vibrant celebration of music, movement and masquerade – and hopefully the weather will be better (last year was a wash-out). The more family-friendly Sunday is the best day to take children to Carnival. For information on the Notting Hill Carnival parade route, travel information, safety and security and lots more, read our full guide to Notting Hill Carnival 2015. Discover 50 things you didn’t know about Notting Hill Carnival or check out Time Out’s Carnival history.Read more
The British Reggae Industry Awards – a not-for-profit organisation that aims to promote homegrown reggae artists – host a reggae all-dayer in Brixton over the Notting Hill Carnival weekend. Head down to Hootananny to hear more than a dozen British reggae acts for free.Read more
This annual festival of klezmer and Sephardi music is a lot of fun, with live acts performing on the Regent's Park Bandstand as well as exhibitions and displays of Jewish culture, kosher food and crafts and gifts for sale. Look out for Don Kipper's innovitave combination of Klezmer, Greek Rebetiko, Gypsy Jazz and more (1pm), and make sure to stay for one of the UK's best klezmer and Balkan bands, She'Koyokh! (4pm). In the Kids Zone there's a 'Klezmer Krafting' kids' marquee filled with creative crafting activities, a balloon band and family fun with JW3.Read more
The long-serving Countrier Than Thou crew hotfoot it to Camden for another honky-tonkin’ session of blues, country, rockabilly and bluegrass. This free Americana all-dayer features live sets by Jack Grelle, the Davey James Band and many more plus a barbecue, film screenings, plenty of whiskey and resident DJs Bonanza & Son spinning hillbilly curios till way past sundown.Read more