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Free music in London

Forget shelling out for pricey festivals and arena tours, some of the capital’s best gigs and concerts don’t cost a penny

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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

  • Music
  • Music
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If you’re aged 16 to 24, you’re in luck. Not because you have fewer wrinkles than most of us and probably understand TikTok better than the majority of Time Out’s editorial team, but because you are in the enviable age bracket who have a shot of scooping up free tickets to see AJ Tracey live next Wednesday. The acclaimed London-born rapper – known for his tracks ‘Thiago Silva’ (with Dave), ‘Ladbroke Grove’ and ‘Rain’ (with Aitch) – will play Under The Bridge at Stamford Bridge on September 29, to an intimate audience of only 200 guests.  Tracey will be supported by rising pop star Mae Muller and rapper Ivorian Doll, who will join him in sharing their career experiences along with confidence-boosting tips. Random? Maybe not as random as you may think – it’s all for Apprentice Nation, an organisation aiming to help young people with their career development by highlighting alternatives to university. Tinie, Krept & Konan, Young T & Bugsey and Ray BLK are among artists who have performed at its previous shows. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Apprentice Nation (@apprenticenationuk) Speaking about the gig, AJ Tracey said: ‘I’m excited to have this opportunity to perform my latest tracks and share my story, especially at a time when there’s still so much uncertainty around. I didn’t always know what my path was, so I know it’s really important to keep highlighting the opportunities out there for those who might not know where to look.’

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Lady Gaga’s twice-postponed Chromatica Ball tour will hopefully finally arrive in London next year (although there’s not currently a fixed date for it). In the meantime, she’s about to put out an entire new album: ‘Love for Sale’, her second set of duets with legendary crooner Tony Bennett (following 2014’s ‘Cheek to Cheek’), is released on October 1. Unlike the brash ‘Chromatica’, it’s not the sort of record you tour to football stadiums, so this time the woman born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta will be playing somewhere classier and more intimate. She’ll be playing… Westfield! Well, kind of: apparently sans Tony (who has quite reasonably retired from live performance because he’s 95, though it wouldn’t be that shocking if his voice at least featured) she’ll be playing a special free concert to promote the record on September 30 from an unspecified location that’s probably not a shopping mall. However, it will be exclusively broadcast live via Westfield’s streaming channel or, even better, at special pop-up ‘fan zones’ at all 35 of the world’s Westfields. Okay, it has the superficial air of something a bit naff, but Westfield has presumably paid out a fair amount of cash to make this happen, and one imagines Gaga wouldn’t leave her notoriously devoted fans stranded in any old pop-up zones. Plus, the whole world just went nuts for some pre-recorded versions of ABBA doing a show, so why not a live Gaga? In any case, with 2021 largely a write-off for international touring

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Lock Tavern
  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Camden Town
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This Chalk Farm Road DJ bar, music venue, kitchen and poshed-up boozer is something of a Camden institution. It's certainly still pretty popular, too, given the size of the crowds continuing to squeeze themselves into the main bar, large garden, buzzy upstairs space and impressive roof terrace overlooking Proud Galleries and Camden Market.  It's mostly about the music, with DJ nights and live sets attracting plenty of credible acts. There's a slant toward indie and dance, but don't be surprised to catch some boogie, funk, folk, soul and hip hop, too.  A short food menu leans on classic pub grub, with burgers, Sunday roasts, fish and chips and cheese toasties providing the stomach-liners. Beers are continental big-hitters such as Amstel, Moretti, Leffe and Modello.  

The Garage
  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Holloway Road
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The Garage in Islington has been a mainstay of London’s music scene since 1993, hosting bands such as Oasis, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Radiohead and more. Now owned by the DHP Family (the guys behind Oslo in Hackney), the whole venue was refurbished in 2017 with a view to maintaining its title as one of the city’s landmark music venues. The Garage itself has a capacity of 650 and has been restored to its former glory with a state-of-the-art soundsystem and a fully refurbished bar area. There are some decent food offerings on-site as well with the newly kitted out General Store and even a cheeky night club tucked upstairs, renamed Thousand Island, decked out with mirrorballs galore.

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  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Shoreditch
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You can't miss Village Underground thanks to the four brightly coloured, graffiti-covered tube carriages, now artists' studios, perched on its roof. The recycled Jubilee line carriages, and accompanying shipping containers, accommodate a community of artists, writers, designers, filmmakers and musicians. Their renovated Victorian warehouse space hosts exhibitions, concerts theatre, live art and club nights. Plans are underway to turn one of the exterior walls, a spot already popular with local street artists, into a permanent exhibition site.

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