Summer entertainment... for free!
Have you trimmed your budget of categories like "expensive entertainment"? Lucky for you there's plenty of free entertainment around during the month of August in the form of summer festivals. You can find free summer festivals ranging from the sublime to the over-the-top, and even though you don't pay to get in, there is no doubt you'll be entertained with song and dance, and also just from people-watching. Here are 5 free festivals in August, proceeding alphabetically.
1. Belfast Maritime Festival. From 13th to 16th August, the port of Belfast will play host as the final port of the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge 2009. Fireworks, street performances, music, markets, arts and crafts will keep the area thrumming. And, naturally, there will be tall ships. Click here for more.
2. Brighton Pride. The Brighton & Hove Pride Festival takes place from Saturday 25th July through Sunday, 2nd August. The highlight of the festival is the Carnival Parade that starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, 1st August starting at Madeira Drive next to Brighton Pier. The parade route is lined with thousands of people each year, so plan accordingly. Pride in Brighton & Hove promotes equality and diversity, and advances education to eliminate discrimination against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) community. More on the festival can be found here.
3. Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival. 31 July through 9 August. Many of the concerts at this festival are ticketed, but some are free. The Mardi Gras festival on the Grassmarket Saturday, 1 August at 13:00 is free, and Sunday, 2 August features free Jazz on a Summer's Day on the Princes Street Gardens at 13:00. You can find a complete list of entertainment, free and ticketed here.
4. Liverpool Mathew Street Music Festival. 30th and 31st August. This two-day event offers over 80 hours of live outdoor music with cover and original bands. Held on the August bank holiday weekend in Liverpool City Centre, there are six outdoor stages that will play host to over 95 bands. You can find out more by going here.
5. Notting Hill Carnival. Also over the bank holiday weekend of 30th and 31st August, the Notting Hill Carnival is the biggest street festival in Europe. At least a million people will fill the streets of West London, where the festival offers music, dance, Caribbean food, and amazing costumes. Here is the official website.
This is far from an exhaustive list, so if you have any favorite free summertime festivals we should know about, say so in the comments below.