How to play at a music festival in 2024

Call us biased, but we think the UK festival season is way better than anywhere else! We have a rich history of iconic festivals which have contributed massively to the global scene. Events like Glastonbury, Isle of Wight Festival, and Download Festival are renowned worldwide for their diverse lineups, unmatched vibes, and unforgettable performances. 

Would you like to perform at a festival? ACC has put together the ultimate guide on how you can get a piece of the action. 


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How do I apply to perform at UK music festivals?

Raye performing on festival stage

The best place to start is by researching which festivals align with your personal style and genre. Once you have chosen them, visit the festival’s official websites to find the relevant information of their application process. They may have specific guidelines and requirements for performers. 

Next, you will need to gather anything needed for your application, this could be:

  • A professional electronic press kit (EPK) containing your photos, music samples, videos of live performances, press clippings, and any other relevant promotional materials.
  • Links to your music on streaming platforms, such as Spotify and Apple Music, and your personal website (if you have one).
  • A cover letter or email introducing yourself and explaining why you would love the chance to perform at that festival, and why you think the festival’s audience would resonate with your music. 

Then, it’s time to submit your application! The festival will provide their own instructions, this may involve filling out an online form, or sending an email to a specific person. After submitting your application, it’s a good idea to follow up with the festival organisers to confirm if they have received it. This really demonstrates your enthusiasm for the opportunity.

While you wait to hear back from the festivals, continue to promote yourself and your music through social media and live performances. More important than the number of fans and followers you have is demonstrating that you are proactive when it comes to gigging, recording and promoting your music. Building an online presence will increase your chances of being chosen to perform.

And remember, it’s important to be patient and persistent. Competition for performance slots at music festivals is fierce, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back straight away.


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Do you get paid to play at UK music festivals?

DJ performing on stage

Whether acts get paid to perform at music festivals or not can vary depending on multiple factors. These include the size of the festival, the popularity of the act, and the terms negotiated between the festival organisers and the performers. Here are some common examples:

  • Headliners and established acts: headliners and well-established acts will often receive substantial payments for their performances. These acts will negotiate performance fees, accommodation, and other perks as part of their contracts.
  • Mid-level and emerging acts: mid-level and emerging acts may receive a performance fee, but it will be much smaller compared to the headliners. Some festivals offer exposure and networking opportunities in lieu of payment, particularly for newer names. 
  • Independent and local bands: independent and local bands may not always receive a payment for performing. However, they will often benefit from the exposure to new audiences and the networking opportunities which come with performing at a music festival.
  • Revenue sharing/ticket sales: some festivals offer revenue-sharing agreements or a percentage of ticket sales to acts (in addition to or in place of a performance fee). This provides an opportunity for acts to earn an income based on the festival’s success. 
  • Promotional opportunities: performing at music festivals also provides valuable promotional opportunities for acts, including exposure in the media and unique access to network with industry professionals.

While payment for performing at music festivals varies, many acts view the opportunity as a good way to expand their visibility. Acts will receive press coverage, radio airplay, and online exposure. All of which helps to attract new fans and more industry attention. As you can see, there are plenty of other benefits of performing at festivals which can give acts more success and bigger fanbases in the long run. 


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What is the best part of performing at a UK music festival?

Crowd enjoying music festival

Arguably, one of the best parts of performing at a music festival is the exposure you will receive. Festivals attract like-minded people from all over, providing acts with the opportunity to showcase their talent to huge audiences. Festivals tend to have a particular genre of music, so your chances of securing new fans are even greater. This exposure will help acts to expand their fanbase and reach even more new listeners. 

Hand-in-hand with exposure, festivals are also a great place to network. Music festivals bring together industry professionals, musicians, and fans creating valuable networking opportunities. Acts can also connect with other artists, producers, and promoters which may lead to future gigs, partnerships, and other creative endeavours.


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Access Creative College and Music Festivals

Student performing in ACC music tent

Where does ACC come into all of this? Well, we provide our music students with the unique opportunity to play and work at incredible festivals and venues across the UK. One of the biggest festivals we are in partnership with is Latitude, where we have run a stage for over 13 years! Latitude features on Time Out’s Best UK Festivals list, praised for blending a classy line-up of music with comedy, poetry, theatre, literature, podcasts, engaging family activities and wellness. Previous ACC performers on our stage include Ed Sheeran, Lets Eat Grandma, Bessie Turner, Maya Law and Mullally. 

If you want to go to a music college with the top industry links, apply online for one of our music courses today!

Last updated on: 14th May 2024