Music Festivals in the Lake District

Music Festivals

Whether you like ACDC or Abba, Justin Bieber or Justin Timberlake, there is a music festival for you. Catering to a vast range of tastes, festivals often combine chart-topping headline grabbing acts with local talent who rehearse in their parent’s garage. Large music festivals rose to popularity in the late 1960s, particularly with the success of Woodstock in 1969. In the UK, whilst the early 60s saw the arrival of blues and jazz festivals, it was in the late 60s and early 70s that pop music festivals began to take hold, first with the Isle of Wight, and later with Glastonbury.

Today there are hundreds of music festivals taking place across the country. Some, like Glastonbury, have an eclectic mix of music performances. Others have a narrower appeal, such as those dedicated to dance music or bluegrass music.

Where to Find Music Festivals in the Lake District

Cumbria might be better known for its landscapes and adventure activities, however, in recent years, a number of music festivals have popped up across the county, perhaps inspired by the success of its largest festival, Kendal Calling. You might not see the biggest names at most of the festivals that are listed here, but many of them do offer the chance to see some up and coming talent with a full weekend of entertainment for a relatively low price.

Keswick Mountain Festival

  • Location: Crow Park, Keswick
  • Date: Friday 15th to Sunday 17th May, 2020
  • Cost: Varies - check website for further details
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A music festival for those who love the great outdoors, the Keswick Mountain Festival combines live music with outdoor adventure. In the festival village, you will find both locally and nationally known acts performing, and throughout the festival you can book onto one of a number of different outdoor activities. Camping is also available.


Cockermouth Live

  • Location: Various locations around the Cockermouth
  • Date: Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th July, 2020
  • Cost: Varies - check website for details
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Cockermouth Live is a music festival in the streets and businesses of Cockermouth, so you won’t find tents here, and hopefully wellies will not be needed. The festival features a range of music genres with performances taking place in pubs, cafés, restaurants, community halls, and the Kirkgate Theatre. There are usually children’s activities during the day, and you might encounter a street performer whilst you shop in the town.


Music on the Marr

  • Location: Castle Carrock, Brampton, CA8 9LU
  • Date: Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th, 2020
  • Cost: Anywhere from £18 for the day to £79 for the full weekend
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It claims to be the country’s friendliest festival, and with the village’s 350 strong population joining in the with the party, it probably is the friendliest. You won’t find big name acts here, but you will find some wonderful local talent, some great food, guest speakers, and a craft market. There are also children’s activities, and you can choose to camp, or purchase a day ticket.


Rock the Fells

  • Location: Big Flat Field, Bootle Village Hall, LA19 5XG
  • Date: No information since 2017 | Unknown if the event will go ahead in 2020
  • Cost: TBC
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Rock The Fells first took place in 2016, capitalising on the increasing popularity of music festivals and the benefits they bring to the communities that host them. The small festival takes place in West Cumbria, in a small village on the very edge of the national park boundary, near to Ravenglass. It’s a one-day event that features a number of local bands, with refreshments provided by the local brewery. There are family friendly activities and camping is available.


Lake District Summer Music International Festival

  • Location: Various locations across southern Lake District
  • Date: Saturday 1st August to Friday 14th August, 2020 
  • Cost: Varies by event - check website for details
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The Lake District Summer Music International Festival is operated by a registered charity that aims to enhance Cumbria’s strong cultural heritage in relation to literature and art by promoting music in the area. The festival showcases musicians from around the world in small, intimate venues across the southern Lake District. The focus is primarily on classical music, however, there are some performances featuring other genres. Each event is ticketed individually with some events being free of charge.


The Lake District Folk Weekend

  • Location: Staveley Mill Yard, Unit 22/28, Back Lane, Kendal LA8 9LR
  • Date: Friday 31st July to Sunday 2nd August, 2020
  • Cost: £10-£18 (varies by concert)
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The Hawkshead Brewery is the focal point for this small folk festival. With evenings dedicated to folk music concerts at the brewery’s large events hall, and various family friendly activities available during the day at both the brewery and around the small village of Staveley, the festival organisers promise that visitors will have an enjoyable weekend. Artists come from around the country to perform here, whilst during the day you may encounter story and poetry sessions, street dancing, and more.


Wannasee Festival – Penrith

  • Location: Hutton-in-the-Forest, Penrith, CA11 9TJ
  • Date: Friday 28th to Sunday 30th August, 2020
  • Cost: Varies by event - check website for details
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Bon Jovi, Queen, Meatloaf, and even David Bowie can be spotted at one of Wannasee’s festivals. Well, sort of. Wannasee brings some of the UK’s best tribute acts to festivals across the north of England, with Hutton-in-the-Forest providing a stately backdrop to the festival in Cumbria. You might not be able to afford to see some of rock’s greatest legends, but at Wannasee, you will get the next best thing.



  • Location: Tarnside Farm, Tarns, Nr Aspatria, CA7 4NG
  • Date: Thursday 27th August to Monday 31st August, 2020
  • Cost: Adults from £89, Family tickets from £229
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Solfest is one of Cumbria’s largest music festivals, but is operated by a team of volunteers who strive to keep the festival free from corporate sponsorship. The festival features a range of genres, and has attracted some fairly well known names in previous years. Along with the music across 7 stages, there are arts and crafts workshops, street performers, and an area dedicated to children’s activities.


Festival of the Fells

  • Location: Market Cross, Ambleside
  • Date: No information in recent years - unsure if 2020 event will go ahead
  • Cost: Free (charges for outdoor activities apply)

Ambleside’s own version of the more popular Keswick Mountain Festival is still very much in its infant stages, having launched in 2016. The festival is organised by a team of volunteers who sought to bring visitors back to the town following the devastating effects of Storm Desmond in 2015. The festival combines outdoor activities with music. The concerts take place each night in the town’s centre and are free to attend with local bands performing. There are charges for the outdoor activities that are available to try.


Kendal Calling

  • Location: Lowther Deer Park, Penrith, CA10 2HG
  • Date: Thursday 30th July to Sunday 2nd August, 2020
  • Cost: Varies - check website for details
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Cumbria’s largest music festival attracts 25,000 visitors to the grounds of Lowther Castle each year, and features some of pop music's best known acts performing across 9 different stages. The festival originally took place in Kendal town centre, but its popularity meant that it quickly outgrew its town park location and it moved north to Lowther Castle. Previous line-ups have included the Manic Street Preachers, Snoop Dog, and Basement Jaxx. Along with the music performances, the festival has areas for markets, workshops, film screenings, and children’s activities.


Ireby Festival

  • Location: Ireby, Wigton, CA7 1DX
  • Date: Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd May, 2020
  • Cost: Varies - check website for details
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The tiny village of Ireby overlooking the northern fells is home to one of Cumbria’s most intimate festivals with space for just 650 attendees. The festival takes place at various venues around the village, with a dedicated stage and marquee created on the village’s boundary, offering a stunning view of Skiddaw – one of Cumbria’s highest mountains. Featuring local acts, the festival primarily celebrates folk music.


Aspatria Music Festival

  • Location: Aspatria Rugby Union Club, Bower Park, Station Road, Aspatria, CA7 2AJ
  • Date: 19th & 20th July, 2020
  • Cost: Varies - check website for details
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For a small festival in a small town in the western fringes of Cumbria, the Aspatria Music Festival has attracted some big names. Past performers include The South, a band consisting of former members of The Beautiful South, and Scouting For Girls. The festival takes place within the grounds of the Aspatria Rugby Club with the focus very much on the music. You won’t find kids activities here, and you can’t camp, but you are guaranteed to have some great entertainment.