10 Free or Frugal Festivals in London This September

10 Free or Frugal Festivals in London This September


London this September is a FESTIVAL CITY with a major outbreak of DIY, fringe & offbeat culture coming to you live & cheap!

We’ve picked 10 and given you up to 3 highlights for each festival. So get out there London, and make September one of the best month’s of your life…


Bermondsey Street Festival

Bermondsey Street Festival | Bermondsey Street | Sat 19 Sept | FREE

A delightful doggy filled festival with some top live acts for free.

  1. Singology (12.30pm, The Community Stage): We fell in love with unstoppable gospel pop ensemble at BESTIVAL, why not check em out!
  2. Chainska Brassika (5pm, Tanner St Park): Likely Lewisham lads bring ska to the people of Bermondsey Street.
  3. The Dog Show: We can’t resist a pooch parade especially one with the madcap ‘Anything Goes’ category.

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Chrisp Street Festival | Chrisp Street, Poplar | Sun 6 Sept | FREE

This year’s festival is a BIG TOP bonanza in a little gem of East London.

  1. Live Circus (All day from 12.30pm, Market Sq): Local heroes Aircraft circus bring live aerial & ground based shows and workshops so you can give it a go.
  2. Pie & Mash Eating Contest (5.30pm, Market Sq): ‘My old man said follow the van’ and don’t forget to stuff your face full of COCKNEY PIE.
  3. Open Mic Stage (All day): Ditch the Spotify for an hour and see some new music talent live & presented by somewhereto_.

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 Louise Orwin - Calm Down Dear Festival

Calm Down, Dear | Camden People’s Theatre | Weds 16 Sept-Sun 11 Oct | FREE-£12

A kick-ass festival of fresh feminist talent.

  1. A Girl & A Gun by Louise Orwin (16 Sept-3 Oct): According to Jean-Luc Goddard”All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun” and gutsy artist Louise Orwin sets out to see what is so attractive about girls n guns. ‘Expect gun-twirlin’, play-actin’ and Nancy-Sinatra-dancin’.’
  2. Stud by Eilidh MacAskill (8-9 Oct): We can’t ignore a show which describes itself as ‘penis envy, masculinity, horses and DIY’.
  3. Try something you haven’t heard of: The CDD festival programme is massive and is full of striking new ideas around feminism. Whether it’s Dungeons and Dragons in Superfunadventuretimes or the glass ceiling in 2:1, take a chance and you’ll be rewarded.

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Clapham Fringe | Bread & Roses | Mon 7-Sat 26 Sept |£8

A chance to discover the lovely Bread & Roses theatre in Clapham.

  1. Russell Hicks (13 Sept, 9pm): Hilarity from an up & coming American Smart-Ass in London.
  2. Bloodletting (24-26 Sept, 7.30pm): A quest for eternal youth not suitable for the sqeamish.
  3. Rob Deb: Dork Knight Forever (26 Sept, 2.30pm): Ever wondered what Cosplay actually is? Then learn my friend, learn with class A dork Rob Deb.

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Merge Festival 2015

MERGE 2015 | Bankside | 18 Sept-18 Oct | FREE

Spectacular art & performance festival around Bankside.

  1. On Your Wave Length (All festival, Railway Arch): An interactive explosion of light & sound that reacts to your brain waves.
  2. Time To Be Late (23-26 Sept, Blackfriars Road): A cheeky smorgasbord of characters invade Blackfriars road including Scotty The Blue Bunny & Natural Theatre (pictured above).
  3. The Bioluminescent Wishing Well (All festival, 88 Borough High St): Join hip artists Bompas & Parr to investigate the mystery of bioluminescent sea water.

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Queer Show & Tell | Hackney Showroom | Tues 8-Sat 12 Sept | FREE-£8

The first ever QUEER fest at our new fave theatre Hackney Showroom.

  1. Frau Monde (Wed 9- Fri 11 Sept): A mesmerising work-in-progress by a legend-in-waiting by Peter Clements.
  2. Shannon (Wed 9 Sept): Discover the intruiging story of Miss Shannon Pat a 66 year old trans-woman in this rarely seen documentary.
  3. Call Me Kuchu (Thu 10 Sept): Journey to Uganda where David Kato, the country’s only openly gay man is trying to make a difference in the wake of the new ‘Anti-Homosexuality’ bill.

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The Maya Angelou Film Festival

Still I Rise – The Maya Angelou Film Festival | Various Venues | Sat 12-Sun 27 Sept | FREE-£10

Celebrates the life and work of world renowned and legendary author, poet, actress, professor, singer, dancer, playwright, director, and activist Dr. Maya Angelou.

  1. As Seen Through Those Eyes (Sun 27 Sept): Maya Angelou narrates a powerful documentary about a group who fought Hitler.
  2. Georgia, Georgia (Sun 13 Sept): Angelou wrote the screenplay & musical score for this 1970s drama surrounding inter-racial prejudice through the eyes of a popular entertainer.
  3. Sisters in Cinema (Sun 20 Sept): A documentary about the history of Black female film-makers + a workshop to help ensure future filmmakers get the start they need.

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Tootopia | Tooting (of course!) | Fri 25-Sun 27 Sept | FREE

Part pub prowl, part foodie paradise, enter the world of Tooting for a great day out south of the river.

  1. Lahore KarahiMmm Karahi so goodie! Check out their Tootopia specials for under £10.
  2. Try Wolfie Smith at By The Horns: Local brewer By The Horns invites you to try their signature nectar.
  3. Catch a sneak peek of what’s at Anxieteehee Comedy Festival (Sun 27 Sept, 7pm): The Imperial Dunbar welcomes Nessie Ward and Edward Tetbur ahead of the interesting sounding Anxieteehee fest.

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Totally Thames | All around the eponymous river | 1-30 Sept | FREE

The BIG one! BOJO’s fiesta merges loads of great events around the murky, magnificent thames. Plus there’s 2 for one on river travel all month.

  1. The Riverside Festival (Sat 5-Sun 6 Sept): Science, a spurting Man (pictured) & super family events combine in the gorgeous little gem, Potters Field Park.
  2. The Empathy Museum (Until 27 Sept, 12-6pm, Riverside Gardens): This seems eerily relevant at the height of the refugee crisis, take a chance and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes (literally!).
  3. Riverside art: You’ve probably seen the horses who are submerged by the tide in the news but have you heard about the raindrops condom work, hehe.


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Walthamstow Village Festival

Walthamstow Garden Party | Walthamstow Village | Sat 19 Sept | FREE

Two days of music, theatre, arts & crafts, food and family activity in Lloyd Park.

  1. Japanese Fighting Fish (4.30pm, Festival Stage): The best named band this side of E17.


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I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.