Online festivals and events to bring you joy this summer

With so many businesses struggling to survive right now, it’s clear that the coronavirus doesn’t discriminate. But one group that we work closely with here at RAW Bottles that has been especially affected is the events industry.

Many RAW customers and friends run summer music festivals or cultural events, and it’s a sad time for us to see so many of this year’s events being cancelled. But – as with so many others – this is an industry that is digging deep during difficult times and finding creative ways to stay in touch with their communities.

The One World: Together at Home concert proved that music and culture have an immense role to play in keeping spirits high and connecting people. And now, many festivals and events are taking to the screen to bring a little joy and distraction into our living rooms.

Here’s our round-up of some brilliant online festivals and events to dip into this summer. We expect many more to be announced in the coming weeks, and we’ll continue to add more listings as they do so. Do let us know if you have any you would like to be added.

Big Weekend

Radio 1’s Big Weekend was due to take place in Dundee from 22–24 May with Dua Lipa, Calvin Harris and Harry Styles among the headliners.

If mainstream pop is your bag then don’t miss their alternative virtual show, Big Weekend UK 2020. It’s being held across five virtual ‘stages’ on the same weekend, with lives sets from artists’ homes, including Sam Smith, Biffy Clyro, Anne-Marie, Young T & Bugsey and Rita Ora. There will also be archive sets from previous years.

Burning Man

In place of the epic event built from scratch in the Nevada Desert, Burning Man will host an online festival called Virtual Black Rock City this year. The organisers say it will “lean into” the 2020 theme, The Multiverse and in its usual collaborative fashion, it’s asking Burning Man fans to help build it together.

Put your ideas forward and help create the world’s first online Burning Man festival now.

English Music Festival

The English Music Festival is all about giving a platform to English composers of the late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries that for so many years were rarely heard. This year, the event is going online with paid tickets to help support the musicians who have lost vital work and income as a result of the current situation.

Sign up for talks and recitals from the likes of Roderick Williams, Paul Guinery, Duncan Honeybourne, Joseph Fort, Hilary Davan Wetton, Richard Blackford, Joseph Spooner and Nicholas Bosworth, Rupert Marshall-Luck, and Ensemble Hesperi.

Experience some lovely music, peek into artist’s homes and support musicians at the same time.

Glastonbury on the BBC

Glastonbury on the BBC has become something of an event in its own right in recent years, so it seems fitting that the BBC is planning a televised event on Glastonbury weekend (24­–28 June) this year. And, as this year would have been the festival’s 50th anniversary, there’s even more reason to celebrate.

“Glastonbury may have had to cancel its 50th anniversary festival this June, but we are still working to mark the weekend with a Glastonbury experience to celebrate the spirit of this unique event.,” said a BBC spokesperson.

“We will bring the nation together and create a weekend of the best in music across radio, television and online with amazing performances for you to enjoy in the comfort of your home.” Look out for further announcements on the BBC soon.

While Glasto is sadly cancelled this year, you can still get your hands on the Glastonbury reusable bottle by RAW Bottles – purchase yours now in the Glastonbury online shop.


It comes as no surprise to us that Greenbelt has raised the bar with its creative output during lockdown.

“The idea behind fallowing is to give things a chance to recover, re-imagine, re-group, so that they might come back more fertile and fruitful – greener – than ever,” say the festival organisers. “Our hope and prayer is that the online content we produce this fallow summer will capture some of that same spirit of hopefulness, acceptance, inclusion, provocation and, yes, love, that so many thousands of us have experienced at the festival over the years. Less locking down, more opening up.”

Wild At Home is a brilliant daily programme of livestreams, podcasts, guest blogs, artists profiles, archive talks and more. Just check in on the #GBWildAtHome hashtag on social media to find out what’s happening each day. Head over now and join their party.

Green Gathering

While the Green Gathering crew say they’re not going to attempt a full online festival, they have hinted that some exciting stuff will be coming soon.

“Too many of us feel the need for earth under our feet and woodsmoke in our nostrils to be comfortable with a virtual Green Gathering – but we will be posting content from our wonderful artists, co-ordinators and crew,” they say.

Check their website and social media for lockdown gigs, playlists, permaculture tips and more. Watch this space!

Hay Festival

For literature lovers, Hay Festival has a real treat in store. Not only has it scheduled a packed programme of online literary events, they are also free.

Hay Festival Digital #imaginetheworld begins with the Programme for Schools from 18–22 May with popular authors including Cressida Cowell, Patrice Lawrence and Onjali Q Rauf. The main programme runs from 22–31 May, with online interactive events from more than 100 award-winning writers, global policy makers, historians, pioneers and innovators.

Browse through the events on the website and register asap to save your spot!

Underneath the Stars

Another festival taking a collaborative approach to its alternative lockdown festival is Underneath the Stars. It will be hosting its own ‘UTS festival at home’ on Facebook on 1 August and is encouraging people to get creating their own festival at home too.

Each week, the UTS team will share ideas to inspire you, and they have also created a UTSf DIY Festival Pack for budding event planners wishing to design and build their own festival. Download the pack here.

York Festival of Ideas

York Festival of Idea’s line up of world-class speakers, exhibitions, theatre, music, films and more is heading online from 2–14 June to continue to inspire, educate and entertain.

“While we won’t be able to bring you the Festival in the usual ways, with our online programme you can still join us and take part from your home,” they say.

As well as talks and music online, there will be some extra treats for locals, such as community trails to explore on your daily exercise.

How to support your favourite festivals and events

We are in awe of the positivity and bravery shown by festival and event organisers who are still going the extra mile to bring us a taste of what we’ll be missing into our homes. But, if we want our favourite festivals to survive and return next year, it’s up to us to support them however we can.

Now’s the time to stick together and show solidarity for the things we care about. If at all possible, please follow these simple steps to ensure that our festival and events industry comes back flourishing next year.

1. Hold on to your tickets

If you’ve already booked a ticket, the best way you can support the festival or event is to hold on to your ticket and keep it for next year. Most festivals have published guidance on their websites, so check their terms first, but in most cases, your ticket will still be valid for 2021.

2. Donate some or all of your ticket to the festival

Some festivals are struggling to remain afloat. Noisily has set up a Crowdfunder campaign to save the festival, for example, and others are asking for festivalgoers to donate part or all of their ticket cost to help keep things running. Of course, many ticket holders are feeling the pinch too, but if you can spare the smallest amount it will all help.

3. Support their online festivals and other creative ventures

Most of the alternative online festivals and events we’ve listed above are not being run at a profit. These extra programmes have been created to give us – the punters – something to enjoy and look forward to. Let’s support their hard work and join in – it doesn’t cost anything to get involved and it will make the world of difference if you do.