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With 500+ festivals taking place in the UK every year, it’s a great opportunity to get your music in front of a huge crowd.

Last updated: 27 March 2024

Many of the more mainstream events are largely dominated by established acts. However, festivals offering slots to emerging artists will often have their own application process stating what their requirements are.

Festival Code of Coduct for emerging and independent artists

The MU and AIF agreement outlines key conditions for emerging artists and independent festival operators in areas such as remuneration, promotion, logistics and advance information required from artists and festivals, alongside performance details. The agreement aims to assist independent artists to formalise festival bookings and to understand what is expected of both parties in order to encourage good relationships and trouble-free festival experiences.

Artist submission sites

Sonicbids allows artists to apply to play at large scale festivals and events. Essentially, it’s a way for promoters to farm out the application process to a third party and it is widely used for US industry events, such as South By Southwest (SXSW). A fee is payable for Sonicbids membership. In addition to the membership fee, you may be required to pay an application fee for some of the listed events. See the MU Fair Play Guide for further advice on artist submissions.


Many of the bigger festivals now run competitions with slots for an unsigned act as the top prize. Glastonbury’s ‘Emerging Talent’ contest is one such notable springboard. ‘Latitude’ has a similar scheme for emerging acts, offering a number of places on the Alcove stage.

Rates of pay

Rates can vary and it's important that you contact the MU for advice on what you should be paid. We oftern hear of ticketed festivals where music is the main draw, yet the professional musicians are not compensated for their work. If you are asked to work for little or no fee, get in touch and we can provide you with festival advice and talk you through your options.

Member benefits for live musicians

Career as a live musician

Latest news and features

Silhouettes of crowd in front of a small festival stage in blue light.

Association of Independent Festivals Endorses MU Access Rider Scheme

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has endorsed the MU’s Access Rider to its membership and will be holding a session to explain what access riders are, why we need them, and why festivals should adopt them as a standard part of all contracting.

Published: 03 June 2024

Read more about Association of Independent Festivals Endorses MU Access Rider Scheme