15 Must-Read Books about Festivals for Festival Goers and Festival Culture Fanatics

11 Dec, 2020 | Festival Tips, Festivals

Get a slice of that festival field magic on your bookshelf, these are the greatest books about festivals around. From the perfect gifts and coffee table tomes to practical festival guide books.

The links to all these festival books will take you to bookshop.org; an amazing new challenger site to Amazon which gives a platform and funds to independent bookstores! How great is that?

01: Festival Gift Books
02: Festival Guide Books
03: Academic Texts about Festivals

The Best Festival Gift Books

Festival photo books, Festival biographies and more.

A whole selection of the best books about festivals to give as presents to the festival lovers in your life, or hey, as a gift to yourself! From stocking fillers to photo books and full-sized coffee table tomes there’s a festival book for everyone.

Festivals: A Music Lover’s Guide To the Festivals You need to Know

Oliver Keens

Festivals: A Music Lover’s Guide to the Festivals You need to Know” is a beautifully written guide to the best festivals across the globe. A perfect gift for any festival lover, this gorgeous, colourful book, is heavy with stories, history and stunning photographs of 50 bucket list-worthy festivals which are listed in chronological order from their year of inception from Montreaux Jazz Festival in 1967 to Mad Cool in 2016.

The author, festival goer and DJ, Oliver Keens, really gets festivals and as well as being a thing of beauty, this book is also exceptionally well researched and interesting with a meaty index where you can find festivals listed by country and date!

Festivals: A Music Lover’s Guide to the Festivals You Need To Know – SHOP NOW £17.65 bookshop.org

The Art of Burning Man festival book

The Art of Burning Man

NK Guy

Writer and photographer NK Guy presents 16 years of the iconic art of Burning Man; “It’s the incubator of some of the most remarkable site-specific outdoor art ever made: a mechanized fire-breathing octopus, a towering wooden temple 15 meters tall, and the eponymous Man himself-a skeletal sculpture set ablaze at the event’s conclusion.” A gorgeous full-colour photo book.

The Art of Burning Man – SHOP NOW £27.90 Bookshop.org

Glastonbury books about festivals

Glastonbury 50

Michael & Emily Eavis

The official tome of the best festival in the world, “Glastonbury 50 is the authorised, behind-the-scenes, inside story of the music festival that has become a true global phenomenon.” Set out almost like a beautiful scrapbook, this Glastonbury book travels year by year across the last half a century of the world-renowned festival at Worthy Farm.

Glastonbury 50 – SHOP NOW £27.90 Bookshop.org

Picture festival book

Where’s My Welly?: The World’s Greatest Music Festival Challenge

Author: Matt Everitt Illustrator: Jim Stoten

A beautifully illustrated picture book exploring the greatest festivals around the world from Glastonbury to Monsters of Rock, Tomorrowland, Coachella and South by South West with an interactive element! Hunt for the legends that performed there or find your welly in this fast-paced, fun adventure through the history of music festivals. A wonderful gift or toilet book!

Where’s My Welly?: The World’s Greatest Music Festival Challenge – SHOP NOW £9.29 Bookshop.org

Stories about festivals

Drunk Folk Stories

Author: Beans on Toast aka Jay McAllister

Technically not festival specific but as a festival mainstay I thought that this collection of ten, true-life stories about songwriting, travelling and drinking from the Essex born songwriter and cult figure Beans on Toast would fit nicely here. If you’d like a taster of Jay’s storytelling head to my round-up of musical Glastonbury memories to find what his favourite ever Glastonbury shows were!

Drunk Folk Stories – £9.30 Bookshop.org

Festival Biographies

The Road to Woodstock

Author: Michael Lang

The story of the young festival producer whose big and ambitious dreams made one of the most legendary festivals of all time come to fruition; “The Road to Woodstock tells the story from inspiration to celebration, capturing all the magic, mayhem, and mud in between.”

The Road to Woodstock – £9.29

Books about festival history


Author: Ian Abrahams, Bridget Wishart

An oral history of the Music, Politics and Alternative Culture of the UK’s free festival movement through from the 70’s all the way to the infamous week-long free festival at Castlemorton in ’92.

Festivalized – £14.99

Looking for more festival-themed gifts? Check out my post with 50+ Gift Ideas for Festival Goers!

The Best Music Festival Guide Books

I mean, since you’re already on this fantastically informative blog dedicated to giving you the best advice for music festivals I’m guessing you don’t need to buy any guides to festivals? But hey if you wanted something you can put in your pocket or give as a gift, I suppose you could look at these as some pretty good options too! 😉

Haynes Explains festivals Books about festivals

Haynes Explains Festivals

Author: Michael Odell

“A light-hearted and entertaining take on the classic workshop manual, it contains everything you’d expect to see including exploded views, flow charts, fault diagnosis and the odd wiring diagram.” A humorous take on a guide to festivals.

Festivals: Haynes Explains – £7.43

Festival guide book by Edith Bowman

Edith Bowman’s Guide to Festivals

“Attending festivals today isn’t just about checking out your favourite band or a hot new artist: it’s about discovering arts you never knew you were into, genres of music you never knew existed and being part of an experience you will simply never forget.” I would love (and slightly dread!) to see how much the UK’s festival landscape has changed since Edith wrote this book just a short five years ago.

Edith Bowman’s Guide to Festivals – £15.79

The Festival Book

Author: Michael Odell

“The Festival Book is packed full of hilarious anecdotes, a guide to the very best festivals on offer and tips and tricks to get you festival ready. And if you want to learn to play the nose-flute or attend a wedding conducted by a priestess called Glenda, well, that’s all here too.”

The Festival Book – £12.08

Festival pocket guide

Music Festivals: An Essential Pocket Guide to Surviving in Style

Author: Tamsin King

A pocket guide book full of practical tips to get the most out of your festival experience.

Music Festivals: An Essential Pocket Guide to Surviving in Style – £5.57

Academic Music Festival Books

Are you an absolute nerd for festival culture, history, economics and their sociological impact?? Nope just me!? Well, if you are or if you’re a student focussing on music festivals in your studies these are the festival books for you.

Music Festival Graphic Design Books

Graphic books about festivals

Graphic Fest

With a holistic approach to design for events, Graphic Fest explores all of the design elements that go into designing for festivals from logos, to merch, set, type design and more. A great resource.

Graphic Fest – £27.85

Festival Fever Book

Festival Fever

Author: Carolina Amell

One for the art and graphic design lovers, Festival Fever showcases 95 of the finest examples of poster art from artists, designers, and studios around the world.

Festival Fever – £25.06 Bookshop.org

Disclaimer: This post has affiliate links, purchasing a book through the That Festival Life bookshop page means I might get a very small percentage – this doesn’t add anything to your costs, but it does help me afford to keep this festival site going!


  1. Dan Davis

    Would you be interested in listing my book about a disaster of a rock festival that drew almost 300,00 people on a Labor day weekend in 1972? I wrote it from first-hand experience, and the 50th anniversary of it is coming up next year. It drew many bands that were not very famous yet, like The Eagles, Nazareth & The Doobie Brothers. And when Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart & Black Sabbath saw the chaos, they refused to perform. This link to the book explains it a little further. https://store.bookbaby.com/book/the-bull-island-rock-festival

  2. alex

    this is really amazing informative article about best books of festivals. these books are really increase our knowledge. thanks for sharing this amazing interesting article and best books about festivals.

  3. bell

    Such a great idea about the books festivals thanks sharing this article and help us information


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