How To Do Festival Season Without Breaking The Bank

By on April 24th, 2015


Festival season is perhaps one of the most hotly anticipated times of the year for students, who are looking for the perfect excuse to leave their exam stress behind and let loose with good music and friends.

But with ticket prices rising almost 90% in the last five years, some festivals can add up to be as expensive as a small holiday. Whether you’ve secured your ticket and are looking to make it a cheap weekend, or simply want to make the best of festival season without parting with too much cash, these following five tips should help.


1.     Skip the big players and go local instead.

You might not have thought it, but small local festivals can be a great cheap alternative to events like Glastonbury or Reading & Leeds, and are a great way to discover new and up-and-coming bands playing instruments with keyboards that make the music sound amazing. Plus, a lot of big and established names will often hit the smaller festivals as well, so take a look at who’s playing where and see if you can catch them at a sunny festival near you.

You can choose to get a weekend ticket or just go for one day, and you’ll have none of the downsides like going without a shower or living off noodles. Check out Liverpool’s Sound City and Fury festivals; Manchester’s Dot To Dot; Huntingdon’s Secret Garden Party or Suffolk’s Latitude festival.

2.     Volunteer

Volunteering at a festival can be a great experience and is the easiest way of guaranteeing free entry. Although you’ll be working, you’ll have plenty of free time to catch your favourite bands, will have considerably better camping quarters and may even get discounts for your food and drink.

You could be bartending, litter-picking, crowd-managing or simply cleaning up rubbish after the festival has ended. It’s fast paced work, but you’ll make a ton of new friends and save plenty of cash. Sign up now via sites like vinspired and festivalvolunteer.


3.     Don’t go mad with gear and equipment.

Avoid going crazy and buying a load of fancy camping gear that you may not use again. Take only the essentials – a tent, sleeping bag, waterproof, wellies, and perhaps a linen sleeping liner. Keep your outfits simple and take only what you’ll actually wear – remember you’ll be getting muddy. You won’t need any other shoes, as wellies go with everything and work in all weathers.

Choose a simple but strong tent, such as the Quecha 2 Seconds Easy 3 pop-up tent (rated by the Independent as the best cheap tent at just £54.99). The Vango Compact Gas Stove is ideal if you plan on cooking your own food – it costs just £19.99 and is easily portable.

Of course second hand camping gear is also a great option. Have a look on eBay, Preloved or Recycle Outdoor Gear to pick up a bargain.

4.     Pay for your ticket in instalments.

If your heart is set on heading to a big festival this year, consider paying in instalments as this avoids taking a big wodge of cash from your pocket and could help you manage you cash flow more smoothly.

Glastonbury’s deposit scheme enables buyers to pay £50 immediately and then the rest about five months down the line, and Reading & Leeds festivals offer their own instalment plans for tickets.  Also check out sites like Ticketline for more instalment schemes.

5.     Book transport in advance.

Just like paying for your festival ticket a year in advance can save you money, so can booking your transport. As soon as you have your ticket, sort out transport immediately to avoid paying inflated prices closer to the time.

If you plan on taking the car, have a look on your chosen festival’s forums or great music websites like to find opportunities for car-sharing. Everyone can split the cost of petrol, making it cheaper for all.

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