How to Save Money at Festivals

Summer time is the time for festivals and fun. What can be better than spending time outdoors in the sun having a blast, right?! I love nothing more than festivaling in the summer months. Unfortunately though, festivals can be a costly business; gone are the days of free love and cultural liberation. Today you can couple muddy fields, smelly toilets, huge amounts of beer and hopefully the odd band, with a whole lot of cash. But there are still opportunities to instil some thrift without losing the hedonistic experience – here are a few tips to saving money at festivals.


Check out the festival website to see if there’s any opportunity to earn your ticket – loads of big and small name events advertise for first aiders, litter pickers and stewards. Volunteering does mean donning a high-vis vest for a few hours everyday and requires a somewhat moderate approach to celebrations, but it also means a free ticket, camping and quite often food too.

Self cater

Festival catering is pretty amazing – the diversity of dishes and tastes on offer in less than a square mile is pretty unrivalled the world over. But this all comes at a cost, especially if you factor in booze, coffee, cakes, breakfast, snacks, doughnuts… Whilst cooking up a gastronomic delight on a one ring gas camping stove might not be the most practical alternative, stocking up wisely at the supermarket in advance can mean huge savings in money, time and energy over the weekend. Opt for quick wins; boil in the bag rice dinners, pots of pesto and pasta, baked beans or even an entire breakfast in a can.

Go prepared

Write lists, plan your attack and pack well. Staging a festival dry run in your back garden the weekend before may sound more boy scout than rock and roll, but can save pounds. The onsite festival market place is a captive one and the prices reflect this state of affairs. The small purchases add up, so run through your scenarios and pack spares – matches, water, wellies, blanket, raincoat, sunnies, sunblock, can opener, flipflops… check!

Be an early bird

The early bird gets the worm – and all that. Register online well in advance of the event – most festivals promote an early bird offer, with substantial discounts for punters willing to commit early in the day, sometimes up to 10 months in advance. Being on the ball with ticket purchases is also essential for the biggest and best festivals – Glastonbury and V Festival are notorious for selling out within hours of the box office opening.

So as you can see heading out to the festivals on a dime is possible; it just takes some creativity. I hope after reading these tips you too can join me outdoors this summer at the many festivals around.

So, do you enjoy going to festivals? Which ones are your favourite? How have you kept costs down in the past?   


How to Save Money at Festivals — 16 Comments

    • @Investorz Blog. I guess it depends on which festival and how much it costs;some seem to really add up. However I do agree we deserve to have fun sometimes and being balanced with saving and spending is important.

  1. I haven’t been to a festival in many years, but I’ve enjoyed the ones I did go to. Another nice way to save money is to see if your employer is offering free tickets.

  2. The festival I help run (i’m in charge of parking over 1000 cars – well, coordinating the effort) has so much demand that we turn away hundreds every year. One way to get a ticket is to become a “key” volunteer in an area so you get guaranteed tickets for entry. They aren’t free though and you will work 6-16 or so hours – but sooo worth it. Blue Skies is the best place on earth (and named as such on Facebook!)

    • @SPF. Cool. 1000 cars is a lot…cheers to getting them all parked well. Yes volunteering can help huge. I am glad to hear you have found a way into the festivals. Hope you get around to enjoying them this summer with Mrs. SPF.

    • @Moneycone. You’re totally right. In fact that is a great tactic for fun anytime. We often try to organize group activities where everyone can split the costs. Makes it a lot more feasible for everyone.

  3. We don’t go to many big festivals, as we don’t like crowds much. When we do go, we like to indulge in the foods offered, but I like your suggestions about not going hungry and about packing along essentials. Extra toilet paper is one item I always seem to forget to bring and those portapotties are just gross after the first hour!

    • @Marie. Festivals aren’t for everyone but if you do end up going with a friend or family member it is good to know how to save a bit on costs. I find those mini kleenex packets work great as toilet paper and take little space. You should try them out.

  4. Haven’t been to a festival in a long time, but the state fair is one large event we went to last year. They get a little hinky about self-catering, since that’s where they make their money, on overpriced mediocre food. Still, I always pack a few snacks in my backpack of essentials.

    • @101. There is always a way to sneak things in and bend the rules. People have been doing that for years–just think of the movie theatres. Glad to hear you have found a way to keep some costs down and still have fun. That’s great.

    • @Christa. You’re welcome. I have found that volunteering works for so many things, not just festivals. When not sure just ask and you might find yourself a job and a deal.

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