How to attend festivals on a budget

Seven tips for attending music festivals on a budget!

Summer is the season of sunny days, fun with friends, and music festivals! Whether you prefer to camp out for the weekend or stay for the day, music festivals can be a ton of fun—and money. Here are seven tips to help you get the most out of your money at a music festival.

Make a budget

Of course, we’re going to recommend you make a budget. Start by creating a list of potential expenses. Once you’ve made your list, prioritize your needs and designate specific amounts to each category, like travel, food, tickets, and more. Be honest with yourself—it’s easy to say you won’t buy any merch, but it’s called an impulse buy for a reason. Speaking of a budget, be sure to set aside an emergency fund specifically for any issues that arise during the festival. Whether your tent rips, your food gets spoiled, or you get injured, it’s better to be prepared for the worst so you can still have the best time.

Skip the shopping

If you’ve been to a festival before, chances are you have a few outfit options already. Before spending money on something new, consider ways to repurpose your past pieces. Have a group you travel with? Host a clothing swap a few weeks before and find some new pieces for free (and clean out some of the unused items in your closet)! If you find yourself really in need, check out thrift stores or second-hand shops for pieces that are more reasonably priced. You’ll want to save your more expensive outfits or shopping trips for other events.

Volunteer for free tickets

One of the biggest costs of attending music festivals is paying for tickets. Save money by volunteering to work the festivals in exchange for a free ticket. There’s a ton of positions available, like handing out wristbands, setting up and taking down equipment, and so many more options. Plus, volunteering may score you other free swag or the chance to meet your favorite musicians. Just remember, you have to sign up early, so be sure to plan ahead to get access to these awesome opportunities.

Pack wisely

Another huge expense at music festivals is food and beverages. Plan carefully and pack as much of your own food as possible to cut down on food purchases. If you’re going with a group, pool your resources! Different group members can bring different foods or other relevant essentials, like dishes and utensils, so you can all save money together. You’ll also want to review any festival restrictions so you don’t lose money on items that will get confiscated. Take advantage of free water stations by bringing refillable water bottles to stay hydrated and save costs on bottled water, and be sure to bring sunscreen and sunglasses. If you attend festivals regularly, consider investing in quality pieces that are festival compliant, like backpacks with hydration packs and charging cords. A comfortable pair of sturdy shoes is also a must-have.

Plan ahead

The early bird gets the worm, or in this case the best discounts. The sooner you decide you want to go, the better off you are buying tickets, as tickets are often more expensive later on. You’ll also want to book any flights needed as soon as possible. If you’re driving, carpool with friends so you can all split the cost of gas (and snacks!) There are also a ton of free extras at festivals, so do your research ahead of time. Free charging stations are often available, so map out the grounds to take advantage of those as needed. And while the main event is obviously the music, most festivals have a ton of interactive experiences, art exhibits, and workshops available to concertgoers for free. Be sure to explore your festival’s options ahead of time to make the most of your experience.

Save on accommodations

Friends who stay together, save together. Compare the costs of hotels versus camping, and split the costs with a group to get the most out of your money. Prefer to have a little more privacy? Check options like Airbnb or VRBO to rent out a house or apartment. You may also consider a local festival so you can skip paying for accommodations altogether!

Check out credit card rewards

Another great way to save money at music festivals is to take advantage of your credit card rewards. Depending on your card, you could get cash back on tickets and festival supplies, access to early bird pricing, or additional exclusives. If you have a card with reward points, you may be able to cash in those points for travel purchases, like flights or hotels, or even tickets to the events themselves.

Key takeaways:

  • Make a budget with an emergency category.
  • Plan ahead to get the best deals or score volunteer opportunities.
  • Pack wisely—food and beverage purchases add up!

Music festivals can be a ton of fun, but also a ton of money if you’re not careful. Make a budget and prioritize your needs to make sure you’re spending money on things that actually matter to you. Whenever possible, split costs with your friend group on necessities like food, shelter, and transportation. And remember, planning ahead can get you some great deals and save you a ton of money—and stress. We hope these tips help you have the most fun this summer. Heading to a festival? Share your go-to money saving tip in the comments below!

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