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Festival season on a budget

Festival season is well and truly upon us. Whilst they can be a fun way to listen to your favourite artists in the sun with friends, they can quickly become expensive weekends. With this in mind, we’ve put together a few tips to help you enjoy your favourite festivals while on a budget, read on to find out how.

By Elsa Tatam. Published 17 July 2023. Last updated 14 August 2023.

Setting a daily budget/using cash

Sometimes the easiest thing you can do to make sure you’re not going to overspend is by setting a daily budget and using cash to ensure you stick to that budget (although, this isn’t always possible as more places become cash-free).

Work out how much you want to spend on food, drinks and maybe set aside a small “just in case” and make a point to stick to it. Jot down in your notes app how much you’re spending to keep on top of it, you would be surprised how quickly those small purchases add up.

 

Travel

Pre-planning and booking your travel can help you save massively during the festival season. You will usually know early on when the gates open and when you can start arriving, so by pre-booking, you can save some cash instead of trying to plan last minute. Also, look at public transport such as trains and buses instead of taxis or Uber- the drivers will know that plenty of people will be travelling in that area that day and are likely to temporarily surge their prices as a result. You could also lift share with one member of your group and split the cost of petrol and parking between you.

 

Freebies

On the road leading up to festival sites, there are often various companies trying to offload free samples on you. Don’t turn them down, you would be surprised how quickly that honey-nut bar and protein jerky will be appreciated around lunchtime.  

 

Work at the festival

This can be the perfect situation for those who are looking to go to their favourite festival without having to pay a penny for the privilege. You’ll have to work the hours they ask and do the jobs they need to do but other than this you’ll get to enjoy the rest of the festival during your breaks (or even listen whilst on duty, depending on what job you’ve got).

There are certain charities that attend festivals to raise awareness and money. Many will advertise for volunteers to come along and help them. However, do note that some volunteer programmes, such as Oxfam, require you to put down a deposit. As long as you perform your role as promised, you’ll get that money back.

Check Oxfam for a range of festivals or Hotbox offers volunteer places at Latitude, Reading & Leeds, and Rize.

 

Bring in as much as you can

Taking your own food and even cooking at a festival might seem like a lot of extra effort, but it’s a great way to save some money at a festival. Of course, this isn’t possible at all festivals as they restrict the use of gas cookers or BBQs. However, for others it’s absolutely fine- just check their FAQ page for their restrictions.

Not only is it more environmentally friendly, but by bringing your own water bottle you will save yourself a lot of money by avoiding the need to buy bottled water from a festival vendor. All festivals should have water fountains or taps in the campsite where you can fill up your water bottle.

 

Money Saving Schemes

There are festivals out there that offer free drinks, or even free food if you’ve helped out or done something to earn it.

For example, Latitude has a cup deposit scheme. You just pay an extra pound for your plastic cup to encourage you to return or reuse it. If you find more scattered around the field, pick enough up and return you can even get yourself a free refreshment.

 

If you’re heading to a festival this season and you’re interested in gearing up on a budget, we can set you up with a few of our festival essentials and other goodies. Just email us at [email protected] with your name, Student ID and UK postal address by 1 August 2023.