This post may include affiliate links. We get a commission if you sign up with a partner; this commission is at no cost to you.(Last Updated On: March 27, 2019)
Here are two indisputable facts:
- Music festivals with a good group of friends are the absolute bomb.
- Music festivals are hella expensive.
Coachella is considered the holy grail of music festivals. But if you’re not already in California, a trip to Coachella will set you back a few thousand dollars.
No worries though. There are many smaller music festivals across the country where you can get your groove on.
A few summers ago, I had an amazing time at FireFly in Delaware which is gaining popularity on the east coast. I also went to the Landmark Music Festival in D.C. and it was also a great time. Last summer, I went to Smokin’ Grooves in California. Early last year, I went to Carnival in Trinidad. It’s much larger than a festival, but we also did it on a budget.
I’m turning into a festival junkie! Here’s how you can have a blast at music festivals on a budget.
Choose Your Festival Wisely
There are festivals popping up everywhere so you probably won’t be able to go to all of them without spending a ton of money.
Plus some festivals (usually ones that are less established) may not be worth your time anyway. Choose festivals that have the most artists you’re interested in seeing to get the best bang for your buck.
I have my eyes on Made in America this year because the line up is bonkers. Also, check out reviews of the festival and who’s putting it on before going.
The tragedy of the Fyre Festival is the perfect example of a festival that promised A List celebrities and an amazing experience only to crash and burn.
The worst part is there were warning signs that the festival organizers were in over their heads before it failed. If you’re attending a new festival, do a little research before investing your money.
Look Out for Opportunities to Win Tickets
Yes, it is possible to win tickets to stuff and attend for free.
I won two tickets to the Landmark Music festival in D.C. a few years ago and it was amazing. It was a social media contest where you take a photo of yourself and use the festival hashtag.
I posted two photos and the second one got picked! Besides winning passes the best way to save money is to buy them early.
Look out for single day tickets for savings as well if the festival goes on for multiple days. If you don’t see any one day passes available, tweet the festival organizers to ask if they will be offering them later. Sometimes closer to the event organizers decide to add that option.
Get Super Duper Crafty
Besides the ticket costs, the food and drinks inside of the festival are what get expensive. Naturally, festival venues prohibit you from bringing drinks in so they can make money off of you.
I’ve found that food and drinks at festivals are reasonably priced at about $7 for a beer and $12ish for food plates.
The problem is that you may be watching artists from as early as 10 a.m. in the morning to 1 a.m. the next morning, so food and drink for the entire day can burst anyone’s budget.
Before moving on with food and drink hacks I want to stress — try them at your own risk. I’m not responsible for anything that happens if you get caught being super crafty. 😀
There are creative ways to bring food and drink into a festival. Buzzfeed has 26 ways to sneak drinks into places you’re not supposed to bring drinks into.
Here are some more tips from GQ. I’ve sewn mini bottles of wine into a cloth backpack before. No shame. My friends have made friends with bartenders for extra pours as well.
The final day of the festival is an especially good time to slick talk bartenders and food servers for discounts/extra shots. At that point, they themselves are probably lit and are less stingy. Get crafty folks!
Buy Tickets on the Black Market
If you decide to go to a festival late in the game when passes are expensive look for people who bought passes and can no longer go.
Plans change, especially since some people buy passes for festivals six months to a year in advance. Last year my cousin ran into someone selling four day passes to a festival for just $100 bucks. Regular price for those tickets was $200 to $300.
Not a bad deal.
Take Advantage of Your Status
If you’re military affiliated, in school, or in a special organization, find out if you qualify for a discount. I got a military discount for the latest festival I went to – 30% off. Cash in on those affiliations, my friend.
Look for the Free Stuff
If you have hardly any money to spare for a festival but you want to get in on the action, find out if there are any free performances going on.
Large festivals attract a lot of other events besides the main stages.
For instance, my cousin performed at a festival on a performance stage in the camp ground which was free for any and everyone to see.
The stage was still part of the atmosphere with tons of concert goers food, drinks, and activities, but free.
If the festival isn’t hosting anything free, you could see what other events are happening before, during, and after the festival like link ups or after parties.
When big festivals come to town everyone wants a piece of the action. If you’re looking for ways to save money for more fun s$%#, check out these posts next:
Want to reach your financial goals?
Grab the epic list: 107 productive ways to save more money, make more money, and improve your life.