It’s that time of year again when music lovers put on their flower crowns, pack their travel bags, and throw on their favorite pair of Ray-Bans. Music festival season is right around the corner, however, I’m sure many struggling college students have yet to prepare their wallets for the big hit they are going to take. It seems every year music festivals get more and more costly, with some of the bigger festivals costing as much as $400 for a single ticket. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to see your favorite artists without breaking the bank.
Is The Festival Worth It?
Before you even begin your journey, you have to assess whether or not the event is even worth the money. Living in Los Angeles, you’re going to have a multitude of opportunities. Artists perform in Los Angeles all year long. Take a look at the line up and decide which artists you are actually excited to see. From there, you can truly decide whether or not the ticket is worth the cost. The key to this is being honest with yourself on who you actually want to see.
For example, you might want to go to Coachella this year because you want to see A$AP Rocky and Major Lazer. However, A$AP Rocky is playing a show in Los Angeles for $70 and Major Lazer is playing a show in Anaheim for $50. That comes out to $120 instead of a $400 Coachella ticket.
I understand that there are people who enjoy going to festivals for the atmosphere and experience. If the line up for the festival isn’t all that important to you, then make sure you buy your tickets early. Most festivals will have pre-sale tickets before the line up is announced, at a reduced rate.
Explore your Travel Options
One of the more obvious tips would be to always try and split the cost of whatever you can with friends. Expenses such as gas and parking can be minimized by carpooling with a group of friends. You can even eliminate parking prices altogether by utilizing services such as Uber or Lyft. Splitting the fare with a group of five people will lower the cost of travel immensely. Most of these services provide discounts for first time riders, which can bring the tab even lower.
If you are planning on attending a festival that is especially far, travel can get tremendously expensive. Thankfully, there are tons of different websites that can help you save money on your travel expenses. Of course you can again get some friends and all pitch in for hotel costs. There also cheaper alternatives than the standard hotel room. Services such as AirBnB and Couchsurfing offer residential hosts for extremely cheap or even for free.
For flights, be sure to thoroughly research airlines and ticket costs. Services such as Skyscanner can help you look at prices from several airlines and travel sites, making it easier for you to find the best deal. Not a fan of flying? Bus services like Greyhound are a much cheaper alternative to flying. However just like with plane tickets, thorough research will result in a better deal on tickets.
Be Cautious with Food Expenses
If it is allowed, ALWAYS bring your own food. No matter what festival you are attending, food will be expensive. You will save a ton of money by bringing your own food. If you are at festival that doesn’t allow outside food, be on the look out for which vendors have the better deals. A lot of vendors will take advantage of the situation and charge slightly ridiculous prices like $10 for a basic grilled cheese. Avoid these vendors and look for vendors that’ll give you more bang for your buck.
Look for the Hydration Station
One of the most important aspects of attending a festival is staying hydrated. Most of these festivals are held in the summer where you are going to be sweaty, tired, and thirsty. Luckily, festivals will usually have a hydration station where festival goers can refill water bottles for free. So you could always bring a water bottle and save yourself from paying five bucks for a bottle of water. However since this is all about being on a budget, a lot of festival will have sponsors with tents handing out free merchandise such as stickers, tote bags and most importantly, reusable water bottles. Try scoring a free water bottle from one of these tables and you might be able to save yourself $10-$15.
If worst comes to worst and you really cannot fit a festival ticket into your budget, you can always volunteer. Many festivals have volunteer opportunities that allow you into the festival for free. If you’re lucky, you may only have to work a few hours and be able to really enjoy the festival. However even if you do working for most of the day, you’ll still be able to at least to hear the artists and enjoy the festival for a bit for free. If you decide to volunteer, be sure to apply early as there will be many others trying to score a free way into the festival as well.
The most important thing to do when attending a music festival is to plan ahead. Planning ahead will ensure you do not lose track of spending and will minimize small surprise expenses. Having more time to plan will also give you a better chance of finding better deals on all of your expenses. Basically, more time to plan equals more money that stays in your pocket.
Although they can come with a hefty price tag, music festivals are some of the greatest things a music lover can experience. If you truly want to go, then that means doing anything you can to get there. The conditions may not always be ideal, but the memories made will be more definitely be worth the effort.