Everybody loves attending a music festival, but it must be said that it can be a bit of a drain on your bank account. Between tickets, travelling, food, merch, accommodation, and gumboots, you can end up spending quite the pretty penny on a weekend of fun and music.
But it doesn’t haven’t to be this way. There are ways to not only make your music festival experience a memorable one, but also thrifty. You don’t have to get buyer’s remorse the second you return home from a music festival and check your ATM statement.
In the interests of saving you from living pay check to pay check when you get back from Splendour In The Grass next month, we’ve gone ahead and compiled a few ingenious ways you can spare yourself all that stress and anxiety and save money at your favourite music festivals
Tickets: Buy Early Or Buy Late
Keep your eye on outlets Ticketmaster, Ticketek, Oztix, and Moshtix. They all send out reminders and newsletters on upcoming events, while major tour promoters such as Live Nation, Chugg, and Frontier run a similar show.
Also visit the music festival’s website and pop your email down for early bird/ pre-sale opportunities which often give the die hard fans first dibs on whether they want the cheapest/ or the most luxxx ticket options, or potentially both if you’re lucky.
If you like to live on the edge, or you snoozed on ticks, you can always cash in on someone else’s misfortune (hey, someone has to) wait until the last minute, and search resale sites.
Volunteer/ Work At The Festival
Many Aussie music festivals need volunteers to survive. Volunteering is a fantastic opportunity not only to save a bit of extra dosh, and make new buddies, but it also gives you a unique insight into the ‘other side’ of attending a music festival.
Most music festivals in Australia give potential punters the opportunity to donate their time in exchange for tickets. Volunteer roles include helping run the show backstage, keeping the grounds tidy, looking after punters, and generally keeping up the the good festival vibes.
If you think this is something you could be interested in, contact the festival organisers a few months ahead of the event to see what their protocol is. Many Aussie festivals have these details onsite.
Consider Daily Tickets
For some, five days at a music festival (unpredictable weather/ poor bedding/ questionable hygiene) sounds like absolute hell, but if but luxxxing out on off-site accom isn’t an option, perhaps you should consider just making a ‘guest appearance’ aka buying daily tickets.
Bigger Aussie music festivals like Falls and Splendour in the Grass give punters the option to select the day/s they’d like to attend rather than having to go all out for the long haul.
Visit the ticketing option on the festival site for more details, but also make sure you know the timetable – you don’t want to miss the day your favourite act is playing.
Camp If Possible, If Not Choose Hostels
As is most common, the on-site DIY home is going to be cheaper than getting accommodation outside of the festival. Firstly you can buy your camping space as part of your ticket, and if you’re sleeping where you’re partying you don’t have to worry about transport.
At Splendour, buying a camping ticket as part of your package will set you back $120 for 5 nights, that’s $24 per night, a much more attractive looking price than the potential $200-$500 per night alternatives during peak festival period.
If you cannot deal with camping. at. all. hostels are financially your safest off site bet, you’ll be able to score a mattress (and potentially some sweet, sweet tinea) in a room full of backpackers for between $30-90 per night.
Consider Going By Wheels
The most romantic way to travel to a festival has to via car, with mates of course. Heading down the highway solo can be a pretty depressing way to start a festival getaway.
Fill your car to its legal limit of passengers (to split petrol costs), squeeze in all the necessary equipment, curate a ‘festival’ mix, charge your phone (Google Maps is going to come in handy) and there you have it, a few hours of #roadtrip bliss content that’ll cop you a heap of likes in Instagram.
If you don’t have your own wheels, but flying isn’t an option, many festivals offer a communal bus service, which if you don’t live too far away could definitely be worth looking into. Otherwise there’s the faithful old Greyhound bus. A trip from say Melbourne will set you back about $250 – $300 return.
If Flying Sign up To Newsletters
Though we’re sure you already have overflowing email inboxes, but it’s really worth considering signing up to all the major ticketing outlets and tour promoter newsletters to get the inside scoop, and loyalty discounts.
It pays to be across all the sales, for example, Virgin often have ‘Happy Hour’ sales where savvy travellers are given the opportunity to score tickets to their destination on the cheap. Jetstar are also kind to their loyal newsletter readers often informing them of sales opportunities unavailable everywhere else.
It’s worth doing a cheeky Google search to see what airlines fly to the destination of your choice, and adding them to your list.
Music festivals are unpredictable beasts, so seriously, if while packing you think you’ll need it, you probably will, so pack it.
Bringing things like sunscreen, waterproof clothing, emergency first aid equipment, more food than you will eat, pain killers, extra water, toilet paper – will save you in emergency purchases two days deep into the event.
Make Sure You Know What You Cannot BYO
Before you pack everything you own, be sure you’re allow it on site. Things like glass bottles, furniture, your hottest new studded belt and matching cuffs, laser lights, and alcohol are often not allowed.
It’d be a waste to throw these items out, so always check the festival guidelines of what’s hot and what’s not (legal wise) before packing.
Check If You Can BYO Booze
And if you can, bring it! You’ll save bank bringing your own booze, especially if your subscribe to the cheap = cheerful philosophy.
For beer and UDL lovers cans are usually kosher at most BYO festivals, so crack a few tinnies for us.
As we mentioned before though, it’s alway safest to avoid glass and decanter spirits and bottled wine into plastic bottles to prevent breakage and to abide by the rules of many local festivals.
Think About Not Drinking
Though we just said if you can BYO, do – for non BYO festivals, it might be worth considering having a crack at the sober life.
Often buying drinks at festivals can quickly become a headache, from lining up to score drink tokens, to booze buying limits and the overpriced, sometimes watered down ‘mixes’ that you’re served, going sober can often be a more attractive option.
Not only will you save money on booze, remember the incredible set from last night, but you’ll feel better, and save money on hangover cures – so win win!
Have Money Limits & Get Out The Cash
It’s so easy to get caught up while having a good time to only realise that you’ve maxed out your limit, and will be eating dried out mi goring for the next month thanks to poor planning.
Our solution to this problems is to allocate yourself a reasonable amount of money you’d like to spend at the event, then get it out in cash.
Not only will you be able to conceptualise how much you have (people are often more conscious spending physical money than the cheeky card) but you’ll have ATM withdrawal fees, overdraw fines and ATM line headaches.
Buy Merch At The End
We know it’s tempting to pimp yourself out in the hottest new merch from your new fave band, but chill.
Holding out until the end of the festival to buy souvenirs not only prevents you from spending money you may need down the track, but also potentially merch peddlers may slash prices to get rid of excess stock or stock that will become dated (e.g. shirts featuring tour dates). Though it’s not necessarily common a practise in Aust, it’s worth considering just in case.
Consider Travel Insurance, Or Bring What You’re Happy To Lose
Though we’ve been talking about ‘saving’ money and buying merch might sound a bit counterintuitive hear us out.
Like we said earlier, music festivals can be an unpredictable beast, and if you’re the unlucky type attending them can often be a bonafide way to ruin your clothes/ lose your phone (may want to consider taking your crappy old phone, not you new iPhone 9 Extraplus)/ get sick/ hurt yourself, so travel instance could potentially save you heaps.
Also if an event is cancelled (not super uncommon of late), you can claim your travel and accom expenses. For around $50-$80 a pop it could be a very wise decision.