Girls at music festival

How to Make it Through Music Festival Season Without Going Broke

Spring is here, the days are warming up and if you’re a music lover it’s an exciting time… because it’s also the start of festival season.

Unfortunately, one of the big issues with festivals these days is that it can feel like you need to take out a bank loan just to buy a ticket.

A weekend camping pass to this year’s Falls Festival in Byron Bay will set you back $424, for example. Booking fee, food, drinks and gumboots not included.

But don’t despair. With a bit of financial savvy, some planning and some plain common sense, it’s still possible to enjoy three days of music, mud and madness without living off instant noodles for the next month. Here’s how.

Get in early

The early bird gets the worm they say and it’s definitely true with festivals. Just purchasing your tickets the day they go on sale you can save anything from $50 to $100.

Earlybird tickets for Origin NYE in Perth were $109 and now that they have been exhausted, first release tickets are going for $159.

For large scale festivals, there are often second and third releases. Exact same ticket but a totally different price tag. Sea ‘N Beats, an electronic music festival that happens on a cruise boat, offers instalment plans for customers so your credit card won’t take such a hard hit.

music festival fun

Are you a really savvy saver? Try hosting your own music festival.

Pack smart

Not that you have to prepare for the apocalypse but taking five minutes to do a short list could save you from unnecessary spending.

Like everything at festivals, essentials like toothpaste, sunscreen and insect repellent are sold at inflated prices so you could be spending $20 on stuff that was already lying around in your bathroom cupboard.

Check the weather too and pack accordingly, because you know things like gumboots are going to cost a fortune if you need to buy them there. I once saw a poncho that would fetch $2 at your average discount store selling for $15 at a festival. That’s a markup of 750 per cent!

And if you’re feeling rebellious, some well-hidden beverages in the spare tyre could save you from paying $10 for a warm mid-strength beer or sickly sweet Lemon Ruski.

Go boho

Bohemian and hippie fashion are synonymous with festivals.

Check out style snaps from Coachella for inspiration, then comb your local op shop and charity stores for vintage items. The result: an inexpensive but unique festival outfit.

Share your food

Most multi-day festivals like Southbound allow food and non-alcoholic beverages to be brought in if you are camping.

And as we all know, food and drinks are the biggest expenditures. If you are camping as a group, get together with friends beforehand to work out a system to cover snacks, meals and drinks.

Water is your friend

A reusable water bottle is a must-have. Water is the best hydrator and it’s freely available from fountains and taps around the festival grounds.

By spacing out your alcoholic drinks with water, not only will you save money but you’ll be looking after your health too, and who can put a price on that?

Get in free

No, I’m not suggesting jumping the fence (although that will certainly save you a bit of money)!

Almost all festivals require volunteers and if you are cash-strapped this is a great way to check out big-name bands and artists in exchange for a few hours of your time.

OutsideIn, Subsonic, Falls and Southbound are all currently accepting volunteer applications. With the latter two festivals boasting Bloc Party, Courtney Barnett, Disclosure, Foals and Hilltop Hoods on their lineups, that’s a not too shabby saving of at least $300.

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Images: Unsplash