Save Money at Your Next Music Festival Without Sacrificing the Fun
Festival season has finally arrived, and you’re ready, with friends, to jump into all the music, food and fun that these epic concerts have to offer. There’s just one problem: Your bank account is screaming, “No, please no!”
Sure, this can definitely take the wind out of your sails — but only if you let it. It’s absolutely possible to enjoy music festivals on the cheap, from ticket discounts and lodging tips to key products that’ll help you save big bucks on overpriced concert concessions.
If your wallet is begging you to take it easy with the music festivals this season, we’re walking you through the ways you can cut corners without compromising your fun.
Note: Don’t forget to protect your ears with earplugs like these from “As Seen on Shark Tank” brand Vibes for $26.95 at Amazon.
1. Check a Ticket Exchange or Resale Site
If at all possible, buy early! You can nab concert deals and ticket discounts with early bird specials, but once tix are open to the general public, most festivals sell out quickly on sites like Ticketmaster. However, this can play to your advantage as people who bought tickets hastily and can no longer attend might try to unload their tickets at a discount. Especially in the days leading up to the festival, people get desperate and start dropping prices to compete with all the other people having trouble selling tickets. Although you risk being unable to find tickets at all, this is likely your best choice if you can’t afford to spend too much.
These are the best and most reliable resale sites to check for concert deals and ticket discounts:
- StubHub: Get 5% cash back.
- SeatGeek: Score $5 off select eligible purchases with the latest coupon codes.
- Vivid Seats: Get 1% cash back.
2. Sign Up to Volunteer at the Festival
Not only can volunteering at a festival get you free or discounted tickets, but you might also walk away with free swag or get to meet your favorite artists. (And you can totally sign up with a friend so you’re not alone!)
Several volunteer positions are available at festivals, which need people to park cars, serve food and beverages, hand out wristbands, give aid to sick or injured participants and set up and take down equipment. For an idea of what’s expected of volunteers at music festivals, check out the SXSW volunteer page. Although you may work hard, you’ll also get to experience the festival without blowing your entertainment budget.
The only caveat is that you’ll need to sign up early — months in advance, most likely.
3. Stay Close to Home
Sure, you can afford a ticket to the music festival of your dreams — but what about all the hidden costs? Will you need to fly? Will you need to rent a car when you get there? Where will you stay?
It all adds up, so you may want to opt for a festival close to home to cut down on all the miscellany — especially the travel costs. Yeah, it may not be as exciting as jetting off somewhere, but if you’re lucky to have a great music fest within a few hours’ drive, carpooling with your pals will save you all a ton of cash.
If you do have to fly, however, check out these airline savings opportunities and keep an eye on flight deals and coupon savings from all the major carriers:
4. Look for Smaller Festivals or Concerts
The more attention a festival attracts, the more it costs. If you shoot for smaller shows, you’ll save money and enjoy smaller, less overwhelming crowds. That said, if you’re hoping to see one (or maybe even two) artists in particular, it might be cheaper to catch them when they’re touring on their own. Music festival prices get jacked way up because of all their star power, but if you’re honestly not interested in too many acts, you and your friends might have more fun tailgating one particular artist’s concert at another time.
On the flip-side, small-town music festivals also tend to have way better ticket discounts — sometimes they’re even free! So, if you’re after big concert deals, these fests can prove just as fun and engaging as their more popular counterparts. And who knows? You might end up discovering the “next big thing.” You’ll hear some new music that you might want to add to your playlist, and you’ll get to contribute to the careers of up-and-coming stars too.
ALPS Mountaineering Kickback Chair
Why We Love It: You can literally kick back and relax in this camp chair that’s just as perfect for tailgating hometown concerts as it is for setting up camp at music festivals. The built-in footrest provides superior comfort while the mesh cup holder keeps your drink close at hand, all while you recline and soak up all the best festival vibes. Plus, its shoulder-carry bag makes it easy to transport wherever you need it.
The Cost: $32.97 at Backcountry.com
5. Bring Your Own Refreshments
Some festivals prohibit outside food and drink; in these cases, plan to eat a hearty meal (and pregame, if you’re of age) before you hit the fest so you’re not tempted to splurge on concessions.
However, other music festivals have less restrictive rules. If you’re allowed to bring your own cooler, fill it with bottled water, sports drinks, granola bars, sandwiches and other refreshments that you can enjoy while you’re walking around or settled at your campsite. You could save $50 or more by avoiding the marked-up prices at festival concession stands.
Some music festivals will even let you bring in your own alcohol, so you can ditch the way overpriced mixed drinks sold around the grounds. Glass containers are typically prohibited, but a case or two of beer and plastic bottles of liquor are usually OK. So definitely look into what’s allowed and you can save a ton of money there too.
Seadrift Snapdown Cooler Bag
Why We Love It: This soft-sided cooler fits the equivalent of 12 cans — just enough space for you and a few pals to stay hydrated and well fed. Its easy-carry handles make it a cinch to tote around from stage to stage, and its outer pocket is the perfect place to stash napkins, utensils or even your phone. Plus, its cool, seascape-inspired tie-dye design is more than ready for all of your summer plans, from concerts to the coast.
The Cost: $23.99 at IglooCoolers.com
Purewell Collapsible Water Filter Canteen
Why We Love It: Most music festivals have water-filling stations, so be sure to bring in an empty, refillable water bottle so you aren’t throwing money away on bottled water from vendors. This leakproof water bottle boasts a filter to ensure that you’re only sipping the freshest, cleanest water. But perhaps best of all? It’s collapsible so it won’t be a pain to lug around when it’s empty.
The Cost: $28.49 at Amazon
6. Raid Your Parent’s Closets for Festival Fashion
Fashion from the ‘90s is so in right now. If your parents or other family members who grew up in that era and still have some of their old wardrobe pieces lying around, now is the time to raid their closets! After all, why buy today’s ‘90s-inspired threads when you can get the real deal for free?
Alternatively, hit up local thrift stores or online resale marketplaces like Poshmark or thredUP to find trendy festival fashions. You can also use coupons and shop the sales to score better deals on clothing. The extra legwork will be worth the boost to your wardrobe.
7. Camp Out at the Festival Grounds
If you’re attending a festival outside of your hometown, you don’t always have to spring for a hotel room. Instead, pack a tent, cooler and a sleeping bag and “rough it” instead. Most festivals offer camping areas close to the festival sites, and for multiday events, you’ll join thousands of other participants who decided to shun the Holiday Inn in favor of Mother Nature.
Yes, you will have to be open-minded when it comes to sleeping and spending your day around fellow campers (aka you might not get as much sleep as you’d like, and you definitely won’t get to shower), but you also dodge the stress of driving and traffic — and the astronomical cost of gas, parking fees and car rentals too.
Stoic Madrone Tent
Why We Love It: This four-person tent is just the right size for you and a couple of friends to catch some shut-eye at your music festival’s campgrounds. It’s easy to carry to the campsite and it’s easy to set up when you get there too, with guidelines and stakes included to combat windy conditions. Plus, its cool and colorful design will ensure that you can always find your way back to camp.
The Cost: $119.97 and up at Backcountry.com
8. Share a Ride or Carpool
If camping isn’t an option and your music festival of choice is accessible by public transportation, many cities have multiday passes you can purchase to save some cash. There are also bike rentals and, of course, ride-share apps like Uber or Lyft, so it may be way more economical to opt for one of those. You may even find free shuttle service to the event from a designated pickup point, with a little research.
9. Rent a Room — or the Whole House
If you do wind up needing to book a room — hey, sometimes the comfort of a bed wins over the hard ground — be sure to look for hotel coupons through sites like Travelocity, Expedia or Hotels.com (where you can also get significant cashback when you shop the sites through RetailMeNot).
Or, book a place through Airbnb and split costs with friends. It’s surprising, but booking an Airbnb can sometimes be more cost-effective per person per night than a hotel, especially if you’re rolling up to the fest with a whole squad.
10. Don’t Splurge on Concert Swag
Many people blow their festival budgets on unnecessary extras, so consider your ticket your one and only expense paid. If you need a way to commemorate the event, that’s what your smartphone camera is for! But if you must have a physical reminder of your experience (or to share with your newfound festival friends), you can always pack a mobile photo printer.
Polaroid Hi-Print Bluetooth Photo Printer
Why We Love It: This Bluetooth-capable mini printer connects easily to your smartphone — no Wi-Fi required — so you can quickly print out photos in the moment. You can even add fun filters and frames by using the free smartphone app. Sure, it’s more of an investment up front, but you’ll get way more use out of this printer than another band T-shirt or commemorative festival program, that’s for sure.
The Cost: $91.46 at Amazon
As you can see, with a little careful planning and some savvy shopping, festivals don’t have to stay out of your reach this season. Now go ahead and rock on! And make sure you check out this comprehensive festival survival guide to ensure you’re maximally prepared.
The post Save Money at Your Next Music Festival Without Sacrificing the Fun appeared first on The Real Deal by RetailMeNot.