Along with package holidays, family days out and bbqs with friends, festivals are a staple of the UK summer calendar. But this often comes at a cost. According to research by Barclaycard, the average festivalgoer spends a whopping £67 per day on food, fashion, merchandise and on-site experiences. And that’s without taking into account the cost of the ticket, which can easily set you back more than £200. But festivals don’t have to be eye-wateringly expensive. Here, we reveal seven ways to make the most of the experience, without breaking the bank…
1 Support local
Think ‘festival’ and what pops into your head? Glastonbury (around £280 per ticket)? Reading (around £230 per ticket)? Bestival (around £200 per ticket)? In fact, in 2022 over 1,000 music festivals took place around the country, which means there’s bound to be one near you. Smaller, local festivals can be just as much fun, often attracting well-known artists at a fraction of the Glastonbury ticket price. Plus, you won’t have to wait as long for the loo – and you might even be able to walk (or stagger) home!
2 Leave the valuables at home
Festivals are not the place to bring your newest trainers, designer outfits, expensive electricals or sentimental jewellery. Not only can bad weather (read: mud!) ruin your prized possessions, why take the risk of them getting lost or stolen? Think cheap and cheerful and leave your best bits at home, where they’ll be safe and dry.
3 Book travel ahead of time
If your festival trip involves public transport, book your train, bus or coach ticket as far in advance as possible to get the best price. The same goes for car parking – many festivals offer early-bird on-site parking rates that can be considerably cheaper than paying on the day. Also consider car-sharing to split the petrol costs.
4 BYO food & drink
On-site festival food and drink can be costly. Plan ahead and pack as many snacks as you can comfortably carry, saving the delights of the food truck for a once-a-day treat. Check out the festival’s rules on how much alcohol you can bring in before you arrive. Most places will let you take a certain amount onto the campsite (if not into the event itself) so consider heading back to the tent a few times a day for a drink stop to keep your bar bill down.
5 Bring a portable phone charger
No-one wants to be stranded at a festival with zero battery, but the cost of charging your phone on-site can be a shock! Invest in a heavy-duty powerbank before you go to ensure you’re always in contact, without feeling ripped off.
6 Bring cash with you
Cash machines at festivals will nearly always charge you a fee to withdraw money so either carry enough cash with you to last the weekend or sign up for the festival’s cashless wristband system if it offers one (most will refund you any money left on it after the event).
7 Set a daily budget
Finally, and most importantly, set and stick to a daily budget. Separate your cash into daily amounts and only spend what you’ve set aside for that day. Or use a banking app, such as Monzo, to allocate daily budget ‘pots’ to help you resist the temptation to overspend when you’re in the moment.