11 February 2015

Money-saving tips for festival season

With festival season just around the corner, you're probably comparing line ups and doing your best to get hold of the hottest tickets - back in October, entry to this year's Glastonbury festival sold out in a record 25 minutes.

But by the time you've paid for your tickets, transport, camping equipment (and not to mention the all important food and drink) a festival can soon cost as much as a weekend break or even a holiday abroad. Here we round up 5 easy ways to get the most out of your festival season on a budget.

1. Volunteer

Apply far enough in advance and you may be able to save the cost of your ticket; many music festivals have volunteer work available in exchange for free entry. However jobs like stewarding and litter-picking are popular options each year and usually book out months in advance, so it's best to check the relevant festival web site at the start of the year if you're interested. 

If you're willing to graft, there might also be the option of catering or bar work if you have previous experience. Remember; you'll normally need to pay a deposit to make sure you turn up for all your shifts. Keep a close eye on sites like Festival Volunteer or Refresh the West and you could be seeing some of the festival from the other side of the bar. But be warned, festival work can be fast paced and not for the faint hearted! 

If you're feeling more charitable, organisations like Oxfam and Water Aid UK have limited places available at some of the UK festivals - meaning you can soak up the atmosphere whilst giving something back.

2. Get your transport sorted early

It may seem overly eager, but sorting out your transport once you have your tickets could help you save some money. There may be combined festival entry and coach packages available, or links on the festival website to help you find other people to car share with.

If you miss out on packaged tickets, it might be worth checking for Megabus or National express deals which can be even cheaper options if you're going by coach. Alternatively, if you're going by train, sites like Raileasy tempt travellers with savings of up to 80% by booking in advance.

3. Save on essentials

While you may want to look your best, don't forget there's a good possibility you'll come back covered in mud. Make sure you check the weather forecast before you leave so you're as prepared as possible. Whether you need wellies and waterproofs, sun hats and suncream (or both!) getting your essentials beforehand could spare you some unnecessary purchases when you get there.

Not sure what you'll need? Face wipes, loo-roll and your tooth brush are a good place to start! Make a list of your essentials before you go or check festival forums for pointers from other seasoned festival goers.

4. Do your prep!

Printing out line-ups and maps at home could also save you money, as many festivals charge for brochures and other literature. It's also possible to download apps such as the one EE made for Glastonbury.

5. Don't forget some food and drink

While burgers and noodles may be tempting at the end of a long day dancing in the sun, over an entire weekend it can burn a serious hole in your pocket. 

Bringing a few filling, easy-to-transport supplies like cereal bars, crisps, and tins can be good emergency options - but make sure you don't overload yourself with more than you can carry to your campsite! Drinks from festival bars can add up too, so you may want to buy some of your drinks in advance. Be sure to research the rules on alcohol at your venue though, or you may end up having to throw it away if you’re not allowed to take it in: most festivals will have a no glass policy and will only allow you to bring in a sensible amount of drink, for example.

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