Pretty Green

How to do festivals on the cheap

The festival season is upon us – the Isle of Wight and Download festivals took place this weekend and now thoughts are turning towards the iconic Glastonbury starting on June 24. The number of festivals is growing each year and whether you’re into pop, rock or folk you will be spoilt for choice. For music fans it can be an expensive time but there are ways you can enjoy a summer of live music without breaking the bank. Here’s how…


It’s too late to get yourself into some of the bigger festivals – they generally sell out within minutes of tickets going on sale – but there are still smaller festivals around the country with great acts. You can look at spending less than £100 for some two or three-day festivals. And if you’re really only interested in seeing a couple of the acts performing, why not buy just a day ticket. The main thing to note is to avoid the touts. As with any concert, there are fake tickets to be had and online scams that people fall for regularly. It may seem like a bargain but if that coveted ticket being offered to you cheap seems too good to be true, it probably is.

And remember that there are lots of free festivals happening too. See here for a list of free UK festivals and events in 2015.

Work your way in

Working at a festival is a good way to experience all the fun, as is volunteering with a charity or, if you have the required skills, as a first aider. You’ll have to be prepared to put longish hours in and you may well miss your favourite band but you’ll be guaranteed a fun time. Again, the bigger festivals sort out their staffing early in the year but there are opportunities to be had at smaller events later in the summer.


If you’re heading a fair distance look at car sharing. Put a shout-out on social media and you could halve your petrol costs. Travelling by train? Then try to book well ahead and travel outside peak times.

Before you set off

Prepare to travel light. Borrow camping gear or search for bargains online. Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly. Don’t take valuables, and that includes your new iPhone. Put your Sim into an old handset and forget about posting selfies for a couple of days. Any valuable items you do take should be insured. Take your own food and drink. Festival security tends to clamp down on this in the main areas but you should be allowed to eat and drink things you bring into the camping area.

When you’re there

Try not to use the cash machines to withdraw money, there’s generally a charge. Carry a water bottle with you and refill it rather than buying expensive soft drinks. Remember to cook up food where you’re camping rather than paying over the odds at the festival’s outlets, as tasty as that Thai street food may look!

For more money saving tips and information visit the Different Money blog or follow us on Twitter @Different Money.