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10 ways to save money at festivals

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Around 200,000 festival-goers will head to Glastonbury next week, while thousands more will descend on Bestival, Latitude and Creamfields later this summer. We reveal how revellers can save some cash.

Festival season is in full swing, with millions of people travelling around the country and overseas over the next few months to hear their favourite artists perform live. Such experiences don’t come cheap when you consider the cost of tickets, food, travel and accommodation.

There’s not much you can do about the price of the festival ticket, which really can put the boot in – Glastonbury came in at £248 plus a £5 booking fee per person this year. But there are other ways to save on your way there and at the actual festival too.

It’s best to plan ahead when it comes to saving money at a festival so here are the top tips to make sure you have the time of your life on a budget:

Book in advance

Book your travel as soon as you can. Advance train tickets are on general sale about 12 weeks ahead of the departure time, and they tend to be the cheapest tickets available.

Share a ride

If there’s a group of you going, and it works out cheaper to take a car, do it. This way you share the cost of petrol, parking (it’s £45 per car at Glasto), cut the congestion and reduce your carbon footprint.

The camping gear

You don’t need to buy the most expensive camping gear with all the mod cons as you’ll actually spend very little time under canvas. All you need is a cheap tent, a sleeping bag and a rolling mat. You definitely don’t need a state-of-the-art gas BBQ and an inflatable kingsize bed.

Make sure you check your tent a few days before you head to the festival for holes etc and so you know how to set it up.

Cash or credit?

Although festivals are getting better at providing festivalgoers with card payment methods, with some accepting mobile payments, it’s still a good idea to budget and take cash so that you know how much you’ve spent and how much you have left. You may find that ATMs on site charge you for withdrawing your cash.

Take your own provisions

Festivals are notoriously expensive when it comes to food and drink and annoyingly, they may limit the amount of alcohol you can bring in with you, though it’s likely there isn’t one on food. If you are going to a two-day festival, taking along your own snacks will save you a small fortune.

Sleep with your phone

The average festival-goer will carry £593 worth of gadgets with them, according to mobile phone insurer Protect Your Bubble. Revellers say they pack their smartphone to contact friends if they get separate, to show off on social media and to keep in touch with family and friends at home.

But there’s nothing worse than having your valuables stolen, especially when you’re miles from home. Research by Policy Expert reveals nearly one in 30 festivalgoers is a victim of loss or theft so don’t leave it in your tent or keep it in your back pocket and it’s best to sleep with it at night.

Policy Expert also suggests checking the small print in your home insurance policy to see whether it includes ‘away from home’ cover. If it doesn’t, ask your insurer about additional protection. If you do fall victim to theft, tell the police as soon as possible as a crime number is essential to making a claim.

Otherwise you could consider buying a cheap smartphone to take those all important pics without being distraught if it were to get lost or stolen.

Download the app

As if festivals aren’t pricey enough, a lot of them charge you for a copy of the festival map. Just download the app or image on to your phone before you head out.


Leave buying all the festival merchandise until the last day. Often the vendors tend to drop the price of t-shirts etc because they want to get rid of them before they leave the festival.

Save the planet

Festivals may offer a recycling scheme for empty cups where you can get money back or money off drinks.

Bring your own bottle

Bring a refillable plastic bottle. This way, you save money on those over-priced bottles of water and can top up with onsite water fountains.

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