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Home > Money Blog > Saving Tips > Festivalue – how to enjoy a summer festival without spending too much

Festivalue – how to enjoy a summer festival without spending too much

How to enjoy a summer festival without spending too much

The UK’s immensely popular festivals attract to their stages once-in-a-lifetime performances and some of the biggest names in music every year. It’s little wonder the scene continues to go from strength to strength.

The music festival has been a mainstay in the British summer schedule since a boom in popularity in the early 1980s and its soaring status has meant that for many, it’s seen as a replacement for a summer holiday. Music lovers eagerly look forward year-round to the multi-day events, which, actually, don’t cost that much less than an average summer break. So how much are we really spending on this rather pricey weekend away?

What’s the cost of a summer music festival?

You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d need to take out a loan to attend a music festival in 2018. When you factor in ticket prices, food and drink, camping equipment and travel costs, it all adds up to an expensive weekend of fun.

Over the last 10 years, Progressive Money found the price of a ticket alone has risen by 66% and will now set you back an average of £164 for a weekend. This year, five of the UK’s biggest festivals are charging more than £200 for a ticket. This is a staggering increase when compared to 2008, when ticket prices hovered around the £100 mark. A decade ago £155 for Leeds and Reading Festival was the most you’d expect to pay, whereas now a single weekend ticket would cost £205 exclusive of fees.

But what about those added extras? If you’re going through a booking site for tickets, you can expect to pay up to 8% per ticket* for booking fee alone, as well as service charges and postage costs. All this makes for an incredibly expensive ticket price, even when compared to the steep face value. Such an initial outlay can massively eat into your budget for the weekend. That’s not all. Festival-goers need to ensure they have the proper kit to weather the elements while camping in a huge field. A tent, sleeping bag, pillow, airbed or mat – this little lot will set you back an average of £81.60.

So how can you do a summer music festival on a budget?

If you’re keen to attend one of the UK’s many festivals this year, there are ways you can do it without breaking the bank or having to re-mortgage the house. To give you a nudge in the right direction, we’ve taken a look at the clever ways you can keep costs down without compromising on the experience:

  • Buy tickets together. If you’re going with a group of friends, buy all the tickets at the same time. Yes, each one will still carry a booking fee, but you’ll dodge a sizeable chunk of the service charge and extra postage if all the tickets are sent out together.
  • Equipment. An easy one – take care to look after your camping gear and you’ll avoid having to fork out for new equipment each year. However, if you do find yourself needing to buy new, check out second-hand websites and local lists for cheap deals.. Better still, borrow from friends and family.
  • Take your own. This applies to absolutely everything. Food and drink at UK festivals can be extortionate, but most of them will allow you to bring your own. Check out each festival’s rules and policies to find out what you’re allowed to bring.
  • Budget. Draw up a plan and stick to it. Spending while you’re at a festival can quickly spiral out of control without you realising, so set yourself a strict budget before you go. Don’t spend more than you can afford to.
  • Volunteer. Some festivals offer free tickets, providing you’re willing to do a little bit of work in return. You can earn your freebie by working at the bar, clearing up after the event or directing people around the site. This could be a small price to pay to see your favourite bands live and get up close to all the action.
  • Ticket types. You may not have to pay full price – it’s worth looking into. If you’re attending the festival with students, teenagers or children, you may be able to get concession tickets. There are often much cheaper alternatives available and children’s tickets are often free.


Follow these top tips for summer savings and you could slash the cost of your festival weekend. That way you’ll remember it for all the right reasons and not have to dread the monthly bank statement coming in. You don’t always have to pay through the roof to have a great summer experience.

*maximum cumulative booking fee for UK’s top five music festivals when booking via official providers.

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