How to Budget for a Festival

How to Budget for a Festival

Written by Ade Ramos (@vibewithade)

Let’s be real for a quick sec: going to festivals is a fun, but expensive hobby. When you dedicate yourself to the festival life, you will easily spend thousands of dollars within a year. If you still want to continue attending live events, but are looking for a few ways to save, here are a few budgeting tips to keep in mind.

We’re going to break down festival budgeting into three main areas: planning for the festival you’re attending, finding ways to save money or make more money, and how to cut costs while at the festival.

Estimate What You’ll Pay for the Festival

We’ve seen it time and time again: You see an incredible lineup that all of your friends are hyping up and you are convinced to go. Here is where the research begins to evaluate the costs of attending. Of course the first consideration is the cost of the ticket and if they have payment plans available. Payment plans are super helpful in spreading out monthly payments to pay the ticket over time. Festivals have also adapted a tier ticket approach, meaning, the earlier you buy the cheaper the ticket is. That’s why it’s best to set your alarms and lock in the tier 1 pricing and if not, try to get the next cheapest tier.

The next thing to evaluate is where the festival is located. Is the festival in-state or out-of-state? Is it a city festival or a camping festival? How will you get to and from the festival? All of these are important to determine if you need to travel to this festival by car or airplane and where you’ll be staying which will then factor in if you’ll need a rental car, shuttle pass or if you’ll be taking a rideshare to the festival. Festival websites typically have hotel packages available as well as transportation passes, like parking and shuttles, if you need it. Other costs to keep in mind would be for outfits, festival necessity items, and food/drinks. Pricing all of this out can help you gauge the overall cost for this festival which help you evaluate if it will be feasible.

Find Ways to Save Money and/or Make More Money 

Once you know how much you might need to afford the festival, using a budgeting tool like Mint or YNAB (You Need a Budget) can help to keep you on track of your expenses and savings. By doing this you can start to get a grasp on how much you’re spending not only with festivals, but also in your everyday life. Through this you can cut any unnecessary costs like subscriptions you don’t use, cutting back on going out and eating out, and limit when you splurge on certain items.

To keep track of what you’re saving for your festivals, you can set up a savings account for your travels where with each paycheck you add your savings to that account. This can help keep your money more organized and can motivate you more to watch that account grow with your festival fun money.

If the festival is a little over-budget, you can choose to try to make more money with flexible side hustles that allow you to accumulate more cash to fund your festivals. Consider being a rideshare driver, delivering food, nannying or babysitting, being a virtual assistant, or content creating!

Saving Costs for a Festival

There are ways to save money when it comes to the actual festival and here are some quick tips to keep in mind: 

  • Lock in your tickets at the first tier pricing and do a payment plan.
  • Share a hotel room or AirBnB with a group to split the costs. Or if you can stay with a friend or family member, even better! 
  • Opt to do drive and park (if you have a designated driver) or shuttles instead of rideshares.
  • When figuring out what to wear, re-wear outfits you have, buy second/hand gently worn apparel, or trade outfits with friends.
  • Choose to eat a big meal beforehand and limit how many drinks you have inside of the festival.

One thing we want to make clear is that it is important to be honest with yourself about how much you can truly afford on festivals in a year. The average festival goer with an average paying job can attend about 1 festival; maybe 3 in a year if they’re spread out. No festival is ever worth putting yourself in a bad financial spot, so if you can only attend one a year that is more than okay. It’s all about quality, not quantity – save your money where you can and ball out on the festivals you can go to. If you enjoyed this post, check out our 5 Budget Friendly Events to see which festivals are on the lower end cost wise.

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