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The £45 festival • How to do a Festival on a Budget

August 24, 2012


Back in the 1970’s you could stroll into a festival without paying a penny, hitch a ride there (safely), survive the weekend wearing one dress, and everyone would share food, drink and smokes in the name of FREE LOVE. Unfortunately, I live in the era where the average festival ticket is £170, drinks are £5 a pop and the girls parade around wearing Topshops entire Spring/Summer collection just to achieve the ‘festival look’. Basically festivals are expensive!

But there is a way to do them on the cheap.

Last weekend I went to Greenman festival for its 10th Anniversary and camped Friday through to Monday, spending just £45 over the whole weekend. It took me a few festivals (and a lot of spending) to finally figure out how to avoid the festival splurging, but it can be done, and here is how:

1)    PACK  FOOD – One meal at a festival can cost between £5 and £10, and if you want your three meals a day you could be spending up to £30 a day – that’s not including any snacks or drinks. It’s annoying to pack and carry, but try and take as much food as you can with you. Even if it means pre-made sandwiches, it will be worth it. Before going to Greenman I baked Brownies, made sandwiches and then I picked up Pastries, Crisps and Sausage Rolls, all for under a tenner from Aldi. I’ll admit that on the Sunday morning I gorged on a fatty Bacon sarnie (grease and stodge were necessary), and Larzy and I treated ourselves to a roast dinner on the Sunday afternoon, but that’s the only food purchased over the whole weekend. Everything else I ate was the food I’d provided.

2) PACK BOOZE – The same goes with drinks. Yes, they are frustratingly heavy to carry, but trust me, take them with you to avoid spending there. A beer or cider at a festival will be between £4 and £6, and spirits around £5. If you want to get heavily drunk – which I imagine you will – it’s going to be pricey. At some festivals you can’t always sneak drinks into the Arena, Reading & Leeds are quite strict for this (although it’s not impossible, I did sneak a little vodka in my wellies last year) but if you are able to sneak booze into the Arena, definitely do it!  I usually take a large crate of cider with me for pre-drinking at the tent, and then I take spirits and mixers in plastic bottles to take into the Arena with me. And make sure to pack one big empty water bottle with you and just keep refilling it at the water stops, as even water is expensive to buy at a festival bar – why pay when you can get it for free?

3)  FASHION DIY – When I was a fairly new festival-goer I would spend a fortune on finding ‘the perfect festival outfits’ … until I realised it’s pointless. A) It’s probably going to be wet and muddy B) if you’ve bought it from Topshop or Primark, the chances are every other girl will be wearing it and C) you want to be as comfortable as possible. My perfect festival look these days is either a dress & cardigan, or shorts, some leggings, a t-shirt & a hoody. As long as I’m dry and comfy, I couldn’t care less. And then I usually jazz it up with hats or accessories. If you want to wear something new, but can’t afford it, just do some Fashion DIY and update an old item of clothing, whether it’s as simple as sticking a feather in a hat, or more advanced like having an art attack on an old dress. For Glastonbury last year I made a Beatles dress using a man’s XL T-shirt I’d had for a while (see pic on the right) it was old and worn so I didnt mind if it got ruined or muddy . Or, if you just want to look a little bit funky, face paints, hats and headpieces are all fairly cheap, yet just as fun as a new outfit!

Or do what Larzy did and spend the entire weekend wearing a Tiger Onesie from Primark

4) ATM (avoid.the.machine) – Before you go to the festival, take out your Cash (as long as you keep it somewhere safe at all times – this is very important). Because stopping off at the cash point every day is not a good idea, not only will it cost around £3 a go, but you end up over-withdrawing, and not to mention some festivals have very few cash points so queuing is a bitch. Think of the thousands of people that that are there, and your all trying to share 8 cash points.

It’s all about being disciplined! I took £65 to Greenman, and came home with £20, the other £45 was spent on a few drinks at the bar, some food, and splurging on rides and stalls. You want to have a good time; you there to drink, enjoy music and be merry, but you don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds to have fun, because remember …. The best things in life are free.

(Unfortunately I wish I could advise on cheap tickets and travel, but that’s the one part we can’t avoid! …. Although I have won FREE festival tickets via competitions before )

GREENMAN // 10TH ANNIVERSARY // AUG 17t, 18th, 19th

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