10 Ways to Save Money at Summer Music Festivals

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The temperature is slowly dropping here in Kentucky and I already have my eyes on summer. Like most millennials, attending music festivals is one of my favorite summer activities. This year I'll be heading to the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama for the second time and the word excited doesn't do me justice! Although these trips can create lifelong memories, they can also leave short-term dents on your bank account. I put together this list so you can still have the best summer ever without spending all your savings.

1.) Volunteer

Probably the best bet if you are trying to save serious cash.

Usually you will have to work a few shifts and in return will receive free access to the festival. With tickets ranging from $200-$500, this is a great way to drastically reduce the cost of your trip. Festivals will usually post volunteer application forms to their websites early spring.


2.) Buy a Single Day Ticket

This is the way to go if you live close to the venue or are making the trip for one specific band. Keep a close eye on when the schedule is released so you know which day your favorite artists are playing. If you can forgo seeing the acts scheduled for other days, a single day ticket is your best option.


3.) Get Cash Before Your Trip

This may be obvious for some but if you are a procrastinator like I am, listen up! Save $$$ on ATM fees by withdrawing cash before your trip. You won't have to worry about tracking down your bank's ATM in an unfamiliar city, or paying service charges at on site ATMs. I found out the hard way when I was in Portland this summer and discovered there wasn't a branch of my bank within 500 miles!


4.) Stay Should Be First Priority

Your hotel stay is usually the largest expense of a trip but it doesn't have to be! Booking a room as far advance as possible usually guarantees you the lowest rate, but now even if you're the last-minute type you won't have to sell your GoPro to cover accommodations. Airbnb is an awesome service that lets you rent out a personal home or room for a rate that is usually much cheaper than traditional hotels. Or if you can hang outdoors style, pitching a tent is always an economical option.


5.) Set A Daily Money Allocation

These events can get really expensive and it's incredibly easy to lose track of your finances with all the fun going on! Impulse buying will happen and you need to be prepared for that. Organizing your money in daily allotments (don’t forget travel days) will save you from going broke halfway through your trip. This tip can be used for anything in your daily life and is referred to as “The Envelope System“.


6.) Watch For Deals From Festival Twitter Accounts, Sponsors & Local Eateries

These festivals are major marketing events for some of the biggest brands in the world and they are doing everything in their power to get you away from the stages to check out their products. Follow the Twitter accounts of the summer festivals you're attending as well as sponsor companies. Keep your eye out for giveaways, discount codes and promotions. Who knows, you may go home with something awesome or score backstage passes! Some of the most popular music festival’s Twitter accounts include @lollapalooza, @hangoutfest, @coachella, @GovBallNYC, and @forecastle.


7.)  Buy A Bus/Shuttle Ticket

This step saves time and money. Festivals offer these tickets for around $50-$7o dollars and make stops throughout the day to multiple locations, including most of the popular hotels and camping grounds.


8.) If You Craft, Why Not Sell?

If you can produce things that can be used or worn at festivals chances are you can sell them inside at a decent price. Things like handmade necklaces, bags, earrings and purses are huge hits in the festival-going community and if you have a good enough demand you could cover the cost of your trip.


9.) Pack Staples to Avoid Inflated Prices

Whether you believe it or not, the city of your festival will be anticipating the sudden influx of tourists in the area. Retailers will have higher prices while you are there and you should prepare for that as much as possible. Umbrellas, ponchos, tents and other festival staples become gold during these times so it doesn't hurt to buy what you can at home.


10.) Do Not Pay $7.00 For Water!

I repeat… DO NOT PAY $7.00 FOR WATER. Staying hydrated will be the number one key to success during your experience. Festivals go all day and it can get really, really hot. Dehydration can easily happen. Hydration Packs have become increasingly popular with most festivals having free refill water stations. Either load up a backpack full of water bottles (just find out the per-person limit) or bring along a handy Hydration Pack.

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After graduating from Western Kentucky University with a B.S. in Financial Planning, James Baskey launched his blog, My Money Millennial. He currently works as a Financial Planning Intern at a small firm in Kentucky. You can contact James at jtbaskey@gmail.com.

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