Festival on a budget

Times are still tough for many of us but that shouldn’t stop us having fun, especially on the festival front. Even if we have to make a few compromises, and stick to a budget, go to a festival.

Ok really my first point should be is if you aren’t too fussed about big name head liners then look for a small family festival.  If you do want big names and lots of entertainment laid on then Latitude and Camp Bestival are excellent options. Both do manageable payment plans so you can pay off a set amount in a given time.

Bring your own food

In an ideal world I would buy every meal there but this isn’t particularly cheap especially when you are family of 4 and some meals can cost up to £8 meaning £32 for say an evening meal!

Our plan is stocking up on chocolate brioche and banana for the kids breakfasts, bacon and mushroom rolls for ours (I’m also making the rolls so they should be a lot more filling than pappy shop bought rolls) lots of dried fruit and snacks for the children, smoothies, teddy bear bear crisps, mini cheeses, bread sticks and cartons of juice to name a few for the children to have throughout the day as they tend to want to graze.

We will have lots of yummy grown up snacks to graze on during the day. For evening meals I have some pasta sauces and ready cooked rice and pasta for the children as I know thy will eat them!  We will treat ourselves to dinner out, for something filling and tasty I recommend a Pieminster Mothership. You get pie, mash, mushy peas, dried shallots and gravy for around £9 and it is brilliant. I will still pack a few instant noodle pots though, always handy to fall back on!

That brings me on where to get these things. My husband and I both work for different supermarket chains so we get things from there using our discount, however places like Wilkinsons, Savers, Poundstretcher, Lidl and Aldi are brilliant for various bits and bobs very cheaply.

Avoid buying  any merchandise

I have only attended one festival where I bought a t-shirt and that was Glastonbury, I seem to remember they were quite reasonably priced and excellent quality. However at other festivals I have seen very overpriced and poor quality merchandise and I couldn’t see when I would wear it again.

Steer clear of festival “tat”

It used to be a tradition for me to buy a festival hat or festival trousers from one of the “jingly jangly” stalls but these days I don’t go to the stalls at all, I’m not there to shop.  Use the mantra from Martin Lewis “Do I need it, Will I use it, Can I afford it” if you answer no to one or more just walk away. And anyway, it’s an extra thing to cart home!

Be prepared for all weathers

Prepare for the best and the worst weather! If you forget sun cream or wellies chances are you will be able to get hold of it on site, at a premium. You don’t have to buy high end brands. You can get a pair of wellies for a tenner and a raincoat for about the same. I just bought my children some wellies,  they had been reduced and cost £12 for both pairs. They have all in one rain suits second-hand from online auction sites where I sold my daughters last one. Recycling too!


Something I have always wanted to do but never got round to it. You have to pay a refundable deposit to the charity or company you are volunteering for to ensure that you turn up and do your shifts. You get to see the festival from a different perspective and you get time off to enjoy the festival too. Some festivals don’t mind if you bring your children as long as there is another adult to care for them while you do your shifts but this depends on the charity or company you volunteer for.

Factor in the festival programme to your budget

I personally think all festivals should follow Glastonbury’s lead and give you the programme for free or at least factor it in to the ticket price. They are generally around £10 for the programme and a lanyard mini programme but some festivals sell them separately.

If you want to see particular bands or acts this is an essential item but also it’s quite a nice souvenir from the festival. On some festival forums, members create clash planners that can be printed off to take with you.

Lift share

Many festivals now encourage a lift share incentive where those who participate have a chance to win free festival tickets and to boost their green credentials, if you have space in your car maybe you could give a like minded festival goer a lift.

Ease up on the arena drinks

Yes it’s nice to get a cool beer but the costs add up. We tend to buy a beer and share it, I water mine down with sparkling water. We also take some cheap lager and wine spritzers in cans to have at the tent. For the children I buy cartons of juice and freeze them so they not only keep our food cool but they also tend to stay chilled for a few days.

Bring your own bubbles and children’s toys

Naomi mentioned this in her taking toddlers to festivals post. Yes you can buy these things on site but again you will be paying through the nose for them. Taking along some bubble wands, a ball, a frisbee,  glow sticks some paper and crayons will give your children a little entertainment back at the tent. Pound shops is a good place for these.

Collect sauce sachets

Whenever we eat somewhere where they give you sauce sachets we don’t use them. Saved in a “condiments tin”  they will improve the taste of a sandwich or a noodle pot. Also those little pots of milk and sugar sachets are really handy for morning tea and coffee. I cannot survive without at least two cups of tea and a cup of coffee in the morning. Of course, to buy these drinks would really add up. Bringing your own cooker, even if it’s just a little stove for making hot drinks will save you a fortune.

What are your tips for saving money at festivals? Let us know.

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