How to hit up music festivals on the cheap
Get early bird tickets
Don't wait till the last minute – many festivals have early bird specials or pre-sales that are significantly discounted. Subscribe to their newsletters and follow them on social media so you can be the first to know when they release them.
Work your way in
Many festivals rely on volunteers to scan tickets, hand out freebies (more on that later) and clean up, and you probably won’t have to work the entire day either. Check out their websites and apply as early as possible. Note that everyone and their mother will try to volunteer for big festivals like Splendour in the Grass, so choose your battle wisely.
Wait, people giveaway tickets for FREE? You heard it right. Radio stations and festival sponsors often host competitions to giveaway tickets, and sometimes even an all-expense-paid trip! (Side note: the author is preparing for hers as she writes this.) So scout their websites and social media accounts religiously once the festival is announced and enter everything – you’ve got to be in it to win it.
If you're going to a festival that's out of town, try getting there by bus or train! An interstate return flight could easily set you back big bucks that you could be spending on festival merch or, let's be honest, more booze. Coach services like Greyhound have routes connecting NSW, ACT, QLD, VIC and SA, or hire a car with a few friends for a road trip. Just pump your festival playlist on the way to start the party early.
YHA Bonus: Members get an exclusive 10% off all Greyhound point to point tickets
Stay in budget accommodations
It’s cleaner and sometimes cheaper than camping – especially if you don’t already own camping gear and utensils. It’s super fun as people who stay there are likely to be attending the same festival so you can take a Tinder break and actually meet like-minded people IRL. Staying in hostels is obviously a LOT safer than couch-surfing aka crashing at some random dude’s place who may or may not skin you while you sleep.
YHA Bonus: From Field Day to Future, check out which of our 85 budget accommodations is near your favourite festivals.
BYO (almost) everything
Staying in hostels means you can use the communal kitchen to make breakfast and even pack lunch everyday – if the festival allows outside food and you're bothered! Otherwise bring something simple – energy bars, nuts or crackers can help stretch your budget further, and you won’t have to drink on an empty stomach.
Look out for freebies
From merch to drinks to VIP passes, festival vendors and sponsors often offer freebies and surprises for festival-goers on the day. Keep an eye on the venue signage and check social media every few hours to see what’s on offer. Who knows, you might even score a last-minute meet-and-greet with your favourite artist.
Yes, there will be ATMs onsite, but they are likely to charge you a withdrawal fee. Why pay to access your own money? Hit the ATM before you enter the venue and save that $3 for (half) a beer. This will also help you to set a budget for the day so you don’t come home with a credit card debt because you reeeaally felt like shouting your new mates beer after meeting them for a solid 5 seconds.
Use common sense
Don’t forget to pack on the sunscreen and stay hydrated throughout the day to avoid getting heatstroke or anything that will lead to medical costs. Jumping off that makeshift ladder might seem fun at the time, but not so much when you break your leg and get kicked out before Coldplay even comes on.
Put down your phone
Once you get there, be present, take it all in and enjoy the moment. Watch the show live, not through the screen of your phone! (If you are one of those people who bring iPads to festivals, please see yourself out.) Put the phone down for a minute so you can see Radiohead performing before your very eyes, and that would surely make your ticket worth every dollar.
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