Go to a festival on the cheap

So, all your friends are looking to attend that next big event or festival and being strapped for cash means you can’t make it. In fact, sometimes you feel like you can’t make it to most things! Well do not fear – there are cheap (and sometimes free!) alternatives. Here’s how Ibz and Rachel help Beverly plan a festival on a budget.

1. Get a free or cheap festival ticket

  • You can volunteer in a number of roles to get a free festival ticket – litter picking is the most common role people go for but they also look for ticket stewards, campsite managers, food stall workers and first aiders along with others.
  • There are both volunteer roles and paid roles available
  • You can usually apply for these through the official festival website, though some jobs are advertised on sites that specifically provide staff for festivals - they go quickly so apply in advance!
  • Often you will have to pay a deposit before you go, which you get back on completion of your shifts at the festival
  • You’ll be given shifts to work throughout the festival – you can often negotiate these. When you are off-shift you will be able to go and enjoy the festival
  • Alongside your free ticket for working, you will also meet some great people and get work experience to include on your CV.

2. Choose cheap accommodation

  • More often than not, camping is provided on site and is included in your ticket price, but make sure you check! Living on the festival site saves you money on travel, and there is nothing better than waking up with the festival on your doorstep.
  • You can usually buy tickets for fancy tents, cabins and caravans if you prefer glamping to camping, but you will you need to pay extra for these. Ask yourself if you really need them or if you can hack a week in a tent for half the price – part of the fun is roughing it anyway!
  • If there is no on-site camping, consider looking for a local campsite that will be much cheaper than hotels, or try hostels if you really can’t face a tent.

3. Travel

  • Festivals often offer coach travel to and from the festival site from your city, or a shuttle bus from the train station, as they are often hard to get to on foot from the nearest train station. Look on the website for info on travel options. If all else fails, try carpooling with friends or another group of festival-goers you find through mutual contacts. It’s cheaper AND better for our planet if you share a vehicle.

4. Prep and take your own food

  • Festivals can be expensive once you get there - you will want to make sure you’re well-hydrated and eating well so you have energy to dance the weekend away. Buying beforehand or even prepping a homemade snack can give you that all-important dancing fuel.

Why not try to make some of Rachel’s homemade breakfast bars to take with you, which you can reach for whenever you need that morning or midnight snack.

Full recipe: homemade breakfast bars (makes 12 bars depending on your tray size):

What you will need:

  • A 20cm x 20cm baking tray
  • 200g unsalted butter (or coconut oil)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 200g honey (or golden syrup)
  • 350g porridge oats
  • 150g dried fruit
  • 75g nuts, seeds or desiccated coconut
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 20cm x 20cm baking tin with non-stick parchment paper.

  2. Either in the microwave or in a small pan on the hob, melt together the butter, sugar and honey.

  3. In a large bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour in the melted butter and sugar mixture, and stir until everything is well combined.

  4. These versatile bars are perfect to take with you to a festival. They’ll keep well and are great for sharing, so you could make a big batch between your friends. You can use any dried fruit, nuts or seeds that you have lying around in the kitchen. You could also substitute some of the porridge oats for your favourite breakfast cereal.

Tip out into the tin, and bake for 20 minutes until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting into 12 bars. Kept well wrapped, the bars will keep for 4 - 5 days.

Support with University, college and  apprenticeships.
How managing your money can help you live your best life
Planning a holiday on a budget