When the call of another festival is at odds with your bank balance, you don’t always have to make the choice between fun and frugality. As Pitch discovered, it is possible to have a good time at a festival on a shoestring budget.
Excluding the cost of a ticket (which we were lucky enough to get for free), we set ourselves a challenge of spending no more than £40 each all in.* Given that this is closer to a normal daily budget, we knew this would require some careful planning and budget allocation. Here’s how we broke it down:
Petrol – £5
Booze and food – £20
Spending money – £15
*optional extras not included.
Luckily, our chosen festival wasn’t too far away, which left more money in the spending pot after petrol, booze and food were taken care of. Another thing to note is that this festival was only a two dayer – if you’re at a festival from Thursday to Monday with only £40, then god help you.
Aside from those few minor details, by following our four simple rules, you can not only survive, but enjoy your next last-minute festival, guilt free.
Rule #1. Blithely disregard festival alcohol limits
Of course, these restrictions are put in place for a couple of good reasons. Independent festivals rely on some of their takings coming from bars, plus it prevents certain types from getting too shitfaced off their litre bottles of vodka and ruining the festival for everyone including themselves. However, it’s fine to think of these rules as a deterrent rather than gospel. At most festivals, it’s expected that you’ll sneak in an extra tinny or 12. Worst case scenario, you get the extras taken off you at security and you’re down a tenner, but when you weigh this risk against the £50 odd it would cost you at the bar, it’s always worth a go. Alternatively, you can head over to Y Not Festival, where apparently you’re allowed to get absolutely munted.
Rule #2. Pool your resources
By pooling your money and doing a communal shop from Asda online pre-festival, you can take advantage of two-for-one offers and save on wastage (unless you’re fully committed to finishing that 12 pack of monster munch). Stocking up beforehand also stops you overspending on hummous during the mad dash around Sainsburys en route whilst the driver fills up on petrol.
Rule #3. Bring a camping stove
Strictly speaking, these aren’t always authorised campsite equipment (although plenty of festivals do allow them), but if you can get away with bringing a small camping stove, you could save on money and morale. There’s no disappointment like a moistureless egg and bacon butty washed down with instant coffee, especially when it sets you back £8.
for every gourmet haven, there’s a white van waiting to tear apart your hopes and dreams of finding decent hangover food
There are many, many amazing food stalls at festivals (shout out, Biblos); but for every gourmet haven, there’s a white van waiting to tear apart your hopes and dreams of finding decent hangover food. Not today, Satan. Thanks to a small amount of forward planning and marginally heavier camping bags, we were able to sit at our campsite smugly eating scrambled egg and bacon rolls, waiting to plunge our cafetiere.
Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to improvise. If you forget to bring cutlery, a tent peg can double as a whisk, and wooden coffee stirrers from any nearby garage make excellent chopsticks.
Rule #4. Don’t blow your budget
Beware the lure of instant gratification. With such a small budget, it would be easy to blow it all on the first night on three pints and a go on a ride. Which in theory is fine, because if you’ve followed steps 1-3, you’ll have enough food and booze to keep you going. But saving enough money to start your day with a cold, draught pint can put you a million miles away from the guy starting his day with a warm can of Stella. Stella guy is much more likely to fall off the wagon and reach for his debit card…
Or, if you’re really strapped for cash, you can do as this guy did and sell off random retro snacks to drunk strangers.