If you’re wondering how much it costs to go to a music festival, the short answer is probably “a lot.” Weekend passes are often a few to several hundred dollars, and that doesn’t cover all the expenses.
But does that mean you should skip the entire experience? Not at all. Attending music festivals is a fun way to sample a lot of different bands and musicians while enjoying time spent outdoors, likely with your best friends.
Keep reading to learn more about music festival costs and money-saving moves so you don’t bust your budget while hearing some amazing music. You’ll learn:
• What are the average costs of a music festival?
• What are the main expenses to consider when going to a music festival?
• How can attending a music festival be more affordable?
What Is the Average Cost of a Popular Music Festival?
To start, the average cost of music festival tickets (typically for a weekend-long event) is about $200 to $600, but those aren’t the only charges. If travel is required to attend, musical festival expenses can shoot up quite quickly. Transportation costs and lodging are often premium-priced during a festival, since businesses know they can get top dollar.
What the typical music festival cost is depends greatly on where the festival is located and the type of experience the attendee is looking to have. Camping out versus staying in a luxury hotel will save money, as will skipping the VIP tickets for the basic ones, bought at early-bird pricing.
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Main Expenses to Consider When Going to a Music Festival
Again — everyone’s music festival experience looks differently and costs can vary. That being said, these are some common music festival expenses worth planning for. Know them as you budget, and let the headline performers keep you money motivated.
The first cost all music festival attendees need to plan for is the cost of the ticket. These tickets can cost hundreds of dollars — especially if someone is attending a multi-day event. For instance, in 2022, tickets to Bonnaroo in Tennessee were $350 and up for four days, and Coachella, in Indio, California, passes began at $449 for three days.
Costs will vary depending on when you buy tickets (they get more expensive closer to the actual performance date), and whether you decide to shell out for the VIP options.
If you have to travel to attend the event, you may need to budget for the expense. You can see whether, say, driving vs. flying costs more, or look into bus tickets, but do remember to add this as a line item to your budget.
Even if you live nearby, you may need to pay for an Uber or Lyft ride to attend the event. At the very least, remember to account for gas and parking expenses.
Music festivals likely attract large crowds and visitors from around the world, which means that local hotel and home rental costs can shoot up. Book early to avoid overpaying once pickings are slim.
Because music festivals have their attendees held somewhat captive for the day or days of the event, the food for sale there can be quite expensive. Think about what you pay at a concert or in an airport to get a sense of what you might need to pay.
Part of the fun for many festival-goers is planning what you’ll wear. Sure, some people are happy in their usual jeans and a t-shirt, but if you want to buy some new clothes or accessories before a music festival, be sure to add those costs to your budget.
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Tips for Being Able to Afford Going to a Music Festival
The price tag for a music festival experience can be steep, but it can also be an amazing and memorable experience. Here are some ways to bring the costs down so you can be part of the fun. And another way saving money can help you that’s worth mentioning: Do a great job cost-cutting, and maybe you can attend an additional festival.
Budgeting for a Festival Expense
From tickets to transportation to food, plan out what the day or weekend will entail cost-wise and make a budget. This can be done in a journal, on a piece of paper, or in an app. You can also learn how to make a budget in Excel. If you can plan for this outing months in advance, you can slowly save up for it so your overall budget doesn’t take a major hit.
Once you know the total amount needed, you can divide that by the number of months until it’s time to pay for your expenses. The figure you see is how much you should save monthly to afford the festival.
Not Buying VIP Tickets
Music festivals often have different tiers of tickets and offer some sort of VIP ticket for a much higher price than the cost of normal entrance. Skip these overpriced tickets, and spend the money on food or transportation instead.
Buying Tickets as Early as Possibly
Some music festivals offer cheaper tickets for people who book early, so don’t sleep on those good deals. If possible, save up before tickets go on sale to take advantage of early booking deals.
Planning Travel Accommodations as Early as Possible
It can be possible to save on travel and lodging by booking those things sooner rather than later as well. (This is a wise move when trying to save money for a trip of any kind.) Once tickets are booked, try to find some travel deals. When flights and hotels get down to the last few available options, prices tend to soar.
Bringing Your Own Food and Water
If allowed, pack food and lots of water to avoid overspending on food and drinks at the event. As a bonus, this means spending less time in line and more time enjoying the music. Some music festivals won’t allow attendees to bring in their own food, but most allow water from outside sources. Not overspending on water is a great way to save money and stay hydrated while out in the sun all day.
Some music festivals offer volunteers the chance to trade work for access to the festival. It’s always worth seeing whether such opportunities are available — they may very well be worth the trade-off.
Walking Wherever You Can Instead of Using Transportation
If staying nearby, try walking to the event. Parking is often expensive at music festivals, and ride-share prices surge as well due to high demand.
Camping Rather Than Staying at a Hotel
Because it can be hard for the many attendees of music festivals to find affordable lodging nearby, some music festivals are held at campgrounds. Camping is a great way to save a lot of money versus hotel costs, and it can add to the fun of the weekend.
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Music festival costs can vary greatly, but the major ones are often undeniably expensive. Planning ahead for these amazing events can be one of the best ways to manage costs. By booking early, camping instead of staying at a hotel, and considering volunteer opportunities on-site, you may be able to listen to your fill of music and still have money in the bank.
Need to save up for a music festival or other short-term goal? SoFi has you covered. Open a bank account online with direct deposit, and your SoFi Checking and Savings won’t charge you any account fees, will offer you automatic savings features, and pay you a terrific 1.80% APY.
Why are music festivals so expensive?
Attending music festivals can be expensive. The tickets for weekend-long events are pricey (the organizers have to cover the bands’ fees, the space, set-up, advertising, and more). Plus, if you travel to get there, you have transportation and lodging costs to contend with as well, plus food costs are part of the experience, too.
How much does it cost to hold the festival?
One reason that tickets for music festivals are so expensive is that it can cost a lot of money to host these events. It can cost millions upon millions of dollars to host a music festival — especially when top-tier musical talent is performing; their fees can be steep, in keeping with their stature.
Should I use my emergency fund for a festival?
Emergency funds are a type of savings fund specifically earmarked for unexpected expenses that interrupt daily life, such as a car repair, medical bill, or loss of one’s income. Since a music festival is a planned expense, you should not tap your emergency fund for this. Instead, it’s better to gradually save up for the cost of the festival in advance.
Should you layaway your festival tickets?
Whenever possible, it’s best not to make a purchase using a layaway arrangement, especially for an unnecessary expense like a music festival. While layaways don’t come with interest like credit cards, they do typically charge fees for spreading out the cost of the purchase. It’s best to create a budget for attending a music festival and to save up for festival tickets in advance.
Photo credit: iStock/urbazon
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