This week’s Loose Change comes from Fiona Hawkes who blogs at www.savvyinsomerset.com where she shares money saving tips, recipes and ways to make extra cash. As the blog name suggests, Fiona lives in Somerset where she loves getting out and about exploring all the county has to offer.
Over the summer months, the UK plays host to a huge range of festivals. From Boardmasters in Cornwall to Groove Loch Ness in Scotland there is a multitude to choose from up and down the country.
Getting into these events isn’t cheap. A ticket to Glastonbury festival costs £238 + £5 booking fee. Then there’s the cost of travelling, food, drinks as well as hidden costs such as car parking fees (which have risen £10 a year at Glastonbury for the last three years!)
While there’s nothing that can be done reduce the price of a ticket, it is possible to keep costs to a minimum and still have fun while there.
Here are my top tips for keeping costs down while visiting a Festival this summer.
Check before taking food & drink
Taking plenty of food and booze may sound like a massive money saver, but each festival has its own rules about what can be taken on site and whether things like barbeques and camping stoves are allowed. Check beforehand as there’s no point spending loads on food and drink only to have it confiscated on entry.
If food is allowed, then take as much as is practical – a trolley may be useful for transferring everything from car-park to campsite. Remember not to take anything that needs refrigeration or that might melt into a horrid mess if it’s very warm.
If the festival in question doesn’t allow food, be prepared to pay. The average cost of a meal at a UK Festival is £7 and soft drinks, such as a glass of orange juice can be as much as £4. Over a few days this could really start to add up. Many festivals have cafes and bars that will offer free food and drinks in exchange for a few hours work or volunteering, which is worth considering if money is tight.
Take Plenty of Bottled Water
While everyone seems to remember to take their own alcohol to save money, many people forget to take their own water. Stock up in Asda beforehand where a crate of 24 bottles is just £3.50 – this is the usual price for just ONE bottle at the average festival.
While some festivals do have taps with drinking water dotted around, queues can be very long, especially when the weather is hot. Staying hydrated in the heat and when drinking alcohol is so important – don’t let the fun be ruined by not drinking enough water.
Factor in the Cost of Parking
Many people forget to factor in the cost of parking when visiting a festival. Prices for car parking have risen sharply over the last few years at Glastonbury Festival, jumping from £25 in 2015 to £45 in 2017. Coaches run from all over the country to all the major festivals and after factoring in petrol, parking and massive traffic jams getting onto the site, it may well be cheaper to let someone else do the driving.
If driving is the only option available, double check the route on google maps. The suggested route each festival gives on its website may not be the quickest. This is the case with Glastonbury Festival – getting off the motorway a junction early and taking a slightly different route will save half an hour of travelling time and a fair amount of petrol. There is also the benefit of less people travelling that route and therefore less traffic.
Don’t forget water-proofs
While we all have visions of perfect summer weather for the whole June, July and August, it rarely happens. Being prepared with wellies and waterproofs will save a fortune on needing to buy them there, where prices are hugely inflated – think £7.50 for a plastic poncho and £30 for very basic wellies! Save some dosh and buy them before going.
Some final tips
A few final tips to really stretch those pennies
- Most bars, food vans and market stalls at festivals take card payments. Taking minimum cash and a card that can be easily cancelled may be the best way to prevent theft, which sadly is commonplace at such large events.
- Many of the stalls selling clothes and other merchandise will slash their prices on the last day so try to wait until then before buying anything.
- Take an old, battered phone – lose a brand-new mobile at a festival and it is extremely unlikely it will be returned to its original owner.
- Don’t buy an expensive tent. Two man tents can be picked up for under twenty quid and it’s likely it will either end up damaged or covered in mud. Tents left behind at Glastonbury are recycled and either sold (if in good enough condition) or made into bunting to raise money for local community projects.
- And finally don’t forget the Sun Cream in-case the Great British Summer does decide to make an appearance!