There’s nothing better than going to an amazing summer concert or music festival and rocking out with a few thousand of your “best friends.” But enjoying the best concerts and festivals has become an increasingly expensive summer activity.
Let’s look at the cost of some of those music festivals: Coachella ($3,000 to $6,500 for all-inclusive packages), SXSW ($1,200), Ultra Fest ($350)… You definitely need a strategy if you want to get anywhere close to them.
1. Prioritize Your Music Choices
Before you commit to a music festival or concert, spend some time thinking about who you really want to see. Be honest about the one (or two) acts that you would see again and again. For me, one of those acts is John Legend. I can’t get enough of him. The other is Bruno Mars. And since I’ve already seen John Legend in concert more than once, I’m prioritizing seeing Bruno Mars this year. I still regret not seeing Prince and David Bowie, and I don’t want to make that mistake again.
Well, if you want to attend that concert or music festival that you’ve been dreaming of without going broke, I have a few ideas to share.
2. Go Locally
Next, see if your favorite artist will be swinging through your state or city. If you can avoid traveling very far to see them, that will save a ton of money (and time). Fortunately for me, Bruno Mars will be making his way through Denver, and I plan on getting as close as I can, so that he can gaze into my eyes while singing… Kidding, not kidding.
3. Plan Out Your Payment Strategy
4. Make Sure You're Aware of Hidden Costs
Think about the overall cost of attending a concert. Aside from the ticket price, there are a few other things to consider. Like the cost of food, transportation, drinks (if you’re so inclined), hotel, travel, and other miscellaneous expenses for events that are out of town. I spent some time looking at the different festivals being held around the country this summer to give you an idea of the price ranges that you’re looking at.
One of my dream music festivals to go to is AfroFest. It’s held in several locations across the world, including New York City and Johannesburg, South Africa. The tickets are quite affordable, but because I live in Denver, I have to factor in flights, accommodation, food, ground transportation, and – of course – fun.
If you’re experiencing the same issue I recommend the following strategies. Open a dedicated savings account at your bank or with an app like Stash Invest so that you can slowly save up for that music festival.
5. Plan Your Housing for Far Away Venues
Reach out to a friend who lives in that town. If they’re up for it, crash on their couch and give them some money as a thank-you. You can also look up the couch-surfing community or more formal accommodations like hostels or Airbnb for affordable accommodation. These alternatives to $100-a-night hotels will typically drop your accommodations costs by 75 percent.
Try to stay as close as you can to the concert venue or pick a place that has easy access to safe, low-cost transportation in the city. And finally, choose a place to stay that has a kitchen. That way, you can store groceries, cook yourself, and save money on food while you’re in town.
Check out low-cost air carriers like Frontier, Southwest, and Spirit Airlines. Be prepared to pay for everything ranging from your carry-on to the seat that you want to sit in.
Stay flexible, and you should be ok.
6. Set (& Stick to) a Budget
Once you arrive at the music festival, check out the local bike-sharing program or sign up for Uber or Lyft so that you can get around without renting a car. (And if you’re a first-time user, you may receive a discount on your first couple of rides). Also familiarize yourself with local transportation options.
Triple check the festival website so that you know the prices before you enter the festival. Then set a budget for yourself and withdraw cash prior to arrival based on that budget.
So, it’s finally time to go to the festival. This is where people mess up when planning their festival-going experience. Budget for plenty of water (won’t be cheap) because you will always need more than you anticipate. All that dancing makes a person thirsty!