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What Costs to Expect When Going to a Music Festival


With Made in America 2015 officially being over, music fans are counting down the days until the next big festival. While words cannot describe how amazing it is to see our favorite artists perform live, it can be extremely costly—especially on a collegiette’s budget. However, you shouldn’t let that hold you back. We’re here to help you survive any music festival on a tight budget!

1. Bring friends

You’re probably not going to attend something like SXSW solo, but you should definitely consider bringing a couple of friends. This will allow you to split everything a few ways, which will save you a lot of money when it comes to booking a hotel or taking an Uber.

Kailee, a senior at Rutgers University, traveled to Made in America with five of her friends—and they all stayed in one hotel room. “[Our room] is super cramped but we didn’t want to pay more when we would be spending almost all of our time at the concert,” Kailee explains. While getting ready with five other girls isn’t ideal, Kailee’s got the right idea, especially since hotels are even more expensive when concerts come into town.

2. Search social media for Uber & Lyft codes

Unless you drive to your destination, you’re going to need to get around throughout your trip, so take advantage of companies like Uber, Lyft, or the lesser known Tripda. These services are usually cheaper than taxis, and much faster than public transportation. While these options are relatively inexpensive, you can save even more money by searching things like “Uber code” or “Lyft code” on Twitter.

People who use these methods of transportation every day frequently tweet out their assigned code so that both they and the person who uses it gets a discount, or even a free ride. Once you use one of these services, you get your own code—so from there, you can share it with your friends and continue getting discounted and free rides between all of you.

3. Consider all your travel options

It’s tempting to just book a flight without looking into any other options because doing so would require research, but trust us—it’s definitely worth your time. Some of the alternatives include taking a bus (like a Greyhound) or a train. Whether or not these options are available depends on your location, but they’re much cheaper, so try your best to utilize them!

If you’re not close to a bus or train station, you could consider flying to a nearby location and then hopping on a different mode of transportation there. You might save on airfare by cutting down on the length of the flight.

4. Apply to work or volunteer at the festival

So, you've got your travel plans and your stay budgeted out... now for the ticket. The cost of attendance alone can make or great a collegiette's budget—so what now? Signing up to volunteer will usually get you into a festival for free! While this isn’t ideal, you’ll still get the opportunity to be in the environment and hear all of the music! It’s also likely that you wouldn’t be working or volunteering throughout the entire day, so you could stick around afterwards and have just as much fun.

Callie, a recent graduate from UPenn, did this at Made in America. She worked at one of the drink stands right in front of the main stage, and got to see a variety of artists like Beyoncé, Modest Mouse and more. “I was usually super busy serving water or beer, but I could hear and see everything the entire time. Plus, I was getting paid,” she says. Getting paid to see Queen Bey? We’ll take that for sure.

5. Pack accordingly

What you bring will help determine how much money you spend. One of the most important things to pack is a “hydration pack.” This is a backpack that has a system built into it that allows you to fill a reservoir with water and then drink out of it with a hose-like straw. One pack will probably last you throughout the day, but even if you end up needing to fill it up, you're sure to find a free water source at a hydration station. Venues up the price of water because they know people will have to buy it, so bringing your own will save you TONS of money!

Another item to consider packing… money! We're sure you thinking, “Well, duh,” but there’s more to it than that. You should bring a set amount of cash. You can determine how much to bring by planning out what you want to spend on food, drinks, merchandise and more. Having a specific amount on you will help you set a budget and stick to it!

It’s not fair to miss out on a fun experience just because you’re not made of money. Collegiettes can still find ways to make the most out of music festivals without breaking the bank!

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