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Music Festivals: Tight your budget with these tips

Music festivals can be great experiences, but sometimes they are quite expensive. How can you make sure they do not take all your money?

Group of people enjoying a music festival in Paredes de Coura, Portugal

Group of people enjoying a music festival in Paredes de Coura, Portugal / Reference Image / Pexels

LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Barinas Ortiz

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Recently, music festivals have become increasingly popular. The experience they offer due to its organization and structure, and mainly due to the possibility of seeing several artists in the same event, has meant that the number of attendees is increasing. However, according to Quartzy, ticket prices for major festivals may seem very high: a three-day pass for this year's Coachella festival in California cost $429 dollars. The price of tickets for the Glastonbury Festival in the United Kingdom was £253 pounds ($321 dollars). General ballots for the upcoming Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago are at $340, while VIP tickets cost $2,200. In addition, to the cost of the entrance, it is necessary to add the expenses of meals, drinks, and transport.

Leer en español: Festivales de música: ¿Cuánto cuestan y cómo se puede reducir gastos?

Despite that, music festivals have become increasingly popular because, according to economist Alan Krueger (specifically in his book Rockonomics), they are a great way to improve the productivity of live performances. Krueger explains that live presentations have not advanced much in terms of productivity. This means that today an artist spends the same time and effort in a live presentation, as what was spent fifty years ago or more.

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Krueger notes that while the productivity of the presentations has improved thanks to advances in sound devices such as speakers and microphones, it has not been significant progress. For that reason, from an economic point of view, music festivals are a better option for artists, record companies, and associated industries, since they allow sharing the costs of crew, lights, security, among others.

Therefore, the expenses are reduced both for the artists and for the spectators, even though at the beginning the tickets can seem expensive, to attend separately all the concerts of each artist that attends a festival, without doubt, would be more expensive altogether.

How to reduce expenses when attending a festival?

Once you have the ticket, you have to think about the additional expenses: food, drinks, and transportation.

The first advice to not overspend is to book your transport in advance. On the day of the festival, getting transport can be expensive and difficult, so, it is better to book transportation beforehand. It also applies to book hotel or Airbnb, in case the festival takes place in another city. Remember that the closer the festival date is, the higher the prices and the lower availability.

As for the food, it is best to review the festival rules so you can know if they allow the entry of food or not. If allowed, expenses can be reduced considerably since it is much more economical to bring food from home, or buy it outside, than to buy it inside the festival. If food is not allowed, it is best to eat well before entering the festival, and when buying inside, evaluate all the options to choose the one that works best in terms of quantity and price.

When it comes to drinks, the best and cheapest alternative will always be drinking water. Some festivals include water drinking systems or dispensers where you can fill your own bottle as many times as you want, but sometimes, this is not the case at all. Even if you have to buy it, water will keep you hydrated and active for the same price as a soft drink, make sure that you or a friend always have water available.

The fourth advice is not to buy festival merchandise. Amid the excitement and the environment, it can be tempting to buy merchandise: shirts, caps, backpacks or accessories. All these products can mean a big expense and really are not necessary, so you have to avoid falling into temptation, especially if you have a reduced budget. In case you really want something, it is best to wait until the last day of the festival, where there is probably a discount to get rid of the inventory that was left over.

Another tip that can help you save: take your money in cash, and carry only what you need. Each day, before the festival, attend an ATM of the bank that charges less commission. You have to withdraw a limit amount of money that you will use for the rest of the day. At the festival, ATM's are insufficient and can charge you high commissions if they are not affiliated with your bank, in addition, having cash will allow you to buy from any seller in an instant. Bringing only what you need will help you control your impulses, but it will also help in case you are robbed or lose your money, in which case you will only lose a limited amount.

The best option to keep your money is to get a kangaroo or fanny pack, where the money is kept along with the essential items such as cell phone and identification. In this way, by having cash and safely stored, you can be calmer and ready to enjoy the festival to the fullest.

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