Let’s face it, as much as we hope that going to a music festival will be a less expensive way to see all of our favorite artists perform, price tags quickly add up between tickets, food, travel, and all of the other expenses. However, there are ways to cut costs and save money if you plan ahead.
Buy your ticket early.
Most festivals offer early bird ticket specials, so if you are sure you want to go, buy your ticket early! This can save you up to $100 on Firefly tickets if you buy right after the last festival ends. Ticket prices continue to grow throughout the year as the festival grows closer. If you want to wait for the lineup to come out before you make a decision, plan to spend at least $270 on a ticket (not including additional fees).
Buy the least expensive package and split costs.
Firefly offers a lot of camping packages, including General Camping, Wednesday Premiere Camping, RV camping, Glamping, and more. General Camping is the least expensive, however Wednesday Premiere Camping allows you to set up your campsite a day before the festival begins and provides better access to the festival. Do your research and choose the package that works best for you. There is a set maximum of people at a campsite depending on your package, so bring as many people as possible to split the price.
Bring your own food.
Food at Firefly will break the bank. The festival and its vendors know that food is a necessity if you aren’t able to live off of PB&Js for four days, so they set the prices high. The best way to save money on food is to bring your own. Shop at a wholesale food supplier to get the most bang for your buck and share the cost with the other campers. Firefly sells ice ($5 per bag in 2016) so bring coolers for fresh food instead of buying it at the festival for a higher price. Share the cost for ice with the other people at your campsite and make sure you all bring enough money to pitch in. That being said, everyone raved about the great food, so bring an extra $20 to buy yourself a treat or two. Most meals are around $10 and will give you enough energy to keep dancing for hours.
Best dressed and most expensively dressed aren’t the same thing.
It’s one thing to feel good about yourself because you got a cute boho outfit. It’s another to splurge on that $200 Free People dress just because it is #FestivalGoals. Less expensive stores like Forever 21, H&M, Pacsun, and even Urban Outfitters offer inexpensive clothes that are perfect for staying cute and cool all weekend long, but don’t cost a small fortune.
Carpool to share expenses.
If you can’t already tell, I think it is a great idea to share costs with the people you will be camping with. Driving to Firefly can get expensive. Gas, tolls, and parking add up quickly so take as many people as your car can fit (optimally the number of fellow campers you have) and have everyone pay their share. If you and your friends take more than one car, you have to pay for separate parking for the second one. Save money by driving a bigger car, even if it might take up more space in your campsite.
Borrow and bargain shop.
There are many items that you will want while you camp that can make your expenses skyrocket. Tents, a propane grill, fold-up chairs, blankets, a canopy, and a portable shower are all items that are great to have but cost a pretty penny. There’s a good chance that you know someone who loves to camp and would be happy to let you use it for the weekend. Otherwise, go to army surplus stores, walmart, or peruse the internet for the best deals.
Other tips and tricks for staying on budget…
- Set aside money for merchandise because you know you’ll want it once you get to the festival. Look on the website to plan what you might want and how much it will cost.
- Firefly is a cash only event. I recommend bringing a set amount of cash you plan to spend so you don’t spend too much by using the ATM machines to withdraw cash whenever you want something. However, if you run out of money and absolutely have to buy ice to keep those hot dogs cold, hit up the ATM.
- Take advantage of the Red Bull freebies on the day you arrive. Keep them cool in your cooler and save them for later in the festival when there are late shows you want to stay awake for. There is a Red Bull vendor in the festival, however, it costs $4 per can.