Music festivals have become a trademark way for teens to spend their summer. With presale and “early bird” tickets fresh on the market for most summer music festivals, it is not too early for students to decide where they are putting their money.
Pennsylvania is a central location that gives music fans access to festivals both locally and in neighboring states. If you are looking to attend a festival next year, however, be aware that the experience comes with a hefty price tag.
The first thing one must consider is the price of admission. Depending on the festival, ticket prices range anywhere from $50 to $500, and even up to $1000. Senior Becca Zemaitis, a two-time attendee of Lollapalooza in Chicago, spent $475 just for her ticket this past summer. The multi-genre festival is held during the first weekend of August, and it headlines with various alternative rock, pop, and rap performers. With a large sum of festival funding coming from tickets, it is understandable why costs are high, especially since festivals are hosting big-name acts, causing them to grow in popularity.
To save on ticket prices, festival goers are encouraged to purchase tickets sooner rather than later. Freshman Alex McQuade attended Made in America, a hip-hop, r&b, and electronic music festival in Philadelphia on the first weekend of September. He only paid $125 for a presale ticket. “Put the festival’s post notifications on twitter, so you know when presale is out,” McQuade said.
Saving for a ticket may not be difficult for students, but the entire festival experience requires more economic planning. Senior Marina Vasconcelos spent close to $2,000 total for her weekend at the Governor’s Ball in New York City. Given the location, this indie rock and pop festival requires extra budgeting, especially since it is held the first weekend of June.
Since music festivals span multiple days, or even multiple weekends, festival-goers must consider living expenses in their total budget. Lodging, food and travel are not cheap, and must be arranged ahead of time.
“If you’re going to book a hotel, do it months in advance, make a spending plan/budget, and save,” Vasconcelos said.
Nearby hotels are a popular lodging option for festival-goers, as well as renting a space through Air BnB. Most festivals, however, encourage the full festival experience through camping. Some festivals provide free tents, but ultimately supplies are the responsibility of the ticketholder.
Senior Laura Mueller attended Firefly Music Festival, a multi-genre festival in Dover, DE, with a large camping group. “[To save money] bring a lot of your own food because it is always nice to hang out at the campsite and eat. Also, festival food is overly expensive,” Mueller said. Similarly, Zemaitis said, “Don’t purchase all of your food at the music festival.” Bringing food and cooking your own meals requires detailed organizing; however, it is a helpful money saver.
If you are willing to plan for it, it is possible to attend music festivals at a reduced cost. First, purchase the ticket that best fits your experience. Most festivals sell single-day passes as well as two and three day combinations. Do not buy a four-day VIP pass if you are only planning on attending the acts on one day. Second, many festivals offer benefits to those willing to volunteer behind the scenes. Signing up for shifts serving food or picking up trash can result in a reduced ticket price or free lodging.
Music festivals offer plenty of fun, music, and atmosphere for music fans, but do not assume that anyone can attend on a whim. Before buying a ticket, consider whether or not the acts in the festival’s lineup are ones truly worth seeing. If the festival is hosting many of your “must-see” acts, definitely purchase a pass.
“I would recommend festivals as a cost-worthy experience because you pay [to see] several concerts for the price of 3-5,” said McQuade. Similarly, Vasconcelos said, “Though the price seems high, for a three-day festival, it is worth it.”
“I explored the city, watched amazing bands and met a lot of new people,” Zemaitis said. Mueller also enjoyed her festival experience. “Being with all of your friends while listening to great music is extremely rewarding.”
For those willing to plan accordingly, music festivals are worth the price.