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How much do festivals cost and what should you take?

Packing everything you need can really cut the cost of a music festival. Here is how much spending money you need and a checklist of what to bring.

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Packing list

  • Ticket

  • Tent

  • Wallet or bumbag

  • Enough cash for the weekend

  • ID documents

  • Mobile phone

  • Portable phone charger

  • Sleeping bag and pillow

  • Air bed or roll mat

  • Torch or head lamp

  • Camping chair

  • First aid kit

  • Hand sanitiser

  • Food and drink

  • Water bottle

  • Clothes for all weather

  • Wellies and waterproofs

  • Sunglasses and hat

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Towel

  • Toiletries (e.g. toothbrush)

  • Toilet roll

  • Wet wipes

  • Dry shampoo

  • Sun cream

  • Medication and painkillers

  • Contraception

  • Plastic bags for wet clothes

  • A decent rucksack

  • Gaffa tape (To fix your tent in an emergency)

You can buy most things on site if you forget anything, but it is much cheaper to buy them before you arrive.

Try to leave valuable items at home because they could get lost, stolen, broken or waterlogged.

Glass bottles are not allowed on-site at most festivals, so stick to cans, boxes of wine, or spirits poured into plastic bottles.

How much do festivals cost?

The average cost of going to a music festival in 2018 is more than £400. Here is how much it could have cost to go to Glastonbury last year.


£250.75 including booking fees and delivery*.

*You can split the £7.75 delivery cost between a few people if you order several tickets together.


£45 on petrol for a return journey from London and £45 for a parking ticket comes to £45 each if you travel in a pair.

Bringing your own food and drink

It costs about £27 for breakfast, a crate of beer and enough snacks to keep you going through the day.

What food and drink will this get you?

Two packs of cereal bars (£3), a bag of apples (£2), a carton of orange juice (£1), a large bag of mixed nuts (£2), biscuits (£1) and a crate of beer (£18)

Food and drinks on-site

  • A pasty or hot dog at lunchtime will be about £6 each

  • A large meal like a curry from the Thali Café will be about £10

  • Over the five days, that comes to £80 on food

It costs around £4.50 for a pint at most of the bars. Even if you take your own drinks, you might want to buy a cold pint each day and a hot and spicy drink from the cider bus each evening.

This would cost about £9 a day, so £45 over five days.

Buying a souvenir T-shirt

You should be able to pick up a band or festival T-shirt for about £20 from one of the official stalls. You might find one for less than half the price from unofficial sellers, but cheap T-shirts can often fade or get damaged in the wash.

How much money should you take?

You would spend £145 based on the above, but it is worth taking a little more just in case. If you run out, there are cash machines at most festivals.

Put your cash in different pockets and never leave it unattended in your tent.

Top Tip

Keep cash and valuables hidden at night at the bottom of your sleeping bag.

Total cost

In total, you would need about £467.75 to pay for everything you need.

  • You could spend more if you have a larger budget and want some extra luxury

  • You could cut back the cost if you cannot afford £467.75

How much do luxuries cost?

If you have more money to spend, you could:

  • Buy clothes and merchandise from the markets and stalls

  • Buy all your food and drink on-site

  • Pay for things like massages or henna tattoos

You could also choose glamping instead of bringing your own tent. The festival's own Worthy View campsite offers reserved accommodation including yurts, pods and pre erected tents.

You could also stay off-site with a company like the Pop-Up Hotel, which offers luxuries like:

  • A private bathroom with your own shower

  • Comfortable beds

  • A separate car park

  • Power sockets for charging your gadgets

  • Hair dryers and straighteners

  • Spa treatments

  • A private bar

This would cost £1,895 for two people sharing a classic bell tent or £5,995 for a luxury camper van for two.

How to go to a festival on a budget

You could save money by:

  • Bringing all your own food and drink

  • Avoiding merchandise and souvenirs

  • Working at the festival for a free ticket

Here is how to cut the cost of going to a festival.

Festival tickets can be good value for money

A ticket for Glastonbury in 2000 was £89 including booking fees and postage. In 2017, Glastonbury Festival tickets cost £250.75 each including fees.

Although festival tickets have become much more expensive, you can still get a lot for your money.

The cost of seeing 2017's three main stage headliners separately would be:

  • Radiohead: £80

  • Foo Fighters: £75

  • Ed Sheeran: £100

  • Total: £255

Although the total amount is similar to getting a festival ticket, watching each act at their own show can be very expensive if you include transport and accommodation on three occasions.

You could also see around thirty acts at a festival, not just the headliners. Several nights of camping and the opportunity to take in other entertainment are also included in the price.

If there are more than three bands playing that you would like to see, it is usually cheaper than going to see each one individually.

Keep your phone alive

Some festivals offer a free phone charging service, but the queues are often long and waiting for your phone to charge can take a while.

You could buy a portable phone charger, which can recharge your phone enough times to get you through the weekend.

Alternatively, some festivals offer a service like Volt, which lets you buy or rent a portable phone charger that you can swap for a new fully charged one each day.

Festival FAQs

Can I watch big sporting events like the World Cup at a festival?

Yes, sometimes festivals will show important matches on the main stage's big screens or at smaller venues or stages.

Can I charge my phone at a festival?

Yes, there are usually charging stations, which are sometimes free to use but often have queues.

Are there showers at festivals?

Yes, but there are usually very few and they have large queues. Many festivals offer luxury camping options that include more showers for a higher price.

Can I vote at a festival?

No, there are no polling stations at festivals, but you can vote by post beforehand.

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