Thursday, December 7, 2023

Belper Bill Busters: Welcome To The (Frugal) Festival Season

For families, couples and groups of friends alike, festivals are always a summer favourite. What could be better than a staycation spent sitting in the sun, listening to music and having fun? The problem is, festivals rarely come cheap. So is there a way to enjoy the season while saving money? You betcha.

If you’re new to the whole camping thing, don’t bother splashing out on a fancy new tent (unless you’re planning on getting into it seriously, of course). Ask around and see if you can borrow a tent from a friend. The same applies for camping chairs, picnic rugs, sleeping bags and blow-up mattresses. A gas stove is also a useful addition to any camping trip (see the next tip for more on that).

Let’s face it, pop-up caterers know full well how convenient they are. Who’s going to leave a festival to trek for miles looking for another shop when they can grab something there and then? Sadly, this often adds up to a hefty price tag! As well as bringing non-perishables like crisps and breakfast biscuits from home to keep you going through the day, make meals like Bolognese, stew and curry in advance and freeze them – they’ll keep for a day or two and can be heated up with a gas stove (make sure you check whether the festival allows these first). A flask, some coffee granules and a travel kettle could save you a small fortune too.

Lots of festivals, including New Wine, Greenbelt and ONE, offer discounted event entry and camping for volunteers – some will even give you these things completely free of charge, with meals thrown in as well! Got kids in tow? Most festivals will want volunteers to do shifts of a couple of hours each dotted throughout the day, so make sure there’s always one adult ‘off shift’ to look after the kids and you’re winning.

If the festival runs over several days, consider whether the venue is close enough for you to drive home at night rather than staying over. Provided you’re not going to be running up big fuel costs, it’ll save you some money on a camping ticket (not to mention there’s less chance of waking up with a seriously cricked neck!)

Take plenty of cash with you. Not all festivals have cash machines on site, and when they do the queues can be tediously long and there’s a hefty transaction fee. That said, only take as much cash as you’re going to spend and avoid the temptation of all the shops and stalls!

Regardless of the weather forecast, pack clothes for all eventualities! This is Britain after all. An umbrella and raincoat are a must, as are sun cream and a sun hat. Don’t leave yourself in a position where you have to shell out for these things in the shops on-site – they’re never going to be cheap.

There can be a fair bit of waiting around in between acts at festivals, so make sure you have plenty to do. Whether it’s a good book or outdoor games and activities to do with the kids, it’s something to keep you all busy without having to splash out on on-site entertainment. Hey, if the venue is big enough and you’re allowed to take them in, why not bring your bikes? If it keeps everyone entertained for an hour or two, it’s worth it.

Are you living on a low income or tight budget? Would you love to learn simple and effective ways to make the most of your money and not be held back in life by your financial situation? CAP Life Skills will teach you how to save time, money and hassle in your day-to-day life – head to to find out more.

By Rianne Van Wyk

Claire Meese


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