We all know how expensive music festivals can get, especially once you add up the cost of tickets, accommodation and transport. We’ve put together some tips to catch your favourite bands without breaking the bank.

1. Get early bird tickets

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Don’t wait until the last minute to buy tickets. Many festivals have early bird specials or pre-sales that are significantly discounted. Subscribe to newsletters and follow various festivals on social media so you can be the first to know when they release them.

 

2. Work your way in

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Several festivals rely on volunteers to scan tickets, hand out free stuff (more on that later) and clean up, so volunteering for your favourite festival could be a great way to get in on a tight budget. The best part is – you probably won’t have to work the entire day or festival. Check out festival websites and apply as early as possible. Note that almost everyone will try to volunteer for big festivals like Splendour in the Grass, so choose your festival wisely.

 

3. Win tickets

Wait, you can score tickets for FREE? You heard right! Radio stations and festival sponsors often host competitions to give away tickets, and sometimes even an all-expenses-paid trip! So, scout various radio station and festival sponsor websites and social media accounts once the festival is announced, and make sure you enter absolutely everything – you’ve got to be in it to win it.

 

4. Avoid flying

If you’re going to a festival located out of town, try to get there by bus or train. An interstate return flight can cost a lot, and that money could be spent at the festival. Coach services like Greyhound have routes connecting NSW, ACT, QLD, VIC and SA, or you can hire a car with a few friends and take a road trip. Play your festival playlist on the way to start the party early.

YHA Bonus: Members get an exclusive 5% off all Greyhound passes and 5% off Europcar hire.

 

5. Stay in hostels

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Staying in a hostel is cleaner and sometimes cheaper than camping – especially if you need to buy camping gear and utensils. Hostel accommodation is also super fun, as people who stay there are likely to be attending the same festival – that way, you can meet likeminded people and probably make some friends.

YHA Bonus: From Field Day to Future, check out which of our 85 backpacker hostel is near your favourite festivals.

 

6. BYO (almost) everything

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Staying in hostels means you can use the communal kitchen to make breakfast and even pack lunch every day – if the festival allows outside food and you could be bothered, that is! Otherwise, take something simple like energy bars, nuts or crackers. These can help stretch your budget further and you won’t have to drink on an empty stomach.

 

7. Look out for free things

From merchandise to drinks to VIP passes, festival vendors and sponsors often give away free stuff and surprises to festival-goers. Keep an eye on the venue’s signage and check social media every few hours to see what’s on offer. Who knows, you might even score a last-minute meet-and-greet with your favourite artist.

 

8. Bring cash

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Yes, there will be ATMs on site, but they are likely to charge you a withdrawal fee. Why pay to access your own money? Go to the ATM before you enter the venue and save that $3 for (half) a beer. This will also help you to set a budget for the day so you don’t come home with a credit card debt because you really felt like shouting your new friends a beer after knowing them for five seconds.

 

9. Use common sense

Don’t forget to load up on sunscreen and stay hydrated throughout the day to avoid getting heatstroke or anything that will lead to medical costs. Jumping off that makeshift ladder might seem fun at the time, but not so much when you break your leg and get kicked out before Coldplay even comes on.

 

10. Put down your phone

Once you get to the festival, be present, take it all in and enjoy the moment. Watch the show live, not through the screen of your phone! Put your phone down for a minute so you can see Radiohead performing before your very eyes – that will surely make your ticket worth every dollar.


YHA is the biggest budget accommodation network in Australia. With more than 80 hostels around the country, there is a YHA ready to welcome you wherever your wanderlust might lead.