The great Indian festival season is upon us and with the festivities come expenses. Here’s how you can make most of your festival experience when on a tight budget.

Everybody wants the quintessential festival experience that we see on Instagram. (We’re talking about those effortlessly candid shots in the crowd that essentially validate your entire festival weekend.) But to get there, we require means. No matter how glamorous music festivals may seem, for an average festival-goer, the experience can be achieved without emptying of pockets and being pretty much broke for the rest of the month. The Sherp has a few tips for those who would like to achieve the ultimate festival experience on a fixed budget. Cheggit.


1. Set A Daily Budget

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And stick to it! Set a fixed daily budget for the days you will be at the festival including food, commute and alcohol. Spend the fixed amount or less, helping you keep track of how much money you spend and keeping you from splurging on silly things (a.k.a. festival merch).

2. Grab Those Early Bird Tickets


Once you know which festival you want to attend– based on those select artists you know you cannot miss– don’t hesitate to grab the earlybird tickets. Contemplating and procrastinating will cost you, very literally. festival ticket prices hike with every day that the festival gets closer. If push comes to shove and you eventually can’t make it to a festival you already purchased a ticket for, sell it at/around the regular last minute price, still garnering you a gain.


3. Book Travel Tickets In Advance

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Whether you’re heading to the festival by air or railway, you need to figure out your travel stat. Not only with this save you a couple thousand rupees, but also reduce the stress of making last minute accommodations. It’s excruciatingly difficult to find seats on a aircraft this time of the year.


4. Or Just Hitchhike


This may be suitable for the more spontaneous souls. Hitchhiking to a festival destination will save you some dough as well as company of your friends or interesting people. If you’re not one to enjoy company on a road trip, this might not be for you. Also, hitchhiking is not the most organized means of travel, a lot is determined last minute, so make sure you have a backup if you do decide to hitchhike.


5. Carpool


If you’re partying at the festival with a bunch of your friends, or know people heading to the same, carpooling is always the better option, as opposed to hiring a cab or (the horror) looking for one. It’s no secret that finding a willing and able cab driver at night, especially when a large-scale music event is underway– is next to impossible in India. It’s also more than probable that all the Ubers and Olas will be pre-booked by smart cookies (please take notes). Find a friend/acquaintance/colleague with wheels and hitch a ride with them, it will make your life much easier, AND save you the exorbitant local cab fairs.


6. Pregame


No matter which music festival you attend, alcohol sold at the venue is always redundantly overpriced. Save yourself some money and time you would otherwise spend at the bar queue, and pregame. Find some cheap local bars and drink to your heart’s content before the festival commences. This is great because you get to hang out and talk to your friends in an environment where you can actually hear each other before charging into the storm. But also, this will save you the unsatisfying aftertaste of an overpriced and watered-down drink.


7. Check Out Rental Flats/Dorm Rooms


Hotels around the festival arena, especially in cities, are packed during and before the festival. Instead, opt for a rental flat, where you and your fleet can comfortably make camp for the weekend, splitting the total cost, which will be much more reasonable than a hotel room– which houses only two and charges for an extra mattress. During holidays or summer breaks, many student dorms are also on rent at a very cheap rate. Look into the nearest universities renting rooms before jumping into the first available hotel room.

8. Pitch Your Own Tent

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Camping festivals make a lot of money from the camping utilities and services they provide on site. You can find cheaper camping equipment and set it up yourself, saving a substantial amount of money. The DIY may require more hard work, but may be extremely useful when on a fixed budget.


9. Stock Up On Supplies 


Festivals don’t usually permit outside food inside the venue, but having some extra food for travel/midnight munchies may be wise. Save dry food, extra water (essential for festivals in humid areas) and other necessary supplies for emergencies, saving you a frantic and almost always expensive hunt for food/other essential supplies.


10. Couch Surf


A great way to cut down on expenses during a music festival weekend is to crash a friend’s couch. If you know someone who’s a resident at the place you’re traveling to, don’t hesitate to ask about the vacancy of their couch. This will save you a lot of money and stress that comes with rented accommodations.


11. Know Your Environment


It may not seem like it, but knowing the place the festival is being held will make your entire trip much cheaper. Befriend a local or research beforehand online. Find local joints that serve affordable food, the cheapest bars and even places that are open late, in case you get hungry post-festival. This will save you from paying for overpriced, commercialized services that the festival promoters offer.

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Also check out: Festival Hopping On A Budget