Save money at music festivals

FOR many music fans, this weekend marks the start of the Irish outdoor music festival season as the Oxegen 2010 extravaganza kicks off at Punchestown Racecourse in Co Kildare.

These festivals can be great fun, but they can also be a lot like going on a full-blown holiday in terms of the preparation required.

If you don’t think ahead and prepare, you can end up spending far more than you might expect.

Below, we show you the best tips to save money.


Attending the biggest of the outdoor music festivals can be expensive as a three-day ticket can cost more than €200, particularly if it includes a camping pass. You can buy one-day passes for Oxegen for €99.50, although these are not available for the Electric Picnic.

As tickets are still available for Oxegen and other events, you might find discounts by searching auction site eBay or other online classified sites closer to the performance date.


Festival organisers encourage people to travel by as many different modes as possible, not least to earn their green credentials.

Bus or coach remains among the cheapest, but a reasonable alternative is to carpool — share a car with at least three others.

A group of four Oxegen festival-goers with weekend camping tickets can claim a free car park pass, which otherwise costs €30.

Check out, an independent car pooling service.

You could also consider taking your bicycle, with the help of the train. Secure parking is available at both Oxegen and the Electric Picnic.

If you fancy the idea of cycling all the way, Dublin bike shop has teamed up with both the Oxegen and Electric Picnic organisers to offer fans the chance to take part in a charity cycle from Dublin.

The cycle to Oxegen is taking place today, but there is still time to enter for the 90km ‘Tour de Picnic’ from Dublin to the Electric Picnic in Stradbally, Co Laois, on Friday, September 3. You’ll get free entry if you do.


Camping is the cheapest form of accommodation, but even if you already have a campsite pass, it’s worth thinking ahead if you want to save money.

If you haven’t got a tent yet and can’t borrow one, many camping shops are offering cheap tent packs targeted specifically at festival punters.

Capel Camping has a pack comprising a two-person tent, sleeping mats and sleeping bags and a torch, all for €55. You can buy a tent for as little as €20.

You should try and bring with you as many camping essentials as you carry — first-aid kits, torch, water bottles and so on, otherwise you may have to pay slightly over the odds at the retail stalls that feature at big festivals.

Food and drink

You may not be able to bring quite enough food or drink to last up to three days, but bringing as much as you can will help reduce eating costs. A cool box is useful in this regard.

Clothing and other items

There is always a good chance of rain, so think twice about bringing expensive or favourite clothing unless you’re prepared to see them get muddy.

Penneys has long been the choice for cheap but respectable items and accessories like t-shirts and shorts, but check out Dunnes, too.

Or you can find stuff in charity or secondhand stores for next to nothing.

What else to bring

If you need some advice about what to bring, check out festival websites for help.

But in general, it’s always recommended to stock up on earplugs, sun hats, sun cream, babywipes, and to bring enough cash so that you can avoid long queues at ATMs.

If you are camping, then toilet rolls, bin bags, and tape will always come in handy.

What not to bring

The risk of losing a mobile phone will be a bit higher at a music festival given the carefree atmosphere, not to mention the influence of alcohol and sleeplessness.

If you do bring an expensive phone or camera, make sure it’s listed on your house contents insurance policy as a specified item.

Or put your sim card into a cheap or old phone and buy a disposable camera.

This article first appeared in the Irish Independent

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