Music festivals: How to eat, drink and play for FREE


Festival season is well underway. Seasoned festival-goers will be more than aware of the impact these often 3 day long raves can have on your liver, your personal hygiene, and your wallet. Plenty of water-only days and several long hot showers can usually solve the first two, but if you want to have a great time without worrying about rupturing your overdraft limit, you might want to start thinking green.

Paper Cups

For the past four years I have been a festival goer.  An expensive affair considering there is no running water in your bedroom, and the guarantee of a peaceful night does not come as standard.  Parking is extra, as is the rather essential event timetable, and you can even use a ‘posh loo’ if you are prepared to take out a small mortgage. Last year mum did ask if I would not prefer to spend the money on several spa days, or even on some much needed new clothes; little did she realise a massage parlour, clothes shop and pop up hair salon were available (for a price) on site. The gourmet food stalls must also be noted, serving healthy wraps, Thai cuisine and super-fruit smoothies. With such abundant consumerism, many will find it remarkable that for the last two years I have returned with more money in my purse than I left home with.  The secret: paper cups.

One day, out the corner of my eye I saw a grubby drunken man picking up used paper cups from the mud so excitedly that the scene almost resembled Gollum finding The Ring.  After attending a few festivals, such behaviour is seen as largely normal and I dismissed him, instead making my way to the main stage for the Arctic Monkeys. However, it soon dawned upon me that each cup was worth 10p and I had just trodden on about 20 cups. Soon the sea of people faded and all I could see was cups everywhere, so I decided to pick a few up and see how many I could get. Was it beer inside or was it urine? To my astonishment I didn’t seem to care. I spent 10 minutes picking up cups, stacking them on top of each other and emerged from the waiting crowd with 65 cups. I took them to the nearest cup collection point and was given £6.50 in return. This was the start of my obsession, and by the end of the day I had made £50. That night I had a lovely stone-baked pizza with a cocktail sat in my new camping chair. It was such a success that last year I decided only to take enough money to see me through the first day and once again I covered my parking, timetable, food and drinks costs all through my litter picking efforts.

What are your tips for saving money at festivals? Share them in the comments below or tweet @saint_money.


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