Where’s The Gig Going Value For Money? Festivals.

by James Hendicott
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festival, audience

Kendrick Lamar. Iron Maiden. Florence and the Machine. Blink 182. I’ve spent quite a chunk on gig tickets in recent months, and as all prices creep up, it’s starting to take a toll.

Music is an expensive hobby these days. So how do you get value for money? Festivals.

Yes, they’re expensive. A friend of mine recently sent me Glastonbury info (it’s on sale shortly at £340, an increase of £55 on 2022), shocked at the price. And he’s right to a degree, but I responded that you’d struggle to get five nights in a decent hotel in Ireland for the price of two tickets, and while the beds aren’t as good, the entertainment is off the charts. Bring an air bed and a decent raincoat and have the long weekend of your life.

You see, for value for money, big festivals wipe the floor with big gigs. Glastonbury is three days of full-on music, plus two more days of less music and more partying, and entry costs about the same as the four evenings out I opened this little column with. You can bring your own food and beer. The music is world class, and instead of a three hour show, you get back-to-back, all day and all night brilliance, and lots of discoveries. The same, to a lesser degree, is true of Electric Picnic, or Body or Soul. Or for the more ambitious, Roskilde, or Rock Am Ring.

And this is definitely a thing. Despite their costliness, festivals are superb value for money next to top-end gigs and expand your musical horizons. I’m one of those festival goers who will squeeze food and beer between seeing every show possible, and then party into the night once it’s all over. There are others who only watch five bands all weekend and are there for the hangout. Fair enough.

For me, though, the best case for festivals, wild all-nighters inclusive, is that if you go to a couple a year, you eventually see almost every major musical act. Today, that’s a far better offering than the odd individual night out. That’s a big part of why they sell out. Now’s the time to buy.

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