Bagging Cheap Festival Tickets in the Cost of Living Crisis Era

Since we all pray before opening gas bills and need festivals to keep our mental illness at bat, this is how you get the cheapest festival ticket
November 24, 2022
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© Ioana Oblu / Soundclub App – App Store

We are living in a time where the world of concerts, festivals, and live music events is rising from the ashes of the COVID-19 slump, but we can’t afford it anymore. With jacked-up prices, huge demand, and new pricing dynamics, the last thing that characterizes a festival ticket is cheap.

Between praying before opening the gas bills, the spiraling cost of living crisis, and Glastonbury selling festival passes for an eye-watering £335, the economic squeeze is starting to roadblock our way to attending live music events. 

While those music experiences are worth every buck, sometimes we wish we’d stumble upon a rescuing 20% coupon

Service fees are absolute vibe killers, scalping is rampant, and ticket scammers are on every Facebook group. Not to mention that prices will transform your pre-show buzz into the utter desire to close the tab. While those music experiences are worth every buck, sometimes we wish we’d stumble upon a rescuing 20% coupon. 

Digging social media for cheap deals, checking your inbox for pre-sales, and messaging a few pals about the event are not the magazine-cut vouchers you imagined, but they pave the way for cheap festival tickets. 

Be an early bird

Checking our inbox and signing up for newsletters are two of the things we despise most, but pre-sale hacks can bring some cheap ticket options to the table. Festival passes can be up to 50% cheaper when the initial ticket batches are released. 

Customers subscribing to the festival’s mailing list get price alerts for pre-sale deals and early releases. Depending on the festival’s popularity (Tomorrowland sells out in 10 minutes), the reduced tickets will either disappear in the twinkling of an eye or sit around for a few days. 

While pre-sale requires extra planning, research, and email-typing, at least you are shielded from slow booking processes and painful sellouts

If you are trying to bag cheap tickets for Burning Man and the first sale kicks off at 8 AM, you can’t afford to snooze for another half an hour. For less lusted-after festivals, you can take your time before pressing the “buy ticket” button, so know what ground you are sitting on. 

© neversea.com

Although early birds are easily accessible, pre-sale is a safer option because bots usually try to get their hands on general releases. While pre-sale requires extra planning, research, and email-typing, at least you are shielded from slow booking processes and painful sellouts. 

Sure, you’re taking a leap of faith with early bird tickets because the full lineup and details have not been announced yet, but hey, everything comes with a price.

The bigger the pack, the bigger the discount 

Yeah, early bird tix are great – but sometimes it might be better to ask your friends if they want to tag along first. Just like cinemas, museums, and theaters, music events reward you for bringing more people into its cult.

If festival-ing solo doesn’t hit the spot for you, shifting your focus from individual ticketing prices to group discounts will make everybody’s bank accounts happier.

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© deervalleymusicfestival.org / Unsplash

Most festivals feature group prices on their ticketing page, covering everything from small crews of three to large groups of 15. Deals vary, but the prevailing marketing strategy is buying five tickets for the price of four.

You get the gist. Cook up an elevator pitch and be your most convincing self – the number of people you get on board will decide the discount’s generosity.

Back the cheap ticket price from secondary markets

The secondary market’s claw is there to catch you when ticket prices are astronomical, and on-sale is no longer an option. From the pre-sale session to the day of the event, ticket holders will try to get rid of unused festival passes for different reasons. 

Be it because they got cold feet or can’t attend anymore, ticket sellers will drop off the price as getting some of the ticket value back is better than nada.

Ethical marketplaces make your ticketing experience stress-free by going full Sherlock to inspect tickets, dodgy scalping, and potential fraudsters

But beware – in the reselling realm, early birds are palmed off for twice their value, price inconsistencies are omnipresent, and seemingly genuine transactions mask counterfeit passes.

resale-fetival-ticket
© ticketswap.com

Most unregulated resale platforms like Facebook pages are plagued with fake tickets, scammers, and con artist-signed sale posts.

While most counterfeit tickets can be spotted from a mile away, there is no one-size-fits-all technique that protects you from scamming sob stories. 

Of course, putting your festival season, savings, and mental health on the line on a shady ticket-selling Reddit group might not wink at you. Although many festival-goers purchase cheap tickets this way, you should always rely on verified vendors. 

Ethical marketplaces make your ticketing experience stress-free by going full Sherlock to inspect tickets, dodgy scalping, and potential fraudsters.

Platforms like StubHub, TicketSwap, and Ticketmaster feature anti-fraud protection that rejects counterfeit tickets, but grants refunds in case shit goes down.

…or actually, arrive late to the party 

Yeah, we are the same people who five minutes ago advised you to quickly snatch early birds. In the festival ticketing industry, there is no universal method. Depending on the event, being one of the last festival-goers to buy tickets might be your best (and cheapest) bet.

A Finance Buzz study revealed that a money-saving hack is waiting until the event’s day. Festival passes reach their all-time low two weeks before the event, with prices dropping 30%.

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© pio3 / Shutterstock

But you will be one of many following this method. 

A key study finding revealed that 25% of festival tickets are purchased from the secondary market in the week leading up to the event. Of course, this will never happen with mammoth festivals like Tomorrowland and Glastonbury, so aim for lesser-known music events.

Get some price comparison 

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© Soundclub App / App Store

When we sense the festival season brewing, our mind and sight get hazy enough that we believe securing the first ticket is the budget-friendly alternative.

Truth is, it will be a low-cost festival pass for a solid 24 hours, until after you will randomly stumble upon a cheaper option. 

Price fluctuations, dozens of ticket vendors, and mindlessly paying some extra tenners is a pre-show tradition that every festival-goer experiences.

Nobody wants to do pro-bono research on the ticketing industry’s big players and check which ones sell passes for your festival. 

The good tidings are that apps like Soundclub and Songkick give you a bundle of ticket seller options.

With those digital tools, you get a glimpse of every vendor and their average prices – which will ultimately lend you a hand in picking the best ticket price. 

Instead of thinking that your first option is the last resort, do some price comparison, research, and secondary market digging. See what other vendors have in store. Never settle for the first that comes in your way – if you want to sleep peacefully at night knowing that you bagged the cheapest festival ticket. 

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