I spent much of my summer (weekends and a few random times when I was away from the office) attending concerts and music festivals. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead, and I agreed to indulge my boyfriend (Nick) with as much Grateful Dead related music as we could afford to attend.
What I learned throughout this journey is that there are many different price points on very similar experiences. For example, Nick and I went to Chicago for the Grateful Dead reunion Fare Thee Well concerts July 4 weekend. We bought cheap seat tickets (behind the stage in the upper deck) for face value on Ticketmaster. We drove my Prius straight through (ten hours), so transportation was cheap. We stayed on a friend’s futon in Chicago, so lodging was free. So in total, we spent only the cost of tickets and food on this amazing experience. At the same time, however, many other Dead Heads were blowing the bank on the same concerts. Airplanes. Hotels. After market tickets at inflated prices. VIP packages. What cost us only hundreds in total cost others thousands per person. And we all saw the same concerts.
I’ve found the same thing with music festivals. You can choose a small local festival with mostly lesser known bands and one or two big headliners for a very low price. Or you can go to a bigger festival with a killer line-up and pay a lot more money. Or you can go to that same bigger festival and buy VIP or Super VIP tickets and pay even more money. The variety in price points for these things amazes me.
Personally I love music festivals. (I’m at one right now!!!) I find it’s the best way to get the most bang for your buck in the live music world. You can see several days of music for the same price as one or two individual concert tickets. But I prefer to do my festivals on the cheap. I limit myself to one big (relatively expensive) festival per year, but squeeze in as many smaller (much less expensive) fests as I can. I camp in a tent. I avoid vendor food as much as possible and cook at my camp. I buy my tickets early (when prices are cheapest). And the music that I get to enjoy is exactly the same music that is being heard by folks who spent thousands more on the experience. Very different price point. Very similar experience.
Entertainment and relaxation is important. But it doesn’t have to cost a fortune for a wonderful experience. Be smart. Do it on the cheap!