Image for The Tightarse’s Guide To Summer FestivalsBig Day Out crowd in Melbourne, 2013 / Photo: Andrew Briscoe

The Tightarse’s Guide To Summer Festivals

Written by Michael Carr on November 13, 2015

That golden time of year is open us again, as Festival Season cranks up over the coming months with a huge variety of new and established summer festivals taking place over the summer. However after having to pay for tickets, accommodation and substances to induce intoxication this season can be as hard on your wallet as it is on your liver. Never fear though, for Music Feeds, with some help from our buds at YHA, is here with The Tightarse’s Guide To Summer Festivals.

#1 Become a Music Journalist

AlmostFamous

Now I know I may be endangering my job by saying this, but these days literally anyone can be a music journalist. Do you have an opinion? Can you string a few sentences together stuffed with hyphenated buzz words like post-indie-folk or EDM-infused-dance-pop? Well you’re probably already overqualified. The pay is awful, if you get paid at all that is, but you do get free tickets, so that’s a huge chunk out of your festival budget. Also if you’re lucky you’ll get access to a backstage area that might have free booze and food, as well as the most hallowed of festival accouterments, the toilet with no line.

#2 Volunteer

A little less glamorous than option number 1, volunteering to help set up a festival or man the chill out tent is always a good way of getting a free ticket. Not only that though, volunteering opens up the social world behind the scenes, so if you’re smart you’ll use whatever time you have off from hanging prayer flags to butter up the people running the bars so you can get some free booze during the festival as well. Seriously two birds with one stone there.

#3 Redeem Your Empties

Now, on to what will probably be your biggest expense. Booze. However, in recent years there has been a great boon to the festival tightarse with many festivals having introduced a system where you can return empty cans and other pieces of trash in exchange for tokens to buy drinks, other people’s trash can now help you get trashed. What a beautiful world we live in.

#4 Stay In A Hostel

YHA Hostel

Staying onsite can be a very expensive endeavor. Not only do you have to pay to rent the campsite, but chances are you will also have to buy some camping equipment on top of that, which after all the expense still leaves you without running water, electricity or an indoor toilet. Why not just piss that all off and stay in one of Australia’s many fine hostels? I’ve done it before at Splendour in the Grass, and while I did end up hitchhiking back to town a couple of nights after partying to the wee hours in the campsite, that was more than worth waking up in an actual bed and having an actual shower, all for pretty much the same price of staying in the campsite. Plus, Hostels are essentially Tinder IRL so there’s always the added bonus of being able to pick up on your way to of from the festival. Such value.

#5 Find A Sugar Daddy Online To Take You

If you want to take the full luxury experience though, this is your best option, although it does mean you will have to spend at least some time with a sad old man from the internet. Still that’s easy to forget when you’ve got VIP tickets drinking cocktails and watching your favorite bands from the members bar. That or you know, just ditch the loser as soon as you get in the festival.

#6 Pretend To Be An Artist

Artist

This works best at metal festivals (especially if Slipknot are playing) where most of the acts are so hairy and covered in tats they struggle to even tell each other apart. Dance music festivals also work pretty well as everyone is too high to notice and you can just where a backwards cap, a flannel shirt and pretend to be Avicii.

#7 Get In Early And Hit Up All The Promo Stands

Almost every festival these days will have some big corporation handing out free samples of whatever they are trying to push on the population, and while it’s not always the best of products (Mango Nestea, gross) let’s face it beggars can’t be choosers. Sure it might be hard to survive on nothing but frozen yogurt and exotic flavours of Fanta for a weekend, but we never said this was going to be easy. The best way to look at this though is a chance to prepare yourself for the inevitable zombie apocalypse by brushing up on your barter skills.

#8 Become A Living Artwork Within The Festival

Most festivals these days feel the need to provide some kind of live art or performance art precinct (they fucking love that word), but few of them actually want to pay performance artists for their art. While this is band news for artists, it’s great news for you because it means that you’re just a short trip to the local junk store away from getting some sweet free tickets. All you’re going to need to really is get either some fake vines or tinsel and some beige tights and a skivvy, then wrap that shit around yourself, paint your face and voila, you’re now a walking, living artwork.

#9 Start Dating The Head of A Record Label

Lana

Also known as pulling a Lana Del Rey, this is probably the best option on the list as not only will you be able to get into music festivals for free, you might even end up with a multi-million dollar recording career. Sure it’s unlikely, but so is any of you pimply weirdos landing a record label head so why don’t I just shut up and let you dream about how great your life could be.

Find your nearest YHA for the next gig night on the cheap here.

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