Home Music festivals Festival funding: Five days in a cold, muddy field for £25,000? | festivals

Festival funding: Five days in a cold, muddy field for £25,000? | festivals

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Well-heeled punters are shelling out up to £25,000 for luxury glamping packages at UK music festivals this summer.

If you’ve got plenty of cash, you don’t have to worry about digging up that crummy two-person tent under the stairs. At some festivals there is an array of premium accommodation options ranging from yurts, tepees and Bedouin-style tents to ‘Gypsy caravans’, wooden cabins and railway carriages – although many of them are already full.

It shows that while the cost of living crisis may be tough, after two years of the pandemic, there are clearly plenty of music fans with money who are determined to spend whatever it takes to have a great time this summer.

Likewise, if you want to go to a festival but are tight on money, there are dozens of cheaper and free events, some of which have pretty decent queues.

This year is being hailed as the year music festivals will “come back with bells ringing” after 2020’s slump and 2021’s patchy turnout.

Yurts are a type of festival accommodation. Photograph: Jeff Morgan 10/Alamy

The season kicks off next month with The Great Escape (11-14 May), when hundreds of up-and-coming bands from around the world take over Brighton’s bars, clubs and live music venues for a few days. Dozens of events will then take place, including biggies such as Glastonbury in June, the Latitude festival in Suffolk in July and the Reading and Leeds festival in August, before the party finally comes to an end in September, with End Of The Road in Dorset probably the last of the big events.

Party rate mounted

Music festivals have certainly not been immune to the runaway inflation that has affected so many aspects of our lives.

Last year a weekend ticket to the Reading Festival – whose 2022 headliners include Arctic Monkeys, Megan Thee Stallion and Dave – had a nominal cost of £215, while this year it is from £240. Or £261.95 once you add the unavoidable fees. It is from August 26 to 28.

Meanwhile, Glastonbury tickets for 2022 cost £280 (plus a £5 booking fee). In 2019, the last time the event took place, the nominal price was £248. It runs from June 22-26 and the main headliners this year are Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar.

The cost of a ticket to either of these two events or Latitude – which this year costs £235.20, plus fees for the weekend of July 21-24, featuring acts such as Lewis Capaldi, Foals and Snow Patrol – has grown an average of almost 18% over the past five years. However, a quick glance at an inflation calculator indicates that the figure for the typical increase in the cost of goods and services in the UK over this period is actually higher: around 22%.

A caravan at Camp Bestival, Dorset.
A caravan at Camp Bestival, Dorset. Photograph: Peter Lopeman/Alamy

Silver options not applicable

Many festivals offer more upscale accommodation options for those looking for something a little – or a lot – more luxurious. Often there will also be businesses offering pop-up glamping in nearby fields, although you may find that these are not licensed or endorsed by the festival. Tickets for the event itself are usually not included in the price.

Glastonbury have a few of their own options, including teepees that sleep up to six adults and cost £1,150 to hire, although at the time of writing these were sold out. However, as you’d expect, many companies are targeting Glastonbury attendees with deep pockets.

The Pop-Up Hotel offers a range of packages, including the Tenthouse Suite, which costs from £24,999 for eight people. This particular option – a giant luxury tent with four fully furnished bedrooms, a bathroom with shower, flush toilet and sink, and a large furnished living and dining area – was at the time of writing, but the the company’s website offers many more, including the Raj Tenthouse suite. When we looked at this, for eight adults to stay there for five nights, arriving June 22, you’d pay £20,997.

Other options include a refitted wagon from £7,499 for two and a Gypsy Caravan from £3,999 for two.

The Pop-Up Hotel accommodation is not on the festival site – it is stated to be a 10 minute walk from one of the main gates.

Festival goers at the Latitude festival, Suffolk, in 2021.
Festival goers at the Latitude festival, Suffolk, in 2021. Photograph: Jacob King/PA

Other companies offering luxury packages aimed at Glastonbury enthusiasts include Yurtel, which offers Bedouin-style tents, huts and other options that can cost up to £12,750 plus VAT and offers a tailor-made trip including “helicopter and driver planning”; and the Ziggu Hotel, whose priciest option appears to be the Lotus Mahal, a grandiose giant tent that sleeps up to eight people and costs £10,500 to rent for five nights.

Latitude is another of the festivals where a number of luxury accommodation options are available, including brilliant Airstream trailers (Pink Moon Camping offers them at Latitude, at £3,200 for the weekend, but at the time of the editorial staff, they were exhausted).

The Glastonbury website states that anyone considering booking an unofficial off-site campsite should be aware that “we are not responsible for them and cannot guarantee they will not let you down”.

Top Ticket Buying Tips

Some festivals offer payment plans, allowing people to spread the cost over several months.

In the meantime, if you’re not married to a particular event, there will almost certainly be special offers, including perhaps two-for-one deals, as summer approaches.

Teepees at the Glastonbury Festival in 2011.
Teepees at the Glastonbury Festival. Photography: Felix Kunze/Redferns

Monitor the websites of major ticketing companies such as Ticketmaster, check the festival’s online forums, and watch for email offers.

Cheap and free festival

If you can’t afford the hefty sums that some of the more high-profile festivals charge, there are a number of low-cost, no-cost events taking place this year.

However, some festivals that were previously free are now chargeable, and some free events – such as the Walthamstow Garden Party in London – are not taking place this summer.

Here is our selection of events:

  • The Africa Oyé African music festival at Sefton Park, Liverpool on June 18-19. Free admission, and a lineup including Oumou Sangaré, Fuse ODG and Kanda Bongo Man.

  • Festival Too – a free, ticketless event held in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, over three weekends: 25-26 June, 1-2 July and 8-9 July. More details to be confirmed. Marti Pellow and Cast were among the artists who performed in 2019.

  • Coventry Godiva Festival at War Memorial Park September 2-4. Before it was free but now you have to pay. Last year – when acts included Craig David and Supergrass – tickets cost £17.50 for an adult for the weekend, or £12.50 for early birds. Ticket and roster details have yet to be announced.

  • Rochdale Feel Good Festival in Greater Manchester on August 13. Entrance to the covered stages in the halls will be free, while access to the main stage run by the Fratellis involves the purchase of a £7 ticket.

  • Leigh Folk Festival in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, 23-26 June. Almost all events are free, except for some paid concerts.