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Spend & Save

Alice-Azania Jarvis: Thrify festival living is my speciality

In The Red

So. It's that time of year again. The time when tent shopping suddenly becomes a priority. The time when the weather conspires against your every move. The time that you suddenly think it sensible to start the day with a plate of chips and a pint of cider. Oh yes, it's festival season.

Technically, I suppose, it began last week with the Isle of Wight – though next weekend is the big daddy. It's Glastonbury, King of Festivals, and an event I've never actually managed to attend. It's too expensive, I've always thought. Too difficult to get tickets for. Too long (five days in a tent, most likely with a hangover? No thanks...) For the price of a few days in the mud, you could buy a mini-break in Spain.

All that's true, of course. And yet, against my better judgement, I can't help feeling a twinge of regret about not making the effort, particularly seeing as next year there will be no Glasto (Worthy Farm needs to rest the soil every now and then.) Will I have outgrown festival-going by 2013? My bones already creak at the thought of a night in a sleeping bag. Possibly, I've missed my chance.

And so I plan to compensate. There is, after all, still the rest of the summer to consider. And there are, as they say, plenty of fish in the sea. There's the Big Chill, Latitude and – my favourite – Reading, the first festival I ever went to and, for my money, still the best. Every time I've gone, I've ended up spending far more than intended, but it's never been something I regret. And at any rate, I've got the whole thrifty festival thing down to a fine art, packing my own food, my own alcohol and my own wellies.

Hopefully, I'll get to go to at least one of the weekend-long festivals this year. If I'm careful with my spending, it's something – I think – I can just about afford. But I've got another plan too. I'm going to embrace the Urban Festival.

Quite why I've not done it before is a mystery. Over the years, festivals – not just mediocre ones, properly good-looking ones – have been popping up in parks across London. Day tickets are a fraction of the price, there are no transport costs and – best of all – I don't need to stay in a tent. So this year, I plan to go to as many as possible: Wireless, Lovebox, the lot. They may not be Glastonbury, but they're something. And they're something I can afford.