In the Red: Next time I go to a festival, I'll be taking my own Pringles... - Spend & Save - Money - The Independent

In the Red: Next time I go to a festival, I'll be taking my own Pringles...

Until last weekend, I had never been to a festival. Or, rather, I had never done a festival: I have, in fact, visited a couple, masquerading behind a day ticket while quietly heading home at midnight to spend the evening in my flat, a place so luxurious that it houses not only a bed and a fridge but also – oh the decadence – a functioning toilet.

I suppose they've just never appealed to me. I'm not really – how to put it? – the camping kind. I quite enjoy having things like electricity and hot water. Demanding, I know.

But this year I was tempted. It was partly peer pressure: my boyfriend first mooted the idea in spring, and has brought it up every other week since then. Andnearly everyone I know has been to one: friends, colleagues, neighbours, neighbours' friends.

But there were other factors: I wanted a holiday, but I couldn't afford much. I certainly couldn't go abroad, what with the air fare, the hotel fee, and the countless other expenses that crop up along the way. But I also fancied something a little more adventurous than a trip to the seaside. So one afternoon I went for it, booking a weekend at the Reading festival on impulse, before I had time to change my mind. If nothing else, I was curious.

Fantastic, I thought. I've done it: I've booked an affordable holiday. What with my £20 tent, £15 rail fare and the £150 cover charge, I had a novel holiday for under £200. Not bad given that I would get to see half of my favourite bands in concert, and get a chance to escape from the city.

What I hadn't bargained for was the hole that would burn in my pocket once I was there. When it comes to festivals, I realised an hour too late, it isn't the getting there that costs. Oh, no – it's everything that's done afterwards. Starting with... eating.

The food prices were astronomical. So astronomical, in fact, that it cost £7 for a sandwich. Who pays that sort of money for two pieces of bread and a bit of meat? The answer is anyone trapped inside a festival with too little sleep, too much alcohol and no other alternatives (ie, me). At £3, a plate of chips was slightly more palatable (financially, at least) but aside from that, my options were limited.

Drinking was just as bad. At £4.60, a pint of beer wasn't that much more expensive than one in a London pub – but then I wouldn't spend an entire weekend in a London pub. And every time I tried to withdraw money – considerably more often that I would have liked – I was met not only with a spiralling queue for the cash point, but a hefty service charge on top.

The thing is, the festival was flooded with people like me: young, scruffy, and far from flush. In fact, many of them were younger, scruffier and even further from flush than myself. How could they all afford to be here, on little more than a casual weekend trip?

The answer seemed to be with careful planning. A quick nose around revealed that almost everyone had come equipped with their own crates of cider, packets of biscuits and tubes of Pringles. Everyone, that is, but me. Some even had iceboxes or portable gas hobs, and I saw one pair of teenagers with what looked like four days' worth of home-made sandwiches and a virtual store-cupboard worth of tinned soup. It wasn't rocket science, of course – it was obvious. With such relatively low cover charges, festivals are bound to make their money elsewhere. I simply hadn't come properly prepared.

As for the rest of the weekend, it was great: I survived the camping experience and left feeling surprisingly refreshed. Whether or not I'll return remains to be seen. If I do, however, I'll bring my own supplies.



a.jarvis@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

    £280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

    Training Coordinator / Resource Planner - City, London

    £35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator / Pl...

    Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week