Music festivals are a great way to have fun with friends and family, especially because many of them are open to all ages. Whatever your musical preference, you’ll find a festival that celebrates it. Whether you are an EDM fanatic, a country music lover, a jazz aficionado, into bluegrass, or prefer classic rock, the iconic music festival is the place to be.
Music festivals happen all year round, in many scenic places around the country. Also, many of them offer on-site camping, a magical way to reconnect to the great outdoors while jamming out to your favorite tunes.
With all the fun to be had, here are a few hacks to make your festival experience the best ever.
Set a Budget and Book Ahead
When it comes to planning, it’s all about the Benjamins – how much is it going to cost? Once you have a set budget, it’s time to book your transportation, and the further in advance, the better the outcome, especially when it comes to savings. This is especially true with charter bus rentals, which vary in price depending on the season. When you book in advance, it allows you to lock in the best possible rate.
Also, popular festivals often sell out way in advance, and the only chance you have of getting tickets is through overpriced ticket scalpers online or at the show. Make a list of the festivals you can’t miss and get on the email lists to get updates and notifications when tickets go on sale. Secondly, make hotel reservations or campground reservations well in advance. These may also book up quickly, especially for groups.
Look for Lesser-Known Festivals
Another often-overlooked hack is going to lesser-known music festivals with free admission. Oftentimes, these events feature something special that other festivals don’t offer. For instance, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival often sells out quickly and scalpers sell any remaining tickets at an inflated price. Instead, consider attending the free French Quarter Festival, which is held throughout the French Quarter of New Orleans. The fest features popular local bands that are often staged in the heart of the French Quarter, giving you ample opportunities for dancing in the street.
Be Prepared for Weather
Do not forget to prepare for all kinds of weather. Festivals are typically outdoors, so gear up with a hat, sunscreen, a water bottle, and a rain jacket or poncho. Make sure you check the festival website for rules regarding what is allowed to be brought into the festival. Many festivals have specific rules regarding items like water bottles, backpacks, umbrellas, food, and drinks. If the festival does allow you to take a backpack and water bottle, take advantage of it and bring a refillable water bottle as well as a rain poncho and sunscreen. If the festival doesn’t allow food or drinks, consider bringing along a cooler for a tailgating picnic in the parking lot, which can save you even more money.
If you are going with a group of friends or family, consider renting a charter bus for these special events. Chartering a bus is not just for rock bands on tour. You can book your own charter easily online and it is surprisingly economical when sharing the expense with a group. When considering the high cost of gas, the wear and tear on your vehicle, plus the cost of parking, it’s a no-brainer to charter a bus.
Even better, you have the added luxury of getting to relax and have fun with your group while a professional does the driving. The fun isn’t just the destination, but also the journey when you charter a bus that has all the modern amenities to make your road trip comfortable and relaxing.
How to Book a Charter Bus
First, look for a company that has a reputation for high safety standards and excellent customer service. Many charter companies such as Metropolitan Shuttle feature safety-certified vehicles and only work with vendors and operators that are in good standing with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). This government agency requires companies to comply with routine safety checks and maintenance on buses, which prevents any mishaps on the way to the show.
Drivers must also have a commercial drivers license and adhere to strict quotas on the number of hours behind the wheel. These regulations ensure that drivers are always alert, a must-have for getting precious cargo to and from the festival.
Once you find a reputable company to work with, request a quote online or by phone. Charter reservation companies often require a refundable down payment after the contract is signed, which secures the buses for your specific dates of travel. At Metropolitan Shuttle, full payment is due thirty days before departure for your convenience. Then, you will receive a travel itinerary and driver details approximately 24 hours before your trip, which can also be accessed with the MetroTrac® app.
Types of Charter Buses
Summer is the season for good tunes and good times, so gather your pals, lace up your Chucks, and head to the festival in the best charter bus for your needs. Charter buses of the modern era have many options, depending on what your group requires. Whether you have a large group and want to book the most affordable choice in the form of a school bus or concert party bus, or you have a smaller group but want to fly high in a luxury bus rental, there are a range of options to consider.
If you’re getting the band back together, the shuttle van is ideal for a group of 6 to 15 people. Another way to transport a small group to the festival is with the minibus, an economical transportation option for short trips. It also seats 24 people, and in the festival world, the more the merrier! At Metropolitan Shuttle, we offer customers a range of buses that fit any budget, including 60 seat charter buses with luxury amenities designed for the long haul.
A local area charter typically charges between $125 and $150 an hour with a four to five-hour minimum. For longer trips, interstate charters cost $3 or $4 per mile, plus a “deadhead rate,” which applies to one-way charters that includes the return trip of the empty bus. Keep in mind, that it can be cheaper to have the bus wait for you at the destination than have it return earlier empty. When you break it down per seat, however, the price is significantly cheaper than airfare, plus it gives you a chance to hang out with your pals on the way to the show.
To help plan your budget, check out this page for pricing of the different options!
Travel on a Budget
Sometimes you have to fight for your right to party, which includes sticking to a budget. Attending your favorite festival is important because nobody wants to get a case of #FOMO (fear of missing out), but you also don’t want the event to break the bank. By sharing costs with a group, you can still have the time of your life and save money at the same time. When planning a group trip, figure out what all the shared expenses will be, such as hotels, meals, and transportation, and then divide it by the number in the group.
To save money on accommodations, try booking a campground or hostel instead of a hotel, or consider renting a house for your group on a vacation rental site such as AirBnB. As mentioned previously, a charter bus is a great way to save money on transportation when traveling with a group. To save money on airfare, consider using a travel rewards credit card, which can earn you a free ticket when you sign up – just make sure you pay off the total balance of the card so that you don’t rack up credit card debt.
Volunteering at a Festival
Another way to save money is to volunteer at a festival. Often, festivals offer free admission to participants who offer to volunteer at the festival for a certain number of hours. Volunteering can save hundreds of dollars on the ticket price, plus you often get a backstage pass, which allows you to get an up close glimpse of all the action. Not only is it a rewarding experience, but you might even get band merchandise like a free volunteer t-shirt or other memorabilia. Check the festival website to find out if they accept volunteers, and as always, make plans to apply early at your favorite festival, because spots fill up quickly.
Make the most of the summer festival season with a well thought out plan that fits your budget and needs. That way, once you arrive at the fest, all you have to do is put on your dancing shoes and enjoy the show.