How to budget for food at a festival

One of the nice things about festivals is the choice of food that is available. From cheap and cheerful fish and chips to more exotic haloumi fries with pomegranate salad, via wood fired pizza. But are the fish ad chips cheap? and what of the pizza? Can you afford pie and mash for the whole family? and three meals a day?

burger bear burgers at wilderness festival

So first things first. Festivals don't make a lot of money - despite what you might think, they have a huge turnover but actual profits are often low. Many festivals, Glastonbury included, continue to run not because they are a money spinner, but because the organiser loves festivals! One of the way festivals make money is via onsite sales, this includes food and drink stalls and is a reason many festivals ask you to buy booze at the bar and to try the food. So by buying your rations onsite you are helping the festival.

But we all know that money doesn't grow on trees and there is a fine balance between helping a festival, enjoying the food and becoming bankrupt! So how much should you budget for a festival and what's good to eat? Depending on the age of your children you can save money by buying a meal and splitting it bewteen children. Many kids wake up hungry so rather than splashing out £3 each every day for a bacon butty why not take some cereal bars or breakfast biscuits and fruit and start most days that way.

girls in fancy dress eating pancake

Try having a snack lunch and larger dinner or vice versa. Share some pizza or chips at lunch time, and then go wild on pie and mash for dinner for example. In my experience meals range in price from  about £6 to £12 so you could easily spend £50 for a family of 4 per meal if you are not careful!

I'm lucky as I only have DD and I to worry about. I frequently skip lunch altogether, surviving on beer, crisps and snacks and then we spend about £20 on an evening meal. Drink is pricey too of course, so pace yourself. Most festivals have cashpoint machines but they may charge £1.50 to withdraw anything and can have long queues, but remember to store cash carefully, split it into separate amounts and don't carry it all together.

How much do you budget for festival food? I look at £10 per person per day, with extra for alcoholic drinks. We have snack breakfast and snack lunch. Don't forget to pack small cartons of drink for the children and taking bottles to refill at the free water points too.

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