Funds and frolics: the budget's effect on festivals

By Enigmatic1 on 24 March 2010

Although the recession apparently finished months ago, for many of us the bruise is still sore from the pinch we've been suffering the past few years. Well, now festival-goers will get a fresh wound as the Chancellor today (Wednesday) announced duty increases for alcohol and an additional increase for cider. Duty for wine, spirits and beer will rise by 2% for the third successive year, while cider is being hiked an extra 10% above inflation from midnight 28 March. I think it's fair to say Alistair won't be the darling of festival-goers this year. With festival ticket prices also rising year-on-year and other costs to consider, is the average festival-goer being priced-out of the festival scene?

We accept that music is a money-making industry but being a live music fan has never been so expensive. Take Glastonbury as an example. Tickets cost £185 this year - £75 more than five years ago. If you were one of the lucky ones who got a ticket, now you need to get there. If you intend to drive, average fuel prices are predicted to reach a record high of £1.20 per litre this month and look set to continue to rise with Darling's Budget adding another 3p in the coming months. That could mean over £60 for a full tank - fifth gear all the way!

Now you've arrived and feel like letting your hair down. Cider, a staple for many a reveller in the summer months, may have to be avoided altogether if you're on a tight budget, but your funds won't have any respite whatever you're drinking. The government's tactic of enforcing moderation for the young and poor by increasing prices will be felt in fields and venues across the country this year. Fun just became that little bit more stressful.

If, like me, you have tightened purse strings, the spiralling accumulative cost of attending a major festival could be enough to put you off altogether. Thankfully, there are alternatives, both in the UK and abroad, that can accommodate the more economically-conscious whatever your tastes. Here are a couple of examples:

The Evolution Weekender in Newcastle, UK, costs just £25 for the weekend or £15 for a day, boasting acts like Paolo Nutini, Calvin Harris, Enter Shikari and De La Soul. Fancy a trip abroad? The Open'er Festival in Poland costs €72 or €88 for a three-day or four-day ticket respectively for a line-up featuring Pearl Jam, Massive Attack, Hot Chip and The Hives. With fuel prices so high and flight prices so competitive, it'd probably be cheaper to fly to Europe than drive the breadth of England.

And there are many more festivals out there that won't cost you an arm and a leg, just have a browse of this website. Darling's Budget may mean you have less of a hangover after the event, but there's no need to substitute it for a financial headache…

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