Just because there’s a recession, it doesn’t mean you have to skimp on music festivals. You just have to get creative. There are plenty of ways to get into your favorite fest without digging into the wallet. Here are some tested methods from the staff at the Music Festival Junkies.
1. Get a Job
Music festivals can transform a sleepy rural farm into a bustling city for up to a week. There’s no way locals can fill all the paying jobs. One year, I got into Bonnaroo by working at the Fuse Barn. I may have missed the daytime acts, but I was finished every night by six — more than enough time to catch plenty of bands.
Tips: Check Craigslist about a month before shows for help wanted ads. Your odds are increased if you live near the area (or at least pretend that you do). Competition is fierce for these paying positions.
2. Work For Free, Hippie
Lots of festivals run on volunteer powered staffs. If you’re happy directing traffic for a few hours a day in exchange for a ticket, this is the job for you. These jobs disappear quicker than tickets for Glastonbury.
Tips: These positions fill up fast, so follow the official website/Twitter/Facebook announcements as close as you would watch the show.
3. Become a Rock God
Some of these concerts have roughly a billion bands playing and almost all the festivals highlight local talent. If they need a band, most festivals have an application process right on the website.
Tips: Start with applying to local festivals. And totally rock.
4. Go to a Free Festival
The old maxim “you get what you paid for” usually doesn’t apply to free festivals. Check out this lineup from the Virgin Mobile FreeFest in Baltimore. And Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco. And the Siren Festival in New York City…
Tips: These can take some work to track down. That’s why you have us to dig them up for you.
5. Gate Crasher
We don’t condone it, but we certainly can’t stop it. Gate crashing is a time honored art form that will probably land you a fine or in jail. If you must go the illegal route, at least check in with our friends at the aptly named Festival Crashers.
Tips: Get a big group. A couple of you will make it in. A couple won’t. A couple will probably get arrested.
6. Start a Festival Website
The coveted press pass. That’s how we get into most of shows. Write. Report. Photos. Almost every festival web site has information on how to apply for a media pass. And that’s all we have to say. We don’t need the competition.
Tips: Send us some clips. If we like you, you might find yourself hired onto MFJ.