5 Ways To Attend Summer Music Festivals For Free

WTF top photo

Summer’s just begun, but the summer music festival season’s already in full swing. There are few things better than taking in three days of dope music, 5,000 ladies wearing sexy costumes (at most) and a bunch of goofball strangers wandering around on psychedelics. Problem is, festivals aren’t exactly cheap to attend, and the average age of attendees has been climbing.

So how do you get into a festival if you’re just another broke college kid? We just got back from covering What The Festival in Oregon, and from talking to event staff, we learned that there’re plenty of opportunities to get in free, especially if you’re willing to put in a little work. Here are five ways to party hard and get involved.


If you’re already a bartender, working a festival (or the festival circuit) is within your reach if you’re willing to do some networking. Whoever is promoting the festival is gonna get started on hiring six to nine months out, so start researching those promoters and putting out feelers for 2015 now.

You might have to work while everyone else is partying, but on the upside, all those festival attendees on Molly are super lucrative for you: they might all want to hug you, but they also tend to spread the love in your tip jar.


Knowing how to do sound and light tech, or just knowing how to build sh*t with your hands will make festivals want to hire you. For these gigs, you’ll probably be on site for at least a week before and after the festival, but you’re getting paid accordingly and you’ll definitely be partying for all three of those weeks.


At most festivals, setting up shop doesn’t get you out of paying for a ticket, but you can make that money back pretty easily. Think about it this way: when 15,000 people show up to a music festival, odds are at least 2,000 of ‘em forget to bring their own food, water, glow sticks and stupid beanies. However, they did bring cash, so you can make your ticket money and expenses back opening up shop for just a few hours a day. You can stay open longer too –the best thing about vending at a music festival is that no one cares if you drink on the job.


If you’re not looking to do a bunch of leg work before or after the festival, volunteering is the best way to get your free-party on. When you volunteer, the workload is never tougher than changing out some garbage cans or running errands for staff, the shifts are usually only five hours a day, and you get to meet a whole bunch of new people to go party with when you’re done with your shift.

Note: Most festivals make you put a deposit down for the cost of the ticket, which you get back if you actually do your shifts.


If you’re in a band or just DJ/produce halfway decently, you’d be surprised how many opportunities there are to perform at festivals, especially if you’re willing to spin for free admission for you and your crew instead of pay. Festivals like WTF run open-submission contests with the winner getting to perform the opening set of the festival. Remember, Americans are lazy, so if you actually bother to submit, you have decent odds of winning.

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