Festivals on a Budget: 6 Tips from Whitney Bank

These tips will help you save money while excitement of festival season.

Here’s one of the best things about New Orleans: There’s never a shortage of festivals to attend. However, if you don’t plan ahead, things can get pretty pricey. We teamed up with Whitney Bank to bring you six cost-effective tips to help you enjoy the excitement of festival season while watching your budget.

Scope out free festivals!

One of the easiest ways to stay budget conscious during festival season is to enjoy all the free festivals. New Orleans is home to plenty of free fests that are great for family fun. Make sure to mark them on your calendar. French Quarter Festival is the largest free music festival in the South. Other great free festivals to check out include the Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo and the Cajun-Zydeco Festival. You can also plan ahead for free, weekly concert series like Wednesday at the Square and Jazz in the Park. Get a jump on some upcoming festivals by checking out our spring festival calendar.

Buy your tickets early.

Ok, so you have to buckle down and buy tickets to see your favorite band perform at Jazz Fest or another ticketed festival. Try to buy tickets as early as possible to take advantage of any early bird prices. Ticket prices tend to climb as time creeps closer to the festival. Also, consider buying tickets in cash directly from the box office to avoid extra credit card and processing fees. Make sure to check the entire festival schedule in advance. You may score huge savings on buying a weekend pass versus single day tickets if several of your favorite bands are playing.

Check festival rules before packing.

There’s nothing worse than to pack a cooler full of items, only to have it confiscated before entering the festival. Make sure you check each festival’s guidelines for restricted items in advance. That way you won’t waste any money by bringing items that are not allowed.


Pack smart.

Planning ahead for your day at the festival can save money by cutting down on unexpected costs. One of the biggest expenses at most festivals is food and drink, which can hit your pockets hard. Check the festival’s policies in advance on bringing your own food. If possible, bring along healthy and finger-friendly snacks. Pack sunscreen, sunglasses or a hat so you don’t feel the need to buy them at the festival in a pinch. Check the weather in advance so you don’t spend extra money on umbrellas or rain coats. Also, find out if the festival has free water stations. If so, bring a water bottle to stay hydrated without the high price tag. You may also want to bring along a portable charger for your smartphone or other electronic devices. If you’re planning a trip to French Quarter fest, visit the official Whitney Bank Charging Station to get your devices powered up.

Set a daily spending budget.

An easy way to manage your spending at a festival is to set a daily spending limit. Stay strong, and don’t go over! Bring cash instead to avoid any extra ATM fees and to keep tabs on exactly how much you spend. Scope out all potential costs in advance to avoid spending extra bucks. Consider public transportation or carpooling with friends or family to cut down on parking and travelling expenses.

Consider volunteering for a free all-access pass!

One of the most inexpensive but overlooked ways to save on festival admission: volunteer. Volunteering grants you a free all-access pass to the festival. Usually, after you complete your required tasks for the day, volunteers get a chance to stick around and enjoy the rest of the festivities.


Created in partnership with Whitney Bank