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The Best Music Festivals to Go to if You're a Broke Millennial

Why spend hundreds of dollars when you can see live performances for a fraction of the cost? These shows all cost less than $150.

by Melissa Locker
Apr 27 2018, 1:45pm

Photo by Zachary Mazur / Getty Images

Music festivals are a great way to see a ton of your favorite bands for the price of one ticket. While that sounds like a deal—one ticket, 30 bands—when the price tag for Coachella starts at $429, Governor’s Ball at $305, and Lollapalooza for $335, it’s clear some of the major festivals are serious budget busters.

Besides, this year Eminem, Jack White, The Weeknd, Travis Scott, The Killers and Kendrick Lamar are headlining most of the festivals, so you may as well pick the less expensive option and save the money for beer.

Here are seven festivals that will help you see the bands you love while saving a few bucks. These festivals all cost a quarter of Coachella (or less!) with comparable artists and sometimes even more acts to choose from.

Summerfest

Milwaukee, June 27-July 1 and July 3-8, 2018, closed on July 2 ; Cost: $85 for 11 days

Recognized as “The World’s Largest Music Festival”, Milwaukee’s summer celebration features over 800 acts, over 1,000 performances, spread out on 11 stages. There’s plenty of food and beer (it’s Milwaukee, after all). While you have to buy separate tickets to see the main headliners, acts like Kesha, Lil Uzi Vert, the Pixies, Janelle Monae, Spoon and hundreds of other acts are all included in the three-day pass, which is only $48. I you want to go all 11 days, it’s just $85.

Kesha and Janelle Monae are a few of the headliners at this year's Summerfest in Milwaukee. Photo by Raymond Boyd / Getty Images

Festival d’été de Québec

Québec City, July 5-15; $80 for 11 days

The Weeknd, Neil Young, Lorde, Future, Foo Fighters, Beck, and Shawn Mendes headline this festival that takes over an historic battlefield park overlooking the St. Lawrence River for eleven days in July. A festival pass provides access to all shows for around $80 USD ($100 canadian) but if you don’t want to pay at all, there’s plenty of options with bands like St. Paul and the Broken Bones and Femi Kuti playing on the free stages.

Positivus Festival

Salacgrīva, Latvia, July 20-22; $104 for three days or 93 Euros ($114) if you’re planning on camping.

Combine your vacation with a music festival at this Latvian festival. Explore Riga and then head to the beach to catch Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Prodigy, Tove Lo, Mura Masa and more in a gorgeous location on the Baltic Sea.

Roots Picnic

Philadelphia, June 2; $75 for one day

The Roots return home to Philadelphia for an annual bash, this year hosted by Dave Chappelle and with a line-up of the old and new school rap and R&B stars. Headliners include the Roots (natch) as well as Lil Uzi Vert, 2 Chainz, Brandy, Fabolous and Dirty Projectors. GA tickets will cost you just $75

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

April 27-29 and May 3-6; $65 a day

A city staple since 1970, the line-up reflects the city’s eclectic taste. David Byrne, Jon Batiste, Big Freedia, Common, Khalid, and Bonnie Raitt all take the stage at the Fair Grounds Race Course this year, which is just 10 minutes from the French Quarter. And with a general admission ticket price of $$65 a day it is affordable fun for all ages.

EXIT Festival

Novi Sad, Serbia, July 12-15; $137 for four days

David Guetta, the legendary Grace Jones, Migos, Fever Ray, and Ziggy Marley are headlining EXIT, a.k.a. the Best European Festival. Camp out on the grounds of the Petrovaradin Fortress while watching bands from all over the world. At just $137 for four days of fun, buy a ticket to Serbia and it will still be less than a Coachella ticket.

Beale Street Music Festival

Memphis, Tennessee, May 4-6; $125 for three days

Memphis knows great music, a fact proven every year at the Beale Street Music Festival. This year, watch Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, Erykah Badu, Post Malone, Alanis Morissette and more take the stage. Then wander into the city to tour Graceland, eat your fill of barbecue, and explore the city’s musical history.

Five other ways to save cash at festivals this summer

  • Camp so you can bring your own food and not blow cash on $12 sandwiches.
  • If you don’t want to camp, book your hotel or Airbnb as early as possible to avoid price hikes.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle so you don’t have to shell out for the bottled stuff.
  • Many festivals (like Finland’s Flow Festival) let you volunteer to earn a free ticket.
  • Pre-game responsibly so you don’t need to spend as much on beer—or do like this guy and bury a bottle of vodka underground three weeks before a festival.

Follow Melissa Locker on Twitter.

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