Monday’s Money Saving Tips: FREE Festivals and Events

free festivals on your travels

Monday’s Money Saving Tips – free festivals – this one was in Canberra, Australia

You know what, I’m making a habit of promoting FREE things to see and do on here recently, and why not!? Everybody loves FREE things on their travels, and even those who don’t travel. The problem is, most of us don’t actually take advantage of FREE festivals and events going on right in front of our eyes. Every day and all over the world are FREE festivals and events happening out in the streets, in parks etc. So this is another of my Monday’s Money Saving Tips.

canberra music festival australia

Relaxing with a beer at a free festival in Canberra a few years ago.

Most festivals tend to be public and free from my experience. Be it Australia Day in Sydney, St. Patrick’s Day parade in Belfast, a music festival in Christchurch, a music parade in Gu Lang Yu, I’ve been a spectator at a load of these FREE festivals around the world. You don’t need to part with money to be a part of FREE live fun around you – and there are festivals going on everyday. How do you find them? Luck, chance sometimes, but you can also do a bit of scouting…

Let’s use three steps to find FREE festivals and events (as we don’t have much time for any more):

1. Research the place you’re heading to in advance to check for FREE festivals, FREE markets and FREE events.

2. Check local media for markets, events and festivals happening in the area.

3. Ask local people what is there to see and do around the time you’re in their town/city

We don’t always have a lot of time to check things, so these three are a good starting point.

Markets are everywhere and often involve FREE music and parades or shows. Here are five FREE festivals I’ve done on my travels:

1. FREE live music in Parque Rodo, Montevideo, URUGUAY 

I was walking round Parque Rodo in Montevideo one Sunday afternoon (I lived there with a local family while studying Spanish) and there was an outdoor market, after walking through it I got to watch a FREE live music event!

watching music for free in montevideo

FREE live music in Montevideo, Uruguay.

2. FREE Band Together Festival in Christchurch, New Zealand

free festival in new zealand

The FREE Band Together festival in Christchurch in New Zealand in 2010.

I was in Christchurch in New Zealand in 2010 and they had just had an earthquake so they held a festival to raise awareness and promote a feel good factor. Sadly, after this Christchurch had another earthquake which destroyed a lot of the city.

free music festival christchurch

Loving yet another FREE festival on my travels – this time in Christchurch, New Zealand.

3. FREE Festival on Australia Day in Parramatta!

I loved Australia Day and whether you agree with it or not, it’s a FREE day out and you get a day off work (though I actually ended up working a 12 hour shift once to milk the extra money!!). In Parramatta I was able to attend a massive FREE festival with live music, animal shows, magicians, vintage cars etc…all over Australia – get the 25th January in your diary.

parramatta event australia day

Live animal show at a FREE Australia Day event in Parramatta.

4. FREE Street Parade in Gu Lang Yu Island, CHINA

On a baking hot day last year, we got the ferry from Xiamen in China to the island of Gu Lang Yu. After a few minutes walking round Gu Lang Yu we were treated to a totally spontaneous and FREE music and dancing parade through the streets! Travel Bliss!

free parade in gu lang yu

A FREE parade in Gu Lang Yu in China! Class!

5. FREE Bird Singing Competition in Paramaribo, SURINAME

Not many backpackers head to Suriname so I was kind of on my own out there. I was absolutely delighted to attend the “Tweety Fest” at the Central Square in Paramaribo on a Sunday morning. Basically a FREE bird singing contest. Outstanding!

paramaribo suriname bird singing

FREE bird singing competition in Paramaribo, capital city of Suriname!

So keep your eyes peeled for FREE festivals and events. They are everywhere. Over to the Jam…

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4 thoughts on “Monday’s Money Saving Tips: FREE Festivals and Events

  • Great tip Jonny and I love the example of the Bird Singing Competition – not something I might travel specifically to see but why not drop in on it if there? I wish I’d been to the one you listed. Makes for a great unexpected experience.

    I’d add checking with:
    Colleges/universities – faculty and students often sponsor free events
    Coffee/tea houses – usually have a community board with posted flyers
    Local corporations – While in Cambodia I learned the local brewery offered FREE beer on Wednesday afternoons, in the US you can sometimes score a free tour of a winery or factory

    I think your #3 is the best. I learned more about the architecture and history of Dallas, TX this past week than I ever would have from a book/website and I got a free, impromptu tour into a private building from a wonderful local who was open to sharing his knowledge and time.
    Maria recently posted…Human Baked PotatoMy Profile

  • Thanks for the comments and EXTRA tips as ever Maria – the university one is a good one in fact – I forgot about that. There’s also free beer at the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto, Canada even if you dont book a tour – I took advantage in 2007.

    As ever the locals know – they always do…

    Safe travels and money saving Mondays! Jonny

  • I love free festivals not only because they are free of charge, but also because you can meet amazing people who also like you travel or live on a budget and they have a lot in common with you. Awesome!

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