Nearly one-third of millennials who went to a music festival in the past year say they took on debt to afford it, survey finds

Millennials say they’re going into debt to attend music festivals. Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Millennials love music festivals, but their bank accounts don’t.

Nearly one-third (32%) of millennials who attended a music festival in the past year took on debt to do so, a new report from CompareCards by Lending Tree found. It commissioned Qualtrics to survey 1,019 Americans in July 2019.

Overall, nearly one-fourth (23%) of survey respondents, regardless of age, said they were in festival-related debt.

According to the survey, 53% of millennials attended at least one music festival in the past 12 months. Of those who attended at least one, 28% said they spent at least $US500 on music festivals. More than half of the surveyed millennials – 68% – said they spent more on festivals in the past year than they did in previous years.

That’s no surprise considering the price to attend some of the biggest festivals in the US, like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo. Coachella alone cost $US429 for general admission in 2019, but the total cost to attend really depends on the experience one wants.

After all, there’s more than just the price of tickets to consider: There’s also accommodation, transportation, food, and “festival fashion,” which can include anything from fringe boots, bikini tops, and sequined jackets to coloured hair, glitter makeup, and flash tattoos. On a luxury level, a safari camping experience at Coachella can cost almost $US10,000.

Former Business Insider correspondent Harrison Jacobs went to Coachella this year, and it cost him more than $US2,000 to attend between airfare and tickets.

Read more: 15 unbelievable facts that show just how much people are willing to spend on Coachella, from $US430 tickets to $US9,500 campsites

Millennials love experiences

Festival-related debt is just more evidence of millennials’ preference for the experience economy.

They pay more for travel, entertainment, and dining than their parents and grandparents do, according to findings by JPMorgan. And in Fidelity Investments’ 2018 Millennial Money Study, more than a quarter of respondents said that after a rough week, the thing that would bring them the most joy is some form of entertainment, such as going to the movies, happy hour, or a concert.

And spending money on experiences comes with some positive side effects. It can create a longer-lasting, more substantial payoff, according to the financial expert Jean Chatzky in her latest of 11 books, “Women with Money.” Experiences not only create memories and anticipation, but they can involve other people and exercise – all of which can boost happiness, Chatzky said.

Millennials just might want to think twice before going into debt for it. After all, most millennials define financial success as being debt-free, according to a recent Merrill Lynch Wealth Management report.