How to Do Railbird Festival on a Budget

August 10, 2019 in Travel, Travel Tips - 10 Comments

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Put on your dancing shoes, pack your sunscreen, and prepare to have a great time at the Railbird Festival on a budget.

This handy guide will help you make the most of your time at Railbird Festival, teach you how to get free Railbird Fest tickets, how to save on parking, and how to save on accommodations. Everything you need to know about saving money at Railbird Festival.

If you’re looking for things to do in Kentucky this weekend, you’ll want to check out Railbird Festival.

How to Do Railbird Festival on a Budget

Railbird Festival is a two-day music festival in Lexington as only the Bluegrass State can deliver. Music, food, bourbon, and horses. Does it get any better?

In a word, no.

So hightail it out to Lexington, Kentucky for the first annual Railbird Festival at Keeneland from August 10, 2019 to August 11, 2019.

Yes, you read that right. First annual. So if you can’t make it to Lexington this week, start making plans for next year because the lineup for this year is epic. Imagine how amazing next year’s going to be.

Three stages, more than 30 bands including The Raconteurs, Hozier, Brandi Carlile, Tyler Childers, Lucinda Williams, Mavis Staples, and more!

Check out the 2019 lineup of bands. Want more details, here’s the complete schedule.

Horses, Food, and Bourbon

Because it’s at Keeneland, horses come into play. You can view morning workouts and tour the Winstar facilities. Watch off-track racing (and place bets) at Del Mar from the air-condition lounge at Lucky Day plaza.

Or take a break from the ponies and enjoy the culinary adventures featuring James Beard nominee Ouita Michael, Top Chef season 16 runner up Sara Bradley, and more.

Kentucky and Bourbon, enough said. While at Railbird Festival stop by the Rickhouse for bourbon tasting from Blanton’s, Buffalo Trace, Old Forester, Pinhook and Weller.

Railbird Festival Tickets

Railbird Festival tickets sell as individual day tickets or two-day tickets for General Admission and VIP tickets. Superfecta tickets are sold as 2-day tickets only. General Admission ticket prices will increase. The sooner you buy your tickets, the less you’ll pay.

General Admission

General Admission tickets include :

  • 30+ performances across three stages over two days
  • Lucky Day Plaza feat. air-conditioned lounge and bar, Keeneland’s BETologists, and live streams of Saratoga and Del Mar
  • The Rickhouse feat. festival barrel selections and bourbon tastings
  • Plus more on site experiences to be announced soon!

General Admission 2-day tickets start at $120 + fees. Single day General Admission tickets start at $80 + fees.


VIP tickets include all the amenities of General Admission plus:

  • Air-conditioned lounge with private bar at the Limestone Stage
  • Access to Grandstand padded seating with elevated viewing at Limestone Stage
  • VIP viewing areas at the Limestone & Elkhorn stages
  • Air-conditioned Elkhorn Stage lounge with private bar at The Clubhouse
  • Discounted drinks at VIP bars and daily happy hours
  • Friday night opening reception + optional Friday night dinner
  • Private restroom trailers, free parking and fast-track entrance to the festival
  • Commemorative Railbird merch package

VIP 2-day tickets cost $475 + fees. Single day VIP tickets cost $275 + fees.


Superfecta tickets include all the amenities of General Admission and VIP plus:

  • Complimentary beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages at all Superfecta bars
  • Access to shaded Limestone Stage Sky Deck lounge and private bar atop the Grandstand
  • Exclusive pit viewing with private bar at Limestone Stage
  • Elevated viewing on the shaded Clubhouse deck at the Elkhorn Stage
  • Curated Friday dinner from Executive Chef Marc Therrien at the Saddling Paddock at Keeneland
  • Complimentary trackside brunch from Executvie Chef Marc Therrien with bloody mary and mimosa bar (choice of Saturday or Sunday)
  • Morning Thoroughbred workouts with guided tour of Keeneland’s grounds
  • Free valet parking on site

Superfecta tickets cost $895 + fees.

How to Save on Railbird Festival Tickets

Advance Purchase

The best way to do Railbird Festival on a budget is to buy your tickets and passes in advance.

Kids Go Free

Railbird Festival is family-friendly so bring the young ones because kids go free.

At Railbird Festival children 10 years old and younger go free. For each adult ticket purchased, two kids get in free.

Family-friendly activities include pony rides, musical workshops, arts and crafts, and more!

Pro-tip: Got extra kids? Partner up with your single neighbor or DINK friends.

Follow on Social Media

Follow Railbird Festival and all the performers on social media. Railbird Fest and several musicians gave away free tickets. They may do so for next year too!

Earned Ticket Program

Save your cash and take part in Railbird Festival’s Earned Ticket Program. Do good and get rewarded with a free ticket.

When you volunteer with one of Railbird Fest’s non-profit partners you earn a free General Admission ticket.

It’s a win-win for everyone. You get a free ticket to Railbird Festival, the non-profits get help, and you get a warm fuzzy feeling for doing good.

How to Save on Parking at Railbird Festival

Parking for Railbird Festival is available at Keeneland: advanced purchase (ended) and on site daily for $20 a day.


If you didn’t buy advanced purchase parking, consider carpooling.

Uber or Lyft

Save money, time, and a few steps of taking Uber of Lyft to Railbird Festival. Designated drop-off and pickup areas for Uber and Lyft by the Clubhouse.

If you’re new to Uber, signup with my Uber referral link for a $20 Uber credit.

Get a $10 Lyft credit on your first ride when you use my promo code DEBRA191454.

How to Save on Accommodations


Coming from out of town or want to stay up late and sleep in?Railbird Festival has discounted prices on hotels. Some hotels like Hyatt Place Lexington include free breakfast.


Missed out on a hotel? Try Airbnb.


Getting down with tunes at Railbird Festival means you don’t have to dress fancy. Nor does it mean your digs need to be fancy. Book space at Kentucky Horsepark Campground or Elkhorn Campground.


Railbird Festival is a two-day musical festival that embodies everything that is the Bluegrass State: music, horses, food, and bourbon.

The first annual Railbird Festival starts today, August 10, 2019, and ends tomorrow, August 11, 2019.

You can buy a single day pass or two-day passes. General Admission, VIP Pass, and Superfecta Pass are available.

Can’t make it to Lexington in time? Start planning for next year. You’ll save the most money when you buy your tickets in advance. Layaway plans available. Watch the Railbird Fest site for details.

Bring the kids because children aged 10 and younger go free. Each paying adult can bring in two kids for free.

Save on parking fees by using Uber, Lyft, or carpooling.

Any tips I missed on how to do Railbird Festival on a budget?

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Debra Schroeder

Debra is a former 12-year travel industry executive and has traveled the world using airline miles and credit card points since 1994. She'll teach you the secrets of traveling well for less.

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  • The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
  • Andi August 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    I had never heard of the festival and am not a fan of them in general but I have wanted to get to Lexington for a while now. My father was stationed at Fort Know when I was a little girl and I remember visiting the Lexington Horse Farm. But that was so long ago and I want to return!

  • Danik August 11, 2019 at 5:33 am

    I have to admit I never heard of Railbird festival before. And I also have to admit I never done a festival before. So if I was doing this festival, then this is a really useful guide for what to expect/do etc. I love my music and arts but in the summer months when festival season hits Euroland, I am always work, work, work as I do most of my traveling in the winter months. Ugh.

  • Renata August 12, 2019 at 5:43 am

    This sounds like such a cool festival – would love to visit. Especially since it has been forever that I visited a music festival.

  • Holly August 12, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    I have never heard of this festival. I would like to visit the city one day though. Looks like a good time.

  • sherianne August 13, 2019 at 6:41 am

    Music, food, bourbon, and horses? This sounds like the perfect introduction to Kentucky life. Love that it is first annual and love that you may score free tickets via following on facebook. What a great way to spend a weekend

  • Tami August 13, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    I found myself wondering how this music festival got its name. What exactly does Railbird mean? I’ve actually never attended a music festival, probably because I don’t really have a favorite music genre. But I do like horses and history and trying new things. I’d be game to check it out!

  • Kate August 13, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    I gotta agree with you on the music, food, bourbon and horses. And I’m a huge Brandi Carlile fan! Uber definitely looks like the best way to enjoy the festival too!

  • Eric Gamble August 13, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    You had us at Music, food, bourbon, and horses! Darcee has been wanting to go to Kentucky mainly for the Derby but we both Love festivals since we are from New Orleans and their is a festival Every weekend! So hopefully they Railbird Festival in Lexington will continue on.
    I love that they are trying to give back with their Earned Ticket Program. That is absolutely genius to give away tickets in exchange for service hours to charitable organizations that really need help! Going to have to see if it is possible to do that several days before or remotely or at a branch near us or is it really only a Lexington thing.

  • Marlene Marques August 14, 2019 at 6:55 am

    I’ve never heard of the Railbird Festival, but I do love summer festivals. In Portugal, we have a bunch of them and they’re always full. As for this one… Music, food, and horses? Sign me in!

  • Trisha August 14, 2019 at 8:19 am

    Looks like a really good deal! Love going to festivals especially if there’s really good company. Would put this in my list. Hopefully I’ll have the energy and time in the future to join these festival!

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