Of all the rewarding volunteering opportunities available, one experience that is a must to try is to volunteer at a summer music festival. With a whopping 700+ festivals in theUKalone, many are largely staffed by volunteers, and would not be able to operate without the enthusiastic help of those involved.
While some festivals recruit their own volunteers, many also outsource from charity initiatives such as Oxfam, or event management companies such as Seed Staff and Hotbox.
Roles can vary from the traditional stewarding, bar work and wristbanding, right down to site decoration, reception work and litter picking.
Some roles may even see you behind the scenes as a runner, or out front guiding important vehicles safely through the crowds.
As an idea of how vital volunteers are to running festivals, Oxfam recently reported that they employ an average of 5,600 during a summer of festivals, a number that can often rise on years when the historicGlastonburyoperates (a festival which Oxfam are known to recruit up to 2,100 volunteers for).
In return for working your allocated shifts – which can vary from three hours a day to two sets of 12 hour slots – you get the ultimate reward of enjoying the festival outside of work hours. While some positions require you to work shifts during the festival, there are also positions available to work before, or after the main event takes place.
Other perks include a free meal during each shift, with a large majority of companies or festivals offering separate camping and showers for their hard working helpers.
It is important to bear in mind that, while many companies are happy to take those with no experience, all positions require you to be over 18. Also to avoid the risk of phoney applicants, many require a deposit, which is always refunded after the main event.
As is the spirit of volunteering, those who are first timers at helping at festivals, are often known to return the following year, as the friendly and close knit nature of the organised teams, often means a chance to meet and make friends with some extraordinary people.
There is often no need to worry about missing your favourite bands either, as the friendly nature of the teams means that many will often swap shifts, or work something out accordingly.
If this sounds up your street, then check out the Wikifestivals Volunteer Page, where you can find listings from a variety of companies and festivals, as well as a few first hand accounts of what it is like to take part in such a fun and highly respected experience.
This guest post was written by Wikifestival‘s Cynthia.