Aurora works at TheTicketSellers as a member of our Customer Care team, she has been attending festivals since 2005, and volunteering since 2013. Aurora's favourite festivals to volunteer at are Moseley Folk, Lunar Festival, Boomtown, Glastonbudget, Bearded Theory and Moseley Jazz Funk and Soul. We stopped by her desk for a chat about her experiences.
What to Expect
Expect the unexpected. Every experience is unique, even when volunteering at the same festivals, what you are guaranteed though, is that you are going to have an amazing time!
1. Making So Many Friends
Festivals are huge and many many people attend them, which means you are going to meet so many new people. From a fairly young age, I have volunteered at festivals and I've made some good friends over the years. These are people I now meet up with every year at the same festival. You will likely be put with one or two other people that will be your “buddy” for the next few days and you will likely become quite close and in some cases, you can choose to work with people you know that have also signed up, so keep that in mind. It's great to work with others and spend your festival experience with your friends. There are no mates like workmates, and volunteering can often give you the opportunity of meeting new people from all walks of life. If you're coming to a festival on your own, this is a great way of having a team of people around you and not feel alone.
2. Free Festival Entry
Who doesn’t love free or cheap tickets to the festivals you love and they usually don’t come with bad Terms. In my case, I got to work backstage helping the artists with anything they need and even though it was an 8 hour day it was fun and exhilarating and after the shifts, I got to take in the full festival atmosphere. In some cases for bigger festivals, you may have to pay a small price for entry but it’s definitely worth it!
3. Work Perks
As a volunteer, they really look after you. They want you to do well and have fun. Because of this you usually get some pretty good perks. This can include, great camping, showers and toilets just for you and food tickets. Having your own campsite can be really important as it means you get a space to yourself and the other workers and it can be quite tame compared to the rest of the festival. Useful if you're tired after a long shift! And do I need to say why your own toilets and showers are a perk? I don't think so, we all like to get away from the stinky standard tickets. Of course finally, with each shift, you will usually get free food from any of the festival stalls which is great to get you through the day; And save you a couple quid from festival prices!!
4. Opens Doors for Opportunities
It can lead to other opportunities in the festival world. Whether it be work opportunities, chances to volunteer at other festivals or friends to socialise with after the event, you will get the chance to expand your network and do new things. What could be better? It's brilliant for building up a good CV too. Workplaces love to see lots of experience in many different areas and festivals are great for it!
5. Behind the Scenes Magic
Volunteering is a great opportunity to see and be part of the inner workings of a festival. Behind the magic, there are usually lots of busy bees running around making the event run smoothly and safely. Volunteering is a great way of getting some work experience in an exciting and challenging environment. In my personal experience, I've seen lots of different sides to festivals, including AAA (access all areas) to do backstage hospitality. It can give you a real insight into how everything works and give you a different outlook on the overall festival experience.
Aurora's Top Tips:
If you are stewarding, it's really important to stay sober, as stewards are often the first port of call for an emergency situation. You might be equipped with a walkie talkie and will let your supervisor know of any issues. You can still party and have a great time when off your shift, but be aware that this might not be the route for you if you'd rather party non-stop. You could lose your deposit, or worse, be evicted from the site if you break these rules.
Make sure you consider the art of layer management. You may be on a shift that is far from your campsite for hours at a time, and festival weather in the UK can change at the drop of a hat. We'd recommend plenty of layers that you can easily carry with you in a bag. Be prepared for any weather.
Snacks. Some volunteering roles provide a small meal on the days when you do a shift, but not all of them. Bring snacks along with you so that you don't get caught hungry and unable to leave your post. And don't forget to bring plenty of water (though water is usually provided). Always be prepared!
As the face of the festival, once people are inside, you are somewhat of an ambassador. Make sure you represent the festival well by being positive and helpful. Nobody expects you to know every answer to people's questions, but they do expect you to have a great attitude.
Fancy Volunteering? Why not apply!
Here are some of our festival friends that have opened up their applications (with links to apply)