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Volunteer at a music festival : all our advises and tips!6 min de lecture

par Emma

Being a volunteer in a music festival, that’s the coolest experience! Being in the backstage of a great event and seeing how it works, being close to the artists, having privileged access, seeing free concerts … It’s the best to work in festival! Festivals’ season is approaching, and many people want to volunteer at a festival. As I have several experiences in this environment, I am going to give you some tips on jobs and ways to integrate teams!

Being a volunteer, what is it? 

Volunteering is working without getting paid. Volunteers make up a significant portion of the workforce and avoid festivals to pay additional fees, which is the opposite of employees. They are the people who directly represent the festival to the festival-goers and usually they turn to the volunteers when they encounter difficulties.

What jobs for a volunteer?

There is a great diversity of jobs for which festivals need volunteers! In effective, you have the bars that need to be kept, but also posts to safety, garbage collection, the reception of festival-goers, VIPs or artists … Many choices! Depending on the festivals, you can be directly assigned to certain positions and other organizations will leave you the choice and ask you in addition to the application forms your preferred positions… But the people and the atmosphere are so cool in general that even the less cheerful job in the world is not that bad!

Do you need experience in music festivals to be a volunteer?

Not necessarily! However, you have to be motivated and love music at least… You will evolve for 3 or 4 days on a site where the music is in full swing, and if you do not necessarily like music and the programmed artists, it’s probably better to pass it.. So you do not need a CV full of experience in festival volunteerism but if you do have experience in festivals, organizations will be reassured to have some volunteers who know this what is festival work!

How to find a job?

Most festivals have on their website a page for volunteers on which you can go and get more information. Recruitment starts around March/April and organizations can share information in a number of ways: they can post calls for applications on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for volunteering. This is the most popular method! Motivated individuals are asked to fill in a registration form with information of personal information but also wishes about your potential experience at home. Volunteer positions can also be advertised on job sites or volunteering sites and it is sending a CV and a cover letter that can be requested. However, it can sometimes be difficult to join festivals given the fact that volunteers usually come back from one edition to another. Especially because they already know the operation of the event and its site. Nevertheless, some organizations are frivolous of new volunteers and make their selection via the new applications received! Finally if you are interested in a festival and you do not have any information on their recruitment intentions, do not hesitate to contact them directly festival organizations via email or phone, the teams will be able to direct you on their operation!

Photo : Liberté Bonhomme Libre

What attitude to have as a volunteer towards the audience? 

As stated above, volunteers are the festival’s first representatives to the festival-goers. Even if you are tired and have slept little, it is important to smile at all times. You will face some complicated situations for example a festival-goer relou (often when he had a few glasses), an artist who asks a particular thing that must absolutely find, worries in the organization that fall on you, repeat information that is displayed in large on the signs … You would probably go crazy but be patient, it will be fine! You must also be available and have great contact with people and do not hesitate to go to them if they are in trouble, you are their benchmark and the first to receive their questions or comments. But the festive environment of a festival and the conviviality that reigns will bring you, hopefully, in the right mood!

What perks for the volunteer?

A festival experience is a full and rewarding experience to value on a CV! You are part of the organization, you have missions and can develop skills that will be useful later. If you also want to evolve in the world of music and festivals, having volunteer experiences is very good. Beautiful advantages also reside in the privileged access in the festival’s site, which allows you to see the event on its full scale and to go to every nook and cranny (be careful, this may vary depending on the festival!). When you are tired and need to breathe, you are entitled to some comfort (toilets, rest area, meals) away from the crowd, which is very significant. Finally, the organization make sure to let you enjoy some concerts after your missions and if there is a headliner you absolutely want to see, there is always a way to arrange! But especially in the volunteer experience, it is the people you meet there. You are part of a big family, everyone knows each other and is happy to meet again every year to have a good time while working together.

But some advises and reminders before that! 

It is necessary to remember that you are primarily recruited to work on the festival. Exploitation can be very exhausting depending on the position! You do not sleep much on the three or four days, you can cope with boring situations, you can find yourself under the sun for a long time and burn, it takes energy and effort. Especially if you stay on the site in a tent and you are far from the comfort of your little cozy bed. In addition, volunteers generally need accommodation and production does not provide them (or on the campsite and you come with your equipment). So if you come from far away, look for rooms at the inhabitant or if seasonal lodgings are available in the city, do not hesitate to get in touch with the town halls! Lastly, of course, you’re not here in the first place to chill with the artists and take selfies with them, besides, you probably will not see them behind the scenes since only a few people in the production have access… But again, volunteering in a music festival is a great human experience and very rewarding that will be valued in many situations!

Thank y’all for reading this article and if you have any other questions do not hesitate and ask them below in the comments! I’ll be glad to answer them 🙂 

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