As we come to the end of the music festival season many of us are already planning which events we want to go to next year. But the problem most students face is money. If you find yourself wondering, ‘how can I afford this years festival’ then rejoice, there is a loop hole. Volunteering is fast becoming a popular way to enjoy many festivals at a minimum costs and of course there’s not just the free admittance that you benefit from.
We’ve been able to track down a volunteer from this years BoomTown Festival, Jessica Mitchell, and quiz her on her time volunteering this festival season.
What festival did you volunteer at and why did you choose that one?
“I decided to volunteer at BoomTown Fair Festival. I really wanted to go to the festival but knew without volunteering I wouldn’t be able to afford it at all.”
So how does the volunteering work?
“Well your ticket in essence is free. Before the festival I had to buy my ticket and pay a small deposit. But once I had finished the volunteering the money was transferred back into my account. To get the money back you have to do all of your shifts and make sure you hand the tabard that you are required to wear back in.”
Do you feel like it hindered you in any way from enjoying the festival?
“I wouldn’t say so. I wasn’t volunteering all the time. Of the 4 days of the festival I only volunteered for three of them so got Sunday completely free. I was also really lucky with my hours. I didn’t have to do any through the night shifts and didn’t miss many of the acts I wanted to see. At BoomTown I was asked to do three days volunteering for 8 hour shifts. I recommend that if you want to avoid the night shifts ask to work on the gates. Gates at most festivals close at 10pm so you will be able to enjoy the rest of your night and still get a proper nights sleep.”
Were there many perks of volunteering?
“With volunteering you have to make sure you arrive the day before the festival starts and you have your own camping area away from the rest of the festival. This means more space and a guaranteed spot. Also in this area there were showers and places to charge your phone. This was a great perk.
“I did have friends that were not volunteering but I was able to camp with them in the main camping area. Volunteering doesn’t restrict where you camp, it’s more a benefit as you also have another area if you want to be away from the main camping area.”
— BoomTown Fair (@BoomTownFair) April 9, 2015
Was food provided for you or did you have to supply this all yourself?
“We were lucky enough to be given some food tokens that could be used on certain stalls throughout the festival. I was given 4 tokens that I could use whenever I wanted. This was really great as at the beginning or end of a long shift I knew that I could have a free hot meal to keep me going. The pasta stall was definitely the best as their portion sizes were massive.”
Is there any advice you would give anyone planning to volunteer?
“Make sure you have comfortable shoes. You will no doubt be doing a lot of walking around the site so you need to make sure you aren’t in pain. I would recommend having both wellies and another pair of comfortable footwear. The weather is always very unpredictable, especially in England! But if you get the opportunity to volunteer at a festival I would definitely recommend it. I met a lot of new people and had a great time working alongside all of them.”
“It is something I would definitely think about doing again.”
But it’s not just BoomTown that offer volunteering positions, if you fancy volunteering but have your eyes set on another festival Oxfam provide opportunities for almost all the UK festivals.