I’ve spoken about Greenbelt festival countless times on this blog, due to interning with them in 2011 & volunteering with the programming team for the last few years! I know I am bias when I say this festival is brilliant, but thats not going to stop me from saying so! Not only are they an amazing team of people, but they gave me my first real opportunity to learn about how a large event is organised and managed!
In 2011, I was a 18 year old events student who’s only events experience was 2 weeks in an office organising hotel rooms and speaking to volunteers; and sadly for many organisations that is a no go zone. Why? Because it takes time to train and help someone who has no experience in that particular area. We all know that there is a vicious circle within the events industry in needing to gain experience but to get that initial chance you have to show you have previous experience!
Which brings me on to why Festival volunteering is such a great opportunity for Event Students! You don’t need to have tons of experience to be a good volunteer, just a focus to work hard & be willing to learn and do a range of different jobs! Whilst the idea of stewarding isn’t for everyone it does involves many different skills from dealing with the general public through to artist liaison & if you volunteer for the same festival or volunteer group you will gradually gain more responsibility that will add so much to your CV.
Because I first interned with Greenbelt I have been able to volunteer and work with the programming team, which I absolutely love because it is much more to do with event operations than other stewarding work i’ve done in the past at other festivals. But I know a lot of people who have volunteered as Stewards for some big UK music festivals & then been given the chance to work backstage main stage, managing large volunteer teams & even getting the chance to do some longer work experience!
Showing passion, working hard & getting involved will lead to some amazing opportunities!
The great thing about festival volunteering is it takes place outside of term time, mainly during the summer months & there are so many different types of festivals to work at, you will be able to find one that suites your interest! Festival volunteering doesn’t have to mean music festivals, there are many art and literacy events across the UK – plus a large number of music festivals cater to a smaller number of attendees!
If you are in your first year of Uni & are struggling to find work experience or are looking to fill in some of that free time during the four months off at the end of every year – I would highly recommend that you look at the opportunities to volunteer at a festival. Most festivals put all their info up on their website, with a majority of events promoting their volunteer opportunities from the end of the year; i’ve listed just a few websites & festivals that I would recommend having a look at!