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ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FESTIVAL VOLUNTEERING //

If one of your resolutions this year is to do more for charity, then this could be your route to succeeding.

For over five years I've been a part of the Oxfam Festival Stewards team (alongside lots of friends who I've met whilst volunteering!) and every year it gets better and better. It's their 25th anniversary this year, so what better time to answer some questions and tell you a bit more about my experience.

An enamel cup celebrating five years of charity volunteering

I wrote a post in 2015 about volunteering so feel free to have a read of that one too.

Below are some answers to some of the most common questions I hear when I tell people about my volunteer experience: hopefully covering everything from money, to holidays, to not missing your fave bands.

Two stewards at ticket gates whilst volunteering at Glastonbury

Do I have to pay?

Yes - but you only pay a deposit (usually the ticket equivalent) when you register for your first festival, then you get this back up to six weeks after you get home from your last shift.

Even better news is, you only pay this single deposit and you can register for one or ALL of the festivals - if you're lucky enough to have an entire Summer to spend dancing in fields.


Do I have to work when my favourite band are playing?

Not necessarily. In all the times I've been, I've had some fantastic shifts that allowed me to go to most or all of the artist performances I wanted to see.

You're even allowed to swap shifts with other Oxfammers, if it clashes with that one band you absolutely CANNOT stand to miss. Usually you'll find someone who is happy to switch, or maybe if you pick up an extra night shift you'll be able to get your favourite music day to yourself.

In total (in most festival experiences) you will complete three shifts over the course of the time you are there and the rest of the time you are free to party to your heart's content.


How can I get a free Glastonbury (2019) ticket?

That's not quite how it works but here it is simply for you:

Register for more information here: https://www.oxfam.org.uk/stewarding

When the applications are about to open (normally February) you will receive an email letting you know in plenty of time. It's usually a weekday morning so make sure you're available, or someone can do this on your behalf. You'll fill in the rest of your details - like whether you're available for early shifts or not - and bank information on the application day and pay a deposit (usually the cost of the ticket for that year.)

You won't actually get a physical ticket - but once you pay and receive confirmation, boom, your place at the festival is secured! All that is left to do is turn up when expected, attend all of your shifts and have the time of your life.

NOTE:
Obviously Glastonbury is a hugely popular festival to volunteer at, so you need to be speedy about it. 

However there IS a way you can get priority access to volunteer at Glastonbury 2019. If you volunteer at TWO festivals with Oxfam this year, you'll automatically get chance for an early application to Glasto - which in my experience, always bags you a place.

What do I get out of it?

A free festival, a week of laughs, plenty of new friends and the feeling you've done something for a great cause. That pretty much sums it up!

In addition, volunteering is perfect for students (over 18) because:

A) most festivals are during the Summer holidays, so you won't have to take time off college/universityand B) it's actually amazing customer service experience that will help you get a job in the future.

No matter what career you're looking to get into, volunteering for a charity is always a positive talking point in an interview and will help you bag that dream role.

I don't want to go on my own. Will other people be going solo?


If none of your friends want to join you (it's worth asking!) and it's something you really want to do, just do it.

I guarantee there will be other people who are volunteering solo, or there will be groups of people more than happy to welcome you into their camp. Some may even become a friend for life. From personal experience, I know people who have attended on their own that had a fantastic week meeting new people and they go away with new Facebook pals, plenty of photographs and lots of great memories.

If you're on your own, you can also take a peek at the Facebook group to see if there are any other lone rangers you can befriend before you go. There's also a handy car share forum which is a great way to actually get to the site, and also make a friend to enter the festival with.


Which festivals do I get to go to?



Last year, the team covered a multitude of festivals including: Bearded Theory, Download, Glastonbury, 2000Trees, NASS, Latitude, Nozstock, WOMAD, Camp Bestival, Trailwalker, Boardmasters, Boomtown Fair, Beautiful Days, Shambala, Reading, Leeds and Bestival.

Every year these are pretty consistent, so if you've had your eye on one of these then maybe this year get a place with Oxfam and go for free! Register here and you'll be able to find out the specific festivals they will be attending in 2018 and the dates you'll be required to attend for each.

If this isn't enough to sway you - watch this video for some other opinions on why it's a great idea.*Gold star if you can spot me*


I am super proud to be a festival volunteer and hope to see some more friendly faces in the crowds this Summer!

If you have any more questions about my own experiences that haven't been covered, feel free to leave me a comment or tweet and I'll get back to you with something I hope will be useful.

leanne

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