Aspiring musicians and other students often wonder how they can improve their skills. And while recitals and concerts offer a great way to expand your experience, there’s one sure practice that can change your life: volunteering at a music festival! It can inspire, teach, and enrich your life by creating a one-of-a-kind involvement that you’ll never forget. The time spent in company with other like-minded people from around the world can increase your excitement about music and motivate you to try new things.
Music festival volunteering provides specific benefits for people who want to pursue a professional career in the music industry, delivering experience in stage and sound work, as well as musical techniques and humanitarian efforts. The time you spend at the festival will be remembered and treasured for years to come. Check out just a few of the benefits.
Complimentary Admission and Other Fun Perks
Almost every music festival that has volunteers provides free admission to the entire weekend (or for however long that particular festival is planned), and many volunteer positions receive a free festival t-shirt for participating. Part of being a volunteer at a music festival is the fact that you’ll get to be an integral part of having the show go off without a hitch.
The majority of volunteers commit to working a number of shifts (between 4-6 hours), but then the rest of the time is your own. You can attend workshops, rehearsals, explore the many booths, or simply hang-out. Being a volunteer just means that for certain portions of the day, you’ll need to help in your respective capacity.
Meet New People and Forge New Friendships
One of the best things about volunteering at a music festival is the number of people you’ll meet from a variety of places. You’ll be exposed to new styles, thoughts, and ideas about music, and many volunteers make lifelong friendships. Because you’ll be working within specific groups, you’ll have the chance to extend your circle of acquaintances. Plus, since many volunteer opportunities welcome groups, you can get some of your friends to join you. So, the experience can often enrich the relationships you already have.
Gain Lots of Experience
When you volunteer at a music festival, it’s not just all fun and games. You’ll be expected to carry your weight and help the festival proceed without a hitch, which means that you’ll be doing your fair share of work. However, that type of experience not only looks great on resumes and college applications, it helps you develop real-world skills necessary for your future. Although many first-time volunteers typically help with cleaning, setting up, and assisting festival-goers, many festivals allow you to offer your skills in helping artists and other cool opportunities like:
- VIP Assistant—this means you work with organizers and other special guests, helping them navigate where to go, answering their questions, and solving problems.
- Stage Assistant—this job involves helping performers before and after their set.
- Gopher/Odd Jobs—in this capacity, you pretty much just do whatever is needed at a specific time or place. You basically fill in wherever it’s required.
Things to Remember
Although it will be a total blast helping out behind the scenes of a music festival, you should remember that you’ll be there to work, not party. Sure, you’ll have off-time when you can explore and enjoy, but your major task will be assisting the execution of the festival so that it’s great for everyone. These tips can help:
- Get plenty of sleep — you’re going to be working shifts, so you should be sure to be rested and ready for your duties.
- Never complain—someone who’s always grousing about their responsibilities is a total downer. Make up your mind to be cheerful about whatever task you’re assigned, no matter what it is.
- Volunteer with a group—if the festival isn't local to your area, this will cut down on your gas and lodging fees. Although some music festival volunteers are provided with specific camping or accommodation perks, splitting costs with a group can leave you more money for souvenirs.
- Take advantage of the learning possibilities—speak with the people you’re working with about their previous experiences (if any). You can learn a lot about becoming a pro by listening to others who’ve already done it.
How to Get Started
Finding music festival volunteering opportunities isn’t difficult. There are hundreds of opportunities on this site, each year. You’ll just need to log on to the festival’s website (the ones you’re interested in) and look for the “jobs” or “volunteer” page. You can also contact the festival planners with a specific volunteering job that you’d like to try. Be prepared to pay a deposit or application fee at some festivals, and you have to be 18 to qualify for most volunteering positions, but you’ll never regret the life-changing experience.