How to become a festival volunteer

Give yourself something to look forward to - save money and have fun this summer by working as a festival volunteer.


Why become a festival volunteer?

Everyone loves a summer festival, but what with the ticket cost, camping equipment and astronomical food prices, it can be an expensive business. However, if you’re strapped for cash and still want to soak up the atmosphere whilst seeing your favourite bands, why not think about festival volunteering?

As a volunteer, you will be expected to work a certain number of hours over the course of the festival, outside of which you are free to go off and enjoy yourself at the event. Often free meals and a special camping area are provided for volunteers, giving you a slightly more luxurious experience than the average festival-goer!

Volunteering at a festival allows you to experience the event from a different perspective and meet lots of new people. It also helps boost your CV by showing what a reliable, go-getting person you are, and if you volunteer for a charity, you’ll be helping out a good cause to boot!

Who organises festival volunteering?


Action Aid recruit volunteers to spread their ‘Bollocks to Poverty’ message at festivals including Beach Break, Underage and Reading.

ActionAid volunteers are required to work for 24 hours over the course of four days. The role involves working in the ActionAid tent to explain the campaign to visitors and talking about related issues such as corporate abuse, hunger and climate change, so the charity is looking for out-going, reliable people.

ActionAid will provide a comprehensive training session to all volunteers before they start, as well as three meal tickets per day during the event. Volunteers must bring their own tents but can camp in a separate area away from the rest of the general public.

As yet you're unable to apply for 2012 festivals, but to be the first to know when applications for the summer open make sure you like the Bollocks to Poverty facebook page.

Former volunteers have given positive feedback on the experience, with one saying “I loved going to the festivals and my festival tally really built up through the summer as we took ‘Bollocks to Poverty’ to Wireless, Underage, Field Day and Reading, before going to these I hadn’t really done much volunteering before.

It made me realise that we do all have a voice to help make a difference to those people who really need it and we don’t need money to express it.”


Every year a 5,000 strong team of Oxfam stewards hit the UK’s summer festivals, providing information and advice to campers as well as being on call for emergency situations. Possible tasks include checking tickets, watching from fire towers, chaperoning vehicles and monitoring the stage area.

As an Oxfam steward you are required to work three shifts of eight-and-a-quarter hours over the duration of the festival. You will also have to pay an £195 deposit before the event takes place, which will be fully refunded as long as you turn up for all of your allotted shifts.

The festivals that Oxfam cater for are:





Camp Bestival

Kendal Calling

Big Chill

Beautiful Days





Trailtrekker Challenge

To get involved with Oxfam stewarding, go to their application page and fill in the registration form. Since many festivals will be oversubscribed, you may have to join a waiting list.

Each year Oxfam raises £1 million through festival stewarding, which then goes on to help fight poverty around the world.

Festival Volunteer

Become a member of Festival Volunteer and you can apply for bar shifts at Rockness, Glade, Secret Garden Party and Camp Bestival.

In exchange for two shifts of between six and nine hours you get free entry to the festival, two free meals and two free drinks after each shift. Because you get to choose your shifts you can arrange to work at the same time as a friend - although don’t expect to have much time for chit-chat whilst manning the bar at a festival!

When you apply to work for Festival Volunteer, you have to pay a deposit of £168 (this was the 2011 deposit, 2012 figures are yet to be announced), which will be fully refunded after you complete your allotted shifts.

Join the Festival Volunteer group on Facebook for more updates!