Music festivals have quickly become a lifestyle for me. It’s so much of a lifestyle, that I base my whole year around the festival season. However like many people know, going to festivals can be expensive. As a working college student I know that I personally can’t afford all these festivals that my heart wants to attend. In 2015, I discovered an amazing opportunity that would save my pocket book and make my heart happy: volunteering.
My first festival was at Hangout Music Fest. As my first fest and first time volunteering, it couldn’t have been any better. The location was super convenient because it’s near my hometown. It was a spur of the moment decision to volunteer, which lead me to go by myself. I figured it would be fine, since I knew people that typically go from my hometown. This was one of the best decisions of my life and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The set up for hangout was very organized. Whichever shift you were assigned in your email that was the shift you worked. I knew where I was supposed to be at the designated time. I found the check in tent for volunteers on the Friday afternoon of the festival and everything ran smoothly.
The first day was water duty. I stayed at the free water station from 2pm until midnight. This equalled to be two shifts since I worked two shifts back to back. Some people never showed up for their scheduled shifts so I agreed to stay later. This allowed me to take off my Sunday shift freeing me to see one of the main acts I originally wanted to see, Tove Lo. Working the late shift put me at prime position to listen to Jack U without getting in the middle of everyone. The water station was one of my favorite shifts because of how many people I saw. It really gave me a perspective of how many people are all into the same music, same good vibes. Definitely a great way to end my first night at Hangout.
Day two rolls around and I’m at the venue early around 9am. I’m brought over to the ADA/handicap tent. They give us the run down of what we are going to be doing and the basic questions with how to answer them. Most of the shift was spent sitting at a table checking patrons names off the list as they came to check in. We were stationed right by the entrance so when we didn’t have anyone checking in it was a prime people watching spot. Once a patron was checked in someone from the team would escort them to the handicap viewing area. Depending on the stage this placement would change. This shift felt like one of the shorter ones mainly because we stayed out of the heat and for part of the shift the festival had not opened yet. After the handicap patrons had their share of viewing whichever artist, they would be escorted back out of the area and could travel on to the next stage or wherever they chose to go. I would report back to the tent ready to help the next person.
In all, this was a great experience for me as a volunteer. If you are considering helping out at a festival or wanting to see some of the factors that go into it, or are just looking for a cheaper way in then volunteering at festivals is a great way to go about that. I recommend signing up for the early morning shifts or some of the pre/post festival shifts. This allows you to get the most fest for a volunteer ticket. Once you’re done around 2 or 3, the rest of the day is up to you and how you choose to enjoy the music festival. The friendships made are also incredible. The fest family is unlike any other group of friends. We all have the same concepts of work hard play hard. Earning our ticket by volunteering is a fun and easy way to go to a festival without having to break the bank.