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Music Festival Restart - Volunteers.

Andy Robertson

Irrespective of their size every music festival relies on volunteers to help make their event happen. Even the smallest festivals utilise volunteers but it is the larger festivals that the management of volunteers becomes more of a challenge and the number of volunteers needed to make the event a success goes into the hundreds.


As most UK music festivals were cancelled in early and mid 2020 many festival organisers were probably in the middle of their volunteer recruitment programme. Now with many music festivals restarting with dates in the late summer they are in the position of resuming their volunteer recruitment programme.

During most volunteer recruitment programmes the organisers try to establish each volunteer's availability and experience, however given that so much time has passed since events were cancelled a year ago it may be prudent to start the whole process again. It makes sense that the first step for organisers is to contact any volunteers that had previously applied and been approved and allocated duties. There will be some drop out as people's circumstances will have changed but with new confirmed dates it should be a case of reactivating those volunteers who can commit to the revised festival dates. 

Whoever is responsible for recruitment, management and training of volunteers will have to create duty rotas along with number of volunteers required for duty. It is then a case of finding the right volunteers to fill those positions either from previous applicants or from new recruitment. In conjunction with the duty rotas will be the requirement for scheduling training for the volunteers which may present problems given the condensed timing and the need to get volunteers trained well in advance of the festival dates. It may be possible to organise any training sessions in a virtual format which would overcome any travel restrictions or other coronavirus related issues. Training programmes will also have to be amended to allow for additional training related to temperature monitoring, mask wearing, sanitizer use and social distancing requirements that may be imposed by local authorities.

If the recruitment of new volunteers is required this should not be too much of a challenge because as rule the number of applications for music festival volunteers almost always exceeds the number required. The biggest challenge for the festival organisers will be condensing the planning, scheduling and training of volunteers into a five or six month period for something that was usually done over a year. Festival organisers can improve their volunteer management by using dedicated software geared to event volunteer management. The old manual processes and spreadsheets are really going to be inadequate given the current dynamic environment where dates and schedules need to be changed in an instant.

For any music festival organiser planning to get their event live this summer using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their volunteer logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors guestlists and ticketing. 

Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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