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Types of Volunteers Found at Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

Any large-scale music festival can use up to 1,000 volunteers and many festivals would struggle to operate without them. The volunteer recruitment and management are a key aspect of managing any successful event. With so many volunteers to manage it is inevitable that the personality types will vary.

Everyone wants diversity and that is encouraged in every aspect of working environments, however when it comes to music festival volunteers there are typical personality types and associated behaviours that emerge and the challenge is always for festival organisers to manage these.

Freeloader Blaggers. 
There is always one, or for music festivals probably quite a few and that is the freeloader. They see the volunteering role as a route to free entry to a music festival and have no intention of performing their allocated duties as a diligent worker. They will skimp their tasks and do as little work as they can get away with. If and when they go missing, they can probably be found in the VIP designated areas having blagged their way into the backstage areas to meet their favourite artist.

Invisible Magicians.
There are always a proportion of volunteers who sign up and pay deposits but then never show up for training. In some case they go through the whole training exercises get allocated shifts and then either never turn up for the festival or worse show up for their shift and then promptly disappear never to be seen again.

Grafters and Team Players. 
The hard working sometimes over enthusiastic volunteer who takes everything seriously and treats their role as a full-time job. These individuals are a great asset to the festival and can be relied on to be flexible in allocated shifts and expect little in return. They enjoy working hard but can be reluctant to relax and enjoy the festival in their free time.

There are always people who have a clear motivation in volunteering in particular those who envisage a career working in festivals or live entertainment fields. They may see the actual volunteer work as a distraction to their overall goal and can often be found chatting with contractors and full-time organising staff. They need to be managed closely to ensure that their networking doesn't overshadow their volunteering duties.

Friends and Family.
Often volunteering in groups together they are probably the most typical volunteer type but can cause problems for anyone tasked with scheduling shifts and duties. They will always want to be allocated duties along with their friends and family and can be difficult to separate causing scheduling headaches for volunteer managers.

Volunteers are giving up their time in exchange for free entry to the festival, this means organisers cannot treat them like a contracted employee and a certain amount of leeway is required. The best approach in managing volunteers is to take a firm but fair approach and ensure that each individual understands their obligations as a volunteer. This can be reinforced in training sessions along with agreements signed and deposits taken. 

For organisers planning their festivals using a software management platform like
Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event 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, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering. 

Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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