Volunteers and staff are the people behind the scenes who ensure that every attendee has a memorable and positive festival experience. A lot goes into offering a truly exceptional event, and volunteers are the people who execute much of the hard work.
Luckily, InitLive has helped dozens of event and festival producers recruit, schedule, and manage volunteers through a single volunteer management software. We have a solid understanding of what it takes to build a committed team and ensure your festival is a success through this experience.
In this guide, we’ll cover the following:
- Festival Volunteer FAQ
- Main Festival Volunteer Roles
There are a lot of moving parts to consider when building out a festival volunteer management process. This article will offer a clear understanding of what volunteers can do to help you provide an exceptional festival experience to each one of your attendees. Let’s jump in.
If you are looking to recruit volunteers for your festival, make sure to check out InitLive's event staff and volunteer management solution by clicking the below button.
Festival Volunteer FAQ
You likely have some questions about what it takes to plan a festival. As a volunteer management expert, InitLive can help take the stress off by offering insight into some frequent concerns about festival volunteers.
What do volunteers do at festivals?
Volunteers can perform any number of tasks at a festival as long as they are trained properly. Often, festival volunteers work at the entry gates, concession stands, beer tents, information stands, and more.
Since volunteers are often the main workforce during a festival event, it’s a good idea to provide a strategic approach to managing them so you can get the most out of your team.
How do I manage festival volunteers effectively?
In order to manage your festival volunteers, you’ll need to invest in technology to reduce any confusion and barriers. Look for a solution that can manage the entire volunteer life cycle—from recruitment and scheduling to management and communication.
How should I attract the best festival volunteers?
Your event website is the first place potential volunteers will go to discover available opportunities. Create a volunteer web page with detailed information about how to get involved with your event and all the great perks that come with volunteering.
Consider posting your volunteer opportunities directly on the web page so that individuals can directly sign up for the roles and shifts that interest them most. You can also share your online volunteer registration link through your social media channels and email to attract new volunteers and encourage sign-ups.
How can I match festival volunteers with the right roles?
The best way to ensure that every volunteer is matched to the right role is to collect important information like qualifications, interests, skills, and availability through your volunteer sign-up form. From there, volunteer management software should be able to suggest which volunteers are best suited for roles based on previously collected data, making the process as simple as possible for administrators.
Main Festival Volunteer Roles
Now that you understand the importance of your festival volunteers, how do you make sure you get all your bases covered? Start by making a list of the roles you need to fill. Take a look at this list of volunteer positions as inspiration for your own event:
1. Set-Up Volunteers
There’s a lot of preparation that goes into setting up your festival. While there will likely be vendors and staff coming in to get everything ready, you may need a team of volunteers on hand to help set up tents, concession stands, and more. These volunteers should be physically fit and able to put things together if required to get your venue set for the first day of the festival.
2. Entrance Team
Every event producer knows how important it is to ensure that your event entrance is well managed. That requires a team of volunteers who scan tickets or wristbands and ensure that everyone gets through security in a timely manner. Entrance volunteers need to be cool-headed and able to communicate effectively to attendees if there is a problem.
3. Parking Team
Parking is often one of the biggest pain points of a festival for attendees. To avoid confusion and frustration, schedule a team of volunteers to direct traffic and assist with parking. These volunteers should ensure that your parking facility is used in the most efficient and safest way possible. This way, you can avoid issues and ensure attendees have a good first impression of your event.
4. Registration or Ticket Sales
Not everyone will show up with pre-purchased tickets. This means you’ll need a registration or ticket sales booth near the entrance. Be sure this area is manned with volunteers who understand the various artists and attractions offered at your event so they are prepared to answer questions while selling tickets.
5. Usher/Information Team
There’s nothing worse than getting lost and missing your favorite artist at a festival. To avoid this, be sure to have a team of information or usher volunteers throughout your event to help attendees find what they are looking for. Provide this volunteer access to all the information they need to help attendees and equip them with t-shirts that help people identify them in the crowd.
6. Beer Tent Servers and ID Checkers
If your event is selling alcohol, you’ll need a team of volunteers of the right age and training to work these tents and ensure all ID’s are checked. It is often better to over-staff these tents to help manage the lines and keep things running smoothly.
7. First Aid
This is a specialized position, and the volunteers in question should be trained and certified in CPR and first aid. For certain events, you might want to have a nurse or EMT on duty as well. For an all-day outdoor festival, your first aid volunteers could be treating scratches or sunburns, and in the event of an emergency, they can keep the situation under control and get the necessary help.
Most events go off without a hitch when it comes to safety, but part of that is because you've got qualified security guards on duty. While many events have a team of professional security guards, volunteer security teams can assist with security where needed, given the correct training.
9. Merchandise Sales
Most events will sell event-branded merchandise for the various performers or artists. If this is the case, you’ll need a team of volunteers to work the merchandise tents. It’s also good for these volunteers to have some cash-handling skills!
If your festival has multiple stages and performance areas, you will need a team of volunteers on hand to help backstage and provide the artist with everything they need. Stagehand volunteers can assist with everything from tech and stage set-up to running errands required to make the show go off without a hitch.
Don't go through all this hard work and have nothing to show for it. Make sure you have a team of photographers ready to document the entire event. Consider recruiting volunteer photographers who are looking to build their portfolio and empower them to capture your event and share the images through your social media channels.
You're going to forget something. It happens. A team of volunteer runners can fill in the gaps or even take over a role for a no-show volunteer. This team can help make your event a success by ensuring that when an issue arises, you have a team to help deal with it quickly. Just be sure you have a way to communicate with these volunteers from wherever they are!
Volunteers are the face of your festival. They are the people who ensure all the wheels turn to deliver a great attendee experience. With such an important role in your festival, it is well worth it to invest in setting your festival volunteers up for success. Specifically, we recommend equipping your team with an event staff and volunteer management solution that empowers them with everything they need to succeed.
InitLive's solution has helped countless festivals manage their volunteers and set them up to do their best work. To learn more about the InitLive solution, click the button below.
To ensure your festival is set up for success, check out the following additional resources:
- Volunteer Management Software: FAQ +18 Top Solutions. Learn what to look for in volunteer management solutions and see some of our favorite suggestions.
- How to Promote Events on Instagram and Boost Attendance. Attract even more attendees to your festival with these great event promotion tips.
- The Complete Step-by-Step Festival Planning Guide for 2021. Explore this guide to festival planning so that you can set your event team up for success in 2021.