Freelance writer with a BA double majoring in Literature and Australian History who loves finding random places of social or historical treasure whilst travelling around visiting festivals, markets and quaint cafes with my husband and baby
Published March 22nd 2014
Short on money but rich on time?
So you've seen a great fair, music festival, local art exhibition or day out advertised. You've checked out the stall holders, exhibitors or artist lineup and you love it. You have to be there! Then you look at the single day entry free and it's over $100. You check out the weekend discount entry free and it's over $200. All of your hopes of attending are dashed, especially when you include accommodation into the costs.
Well maybe not. There is another way you can attend these exciting local events without breaking the budget!
Have you ever thought about volunteering?
Renaissance faires, music festivals, wellbeing shows and concerts don't just run themselves. Behind the scenes there are literally hundreds of helpers at each event running around madly coordinating, setting up and ensuring the whole day runs smoothly for the paying patrons. A handful of these workers are paid, either by the local council or by the event management, but the majority are volunteers who work for the good of the event and to save themselves money.
To become a volunteer you should have experience in music/stage set up, event management, construction (putting up and dismantling stages and marquees), hospitality (bar and food vendor work), first aid, customer service, ticketing or finance. Event managers and volunteer coordinators are always looking for energetic people with qualifications or experience to assist. However, even if you don't have experience in these areas, don't think that your input is not wanted. The biggest thing event coordinators are looking for is a positive frame of mind and a hard working can do attitude!
Events such as the Byron Bay Bluesfest, Supanova, Woodford Folk Festival, Renaissance Faires, local country shows, the Ekka, Christmas events, community days - all of these types of events and festivals rely on volunteers to run successfully.
Have fun while you work!
In exchange for approximately 4 hours of work for a one day ticket, or 4 to 6 hours per day for a long weekend pass (varies according to the event coordinator's requirements), volunteers are given free entry into the event each day, and often a volunteer t-shirt and free food and drinks during their shift. As well as that you get to meet other like minded people who just want to have fun while they help their community!
Many multi-day events have designated camping areas at a free or reduced rate for their volunteers too.
To find out more about volunteering, just jump on to the website of the event you're interested in. They will have a volunteer tab which explains when volunteer applications open and provides the form for completion and all details required. Of course, being selected to be a volunteer isn't certain, but the more experience you have the better your chances, and the more you volunteer at events, the more useful you are as a volunteer as you gain experience in the way the shows and events are run.
So if you have an upbeat friendly personality, love a good day out, and are willing to work hard for a few hours in exchange for free entry, then go for it! What are you waiting for?