Summer plans? How volunteering at festivals can help your career

working at a music festivalAs a student it can be tempting to let the long summer holidays slip by, doing nothing more challenging than choosing your next ice cream. So why not try something worthwhile, fun and exciting? Volunteering at festivals is a great way to combine free entry with valuable work experience.  Frankie Pocock from the Graduate Recruitment Bureau explains how skills developed as festival volunteer can translate to the world of work.


Working in a festival environment can be pretty nerve-wracking. It’s probably not the kind of work place you’re used to. The things you do on shift will vary but chances are you’ll come across people that might have slightly overdone it party-wise and could potentially be a bit difficult to deal with. You’ll always work on shift with a shift leader so nothing will get out of hand but it does take a bit of confidence to take on this kind of work.

Time management

When you’re at a festival it’s pretty easy to lose track of time. However, when you’re working a festival you’re given specific times to be at your shifts and you can’t really be late. If you are, you might end up not getting your deposit back. You’ll have to find out where you need to be, at what time, how to get there and how long it will take.


As a festival-goer you tend to meet lots of new people – some of whom you’ll be reminiscing about for a while (last year me and my friends camped next to a sweet but slightly over-friendly guy who consistently referred to himself in the third person as “The Sun God”). If you’re volunteering you’ll be working in a group with people you may never otherwise have met and you’ll probably have to spend quite a lot of time with them. Being able to get along and work with your colleagues is useful skill in any workplace.


Depending on what you’re doing, you’ll most likely come across an issue that needs resolving at some point. The ability to deal with whatever comes your way effectively is a vital skill employers will look for. Being able to remain calm if something goes wrong is an attribute employers will also welcome.

Frankie Pocock is an English Language student at Sussex University, who also works part-time as an online researcher at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau. Her work involves PR, outreach and writing articles for young job seekers.

Find out more

The Guardian has a range of tips on How to volunteer at a music festival.