Whether you're a seasoned festival-goer looking to turn your passion into a career or someone seeking a unique profession, these tips will help you find success in the world of festival employment

Festivals provide a unique opportunity to be at the centre of the action, but getting a job at a festival is not a matter of chance. It requires careful planning, preparation, and an understanding of the industry's workings. Regardless of your interests, whether it be music, art, or food, there are many opportunities for enthusiastic individuals who are ready to get involved.

Some examples of festivals include:

  • BBC Good Food Show
  • Camp Bestival
  • Edinburgh Fringe
  • Glastonbury
  • Isle of Wight Festival
  • Kendal Calling
  • Reading and Leeds Festival
  • Vegan Camp Out
  • Wireless Festival.

What jobs are available at festivals?

Festivals are complex productions with  roles depending on the event type, size, and theme.

Several festivals hire staff temporarily or through agency work each year. Some examples include.

  • operations covers a range of jobs that keep the festival running, including site management, logistics, and coordination
  • artist liaison acts as a bridge between the performers and the festival organisers to ensure the artists have a smooth and enjoyable experience
  • security and stewarding staff make sure everyone follows the rules and stays safe
  • customer service includes working at information booths, box offices, and anywhere else festival-goers need help
  • food and beverage staff from bartenders to stall workers
  • retail staff for selling festival merchandise and other goods
  • cleaning and waste management staff ensure the festival site stays clean and tidy
  • technical and production staff, such as sound technicians, lighting engineers, and stage crews, play a crucial role in the festival's success
  • medical staff, such as paramedics and first-aiders, are there to look after festival-goers in case of any medical emergencies.

To find the perfect role, you should research festivals that align with your interests and expertise. Check out their websites, social media channels, and job listing platforms for open positions.

If you're struggling to secure work directly through the festival, you could also contact trade vendors or organisations who have a place at the festival to explore the possibility of work.

What skills do I need to work at a festival?

Festival work can be a lot of fun, but it's also challenging. You'll need the following skills to be successful:

  • Interpersonal skills - you'll be working with a team of people from all walks of life, so being able to communicate effectively, be a team player, and have a positive attitude is essential.
  • Customer service - being friendly, helpful, and patient will go a long way in making sure everyone has a good time.
  • Flexibility - things don't always go according to plan at festivals. You may need to be flexible with your schedule, your tasks, and even your attitude. Being able to adapt to change will help you roll with the punches and keep the festival running smoothly.
  • Stamina - festival days can be long and tiring and could you'll be working late nights and early mornings, with breaks for rest and sleep only during quieter periods. Be prepared to be on your feet for long periods and to work in all kinds of weather conditions.
  • Problem-solving skills - whether it's a lost child or a broken toilet, there's always going to be something that needs to be fixed at a festival. Being able to think on your feet and come up with solutions on the spot is a valuable skill.
  • Patience - there will be times when you're dealing with large crowds or difficult people. It's important to stay calm and patient, even when things get stressful.

Discover 5 skills you'll gain working in customer service.

What training do I need to work at a festival?

Employers often value relevant work experience more than formal qualifications. For example, if you're working in security, you'll need to have a proven history of being able to handle potentially dangerous situations.

For more technical roles such as sound and lighting engineer, you will need you will need a strong foundation in technical knowledge and hands-on skills related to sound and lighting equipment. While a strong foundation is key, a degree in a relevant music technology subject, like sound recording or audio engineering, can further enhance your application.

Formal training may not always be necessary for entry-level positions, but completing relevant courses or certifications can enhance your skills and make you a more competitive candidate. Depending on the nature of the job, training in areas such as first aid, crowd management, food handling, or technical production may be beneficial.

Consider the following to boost your application:

Many festivals also offer orientation sessions or on-the-job training to familiarise new hires with their roles and responsibilities.

A Bachelors degree in events management, hospitality management, or a related field may be beneficial, but relevant work experience is equally important. Discover event management courses.

How much will I earn?

You can expect to be paid around £13.55 per hour for general festival roles. More technical roles are often salaried, for example a sound engineer could start on £25,000 a year increasing to £50,000 with experience.

There’s also the option for volunteer festival staff to receive a free weekend ticket to the event, along with meals and drinks covered while they work. This allows them to experience the festival atmosphere firsthand while contributing to its success.

Before you accept a role, make sure you know what you'll be paid and what benefits are included.

How do I make my application a success?

If you're applying for a job at a festival, make sure that you tailor your application to highlight your relevant skills and experiences. Show your enthusiasm for the festival's mission, which could be promoting local artists, celebrating cultural diversity, or fostering community engagement.

Don't wait for jobs to come up. Instead, directly contact festival organisers to speculatively apply, inquire about openings or express your interest in working with them.

You could also apply through a recruitment agency such as:

Festivals rely heavily on volunteers to assist with tasks such as staffing information booths, helping with event coordination, and providing support to attendees. Volunteering with organisations such as Oxfam is an excellent way to familiarise yourself with the inner workings of festivals, and network with industry professionals.

This route may provide access to training sessions or workshops offered by festival organisers, further enhancing your skills and knowledge in the field.

Find out more

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