Festivals for free

Elise Pitt | 17 October 2011

Dust off your gumboots, festival season is here and we’re going to get you in those gates.

In the lead up to our Festival Issue (which hits stores on 2 November), we’ve been dreaming of camping in pools of mud, riding on the shoulders of thoughtful strangers and hanging out with a bunch of friendly randoms all day.

It got us thinking… very few people can afford the sometimes astronomical ticket prices. And that makes us sad. So we’ve put together a guide to festival volunteering. Here’s the dealio – you offer a few hours of your precious time and they give you a golden ticket. For free! Everyone wins.


Are bubblier than Rainbow Brite
If you’re comfortable talking to a variety of different people, wrist banding, information booth or welcoming revellers might be for you.

Could sell ice to Eskimos
Selling merch or tickets could be up your alley.

Are an eco -warrior
Most festivals have a green team who wander around the festival in the pursuit of environmental harmony. You may have to pick up a few empty beer cans, but you’ll get to check out heaps of music.

Have Tarzan muscles or are totally obsessed with the music (the music, man!) and will be completely devastated if you miss any of it
Helping set up the site before and after the festival may be for you.

Are happy to do whatever
If you don’t like the sound of any of the above, most festivals also have cloakroom, campsite and carpark crews.

We’ve scouted around and found a few upcoming festivals that are still accepting volunteers.

Peats Ridge
When: 29 Dec-1 Jan (New Years Eve)
Where: Glenworth Valley, 1.5 hrs north of Sydney
Who’s playing: Goyte, Xavier Rudd, Tijuana Cartel, The Holidays
Volunteering deal: To score a three-day pass that includes camping, you need to complete 2-3 shifts (5-6 hours each) and make a deposit of $334.60. $324 will be refunded to your credit card post festival if you’ve lived up to your side of the bargain.
Volunteer info

South Bound
When: 7-8 Jan
Where: Bussleton, WA
Who’s playing: Fleet Foxes, CSS, Beirut, Crystal Castles
Volunteering deal: 14 hours of work (2 x 7 hour shifts) in exchange for a Weekend Festival Ticket or 16 hours of work (2 x 8 hour set up shifts) for a Happy Camper ticket.
Volunteer info

Golden Plains
When: 10-12 March
Where: Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre, 90km west of Melbourne
Who’s playing: Bon Iver, Roky Erikson
Volunteering deal: 2 x 4 hour shifts over the festival weekend in exchange for a Sat, Sun, Mon ticket (pretty awesome if you ask us!).
Watch this space for more info coming soon.

When: 5-9 April (Easter)
Where: Byron Bay
Who’s playing: Lineup to be announced
Volunteering deal: Volunteer applications and details online from 14 November
Watch this space for more info coming soon.

You may also want to check out Sunset Events – they coordinate the staff and volunteers for a number of festival across the country, including Laneway, Groovin the Moo and West Coast Blues N’ Roots..

Imagery from peatsridge.com.au

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