Want to go to Bonnaroo? Sure, who doesn’t? Can’t afford the ticket? Join the club. In case no one in your office, family, or dorm hall has told you yet, one way to catch the gargantuan festival for “free” is by becoming a festival volunteer. “Free” of course, is a relative term because you still have to find a way to get to Tennessee. If you live on the coasts, that trip is not exactly cheap.
Kylie Dangerfield is a volunteer manager for Work Exchange Team (or WET, as they commonly referred to themselves), the official volunteer management firm for Bonnaroo since their partnership began at last year’s festival. Dangerfield tells BTR not only is volunteering a great way to catch fantastic performances for the bubble, but also it might be the foot in the door to a career.
“At Coachella last year, we had one volunteer get hired on the spot, they liked them so much,” she explains.
Unfortunately, having your employable face on means making it appear you’re more interested in the task at hand and not the band on stage—a difficult task, no doubt.
“The people that get the paid positions are always the ones willing to give that little extra,” says Dangerfield. She should know, as Dangerfield started at WET by being a volunteer herself three years ago. An internship followed her volunteer stint, and before long she was offered her current position.
Now that we have the undivided attention of jobless college kids everywhere, what does being a festival volunteer entail? Three to five hour long shifts doing everything from parking management, clean up, collecting wrist bands, production, security, and (if you’re really lucky) artist relations.
None of which is exactly pulling teeth by any stretch, but Dangerfield emphasizes not to sign up if you plan on trying to skip out on the labor. If that just so happens to be your conniving scheme then be prepared to forward your security deposit (roughly the price of a festival pass). Good little workers are, of course, refunded that amount after the festival is over.
For first timer volunteers, though, Dangerfield recommends volunteering for the All-Good Festival in West Virginia if not just for the music, but also the amazing scenery.
“It’s tucked into the mountains with two stages where you can just sit all day and watch so many of these amazing bands,” she gushes.
Still, Bonnaroo remains the gateway drug for most festival junkies and volunteers as well as the focal point of WET’s calendar which includes nine festivals total. Dangerfield describes managing over two thousand volunteers for last year’s Bonnaroo like commanding a “small army.”
“Two thousand volunteers is a lot, that’s basically a festival on its own,” she vents.
With one year at the titanic fest under their belt, Dangerfield assures BTR that WET is more than ready to handle managing this year’s work load.
For more information about Work Exchange Team or to volunteer for the nine festivals in their upcoming calendar (including Bonnaroo 2011) you can visit Work Exchange Team’s Website at www.workexchangeteam.com.