In a perfect world, we would’ve all taken this lull in activity to save our money and prepare for the massive festival season that is going to take place when the world becomes itself again. But let’s be honest, most of us did not do that… don’t worry, we got you covered.
You can work your way into most festivals, and it’s a lot easier than you think. There are many reasons that you could want to be involved. You might want to get into the industry or maybe you just want a free ticket. There are roles for whatever suits your need. Our team has gotten to be a part of some of the most amazing festivals in the world. We’ve seen Kinetic Field being built at EDC. We have spent a week exploring the grounds of Electric Forest. We have found our place in so many amazing shows, and we want to share our methods with you.
There are lots of jobs and volunteer roles in the music community. Some are paid, and some are not, but all let you be a part of the festival experience. On that note, we have picked out some of our favorite ways to get your foot in the door:
1. Ground Control
If you’ve been to a big Insomniac festival, you know the people in purple shirts helping out at the event. What a lot of people don’t know is that many of these people are just festival lovers like you and me. Insomniac offers a program where people can sign up to be the eyes and ears on the ground for major festivals. Each person has shifts where they patrol the crowds to make sure people are happy, safe, and raging hard.
In addition, the job itself comes with some major perks. For example, the position is a paid role and you can often choose whether you want to work the full event or work most of the event and be a guest for the rest. You get a sneak peek at the backend of the festival and meet the amazing people who put this all together. Moreover, even when you are working, you get to walk around the back of the sets and experience the show!
To apply, check out https://www.insomniac.com/ground-control/
2. Insomniac Seasonal Staff
If you want to work an Insomniac event, but Ground Control isn’t your thing, there are many more options they provide! They have everything from working the events as a character entertainer to helping out with artist relations. It’s a great way to get involved on any level you are interested in, especially if you are looking to pursue a career with the company.
Once you are selected for a specific department, you internally apply to fill a role at specific festivals. This option is definitely not one you would pursue to make money. However, it is an awesome way to network and be a part of something truly incredible.
Throw your hat in the ring and apply here.
If you want to work an event, it is highly likely they have a volunteer option on their website. It is a very unique way to get involved in each festival and definitely promotes a variety of roles. Our team has done everything from running a healing sanctuary to helping kids with crafts. It’s a hands-on experience with your fellow music lovers and you almost always get the option to see some of the sets!
If the website of the festival you want to work at doesn’t have a volunteer option, it doesn’t mean it’s not possible. At EDM Maniac, we love when people take initiative and show us that they are willing to go above and beyond to achieve their goals; and we know other companies do too. Try emailing or calling the people who run the street team. You will be amazed at how often people are willing to let you help out!
If you want to check it out further, try looking up your desired festival followed by the word “volunteer”.
4. Event Staffing
Applying to specific festivals is a great way to work at that one event but working at a venue opens the door for all kinds of shows. Local theatres, convention centers, and fairgrounds are hot spots for all genres of music. They generally have a staff pool that they pull from to fill the roles for the logistics of events. Once you get hired for the staffing pool, you’re in for almost any event they host or put on.
Reach out to your local venue and ask them how staffing works. As jobs come up, they post them to their staffing portal and hired employees can elect to work them there. These positions are often paid, and you can usually stay before or after your shift to watch the show.
If you want to reach out past your local area, try looking for companies that have seasonal staffing pools. Companies, like CID Entertainment, often offer a similar benefit and the perks and pay are still just as cool!
You can start by reaching out to your local music venue or look up seasonal staffing online.
5. Work Exchange Team Program
If you’re willing to put in some elbow grease for a ticket, the Work Exchange Team is a great option. The program allows festival-goers to do preparation, maintenance, or clean-up for events in exchange for a partial ticket. The program encompasses dozens of festivals around the nation such as Electric Forest, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza. It’s an awesome way to make your way into a festival if the event is sold out or your budget doesn’t allow it.
You purchase a ticket for the event through the Work Exchange Team website. When your job is completed, they reimburse you for your ticket. However, you get paid by the hour. Sometimes, if there are not enough work hours to be completed for the week, you won’t be fully reimbursed. That being said, paying $100 for unlimited showers, camping and a ticket for Electric Forest isn’t too shabby.
If you like what you read, check out their website here.
In our opinion, the best benefit of all is that this is an awesome way to get involved in the industry. Have you ever looked at thousands of people having the best night of their life and got to say, “I made that happen”? We might be biased, but there’s no better feeling in the world. Whether you want to be in the crowd or make the crowd, we wish you the best and can’t wait to see what you’ll do!
Still need convincing? Check out 5 Reasons Why Volunteering at a Festival will Change Your Life Forever.
Featured Photo by Nick Le