Me and Rebekah were volunteers at Womad festival, held at Charlton Park in Wiltshire. This world music festival has a super-chilled vibe with so much to do and see for people of all ages, it was a great first volunteering experience for us. We worked as stewards, we did three 8 hour shifts in exchange for free entrance to the festival, exclusive campsite and meal vouchers.
Our second shift was thankfully more stationary. Monitoring the gate to backstage camping involved checking wristbands and opening and closing the gate to authorised vehicles. We had the best spot though - really near one of the stages so we could dance the shift away!
We signed up for a post-festival shift meaning we had two whole days off to enjoy the festival. Meditation session and talk with Gelong Thubten, yoga, tai-chi, poetry, panel discussion, dance workshops and so much music! There’s nothing like being at the front of a crowd watching a performer as captivating as Anna Calvi - Saturday night’s headliner. The food stalls were great too. Indian dosas and vegan churros were the highlights but the wood fired pizza place, and their vegan cheese, was amazing too.
It was impossible to see everything and sometimes it was necessary just to chill at the campsite. The Oxfield had a marquee with boiling water and tea and coffee as well as phone charging. It was nice to sit around chatting with other volunteers. Some veterans of Oxfam have volunteered year after year and had some amazing tales to tell. *Oxfield’s showers were hot, clean and not often busy*
“Volunteering is such a good experience. My experiences as a festival volunteer this summer have been really positive. It was a great way to meet new people. You can get into some great discussions about the world, different cultures and ways of thinking. In our role as volunteer stewards we were able to take on the day to day running of parts of the festival and use our people-skills throughout. It was all about helping the festival goers have the best time they could! It was great to be on the other side of a festival and experience it in this way. WOMAD festival was fun, different, exhausting, magical and something I will never forget! I will definitely be trying out a new festival next year.”
I was a bit concerned that the other volunteers would mostly be younger than us, people would come in groups or I wouldn't know what to do. Oxfam provide training, stewarding is mostly common sense and there was an amazing age-range! Some people came alone and others met up with volunteer friends from other festivals - I needn't have worried.
Oxfam raises £1 million over the course of the summer through providing stewards for festivals, enabling them to fund their work around the world. If you want to find out more visit their website here or get in touch by posting a comment below. Summer's not over yet!