Frequently asked questions

Here you can find answers to general questions as well as questions about signing up, completing your application, cancelling your place, arrival and travel, on-site & camping and volunteering at the Festival Shop.

General questions

Stewarding is a fantastic way to attend your favourite festivals, see some amazing acts, make new friends all whilst supporting Oxfam's work to end extreme poverty around the world. You could be providing directions to the festival going public, checking wristbands, or patrolling campsites and arenas and more. You are supporting the festival with the smooth running of the event. It is a varied role and there are different positions ateach festival. See the individual festival pages for more information.

We will ensure that you are fully trained and equipped to fulfil your role as well as providing a campsite away from the crowds, hot water, food and drinks, mobile charging, showers and toilets.

In return for providing stewards to the festival, Oxfam receives funds which help us in our work fighting against poverty.

Applications open on 12 February 2019.

To sign up, simply follow the ‘Sign up’ button on the website. Choose your festival(s) and pay the deposit then your place is reserved. Complete each section of your profile, attend a training session and your place is confirmed and you can start getting excited for your summer of festivals! Please note, you will need a unique email address to sign up.

Each festival has a one-off refundable deposit. This is returned to you following the completion of your shifts within 4-6 weeks of your last festival with us. One deposit carries you across all the festivals under or equal to that deposit price. If you know you want to sign up to lots of festivals at once, we recommend that you choose the one with the highest deposit first.

If you last volunteered with us before 2018, you will need to reset your password to gain access to your application.

Shifts are 8 hrs and 15 minutes long. You will find out what shifts you have been allocated when you register onsite.

There is always the opportunity to swap shifts onsite if they clash with your favourite band. Once you have completed your shifts you are free to enjoy the festival and leave whenever you wish. Do ensure that you have returned your tabard before doing so.

Supervisors are Oxfam volunteers who look after the Oxfam stewards in a particular area. A supervisor’s role is to ensure the stewards are safe, happy, and fulfilling their roles. They also organise the steward’s breaks and shift changes, and use the radio to report any incidents that arise. The area they cover might be a single busy location such as a gate or venue, or it could be a larger area like a campsite or arena.

If you are interested in supervising, you can tick the Supervising Box on the stewarding application form. You will be asked to provide a little bit of information about your experience, which allows us to allocate roles appropriately.

Please note ticking the box does not guarantee you will be allocated a supervisory role, as we often have more people offer than we need. Please do have a look at the training section of the FAQ’s for further information.

Yes! You can add up to 5 friends to be shift partners with you when you apply. We will always try our best to make sure you are always on shift at the same times as your shift partners, however, we can't guarantee your positions will be based in the same location.

Please arrange your shift partner group before you apply – making sure you have all your shift partner's full names and dates of births ready for when you complete your application. Please note, we cannot accept any changes six weeks before your chosen festival so do ensure you have your group finalised before this date.

We provide crew camping away from the crowds, boiling water and all you need to make tea and coffee, mobile phone charging points, showers, and toilets.

You will be provided with one meal ticket per shift you work. Depending on the festival, these are either used at specific traders around the festival site or at crew catering.

Whether you are a meat eater, vegetarian or vegan, we aim to cater for you. However, there may be some events where vegan catering is limited. Do let us know if you have any dietary requirements on your application form.

To attend a festival with Oxfam you must be 18 on the day you are required to arrive on site for your first festival. We also welcome applications from older and more experienced individuals. It’s great to have a variety of skills and to learn from each other while enjoying the festival together.

Every year, we have volunteers apply from all over world, however certain visa restrictions may apply. Currently, if you are from the European Union, you are free to volunteer in the UK. For those from outside the EU, you will need to check that your visa allows you to volunteer. Please note, we are unable to support volunteer visas.

Oxfam festival volunteering opportunities are open to everyone. We aim to create an environment that realises, challenges and utilises everyone's skills. You can find out more on the Medical and Accessibility page.

Some of our family-friendly festivals will allow children to attend. To find out which ones, please check the festivals section of our website first and if children are allowed, you will then need to check the individual festival website to see if your child needs a ticket and obtain this yourself if necessary (ages of adult and child tickets vary from festival to festival).

Each adult volunteer can bring two children under the age of 13, but you do need to ensure you have adequate childcare whilst you are on shift.

Each adult volunteer may also bring up to two children between the ages of 13-18 to camp in the volunteers' area as long as you have purchased a festival ticket for them prior to the festival starting.

If you would like to bring children to a festival please email us at festivals@oxfam.org.uk and we will provide you the child form to complete. Information required includes a photo for ID card, an emergency contact number and the name of the individual who will be looking after the children while you are on shift.

Missed out on getting a place at your favourite festival? Then come to two or more other festivals this summer with Oxfam and in return you will have access to the priority window for the following year. This means that you then get the chance to apply early before we open to the public, increasing your chance of securing the festival(s) you love!

To qualify for priority status for 2020 you must have volunteered at two or more festivals in 2019.

Oxfam campaigning or shop roles can count towards this, providing at least 1 volunteer experience has been stewarding. Experienced/long-term returning stewards will qualify for priority status, if one of the following applies:

  • You have held a supervisor role at festivals for us, for the last 2 consecutive years.
  • You have volunteered in 4 of the past 5 years and have volunteered 8 festivals within that period.
  • You have volunteered at 10 or more festivals in the past 10 years*.

* Due to changes in data regulations in May 2018 you will need to ensure that you have opted in to receive communications from us or volunteered in the last three years to remain active on our database.

How do I apply?

To apply for a festival, you will need to provide a one-off refundable deposit. This is equal to the price of the highest festival ticket and is a bond to ensure that volunteers attend and complete their required responsibilities on site.

Your deposit will be refunded directly back to the card you used to pay your deposit. If you have been issued a new card (i.e. with a new expiry date) please do inform us in plenty of time.

Your deposit will be returned to you 4 weeks after your last festival with us. This may be extended up to 6 weeks for the larger festivals such as Glastonbury.

If you have had to cancel your volunteering place early, your deposit will be refunded within 5 – 10 days of the cancellation date.

The return of your deposit relies on you having attended all your shifts satisfactorily. This includes being on time and returning your tabard when you have finished your last shift.

Yes, you can! When completing your profile, you can select to donate all or a portion of your deposit. The amount you select will be deducted directly from your deposit.

If any administrative fees are taken from your deposit, your donation amount may need to be reduced if there are not sufficient funds remaining. Please note we are unable to decrease your donation after the 7 days cooling off period even if you cancel all your festivals.

If you were to donate just £50 of your deposit, this could train a community health volunteer to deliver a public health campaign on safe handwashing practices, waste disposal and keeping water clean, which, you must agree, is a wonderful gift!

Completing your application

It is a festival requirement that we ask for specific information for safety reasons. You must complete this information in order to be granted access onto the festival site. These details include information such as obtaining a satisfactory reference, an emergency contact, travel information and ensuring that you have selected and have attended a training session.

Not completing this information before the six-week cancellation deadline for your first festival could result in you forfeiting your deposit so do not hesitate and ensure you have green ticks against each section of your application. Please read the privacy policy for further information on data collection and consent.

We require a passport photo for your ID card. Please see www.gov.uk/photos-for-passports for guidelines on providing an acceptable photograph.

The image needs to be in JPEG format with a maximum file size of 5MB. The photo must be in a portrait format, the application form will not accept landscape images. If your photo is deemed unacceptable we will need to ask you to provide another one so no selfies please.

Please note some devices save photos in landscape even though they look correct in portrait when saved. Double check by opening the photo first on your laptop or pc. If the photo is the wrong way around, rotate it and save again and it should then allow you to upload it to your application. Any problems, please contact our Supporter Relations team on 0300 200 1266.

Like applying for a job, we would consider a college lecturer, employer, or someone who knows you in a formal capacity to be appropriate, please do not enter the name of a relative or someone who has known you for a short time. Your referee will be emailed and they will need to confirm these following statements:

  • I have known this person for over six months.
  • I am not related to this person.
  • I can confirm they will be 18 by the time they are due to arrive onsite.
  • I know them through a professional capacity and have known them to be punctual and reliable.
  • I believe this person to be honest, responsible and trustworthy in working-with and looking-after others.

Cancelling

We do hope that you will not need to cancel your place but if you do, you may do so within the 'cooling off' period of seven days at no charge. Each Festival has a 'cancellation deadline' which is 6 weeks before you are expected on-site. If you cancel a Festival after its cancellation deadline, you may forfeit your deposit. If you do need to cancel your place, the below admin fees will apply:

  • Cancelling any number of festivals within 7 days of applying: No admin fee
  • Cancelling a place at a festival before the 6-week cancellation deadline is £20 per festival. (You will not be charged any more than £60 if cancelling more than three): £20 per festival (£60 maximum)
  • Cancelling after 6-week deadline but has already successfully attended one or more festivals: Lose half of the deposit
  • Cancel after deadline with no valid reasons: Lose all the deposit
  • Cancel after deadline with valid reasons and evidence: £20
  • Additional charges may include:
    • Losing your tabard: £65
    • Losing your radio: £100
    • Leaving a mess in our campsite: £65
  

The easiest way to cancel your place is to email us with 'CANCEL' as the subject heading to festivals@oxfam.org.uk with your details, the festival(s) you wish to cancel and the reason. You will get a reply within 3 working days confirming that your cancellation has been processed. If you do not receive this confirmation, you should phone us on 0300 200 1266 (Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm) to confirm that your cancellation has been noted.

Cancelling your place due to unavoidable circumstances

If you can't make it to a festival at the last minute due to illness, or some other unavoidable complication, please ensure that you call us to let us know as soon as possible. We do ask for documentary evidence such as a doctor’s note. We fully appreciate that your reason for cancelling may be of a sensitive nature and we hope you understand why we do have to ask for evidence. If we do not hear from you, you may be at risk of losing your deposit.

The quickest and most reliable way to get any evidence to us is to scan the document(s) and email it to festivals@oxfam.org.uk.

Training

Yes, our volunteers need to be trained every four years by attending a 3-hour session. This is because Festival organisers and several local licensing authorities require us to provide event stewards who are trained to a minimum standard.

It is compulsory for all first-time Oxfam stewards and previous Oxfam Stewards who've not attended an Oxfam training session in the last four years to attend one.

Dates for these sessions are available on the festival application form.

After you have booked a training session, you will be contacted around 10 days before your training sessions with specific details of the session you booked onto including the address, directions of how to get there and any other information about the training session. We recommend that you attend in person as it is a great way to meet other volunteers and ask any questions you may have. If you do not live close to a live session, we will provide online training.

Supervisor Training

Fancy stepping up and applying to be a supervisor? These roles are crucial to the effective running of our operation on site and the role is very rewarding.

To ensure you are fully equipped to supervise, we run a separate training session for anyone who would like to be a supervisor. This is in addition to the general training which you will still need to attend and is not compulsory but attendance will improve your chances of obtaining a supervisor role. If you select the supervisor box on your application, we will be in contact to let you know when and where the training is taking place closer to the time.

If you need to change your training session, please contact us as soon as possible via festivals@oxfam.org.uk with your chosen date and venue. Please note an admin charge of £20 will be applied if the change is within 7 days of your current session.

On-site briefing sessions ensure you are correctly briefed about the festival and your role onsite - they are not a training session. The briefing will cover important details you will need to know about the festival, for example, ticketing systems, lost child procedures and catering arrangements.

It is essential for all stewards to attend an onsite briefing prior to starting your shifts, even if you have stewarded with us before or attended a training session. The time and location of this session will be included in your pre-festival information.

If you have been allocated a supervisory role, you may need to attend two briefings - one for stewards and one that is relevant to your supervisory role. If you are allocated a shift leading role you may need to attend all 3 briefings. Further details will be provided on-site when you arrive.

Travel

You will need to arrange your own travel to the festival. You will need to tell us during the application how you intend to arrive as some festivals will require you to be sent a car, caravan or campervan pass.

Need a lift? We encourage the use of the Liftshare scheme which enables you to search for and offer lifts exclusively to other volunteers.

We provide buses to Glastonbury which run from Temple Meads Train Station in Bristol. The cost of using these is £25 (for arrival and return journey) and the cost of these will be deducted from your deposit. You can choose which bus you would like to use via the application form. Please note, if you only wish to use the bus one way, the charge remains the same.

We also run a free shuttle car to WOMAD which runs from Kemble Railway Station. Travelling alone? Don’t worry – making new friends is easy and you’ll be joining a friendly team who will welcome you into the ‘Oxfamily’.

Camping

You will need to provide your own camping equipment such as tent, airbed and sleeping bag.

Do make sure you have clothes suitable for both extremes of weather. We recommend always bringing a raincoat, wellington boots and a warm jumper as well as a sunhat and sunscreen. We can provide legionnaires caps, ponchos, earplugs and sun cream if needed.

Essentially, be prepared for the best and the worst weather during the same shift. And bring spare socks!

Bring some good footwear. You need good solid shoes, boots or wellies to wear on shift, as flip flops, open toed shoes and high heels are prohibited.

Remember if you're on a shift that starts at 2pm, it will be very cold by 10pm when it finishes.

Please check the individual festival's website for detailed information regarding restricted items, fires and BBQ’s. The use of gazebos is permitted but we do sometimes have limited space in our campsite so please do be prepared to take it down if asked.

Do bring food and drink to keep you going before the festival starts and you are able to use your meal vouchers. Noodles, cous cous and cereal bars are ideal.

Yes! But your vehicle must meet certain criteria to be considered a live-in and be permitted into our campsite.

It must have purpose-built sleeping facilities, and either fitted cooking or washing facilities. Any converted vehicles must clearly be live-in vehicles. A van with a mattress thrown in the back will not be considered a live-in, and will have to stay in the carpark.

Once your vehicle has been sited it must remain static for the duration. If you leave site in your vehicle you may not be allowed back in.

Space is often tight for live-ins, and there may not always be room for you to set up an awning, so please don’t count on space being available.

Where there is room for awnings, they must be purpose-made for use with a vehicle. Setting up regular tents of any kind in the live-in area is not permitted due to fire safety regulations.

If your friends are in tents, then no. To comply with fire regulations, we have separate areas in our campsite for campervans and tents, divided by fire lanes.

If your friends are bringing live-in vehicles, then you should try to arrive together (driving in convoy is fun!) because we site live-in vehicles in the order they arrive.

Arrival information

All volunteers need to be onsite before the public arrive outside of the festival specific dates. All arrival dates are available on the festival specific pages on our website. As a rule, stewards arrive on the Wednesday before the festival starts (Tuesday if we have an early shift available). For the larger festivals such as Glastonbury, you may be required from the Monday of the week of the festival.

The early shift is a small number of stewarding roles which start earlier than the volunteer arrival dates as shown on our website.

If you can arrive early and want to be considered for these roles, tick the ‘I am available for the early shift’ box on your application. Typically, Early Shift stewards need to arrive a day earlier than the posted date, although at Boomtown, Boardmasters, and Glastonbury it is several days earlier.

We get a lot of Early Shift applications for very few roles, so ticking the box is no guarantee you’ll be allocated one. We select who is on the early shift a few weeks before the festival, and you’ll find out if you’ve been selected when you receive your pre-festival email. This means you’ll need to be flexible with your travel arrangements!

We hope you have an enjoyable and safe time at your chosen festival. We want you to have fun and fully embrace all that the festival has to offer, however we do ask that you party responsibly and abide by our terms of reference to ensure the safety of you, your fellow volunteers and the public and staff while on-site. Any breach, such as not turning up to shifts or unruly drunken behaviour will not be tolerated and will mean that you will be evicted from site. You will forfeit your deposit and will be denied from volunteering at festivals again so please do be aware of your responsibilities while volunteering with Oxfam.

ALL FESTIVALS ENFORCE A NO DRUGS POLICY and anyone caught with illegal or banned substances will be dealt with in line with our terms of reference and drugs policy.

Campaigning

The Festival Campaigner role involves engaging people in the work of Oxfam. We want you to help lift people out of poverty by taking our campaign out to the crowds and bringing it alive! You'll be talking to festival-goers all over the site and encouraging them to take part in creative and thought-provoking activities. To be a success in this role, we need people who are enthusiastic, who have experience of communicating with others and who will brave any weather condition to get out there and engage with festival-goers.

Festival Campaigners will be expected to complete four shifts, each shift lasting around six hours, and you'll get a break for lunch. Shifts may involve several different activities to keep them interesting. We will provide you with one meal voucher for each shift.

As all campaigners work the same shift times so changing shift time is not possible. If you have any problem with being able to complete your shift you will need to talk directly to the Oxfam Campaigns staff onsite as soon as possible.

Festival Campaigning places are allocated according to whether you meet the selection criteria. There is no guarantee that because you have a place, your friend will also have one, so please be prepared to be working with people that you don't know. We work in small groups decided onsite and we mix these up over the week so you'll be working with lots of different people.

Campaigners will be asked to wear an Oxfam campaign t-shirt, which we will provide. You will sign out your t-shirt during training and sign it back in once you have completed all your shifts - Please note this t-shirt is your responsibility for the duration and if you lose it - you will need to tell us onsite and you may lose some of your deposit to cover the cost of a replacement.

Apart from that, you will need to bring practical clothes to suit different times of day and weather conditions. Sturdy shoes and a waterproof coat are essential! Please see question 'What do I need to bring?' in the Camping at Festivals FAQ section for more advice on suitable clothing.

You must be available until the end of your last shift on Sunday evening, as per the campaigning dates you agree to on the application form when you apply. You may leave site after this providing there are no restriction on traffic or gates imposed by the festival - you can check this at the Oxbox onsite.

You can apply for volunteering online via the Oxfam website. You will be able to access our website and complete your application on your smartphone, iPad or tablet device. Check on our festival pages which festivals we will be campaigning at, then login or create account on our website here and select your festival.

You will be required to write a short description about yourself and why you would be suitable for the role and provide a short one minute video (filmed on a webcam or mobile device is perfect) telling us why people should support Oxfam. This will need to be uploaded as an unlisted video on YouTube. Any difficulties with this please email festivalcampaigning@oxfam.org.uk

Please note to be considered for a campaigner place at Glastonbury you will be required to volunteer at a second festival either as a campaigner, steward or shop volunteer.

We review all applications a few weeks after we launch and aim to get back to you to confirm festival places within a month. Feedback time for applications made after this may vary, so please refer to the website for updated response times during the season. You will then be sent a second email to tell you whether you have been successful. If successful, you will receive a further email with details of the training you will be attending and details of the festivals that you have been provisionally accepted to campaign at.

If your application has not been successful and you would then like to apply to steward with Oxfam instead, you must contact us so that we can adjust your status on our application database.

Yes, there will be on-site training and team-building session before each festival opens. All the details will be included with your pre-festival email, 2 weeks before the festival. We will also send you some documents to read before you arrive on-site.

Yes. We bring a new campaign to festivals each summer so it is crucial you attend the training. Nobody is exempt from this and if you do not attend a session you will not be allowed to volunteer with us as a festival campaigner.

Shop volunteering

The Oxfam Festival Shop is a touring pop-up shop, stocked with donated items and staffed by Oxfam volunteers. We sell lots of weather appropriate wear like waterproofs, jumpers and sleeping bags as well as some special sparkle, a jazzy waistcoat or fake fur coat to complete a festival goer’s outfit. More about shop volunteering

To apply to volunteer with Oxfam’s Festival Shop, you must be a current Oxfam shop Volunteer/Intern/Member of Staff with at least 3 months experience with Oxfam or have volunteered at two or more festivals or events with Oxfam’s Festival Shop in the past five years. Your reference must be from a current Oxfam Member of Staff. Without meeting these criteria, your application will not be successful.

If you are not an Oxfam Shop Volunteer and do not otherwise meet our criteria, please have a look at thefestival opportunities with Oxfam’s stewarding and campaigning teams, which are open to the public.

You need to be 18 on the first day you are required to be onsite at the festival.

The Festival Shop believe we can trust our experienced Oxfam Shop Volunteers to represent Oxfam in a professional manner whilst onsite at festivals and therefore a deposit is not requested.

On average, we spend a full day setting up the shop together as a team, and this includes setting up rails, hangers and lighting, as well as organising the stock, merchandising and pricing.

Once the festival is open, you will have a 6 hour shift each day. The shop is open around 18 hours a day so your shifts will alternate between morning, middle and night shifts. There may be the opportunity to swap shifts if they clash with your favourite band. The day following the festival, we pack down the remaining shop stock and all the equipment.

Behind the shop, there will be tea and coffee facilities as well as mobile phone charging, once we have been connected to power. You will receive a minimum of two meal vouchers for each trading day of the festival –please let us know your dietary requirements. We will be in staff camping with access to showers/toilets.

Once we have received a successful reference from your Oxfam shop manager, you will receive an informal telephone interview. This is a great opportunity to talk about your Oxfam experience, ask questions about festivals and find out more about the Festival Shop.