Frequently asked questions

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

General questions

Simply sign up to your favourite festivals following the ‘Sign Up’ page on the website. You will be prompted to provide a deposit for your chosen festival(s). Each festival has a one-off refundable deposit equal to the price of the festival ticket. 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, choose the one with the highest deposit first.

The festival gateway opens on 13 March 2018. All existing volunteers will need to reset their password to verify their account by email.

We have the highest number of spaces for stewards. 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 at each festival. See the individual festival pages for more information. Training is provided.

As a supplier to the individual festivals Oxfam receives unrestricted funds which helps us in our fight against global poverty.

As an Oxfam Festival volunteer, you are provided with the training you need to perform your role. We also provide secure crew camping away from the crowds, hot tea and coffee, a meal voucher for every shift and within our camping there are hot showers and toilets. You also join a team of thousands who will welcome you into the ‘Oxfamily’.

To attend a festival with Oxfam you must be 18 on the day you arrive on site for your first festival. We value experience and support too and encourage applications from more mature volunteers too.

Certain visa restrictions apply. 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. We may be in touch for proof of your visa. 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.

You must 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, 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 if they have purchased a festival ticket.

If you would like to bring a child to a festival please email us at festivals@oxfam.org.uk so we can provide you the child form

Signing up

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 to 6 weeks for the larger festivals such as Glastonbury and Bestival.

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.

When completing your profile, you can select to donate all or a portion of your deposit. The amount you select will be deducted before your deposit is returned to you after your final festival of the season. If any administrative fees of merchandise 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.

This year the website is new so if you are an existing volunteer you will need to reset your password so that we can verify your account and match your history.

You will be notified when the profile is open to return and complete your full details. You must complete this information to be granted safe access onto site. These details include information such as references, emergency contact, previous experience and selecting your training session. Not completing this information before the cancellation deadline for that festival could result in your forfeiting your deposit. Please read the privacy policy for further information on data collection and consent.

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. After you have signed up, there is a 6-week window before you are expected onsite for you to cancel your place before you forfeit your deposit. If you do 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 within the 6-week period 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
  Training cancellation is £20.

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 (in business hours) to check your cancellation has been noted.

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 on 0300 200 1266 as soon as possible. We do ask for documentary evidence such as a doctor’s note to ensure you can keep your place at any future festivals you have applied for that year. If we do not hear from you, you may be at risk of losing your whole 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.

All our volunteers need to be trained every four years by attending a 3-hour full 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.

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.

Shifts are 8 hrs and 15 minutes long which allows for a handover period. You will find out what shifts you have been allocated when you register onsite.

Due to the nature of festivals, please be prepared to be flexible due to any last-minute changes.

There may be 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.

Yes, you can add up to 5 friends to be shift partners with you via the online application. 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 duties 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 fill in the application.

If you would like to add shift partners after you have applied, please email festivals@oxfam.org.uk with the details and before the 6-week cut-off date.

If you are interested in supervising, please fill out the supervisor page of the application form.

There are role profiles available to read, which explain what positions you can apply for and what is involved. Please read these carefully and only choose a role at a level of responsibility you are confident with. Do also let us know if you have any specialist skills that you think could be beneficial to our operation.

The driving positions are very popular, and drivers must be over 21, hold a full UK driving license, have good knowledge of the festival site, significant stewarding/supervisory experience and ideally have experience of off-road driving.

We also have some admin roles available at some of the festivals. If you are interested then please email us at festivals@oxfam.org.uk but apply for your chosen festivals as you will still need to have a festival place before we can allocate you one of these roles.

If you are interested in a logistics role then please email us at festivals@oxfam.org.uk with your experience. Please note, the roles often include being at the festivals a few days in advance and staying later.

We require a passport photo for your ID at your chosen festival. 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.

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 know them through a professional capacity.
  • I can confirm they will be over 18 at the start of the festival.
  • I know them to be honest and responsible.
  • I know them to be punctual and reliable.

To qualify for priority status for 2018 you must have volunteered at two festivals in 2017.

To qualify for priority status in 2019 you must have done one of the following:

  • Volunteered at 3 festivals in 2017
  • Volunteered at 2 festivals in 2017 and 1 festival in 2018
  • Volunteered at 2 festivals in 2018 (the normal priority rule)

Oxfam campaigning or shop roles can count towards this, providing at least 1 volunteer experience has been stewarding and you have completed stewards training.

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*.

* Please note 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.

Travel

No. 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.

To be permitted into our field, your vehicle must meet the criteria set by the festival as acceptable.

This means “it must have purpose-built sleeping facilities, and either fitted cooking or washing facilities. Any converted vehicles must clearly be live-in vehicles”.

Vehicles that don’t meet these criteria (such as a van or 4x4 with a mattress in the back) will have to remain in the car park, even if they have previously been let in.

Once you have been sited, your vehicle must remain static for the duration. If you leave the Oxfield, your vehicle will not be permitted back in.

We allocate each live-in vehicle a pitch 5 meters wide and 7 meters deep. If your van is over 7m long, please get in touch as soon as you at festivals@oxfam.org.uk.

Everything you bring (patio furniture, picket fences, awnings) needs to fit within your pitch. In line with site fire regulations, you are fine to put up a purpose-built awning, but regular tents absolutely must not be erected in your van pitch.

If you wish to pitch up next to a friend’s van, please try to coordinate your arrival time with them, so we can fill the space in an orderly fashion. Feel free to pool your pitches with your neighbours to make the best use of the allocated space.

On-site & 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 will provide legionnaires caps, water, ponchos, earplugs and sun cream where 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 due to the limited space we have in our campsite, please be prepared to take it down if necessary.

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.

Please note that you are not permitted to camp outside of the Oxfam campsite.

You will be given one meal ticket per shift you work, i.e. three meal tickets. These will be redeemable at a specific caterer, generally crew catering provided by either the festival or Oxfam.

We aim to cater for both meat eaters and vegetarians, and we also notify caterers of vegan numbers. However, there may be some events where vegan catering is limited.

Onsite 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.

If you have been allocated a supervisory role, you will 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 will need to attend all 3 separate briefings.

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 for the Oxfam Festival Shop, you must be a current Oxfam Volunteer/member of staff with at least 3 months experience. Your reference must be an Oxfam member of staff who has known you for at least 3 months. Without this your application will not be successful. If you are not an Oxfam volunteer, have a look at the festivals with stewarding vacancies, which are open to everyone. You need to be 18 on the first day onsite of the festival. If you have volunteered with the Oxfam Festival Shop at two events or more, you do not need a reference.

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

We will spend a full day setting up the shop together as a team, including rails, lighting, 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 maybe the opportunity to swap shifts onsite if they clash with your favourite band. The day after the festival, we pack down the remaining shop stock and equipment.

Behind the shop, there will be tea and coffee facilities as well as mobile phone charging. You will receive two meal vouchers for each 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 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.