Category: Festival News

Your support means the world to us!

 

The last 6-months has been such a strange and challenging time for everyone, and we wanted to say a heartfelt thanks for your ongoing support, it really does mean a lot to us.

It goes without saying that we have hugely missed seeing you all this summer. We had an unprecedented number of volunteers apply at the start of the year. This included lots of new people all of which we hoped to be welcoming for the first time this summer. Needless to say, the welcome party is currently on hold and will be resumed in due course.

Season Highlights

Normally at this point in the season we’d be talking about our festivals in numbers, how many shows we did, how many volunteers there were, and the money we collectively raised. Despite the pandemic, there’s some really positive things that have happened over the last few months.

The boredom of lockdown was eased by #ThrowbackThursday, a place where we could share festival memories and stories from years gone by. Meanwhile, the community spirit in the Facebook Chat has remained stronger than ever. It has been truly inspirational to see the love and support from those sharing experiences, thoughts and ideas or giving a virtual hug at those times when it’s been needed most.

Back in late April our very own Natalie Heath smashed the Cycle for Change by riding her bike over 500k in support of Oxfam’s coronavirus response appeal. She raised an impressive £3,150 through her challenge, so a huge thanks to everyone who supported Nat.  

Meanwhile, the transition from live to virtual events has brought with it lots of interesting ideas. It was good to celebrate the festival weekends from home, starting with Isle of Wight and Download. However,  as the season wore on, screen fatigue set-in for some, whilst others fully embraced everything there was to offer with watch parties, erecting their own pyramid stage along with other festival-related DIY structures in their back gardens 

 

Hope Shines Brightest In The Dark

By the time we got to Glastonbury weekend, things got very interesting particularly with festival-related Lego constructionall of which brought a smile to our faces. Not to mention that infamous re-enactment of the 8am Wednesday morning gate opening tradition on a beautiful allotment somewhere in Weston.  

The BBC Glastonbury Experience was a true broadcast bonanza of what would have been Glastonbury’s 50 anniversary weekend. It allowed viewers to dip into the archives with all kinds of highlights, documentary films and interview content, much of which had never before been seen on UK television.

Meanwhile, Oxfam joined in the anniversary celebrations by encouraging revellers to dress up at home with a collection of selected items inspired by the wonderful Shangri-la, The Glade and Park Stage. There was also a record shop featuring vinyl from headliners, not to mention our Unwrapped e-cards, all of which were available from Oxfam’s online shop in the lead-up to the weekend.

Photo credit: Andy Mcdermott

Another positive thing to come out of the pandemic was the ethically-sourced merchandise collaboration with Glastonbury Festival, and our Joint Charities partners Oxfam, Greenpeace and Wateraid.

Working with the artist Stanley Donwood, and Paul McCartney we produced a range of Glastonbury-inspired T-Shirts, posters, tote bags and tea-towels to help raise funds for our work and close the significant gap in funding as a result of COVID-19.   

The entire range pretty much sold out within weeks providing vital funds that allowed our work to continue.

We are eternally grateful to Glastonbury Festival for giving us the opportunity to be involved in such a fantastic project despite the postponement of this year’s event. There are very limited numbers of several items left which can be bought at the Glastonbury Festival Shop.         

Strength in numbers 

It was most encouraging to see the various industry associations and festival partners unite together behind campaigns such as #LetTheMusicPlay and the #WeMakeEvents, which immediately worked to make the Government sit up and take notice.  


The Association of Independent Festivals have been working tirelessly to lobby government, whilst advising on all manner of critical issues to help strengthen and empower its 80+ member festivals throughout the pandemic. It is these movements and organisations that speak out on behalf of our industry that is critical to its survival, not to mention the entire live event ecosystem. 

The show must go on …

Our challenge events have also been impacted by the pandemic, with London Marathon being held virtually in October this year. Meanwhile, our very own annual trek across the South Downs with the Queens Gurkha Signals becomes Trailwalker Relay and will take place over a one-week period 21-27 September. 

All participants have the opportunity to take part independently or in teams to tackle pre-selected distances and routes in their local area. In keeping with the theme of change, we have even decided to go eco with our medals for this year’s event.

I’m pleased to say that the Festival & Events team are getting involved with Beki, Hermione, Andreea and Zara clocking up a collective 100km by making their way through nine checkpoints in Oxfordshire. 

One of the team has even broken a five-year Facebook silence with a post about Trailwalker Relay to help support her fundraising goals!  There’s also lots of Oxfam festival volunteers that have signed-up to the challenge – best wishes and good luck to all those taking part. 

Please do support the Oxfam Festivals & Events team by visiting their JustGiving page 

Last month we hosted our first ever (V)OXJAM Summer Festival, which used the latest virtual reality technology to provide an immersive digital experience for grassroots artists to raise money for Oxfam.

With over 40 artists and bands taking part, this musical extravaganza included local choirs and instrumental ensembles and acts from as far away as Hong Kong and Mexico. 

Organised by volunteers at Oxjam Beeston the project was supported by experts from the University of Nottingham’s Mixed Reality Lab and Horizon Digital Economy Institute. We were even lucky enough to receive a message of support from a certain time-travelling doctor …

 
Please do hold the date for (V)OXJAM Autumn Festival, which will be held on Sat 28 Nov with all proceeds going towards Oxfam’s Christmas Appeal. More details on this to follow shortly.  

Still challenging fast fashion  

Second Hand September is back this year and Michaela Coel the BAFTA award-winning actor, director, screenwriter, producer, playwright and poet is joining us to champion this year’s campaign. Michaela Coel can be seen below sporting second hand clothes. You can shop the full collection at the Selfridges pop-up shop on Oxford Street, London. All items have been sourced from our Oxfam Festival Shop at Wastesaver, and was curated by Oxfam’s Senior Independent Fashion Advisor Bay Garnett.  

Photo Credit: Tom Craig

The shop is open for four weeks until 4th October and includes a wide variety of items from high-end designer to vintage band t-shirts, with all the proceeds going towards Oxfam’s mission to beat poverty around the world.

Own very own Zara Canfield wrote a blog about how she went one year without buying new clothes. So if you haven’t seen this yet, make sure you read it and hopefully feel inspired to shop second hand too!

Looking to the future 
With much uncertainty and challenges still to face it was comforting to hear about Festival Republic’s Full Capacity Plan. Meanwhile, Glastonbury and Festival Republic have been in conversation about collaborating on a scheme that would allow ticket-holders on site after they’ve proved that they are virus-free. 

The concept for the scheme involves using an NHS-linked tracing app that ticket-holders would show at an additional security gate before entering the festival. More recent developments from Festival Republic on Reading and Leeds 2021 suggests that everyone will be tested for coronavirus at next year’s festival. What is becoming clear is that as our understanding of coronavirus develops, so too does the technology which will all help to overcome this pandemic.    

As I write this Matt, Nat & Sam who deliver our on-site operations are currently furloughed, but are very much looking forward to returning in November when we start to plan for the season. Paul, Zara and myself with the events team (Beki, Hermione & Andreea) are still in the office and planning for next year.  

Thanks once again for sticking with us! You are the essential bedrock of everything we do, and we are incredibly grateful for your ongoing support. Please stay safe and positive! 

 Mike Green – Head of Festivals & Events, OXFAM 

 

Are you ready for a fun filled summer of festivals?

With only a few weeks until applications open, there has been lots of excitement and activity over on our Facebook group. We’ve rounded up a few of the most commonly asked questions, to help you get ready to join us this summer! 

What roles are on offer? 

Over the summer we attend lots of different festivals and events all over the UK, taking volunteers to steward, run our festival shops, and campaign about Oxfam’s work.

Each role is different; as a steward, you’ll usually be asked to complete 3 x 8 hour shifts, typically one morning, one evening and one overnight, helping festival goers and being the ‘eyes and ears’ of the festival.

As a campaigner, you’ll be talking to members of the public about a cause important to Oxfam, over 4 shifts (1 per day) of 6 hours each. In the shop you’ll help with the set up and pack down of the shop, as well as doing a 6 hour shift each day getting out the best stock, cash handling and talking to customers.  

Oxfam Campaigners at Glastonbury 2019. Credit: Sam Baggette/Oxfam

Can I volunteer with my friends?  

Each individual must apply separately, with their own unique email address. If you are looking to volunteer as a steward, once you’ve applied you can add up to 5 friends to your shift partner group. We will do our best to make sure your shifts are at the same time, but can’t always promise they will be in the same location. If you are planning to volunteer as a campaigner or shop volunteer we can’t guarantee that your friends will all get a place due to the nature of the application process, however if they do we will do our best to put you together on shifts if we can. 

I’m planning to volunteer alone and I’m feeling nervous, what can I expect?  

One of the best things about volunteering with Oxfam is the #Oxfamily and the wonderful volunteer community that exists at our festivals. You’re guaranteed to meet people of all ages, from all walks of life and will certainly leave with some new friends, even if you arrive alone. We have a social marquee which is a great place to grab a brew and say hello to your fellow volunteers, as well as getting the chance to chat whilst you’re on shift. Lots of people who started out solo now come with friends they’ve made along the way!

Oxfam Stewards at Glastonbury 2019. Credit: Sam Baggette/Oxfam

What do I need to do to be ready for the applications opening? 

Before applications open:

If you are applying for the first time, you will need to sign up as a new user here. To do this you will need:  

  • A unique email address 
  • Basic information about yourself (Name, DOB, Mobile Number) 
  • Password (including at least one non alphanumeric character and at least one uppercase letter) 
  • You will also be asked if you have any unspent criminal convictions and how you would prefer we keep in touch with you. Make sure to select yes if you would like to receive emails from us!  

If you’re applying as a previous volunteer, please check you can log in to your account. If you can’t get in, we recommend resetting your password here. Your profile is reset each year, so any information saved here previously will need to be completed again this year. 

When do applications open?  

In 2020 we have three important dates for applications.

29th Jan is Priority Stewarding application opening, 4th Feb is Public Stewarding applications opening, and 11th Feb is Campaigner and Shops application opening.

Applications on each date will open sometime around mid-morning. There have been lots of questions asking for a specific time but currently this is not something we announce in advance, however we will be posting on our Facebook group and other social media channels as soon as applications are open.  

Festival goers having fun exploring the Oxfam treature trove (oxfam shop) at Glastonbury 2017. Credit: Sam Baggette/Oxfam

How do I apply once applications are open?  

  • From the drop-down menu, select your festival and role
  • Pay your deposit if you are stewarding or campaigning (equal to the cost of a festival ticket) 

For Stewards:  

Once your deposit is paid, your place is reserved, however your place is only confirmed once you have completed your profile and have all green ticks. On the day the applications open, the profile will be switched off for a few hours until traffic to the website has eased. In order to get your green ticks you need to: 

  • Select and attend a training session if you are a new volunteer or you have not trained in 4 years
  • Upload a passport style photo
  • Obtain a reference
  • Complete your travel details
  • Add shift partners if necessary

Campaigners and Shops  

For Campaign and Shop volunteers, there is a longer application process so your place is not automatically confirmed. 

For your campaigner application to be considered, you must:  

  • Tell us about any relevant skills and experience
  • Create and link us to a short video of yourself telling us why people should support Oxfam
  • Upload a passport style photo of yourself
  • Obtain a reference
  • Complete your travel details

More information about Campaigner applications and the video can be found here.

For your shop application to be considered, you must have;  

  • Your Oxfam Shop number  
  • Provided a referee email address – please note 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
  • Upload a passport style photo of yourself
  • Complete your travel details 

Once you have filled in your application you will receive an informal telephone interview. This is a great opportunity to talk about your Oxfam experience and ask questions about the festival shop volunteer role. 

Stewards working at Glastonbury 2017 .Credit: Sam Baggette/Oxfam

I’ve got a place at a festival – What’s next?  

Start getting excited for the summer! We’ll be posting more tips on what to pack, the best camping gear, festival fashion and everything in between, so keep an eye on the blog for updates. You can join our Facebook group which is a great place to chat with fellow volunteers about everything from the best bands to see this summer, to planning meet ups and crew bar crawls!

And why not do 2? Volunteer at 2 festivals this year (at least one must be volunteering as a steward) and you will qualify for priority status in 2021 giving you access to applications a week earlier than the public. 

Good luck & see you in a field soon!

Oxfam Festivals Team x

Be part of the #Oxfamily in 2020

This month we asked our festival volunteers on Facebook “What has been your motivation for volunteering at festivals with us at Oxfam?”

You can see the answers below. In our experience, while lots of volunteering originally sign up as a way to experience the music whilst giving their time, they meet like-minded people in the Oxfamily, and end up coming back year on year to see their friends. If you are new to Oxfam, we hope you are excited about joining us as a steward, shop volunteer or campaigner at festivals next summer. 

We also asked our volunteers what their personal stories and motivations are! See some lovely quotes below from some of our long term volunteers. 

Elliot:

“As a student I don’t have any money to donate (haha) but I have time to give and so I’m able to make a difference in the world whilst getting to enjoy my favourite music, discover more artists, and meet new people at the same time!” 

Lydia:

“Also for me it’s experiencing how festivals work behind the scenes, both logistically and creatively.” 

Mike:

“I wanted to find a way to get into volunteering to help raise money for an excellent cause. So I figured, if I could do that, doing something I love, like going to festivals, it was a bit of a no brainer. It was a little daunting going to my first festival (on my own), but it was ok. I wouldn’t say I loved that first one (Bestival 2012) but [it] did lay the foundations for the years to follow.

On arriving at my second festival, I bumped into someone I’d met at Bestival and the rest as they say, is history!! I’ve not volunteered at a festival since where I’ve not been surrounded by familiar faces and

I’ve now been to 45 festivals with Oxfam and can’t wait to get back in a field in 2020” 

Denise:

“For me it enables me to attend festivals as I would otherwise have to go on my own (which I wouldn’t be keen on) [and] as a result I’ve met some great folk, some of whom I am still in touch with. So as well as doing something useful and positive (as [I’m] now retired), I get to check out new bands and keep young at heart” 

Jo:

“When I started in 2006, it was about getting to a festival. What keeps me coming back every year is the Oxfamily, and the wonderful people you meet every year” 

Andrew:

“For me it’s the whole package. Access to festivals, good camping facilities, working for a great cause, the Oxfamily, work that’s fun to do, meeting lovely people, helping others to enjoy the experience, seeing behind the scenes, etc, etc. 

We’re older stewards and really enjoy working with and meeting people from all ages and all backgrounds. Can’t recommend it enough!!” 

Mark:

I wanted to go to Glastonbury before I reached 50. [a friend] I worked with had been volunteering for Oxfam for years and suggested that I should give it a go, so I dipped my toe into Boardmasters in 2015. None of my other friends were interested in festivals at all so I figured Oxfam was a good way to do it solo. Like [another steward] I was a bit unsure and I wouldn’t say it was the best experience ever, but it was plenty good enough to give it another go. After getting lucky in the 2016 fastest finger first I headed off to the wettest Glastonbury in years, bumped into a few people who I’d met at Boardies the previous year and had a great time. I’ve been to all the Glastonbury and Boardmasters since – it’d be great to do more but that’s probably a thing for retirement.” 

Want to share your story about how you got involved in volunteering at festivals with Oxfam and motivations to come back each year? Email them to festivals@oxfam.org.uk

Don’t forget to keep up to date via our ‘Oxfam Festivals Chat‘ on Facebook as well as this blog.

2019 End of summer round-up

As the dust settles on the South Downs following our mighty Trailwalker event at the end of September, here’s the season highlights in full.  

Oxfam’s 2019 festival season has been our biggest and best yet, and interest in volunteering for Oxfam at a festival has grown significantly year on year, increasing a staggering five-fold since 2017. 

Pink confetti falling over crowd at Glastonbury Festival 2019. Credit Sam Baggette/Oxfam

Oxfam festivals in numbers: 

In 2019 we delivered at a total of 17 festivalsand raised close to £1 million that will go directly towards ending poverty for good. We had one new addition this year to the portfolio: The Long Road -a country, Americana, and roots festival in early September. After a great festival together, we are really looking forward to continuing our relationship with Universal Music Live in 2020! 
 
Glastonbury also returned this season after its fallow year, and we took more volunteers than ever before to support the festival’s evolving operations. Our work on the ground expanded to include a few new gates, and a brand-new pass out system.

Oxfam volunteers. Credit Zara Canfield/Oxfam & Sam Baggette/Oxfam

As always, our onsite presence covers a variety of key stewarding positions, all of which keep the festival going public safe to enjoy themselves. Whether you have lost your group, need to locate somewhere onsite, or need medical attention, speak to anyone in an orange Oxfam tabard and you’ll be sure to get both reliable and friendly assistance. 

Challenging fast fashion:

At Download this year we launched Second Hand September our summer campaign tackling the impact of throwaway fashion by asking the public to pledge not to buy any new clothes for 30 days. The ‘biblical rain’ at the festival was simply too much for many, but it did not deter our campaigners who fought the mud, and torrential downpours to smash the signup targets.

Oxfam taking part in Extinction Rebellion march during Glastonbury Festival 2019. Credit Sam Baggette/Oxfam

At Glastonbury we worked with graphic artist, and print maker Anthony Burrill and the Giant Triplets to produce unique garments that festival goers could print and wear. This helped spread the re-use, re-wear, recycle message as far and wide as possible. We were also hugely grateful to receive celebrity clothing donations that were sold through the online shop from Kylie, Johnny Marr, Vampire Weekend, Billie Eilish, Loyle Carner and The Cure.

Sceenprinting at Glastonbury Festival 2019. Credit Sam Baggette/Oxfam

We then took the campaign to Latitude, WOMAD and Leeds helping us to connect the dots with our Festival Shop colleagues, and encouraging all festival-goers to shop second-hand. Throughout the summer we reached over 20,000 festival goers all of whom made a stand against fast fashion by pledging not to buy any new clothing for 30 days. Meanwhile, our festival second-hand shops raised an impressive £250,000 at a total of eight festivals, over £50,000 up on last year.

Oxfam shop at Glastonbury 2019. Credit Sam Baggette/Oxfam

The weather this season:

This season provided the perfect reminder of just how unpredictable the British summer can be, and also demonstrated the wonderful dedication our volunteer community. Saturday afternoon at Glastonbury was unparalleled as temperatures soared well into the 30°C’s, whilst in early August our esteemed partners at Boardmasters were unfortunately forced to cancel, due to the threat of high winds. On the same weekend at Boomtown, gales ripped up tents in the Oxfield, but the sense of community remained resolute and a temporary dormitory was created in our marquee, while more tents and sleeping bags were rushed down from Oxfam House, to ensure that those who lost their tents had somewhere warm and dry to sleep.

Boardmasters morning team. Credit Claire Coleman/Oxfam

Over the weekend of 21-22 September, we held the epic endurance event Trailwalker, partnering with the Queens Gurkha Signals and Gurkha Welfare Trust. After the cancellation of last year’s event due to excessive heat, it was with great pride and relief to see this epic 100km trek across the South Downs go ahead. And what an event it was, with close to 400 highly dedicated teams of four taking on this gruelling challenge to raise close to £1 million. Words fail me on how the QGS A team managed to complete the course in 10h 25m, whilst each of the 12 check points along the course had a party festival atmosphere all their own, welcoming each participant through with a cheer to help drive them on through towards the final furlong at Brighton Race Course.
Thanks to our dedicated volunteers and staff.

Trailwalker 2019 volunteers. Credit Mike Green/Oxfam

Thanks to our dedicated volunteers and staff:

In 2019 we recruited over 6,500 volunteers to support on a broad range of roles, and this year we saw more new supporters than ever before. Meanwhile, over the last 5 years the proportion of people choosing to volunteer for more than one festival per year has also grown and grown, and more than 10% of volunteers who volunteered in 2015 have returned every year since.
Lastly, everyone here at Oxfam wants to send a huge and heartfelt thank you to every single one of our amazing volunteers whether you were a steward, campaigner, or shop volunteer. Behind the scenes we must also not forget the Oxfam office team and outstanding coordinators that make it all happen. You are the essential bedrock of everything we do, and we are incredibly grateful for all your hard work.

Tips and Tricks: From the Field

 

With the summer drawing to a close, our volunteers have amounted a vast supply of tips and tricks. Drawing from their collective knowledge on how to complete a successful camping mission, we’ve compiled a list of core advice to help you navigate next year’s festival season. Below are our top 5!

1. Think before you pack

Our volunteers take various techniques when it comes to what they bring to a festival. We ran into Richard steering a wheelbarrow through the Oxfam camping. Curious about its purpose, we asked if he had any tips to share. It soon became clear that Richard was a packing pro as he shared this advice with us:

‘Make sure you’re well prepared for all weathers and not being cold at night! I have an air bed with two duvets. And make you don’t pitch your tent on a slope, get there early to get the best spot.’ – Richard

So make sure your tents is not on a slope, think ahead for what you’ll need – but also how you’re going to get it into the campsite! A big tent is also a good idea, and from experience, we’ve found that if a tent is sold as a two-man it will probably be a better fit for one, or alternatively two child-sized men. So if you like your space and aren’t particularly little, one up your tent size for a better fit.

Richard outside his tent, which was fully stocked up with even a table inside!

Richard did also remind us that he drove to the festival. A good thing about camping with Oxfam is that the car park is usually close, allowing you to prepare for every eventuality with a car. However, if you’re reaching a festival by train or bus then two wheelbarrows may not be an option for you. Now it’s time to think about packing smart and how to re-use items. One volunteer said about using old clothes as a make-shift towel for the showers; another suggested a water bottle that flattens to save space. General advice though has been just to use your common sense. Think logically about what clothes and food you need, and how to stop it getting wet if it rains on the way in!

‘We saw people in the queue to Boardmasters when it was raining and their stuff got wet in their bag, so bring a waterproof or bin bag to put over your bag so your stuff doesn’t get wet!’ – Saph

Saph getting ready to explore at (the thankfully sunny) Bestival

A waterproof is always a good thing to pack, as rain is not uncommon, but the best advice is …

2. Be prepared for all weather!

Whilst pictures of British festivals are usually characterised by heavy rain and swamps of mud, last season we were blessed with nearly continuous sun. Reaching scorching highs, it is important for your safety to prevent overheating and keep cool. With the trend of very cold winters and very hot summers likely to increase, due to climate change, the message of staying safe in the sun is ever more poignant. Darren, one of the stewards, showed us his heat survival kit consisting of a hat, suncream and lip balm with spf, alongside sharing this simple but crucial advice:

‘If you can find some shade then stand in it. As soon as you realise you’re not feeling well then act on it, sit down and get some water.’ – Darren

As it gets hotter throughout the day we, in Britain, tend to forget the basics of hats, sunnies, suncream, shade and water. This often results in sunburn or even sunstroke.

Pack warmer clothes than you think you’ll need, because it gets cold at night. A cosy sleeping bag, a fluffy jumper and your favourite pyjama bottoms are all a bedtime must.

Wayne, who’s jumped in at the deep-end of festival volunteering, contributing to 5 last year and an outstanding 10 this year, gives great advice to sum up this section:

‘Just the same as life in general: be prepared. We live in the UK so there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing – we’ve got a double climate so it could be sunny in the morning and raining in the afternoon. Pack for rain and pray for sun.’ – Wayne

3. Protect your valuables

Oxfam staff camping is one of the most secure you’ll find at a festival, with stewards constantly on the gates monitoring who comes in and out. Nevertheless, it’s always good to know some tricks for preventing theft. Three girls with some advice to give you peace of mind are Lily, Niamh, and Holly. Here’s what they told us …

‘When you’re asleep, put valuables at the bottom of your sleeping bag!’- Lily.

‘Get a decoy purse with an old card, some coins, so that if anyone is looking in your tent, they’ll take that one.’ – Niamh.

‘You could hide your stuff in a wetwipe packet too, or use a bin bag – put some empty bottles and stuff on top. No one goes looking through a bag of rubbish!’ – Holly.

4. Don’t forget the basics!

David: “Bring your own proper pillow. The small plastic ones are rubbish. Also a lantern that you can bring to hang in your tent for night time.”

Steve: “Bring toilet roll and bio-degradable wet wipes – basic tip but very necessary.”

David: “And bring your tent, someone forgot theirs around us!”

It may seem obvious – but make sure you have the basics with you. Additional to a lantern or torch, toilet roll, and a tent, also remember the essentials of a toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Make sure to check what the festival says about bringing aerosol deodorant too, as some ban it as a potential fire hazard. We’re sure that after a few days both yourself, and the others around you, will appreciate the necessity of a roll on.

To avoid having precious alcohol confiscated too, make sure to check the festival’s restrictions. These generally limit the number of cans you can bring and very often ban glass bottles, so don’t splash out on a bottle of spirits as you’re likely to be sorely disappointed.

Remember that Oxfam camping has a number of festival luxuries not provided for regular punters. There’s hot water, so pot noodles and cutlery is a good idea, and tea and coffee is provided so a mug is also a must.

The last basic is …

5. Be ready to make new friends!

Wayne says: ‘bring a positive attitude!’. Wayne has lived up to the challenge of ‘fill your summer with festivals’ with his ten this year.

‘Bring a pillow, a good sense of humour, don’t be shy, just talk to your neighbour and share things around.’ – Jones

You don’t need to go to ten festivals a year to appreciate the value of this advice. Almost everyone we spoke to told us how much they’ve enjoyed getting to know other volunteers, and how welcoming the ‘Oxfamily’ is.

IWD 2019- Three Ways UK Festivals Are Working To Be More Inclusive

It’s easy to get bogged down in the doom and gloom of the current global climate, so in honour of International Womens Day we decided to bring attention to three great organisations that are working to make the music industry more inclusive of women, non-binary and trans people. It might even help a few of you musicians out!

Keychange Initiative

First off the is the Keychange Initiative, who made headlines in 2018 by getting 45 festivals, including Kendal Calling and our very own Oxjam, to pledge a 50/50 gender split in their lineup by 2022. They are an international organisation dedicated to accelerating the change in the gender divide of the music industry. Glastonburys’ Emily Eavis, responsible for booking all of the main stage acts at Glastonbury, is a Keychange Ambassador. To find out more about the Keychange Initiative and the incredible work they do click here: https://keychange.eu/

ReBalance

Next we have ReBalance, a scheme run by Festival Republic, the company behind Download, Latitude and Reading and Leeds. ReBalance is a three year programme that started in 2018 which offers female artists funding for one weeks recording in a professional studio. A new artist is chosen every month, at the end of the year selected artists chosen by a panel of industry professionals will be offered a slot at a Festival Republic or Live Nation Festival. Not only this, but they’re offering sound technician apprenticeships in order to address the severe imbalance of women in the technical side of the industry. To find out more or how to apply, follow this link http://www.festivalrepublic.com/news/were-proud-announce-our-new-project-rebalance

Yorkshire Sound Women Network

YSWN is a local organisation started by women in the sound technology industry in order to address the gender and racial inequality in the industry.  ‘Our mission is to support a flourishing industry which welcomes, encourages and progresses the inclusion of women at all levels from studio floor to board room, and reflects the diversity of its participating communities.’ They provide women and girls with the opportunities and access to facilities that will help them to break into the sound technology industry. They welcome women, non-binary, agender and gender varient people in their meetings. For more info click here https://yorkshiresoundwomen.com/about/

Also have a look at https://louderthanwar.com/iwd-gigs/?fbclid=IwAR01zXD4GECQEcs5kcv3dr8QLH_db3zxA81RQ3DEnycQycqJq9eco8Ikt54 for events celebrating International Womens Day 2019!

The music industry has always been notoriously unrepresentative of minorities, but in recent years steps have been made to lesson the gender divide. These are just two examples out of hundreds of incredible organisations fighting to make the music industry move in a positive direction towards equality.

Venus at Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
Photo by Amber Morris, @a.m.art_

 

 

Application Basics

Oxfam Festivals has a wealth of opportunities to get involved with this summer including Stewarding, Campaigning and Shop Volunteering.  With many different roles across a variety of festivals around the UK, we hope that you can join us this summer! Keep reading to learn more about the ‘Application Basics’.

Stewarding:

To be prepared for your application you will need:

  • Access to the internet to apply online
  • A unique email address
  • A digital photo (passport style)
  • To provide a referee email address
  • Basic information about yourself (Name, Address, DOB, Medical information)
  • Your bank details to provide a one-off refundable deposit equal to the price of the festival ticket
  • Shift partner information if applicable – You can add up to 5 friends to be shift partners with you so that you work at the same time during the festival, via the online application:
    • You all need each other’s full names and DOBs for the application
    • We will try our best to make sure you are always on shift at the same time, however, we can’t guarantee your duties will be based in the same location

Do you have you do training?

Yes, we will provide all the training before you arrive on-site. We will ask for you to select a date for training within your application. This training is with other volunteers and lasts a few hours. If you cannot attend in person we can make exceptions to be able to attend online. The training must be completed before you can join us at any festival and we ask for this to be topped up every 4 years. There are also lots of very experienced volunteers who can show you the ropes.

Please note: Your festival place is not secure until you have completed all parts of your profile. Once this is done you will be emailed to confirm this at which point it is time to start getting excited and prepping for the festival.

Campaigning:

To be prepared for your application you will need:

  • Access to the internet to apply online
  • A unique email address
  • A digital photo (passport style)
  • To provide a referee email address
  • Basic information about yourself (Name, Address, DOB, Medical information)
  • Your bank details to provide a one-off refundable deposit equal to the price of the festival ticket

Once you have picked your festival and paid your deposit you will then be required to fill out an application form. This form provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate how you meet the skills and competencies outlined in the “What we are looking for?” section. Your application will be scored against these. We will be asking you the following:  

Why me?  Please give a brief description (no more than 500 words) of why you’re right for this role, giving examples of any skills and experience that will convince us to get you on board.

Introduce yourself – In less than two minutes, create a short video of yourself:

  • Telling us about one of Oxfam’s campaigns or issues we work on 
    • Why you think it is important 
    • How you would ask someone to get involved to support Oxfam’s work 
  • Please upload it as an unlisted file to YouTube and paste the URL address into the box below. If you are having any problems with this please email festivals@oxfam.org.uk
  • We will then be back in contact to let you know if your application is successful or not

Please note: To be considered for a campaigner place at Glastonbury you are required to volunteer at a second festival as either a campaigner, steward or shop volunteer. This is due to the high demand for places; we want to ensure all volunteers are dedicated to the role.

Do you have to attend training?

Yes, campaigner training is mandatory for all volunteers. In 2020 we will have pre-event training as well as an on-site briefing. Pre-event training is a great chance to talk through the campaign, learn more about the role on-site, and feel confident ahead of talking to the public.

Shop Volunteering: 

To be prepared for your application you will need:

  • Access to the internet to apply online
  • A unique email address
  • A digital photo (passport style)
  • You Oxfam shop number
  • To provide a referee email address- please note 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.
  • Basic information about yourself (Name, Address, DOB, Medical information)
  • The Festival Shop Team believe we can trust experienced volunteers to represent Oxfam in a professional manner on-site, and therefore a deposit is not required

Next steps…

Once you have filled in your application you will receive an informal telephone interview. This is a great opportunity to talk about your Oxfam experience and ask questions about the festival shop volunteer role.

So why volunteer with Oxfam?

There are loads of benefits to volunteering with Oxfam. You have your own secure campsite with other like-minded crew and volunteers, hot tea and coffee, phone charging, showers, and meal vouchers for each shift; a marquee in our campsite at many of our festivals which often acts as a meeting point and a great way to meet new friends. A one-off deposit gives you access to over 18 festivals; each festival you complete helps us in our fight against global poverty.

Steward at Boomtown
Steward volunteering at Boomtown

A full festival list will be available soon, but can you review 2019 festivals here

For further information please explore the rest of our website and read our FAQs

Start a conversation with other volunteers in our Facebook Chat here

Look forward to seeing you in a field!

Oxfam Festivals Team

Oxfam Festivals 2018: an outstanding season

The festival season has been brilliant for us in 2018, giving Oxfam its biggest ever festival presence for a year without Glastonbury (the magic that is Glastonbury takes a break every 5 years). A huge thank you to all the amazing volunteers and staff who supported Oxfam this summer.

Festival achievements in numbers:

Our dedicated festivals team have been truly exceptional and I cannot thank them enough. They were faced with a mammoth challenge in securing Oxfam’s presence at 21 festivals, including 5 which were new to us, namely Beat Herder, Isle of Wight, River Cottage, St Paul’s Carnival and Wilderness. This meant new business and new relationships, necessitating raising funds through first class service delivery.

Photo credit: Zara Canfield/Oxfam

Our #StepsforWater campaign between June and September reached over 11,000 festival goers with meaningful conversations about the impact of Oxfam’s water work around the world, bringing in 6,000 sign-ups to the campaign. Meanwhile, our water tank made an appearance at Latitude, Womad and Bestival with a 360° immersive film depicting how water is brought to refugee camps and communities worldwide. The powerful film moved some people to tears.

Photo credit: Zara Canfield/Oxfam

Trading ran the most festival shops ever – 10! -, taking over £200,000 . Festival merchandise sales doubled and for the first time, we offered products online, such as this fetching festival hoodie.

Photo credit: Zara Canfield/Oxfam

Thanks to our dedicated volunteers:

The undoubted driving force behind this is our hugely dedicated team of volunteers. A community of positive like-minded individuals who represent Oxfam and make it all happen. This summer we recruited close to 6,000 volunteers, who have given over 100,000 hours of their time to ensure hundreds of thousands of festivalgoers are safe to enjoy themselves and have an amazing time.
Photo credit: Zara Canfield/Oxfam

The community spirit at Oxfam Festivals needs to be experienced first hand. People of all ages and professions, from nurses and doctors to members of the fire service, students, and retirees in their 80s. Infectious and utterly unique, the Oxfamily is chock-full of inspirational people, a community where everyone and anyone will feel welcomed and at home. These are parts of our work that are more difficult to count and measure, but are essential and central to everything we do.

And thanks to IT and Supporter Relations:

In March, with support from colleagues in IT we launched the new website application which led to significant improvements in the volunteer registration experience and best ever conversion rates [proportion of visitors completing the registration process]. As always, our colleagues in Supporter Relations provided an exceptional level of customer service. The team received and replied to a staggering 8,000 emails, replied to over 2,000 social messages, while taking over 3,000 phone calls throughout the season.

The festival experience:

Let’s not be mistaken that festival stewarding offers a free pass in. Ask anyone that has done a night shift on a rainy, muddy site, and they will tell you that it can be hard graft. However, helping a parent who has temporarily lost their child, or supervising less experienced stewards and watching them grow in confidence can be utterly rewarding on so many levels.

Alongside the unpredictability of the British weather, working in a festival environment demands an aptitude for dealing with the unexpected. This season we battled through the blistering heat of Bestival, Wilderness and Latitude, and the torrential rain at Boardmasters and BoomTown, not to mention the high winds that forced Camp Bestival and River Cottage to close early. All of this takes an unwavering dedication to safeguarding and wellbeing. Implementing ‘ahead of the curve’ policy, comprehensive training and table-top exercises ensures the safety of our volunteers and the festivalgoing public is the utmost priority.

Photo credit: Zara Canfield/Oxfam

We look forward to seeing you in a field sometime soon! Register your interest here for 2019.

Mike Green, Head of Festivals