Category: Shops

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

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.

Festival Upcycling Part 2

The fashion craze of the 1970’s was made popular by the most notable music artists of the time, such as ABBA. The era of the flares was short but well remembered. Some people never forgot flares and have continued to embrace the bell bottoms. Much like all trends, they never quite disappear.! But, be ready to find your inner 70’s style as flares are making a return to mainstream fashion!

My choice to make flares did come from some festival goers love to embrace the weird and wonderful fashions found as you wonder around the array of brightly coloured stalls and marquees. But, it also came from my research into the summer trends we are starting to see emerging on the high street, which includes the flare.

I loved finding that flares are coming back as a mainstream fashion. This is because it shows that even fashion and trends are reused and “upcycled” to suit the current audience.

To make my flares I am using mostly Levi jeans, flowery/Hawaiian style shirts, bold patterned tops and skirts and lace dresses/trims. I want my flares to have a hint towards the hippy 70’s vibe which most festivals play a homage to, but also be fun and appropriate for the festival goers of 2019!

To upcycle the Levi’s, I first pick my jeans and a fabric that goes with them. Then I cut two identical triangles of my insertion fabric leaving seam allowance – if the garments have a decent hem I use this edge as the bottom of my triangles, so I have less hemming to do! I then open the outside leg seams of the jeans to the point at which my inserts will start. It is now time to pin and sew! Once the inserts are sewn in I zigzag/edge stitch the seam allowances of the insert and the jeans together. I then re -hem the jeans, and hem the insert if necessary, where it was opened to open the outer leg seam open. Then if I feel it needs it I add trims and appliques.

I went to bearded theory where my flares were on sale. The stall attracted plenty of attention and we sold 5 pairs. Despite the fact that the majority of people looked at the flares without buying them, it was a positive experience to receive so much interest, especially given that the nice weather meant that people were mostly looking at shorts.

Here’s a few of my favourites:

 

Sustainable Fashion- Give clothes a second chance and help beat poverty!

Fashion is an industry that is putting increasing pressures on both our planet and people who make our clothes. Keep reading to find out more about the impacts of fast fashion and what you can do to make a difference this summer!

Did you know…?

The average lifespan for an item of clothing in the UK is 2.2 years! Even more shocking is that consumers send a whopping 300,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill every year in the UK – that’s almost the same weight as the Empire State Building.

What’s more, the textile industry accounts for 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions – that’s more than international aviation and shipping combined.

So what can you do to help?

REDUCE:  Let’s be clear – while donating unwanted clothes is good, reducing how many new clothes we buy is best.

REUSE: Instead of buying a whole new wardrobe for the festival season why not buy second hand from an Oxfam shop on the high street or Oxfam online. This way you can reuse something that has been loved and donated. Better to reuse, than buy new.

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

RECYCLE: When clothes have finished their life in your wardrobe – give them a new lease of life via an Oxfam shop.  Every garment sold raises money to fight poverty around the world. One dress could raise enough money to buy drought-resistant seeds for a family to keep growing food despite a changing climate. Oxfam also works with fashion companies to improve the treatment of workers within the clothing industry.

Also if the clothes you give to Oxfam don’t sell in our shops, they go to our pioneering sorting centre, “Wastesaver”. Our team at Wastesaver works hard to resell, reuse or recycle your items – ensuring your clothes continue their journey. Over 14,000 tonnes of clothing each year are diverted from landfill through being donated to Oxfam.

SPEAK OUT: We don’t want to put retailers out of business. Instead, we want them, their workers, and our planet to thrive. So, why not ask your favourite shop to improve their carbon footprint, and how they treat their workers?

Photo: Kitabe stands amongst the onion seed flowers that have helped her earn a decent income. Everything you buy from Oxfam festival shops helps people like Kitabe to build better lives. Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam

Oxfam offers you a way to help reduce the harmful effect of ‘fast fashion’ on our planet and its people. By buying and donating your clothes through Oxfam shops you can give clothes a second chance – increase their lifespan, while protecting the planet, and raising money to help the poorest people around the world.

Let us know how you are going to be more sustainable at festivals this summer by commenting below.

Find your local Oxfam Shop: https://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/shop-finder

Shop online: https://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop

ASOS Marketplace: Shop an exclusive collection of pieces usually only found at major UK festival https://marketplace.asos.com/boutique/oxfam-festival-shop

Oxfam Festival Shops: This summer you can find our pop up shops at Bearded Theory, Download, Glastonbury, Latitude, WOMAD, Kendal Calling, Boardmasters, Boomtown and Leeds.

What to pack for festivals this summer?

If you find packing for a festival a bit overwhelming, never fear! The Oxfam Festival Shop Team have compiled a simple checklist, with some of the items you’ll need for camping, sleeping and clothes to sleep you stylish, comfortable and dry!

We will be sharing some top tips on our social media over the coming months so make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Useful websites for festival packing tips: 

Go Outdoors:  http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/expert-advice/guide-to-a-successful-festival

Festival Safe: https://www.festivalsafe.com/information/be-prepared

 

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.

Need Festival Fashion Inspo? Look No Further

Stuck for ideas for what to wear to your fave festival? We’ve put together some outfits from the Oxfam Wastesaver to help you catch the vibe of the festival you’re headed to, just add wellies (which we also sell)!

All these outfits have been pulled from Festival Shop stock, so if you like something keep an eye out, you might just be able to pick it up.

We’ve started off with possibly the most hyped festival of all time; Glastonbury. This year the first batch of tickets sold out in a record breaking 30 minutes! For outfits think boho chic, Woodstock vibes, Coachella but if it rained in California. We’ve pulled some Levi 501 shorts worn open ala Kylie Jenner paired with a 70’s style paisley shirt and some brown *real leather* cowboy boots. Because all our profits go straight into ending poverty you can get some quality footwear without contributing to carbon emissions caused by cattle farming.

Next we’ve got an outfit for Boardmasters AND Leeds fest. The sports luxe trend is still in full swing at these festivals and we have all the sportswear brands you could dream of ready for the festival shop. Pair some sustainably sourced brands with a fun bucket hat and the pinnacle of practicality: a bum bag, and you’re ready to go!

 

Next we’ve got Bearded Theory and Womad, where we go for a comfy, practical hippie vibe. It’s all about chilling out and looking after the environment at these two super chill, family friendly festivals. So pick up some airy balloon trousers, we promise they’ll be the most comfortable things you’ve EVER worn and settle down for a culture packed weekend.

At Latitude we’re taking inspo from the queen of style herself, Lana Del Rey. A little bit baddie and a lot delicate fabrics and florals. We’ve paired this super cute floral lace playsuit complete with bell sleeves, with an upholstery bomber to add a little bit of an edge.

Rock isn’t dead at Download Festival, we’ve got a whole range of leather, denim and band tees to take down. Here we’ve paired some on-trend patent snake print with a tee from the Kings of Thrash Metal, Metallica. Throw on your fave leather jacket (or buy one from our shop) and you’re good to go!

 

We hope you got some decent inspiration from our picks, if you do buy something in the Festival Shop, don’t forget to tag us with #foundinoxfam for the chance to get featured on our page!

 

Be part of the team – About the roles

Oxfam Festivals has a wealth of opportunities to get involved with next  summer from stewarding,  campaigning and volunteering in a festival shop.  With many different roles and a variety of festivals across the UK, we hope that you join us as a volunteer next summer! Keep reading to learn more about how you can get involved with the #Oxfamily.

Stewarding

What is involved? Oxfam has been stewarding at festivals since Glastonbury 1993. As a steward you’re the eyes and ears of the festival, supporting the smooth running of the event. Stewarding responsibilities are varied, including helping festival-goers, checking wristbands, monitoring venues, and patrolling campsites. You might also find yourself working on accessible viewing platforms and fire towers.

What are the shifts like? You normally do three shifts over the festival, and each shift is eight hours long. Dependant on the festival you will usually do a one day shift, one evening shift, and one night shift across the course of the entire event.

Do I need any previous experience? We welcome volunteers from from every background, and while relevant experience is useful, we take on hundreds of new volunteers who are fresh to stewarding every year. You will receive a full training programme prior to arriving onsite, which will cover the stewarding basics, and ensure that you are prepared for every occasion.

Campaigning

What is involved? If you loving talking to the public and have a passion for making a difference in the world then campaigning may well be for you! As a volunteer campaigner, you will not only be raising awareness of Oxfam’s work, you’ll be inspiring people to help beat poverty too, in creative and thought-provoking ways. Campaigning is a predominantly roaming role within the arena, festival village and public campsites. We also have a campaigning hub with glitter, wristbands and space for the public to chat to us about Oxfam’s work. You will also get to meet hundreds of festivals goers, also other like-minded campaigners, whilst enjoying the festival!

What are the shifts like? In this role, you will normally do four daytime six-hour shifts, so the evenings will be yours to enjoy! (Result!) Unlike stewarding you will need to send us a short video letting us know why you would make a great Oxfam campaigner along with a short description.

Do I need any previous experience? Knowledge and passion for Oxfam’s work are desirable and you will need to be confident in inspiring the public. The campaign changes each year and you will be provided with all of the key info you need beforehand. There will also be a briefing when you arrive on site where you will find out more on the campaign, meet other campaigners and prepare yourselves with the support of the campaigning lead.

Shop volunteering

What is involved? If you have a passion for fashion and an eye for bargains then this could be the role for you. To join the festivals shop team you will need to have three months’ experience working in one of our high-street shops.

You will be joining the team to help sell our amazing festival stock. From wellies to hoodies or sunglasses and sequins, we curate our stock for each individual festival. Some of the best finds and amazing treasures are brought in from all our high-street shops. You could be helping set up and dress the shop, serving customers, handling cash, and packing up the shops fixtures and fittings. It all helps raise vital funds in our fight against global poverty.

What are the shifts like?  You may do three to five shifts across the course of the festival. There are a limited number of spaces and a selection process following your application.

If you have any questions about volunteering you can ask questions in our Facebook community forum, email us at festivals@oxfam.org.uk or call us on 0300 200 1266.

We hope to see you join us in summer 2019!

Oxfam Festivals Team

A Beginner’s Guide to Festivaling with Oxfam: The Top 5 Q+As

This year’s festival season is sadly over, yet anticipation for next summer is already building. Welcoming hundreds of newbies to our Facebook page we know that, although it may be getting gloomier outside, festival fans still have their sights squarely set on summer. This is especially the case as, as the summer of 2019 approaches so does Glastonbury’s long-foretold return. So if you can’t wait to go Glasto …. or Boomtown, or WOMAD, or the 20 other festivals Oxfam saves spots at for that matter, but are wondering what festivaling with Oxfam is actually like – then this is the article for you. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of answers to of our top 5 most asked questions just for you.

If you haven’t already, make sure you register your interest to join us next year here.

Here’s your very own beginner’s guide to festivaling with Oxfam:

Q1 : What are the different ways you can volunteer at festivals with Oxfam?

A: If you’ve heard about going to festivals with Oxfam, it’s most likely you’ve heard about stewarding. Stewarding makes up the most of Oxfam’s volunteering spots and essentially means you’ll be ensuring the smooth running of a festival as its eyes and ears. This could involve checking wristbands, giving directions, patrolling the arena, spotting fires, and a general range of other helpfulness-based responsibilities. So if you enjoy helping people out and a bit of variety in your work, stewarding might be the one for you.

If it’s not, then never fear there’s still plenty of other ways to get involved.  If you have 3 months experience working at your local Oxfam shop then you could apply to volunteer at one of Oxfam’s wonderfully weird and wacky festival shops. If you’re practical and good at setting things up, logistics occasionally recruits on the Oxfam Festivals Facebook page.  If you’re passionate about social causes and have an outgoing personality, then you should consider volunteering as a campaigner. If you fancy learning more about the different roles before making a decision, then you can also follow this link for full descriptions and videos about what each role entails.

Spreading the love between stewards and campaigners – Photo Credit: Zara Canfield/Oxfam

Q2: What will my shifts be like?

A: Shifts vary depending on how you decide to volunteer, but whatever role you pick you’ll earn your entry through committing 24 hours of the festival to it. Stewarding you’ll do three 8 hour shifts and campaigning you’ll do four 6 hour ones. Shops and logistics place some of their shifts setting up before and closing down after the festival, but pretty much follow a similar pattern to stewarding and campaigning.

Stewarding shifts usually include one night shift (full disclosure), if you’re volunteering with a friend you can request them as your shift partner in your application, and the times and tasks of your shift will be told to you at an on-site briefing. There’s also a very active shift swapping board available in our Oxfam marquee, so if you’re desperate to see a particular band you don’t have to stick to the shifts you’re given. If you choose to campaign all your shifts will be in the middle of the day, so no shift swapping and shift partners are decided on-site. Both roles also involve a small amount of training before arriving at the festival. For stewarding this will be a couple of hours online or face-to-face, and for campaigning it will be reading up on the campaign and other information in your pre-season emails – easy-peasy.

Stewards finding the coolest spot to sleep off the night shift during one of this summer’s scorchers – Photo Credit: Jo Sherwood/Oxfam

Q3: What will I get out of volunteering with Oxfam?

A: As far as pros go not only is your entry free, just having to pay a deposit, but you can roll on this deposit to other festivals meaning you can do a whole summer of festivals for the deposit price of one. If you decide to do at least two festivals using this system then you also get another big pro of being on Oxfam’s priority list for Glastonbury next year, meaning you’ll be able to go without the hefty price tag and stress of refreshing for a ticket. Plus, on-site with Oxfam you’ll have access to plenty of festival luxuries including secure camping, free hot drinks, a meal token per shift worked, hot showers and phone charging – hallelujah!

Volunteering can also give a boost to your CV. If you’re interested in events management for instance then stewarding is advantageous in giving you an insight into how festivals operate. Stewarding also means that you are being put in a position of responsibility and working in a team, employable skills across the board. As a campaigner, you’ll learn how to deliver information effectively and how to confidentially approach and persuade new people. Again, these are skills that a lot of employers look for. Though most importantly, whilst you’re volunteering and boosting your CV, you’ll also be. At. A. Festival… Possibly the easiest and most enjoyable way to say you’ve volunteered – if you’re looking to boost your CV then why not do it whilst seeing your favourite artists?

Rubbing shoulders with the stars at Radio 1’s Signing Stage, another perk to volunteering with Oxfam Festivals – Photo Credit: Andria Hanson/Oxfam

Q4: Who is the typical Oxfam volunteer?

A: The great thing about going to a festival with Oxfam is that there is no typical volunteer. Aside from 18 being the minimum age requirement, there is a whole range of ages and backgrounds. From groups of students celebrating the end of exams to festival veterans who are back for their 75th go, Oxfam Festivals attracts all kinds of people. The ‘Oxfamily’ has a wide variety of members with one thing in common – the desire to have fun and do something positive. With this goal in mind, the Oxfamily are some of the most welcoming people you’ll ever meet. Meaning that even if you volunteer on your own, you’re likely to leave with plenty of new friends. If you want to read more about peoples’ experience with Oxfam and the Oxfamily as a festival first-timer, then you can take a look at our interview with 2 newbies.

Q5: When can I apply?

A: Applications are usually opened in the new year, but you can register your interest now so you don’t miss out on our opening date! Following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is also a handy way to ensure that you’re kept in the loop, and if you’re looking for more info on how to apply then take a look at this article for advice.

Snapped by an Oxfam volunteer at Glastonbury 2017 – Photo Credit: Kris Wright

Don’t let the rain get you down, register now and start planning your summer – its only 8 months, 1 week and 2 days away!

From the Field – Oxbox Out! 

Throwback to Leeds Festival 2017!

Have you ever wanted to volunteer at Leeds but were not sure what the festival itself was like? Read this first-hand account by Nat Baker about her experience as a ticket holder and how she loved it so much she decided to apply to be a festival shop intern for this summer!

Leeds festival is one of my favourite festivals to go to, maybe it’s because I’m biased due to living in Leeds and being partial to a classic ‘Yorkshire’ chant, or maybe it’s due to the wide variety of genres, from metalcore and pop punk to dance and drum and bass, the infamous Piccadilly Party or the relentless, Relentless stage to see you through to the early hours. Either way, this year (2017) was my sixth year at Leeds Fest, so they must be doing something right.

I usually brave arriving at Leeds Fest on the Wednesday, facing a five-night run in my trusty four-man tent (they say four-man, but it’s just about adequate enough to stuff in two people and their supplies). This year, however, I attended the Heavy Music Awards in London on the Thursday night, sadly missing the unique choice of acts and bands on show Thursday night, this year including The Pigeon Detectives on the Festival Republic stage and Mista Jam on the Relentless stage. Luckily I (just about) managed to catch the night coach from London to up North. Finally, hours later, I turned up slightly worse for wear at the entrance to Leeds Fest where I was excited to see what the day had in store for me. At least arriving two days later meant less time to wait for bands.

Friday

So I made it to Leeds Fest early Friday afternoon just in time to see Architects, the kings of metalcore (not those who design buildings). I’ve seen Architects about five times before and they never fail to blow my mind. That day was no different. Complete with flames, Architects ripped apart the main stage with a heavy, exhilarating performance. I wish I’d seen the face of an
unsuspecting Giggs fan waiting for his set after. We caught a bit of Giggs and then swayed along to some Oasis bangers from afar whilst Liam Gallagher played, I’d already seen Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds perform at Kendal Calling 2016 so had already had the pleasure of watching Wonderwall played live.

When it came to Friday evening there was, of course, a clash of headliners, the dreaded music festival dilemma. It was between MUSE on the main stage and Neck Deep on the Pit stage, both bands I’ve seen before. We decided to catch the start of MUSE’s set so I still got to see some of my favourite songs played such as ‘Plug In Baby’ amongst many other MUSE classics before
heading off to watch Neck Deep. It was a packed out crowd and a great atmosphere whilst Neck Deep played songs from their new album ‘The Peace and The Panic’. To top it off Sam Carter (vocalist of Architects!) came out and performed during Neck Deeps ‘Don’t Wait’ which he features in and that was a great way to finish off our Friday evening before we awaited the opening of the silent disco.

Saturday

By Saturday morning your tent has usually sunk into the ground beneath you, your once immaculate clothes now smothered in a thick coating of mud and you’ve had to engage in a quest for new wellies as you’ve lost them in a mosh pit somewhere. This year, however, we were blessed with beautiful sun all weekend, and on Saturday enjoyed some sunny main stage sets from Rat Boy, Mallory Knox and Jimmy Eat World. For some reason, just before Two Door Cinema Clubs set, Joe Thomas (Simon from The Inbetweeners!) was brought out on stage which was, random, but amusing nonetheless. As the sun went down, we ventured back over to the Pit Stage for the penultimate act of the day, The Amity Affliction, who were a pleasure to see live despite playing a smaller set. I always find myself feeling old at gigs nowadays, usually nursing a drink at the back, but when The Amity Affliction started playing ‘Don’t Lean On Me’ I couldn’t help but crowd surf (I feel sorry for any poor soul who had to hold me up whilst I clambered over the crowd).
Saturday headliners were again a difficult choice: Kasabian, You Me At Six, Fat Boy Slim and Billy Talent. In the end, it had to be punk rock legends Billy Talent. They annihilated the Pit Stage in a gleam of red, with anthems such as ‘Red Flag’ and ‘Fallen Leaves’. After a short, well-deserved rest back at camp it was time to again to brave the walk to the silent disco followed by the inevitable venture to Piccadilly Party.

Sunday
Ah, the dreaded Sunday morning of a festival. Not only am I always gutted that another festival I’ve waited all year for has come to an end (especially since Leeds fest is usually the last in the season for me), I’m also at this point rather groggy to say the least. This morning in particular was not a good one for me, I’d stayed up till 6am watching the McGregor vs Mayweather fight, they’d shown it on the big screen at the alternative stage so there was a great atmosphere and it was a nice added touch (not that I know anything about boxing).

I couldn’t think of a better band to brighten up the Sunday festival blues than the mighty Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. A band this dynamic always manage to construct the most gargantuan circle pits and this time was no different, with the circle pit running all the way outside the NME stage and back in again around the other side. After this took place, Frank initiated a female only crowd surf, and I was up and away again!  The bands hit ‘I Hate You’ from the album ‘Blossom’ is always great to hear live, mainly because you’ve got thousands of people in a tent screaming
“I HATE YOU!” at the same time. Also completing my Sunday was Defeater on the Pit Stage, who although only pulled a small crowd, still made a big impression, as well as the tremendous PVRIS on the main stage.

Finally, as Sunday night drew to a close and people started heading back to their tents to pack up and leave, I headed over to the Pit stage one last time (I think I spent more time under the Pit Stage tent than my own tent by the sounds of it). Thankfully for me, the last band I was seeing at Leeds Fest 2017 was my favourite band, While She Sleeps. Reigning from my hometown of Sheffield, they’re the best of the best (I’m not biased at all…). I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen them live over the past seven years so to see them headlining The Pit stage was a real treat, especially with their performance of ‘Seven Hills’, which is named after Sheffield, of course. Their gig really went off with a bang (literally, there were confetti cannons) and it was the perfect conclusion to the weekend.

Leeds festival 2017 was jam-packed full of brilliant heavy bands, early morning excursions to Piccadilly Party and surprisingly the lack of torrential rain. Now we’ve crossed over into 2018, I’m eagerly awaiting the next line up announcements for the festival, and can only hope the line up is as good, if not better than 2017. I can’t wait to make my return to Bramham Park in August 2018 for my seventh appearance at Leeds Festival and this time, I get to go with the Oxfam Festival shop.

 

It’s now coming to almost a year since I started my social media internship with the Oxfam Festival Shop. I’ve accompanied the festival shop at Nass, Kendal Calling and I recently returned home from Boomtown. It’s been wonderful to see the shop and all the funky garms in action raising loads of money for charity after sorting through them, choosing the perfect clothes for each individual festival and taking photos of them to post on social media for so long! I’ve been doing some filming to try and capture the essence of each festival, and despite having a few mishaps (crowdsurfing during Limp Bizkit at Boomtown, but forgetting to press play!) I’ve managed to capture a lot of great footage that I can’t wait to share with everyone. Leeds will again be my last festival of the summer and although I’m sad that festival season is again coming to an end, I look forward to so many more fantastic festivals with Oxfam in the future. Bring on summer 2019!