Glastonbury 2016: your questions answered

Everything you need to know about volunteering with WaterAid at the world's greatest music festival!

Want to know what volunteering with WaterAid at Glastonbury festival is all about? Read on to find out everything you need to know, or download a copy of our FAQs >

Information and application process

When can I apply and how long after will I find out if I have been successful?

We will be accepting applications from Monday 4 January until 5pm on Friday 4 March. After this, we will review applications and let everyone know the outcome by Thursday 31 March so you have plenty of time to plan your summer! 

If you are offered a place on the team, you will be offered a role in a specific area. We will let you know what your role will be when we offer you a place.

As we receive such a huge number of applications we are unable to provide feedback for any unsuccessful applicants.

When do I need to arrive onsite and when can I leave?

We will ask on your application form if you can arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Around half of all volunteers will be required to arrive by 5pm on Tuesday, in time for a training session on Tuesday evening, or an early shift on Wednesday. The rest of our volunteers must be onsite from Wednesday and arrive by 5pm at the latest.

We will let you know when to arrive when you are offered a specific role.

Most shifts finish late Sunday evening or early Monday morning, so please plan to stay until Monday.

Does WaterAid cover my travel and food expenses?

We will provide travel expenses up to the value of £35. For the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to travel, we recommend National Express coaches, which leave from many different points across the UK.

Recycling volunteers are provided two hot meals per day, and all other volunteers can claim up to £10 for each shift you work – this should be enough for a meal and soft drink. We provide snacks and drinks at the WaterAid campsite that can be taken with you around the festival and on your shifts.

Do I need to attend a training session?

Yes. It is compulsory that you attend a training session to learn about WaterAid’s work and the role that you will be taking on.

There will be at least five different locations for the training throughout the UK and we will let you know more information when we send out the place offers.

How much information about the WaterAid campaign will I need to know?

Talking passionately and confidently about WaterAid and our work is the most important aspect of most of our volunteer roles. 

We will provide you with an information booklet which will have details of our work and our latest campaign, and there will be a session in your training about this. We will also provide you with handy wallet-sized cards with key facts about the campaign.

It’s not essential to have volunteered with WaterAid before, but you must be willing to learn as much as you can about our work so that you can talk to people at the festival.

If you’re not as confident about talking to the public, or would prefer a role where you don’t need to do this, then you can select our Loo Crew team as your preference on your application form. These teams work to keep toilet areas clean, and will not need to spend as much time talking about WaterAid’s work.

What happens if I am no longer able to attend?

If, due to unavoidable circumstances, you are not able to attend the festival after confirming your place then we will replace you with someone on our waiting list – provided you let us know before 1 June 2016. 

If it is after this date we will not be able to replace you, so we would ask for a donation of £300 to WaterAid to cover the cost of your ticket and administration.

How old do I need to be to apply to volunteer?

You must be 18 at the time of the festival to join the WaterAid volunteer team.

I am a person with disabilities, can I still apply?

Yes. Please indicate what your disability is on your application form and if you would need us to adapt your job role. If you would like to discuss this further you can call us on 020 7793 2232.

At the festival

What would I be doing at the festival?

We have several different volunteering roles at the festival, in areas related to water and sanitation. 

  • At the ShePees, our ladies-only teams explain how to pee standing up and hand out ShePee funnels, helping raise awareness of the importance of safe sanitation and hygiene for women and girls. 
  • Our team of Water Kiosk volunteers are based at one of ten kiosks around the site, handing out free tap water and refilling water bottles. 
  • Our information stand team talk to people in detail about WaterAid’s work, and hand out tap water to thirsty revellers. 
  • We also have teams of recycling volunteers, based at one of the busy bars onsite, keeping the site clean and talking to people about our work. 
  • At the Stone Circle composting loos, we have teams of volunteers keeping the toilets clean and promoting the importance of toilets for all. 
  • New for 2016, our Loo Crew teams will maintain the famous Glastonbury long drop toilets – keeping them spotless… with help from a professional cleaning crew!

How many hours will I have to volunteer for?

You will be required to complete four shifts of around six hours – these run from Wednesday evening through to the early hours of Monday morning. Some volunteers with specific roles will be required to attend a training session on the Tuesday afternoon. 

Many WaterAid areas are open 24 hours a day, and your shifts will be at different times each day. This means you’ll never be working during all the headline bands, and your shifts will allow you different times off each day to experience all that the festival has to offer.

When will I find out my shift times?

We will hand out your shift times in your training session, around one month before the festival.

Can I work on the same shifts as my friends or family?

You will be asked to list any friends or family members that you are applying with on your application form. We try as best we can to place friends and family in the same teams, or at the same shift times but this is not always possible. 

You are not able to apply as a group to all work in the same team – one of the best things about Glastonbury volunteering is meeting and working with new people!

Please note the ShePee role is for female volunteers only, so if you are applying in a mixed-sex group or couple then you may be allocated different roles if you state this as your preference.

Can I bring my children with me?

Unfortunately, you cannot bring any children or dependents with you as a WaterAid volunteer. All volunteers must be over the age of 18. 


Where will I be camping?

Most of our volunteer teams are based at a central WaterAid HQ area, in a new campsite for 2016.

This is a staff-only secure area. There is a communal area with tea, coffee, snacks and seating. This campsite has composting toilets and showers. We will be able to give you more details about this campsite at your training session prior to the festival.

The WaterAid recycling team is managed by Glastonbury Festival’s critical waste team. This means that you will camp in a different area of the festival from the other WaterAid volunteers in an area called ‘Tom’s Field.’

This campsite provides two hot meals a day (vegetarian and special diets can be accommodated), free tea and coffee and showers. There is also a staff bar area with discounted prices. The campsite is on a hill at one side of the festival, close to the Pyramid stage, with great views!

Do I need to bring my own camping equipment?

Yes! You will need a tent, camping mat and sleeping bag as a minimum. We will send you a full kit list in your volunteer pack.

Can I bring a live-in vehicle (campervan or caravan) to the WaterAid camping areas?

No, unfortunately our designated camping areas do not have space for these. As a WaterAid volunteer, you must camp in our campsite.

Do I get a chance to watch my favourite bands?

Yes! You will work a maximum of six hours per day and the timing of your shift will change throughout the festival. There’s something going on at every hour of the day at Glastonbury, so you will get a chance to experience the festival and watch bands in your time off.

If it’s raining or really muddy, will my shift still go ahead/will I still be expected to work?

Yes! The WaterAid areas are open in all weather conditions and most are outside. There are areas to shelter, but you will be expected to be prepared for all weather, and bring suitable clothing and footwear!

Something else you need to know? Just drop us a line on [email protected] and we'll be happy to help! Ready to go? Apply to join our volunteer team here >