Application process

What happens if I applied to volunteer with WaterAid at a festival this year?

Thank you for taking the time to apply to volunteer with us this summer.  Sadly, but understandably all the festivals we had planned to attend this year have been cancelled due to Covid-19.  At present all these festivals are planning to return in 2021, and we will honour all 2020 applications for 2021.  This means that if you applied to volunteer with WaterAid at a festival this summer, your application is eligible to be carried over into 2021 for that festival(s).  We have not sent any offers for 2020 volunteer places, and we will not be offering any places until next year. 

Please see below for further details of how this process will work. 

How will honouring 2020 applications work for 2021?

We are adapting our processes, and we envisage there will be the following phases: 

  1. Towards the end of the summer we will e-mail all 2020 applicants to ask if they would like their application to be carried over for 2021, and will ask them to complete a short form to express their interest. 
  2. We will assess the number of applicants who have confirmed they would like to carry their applications over. 
  3. By the end of the year, we will e-mail all 2020 applicants who have confirmed they would like their application carried over into 2021, asking them to complete a new form to ensure we have up-to-date details for them. 
  4. At the start of 2021 we will allocate places for 2021 festivals based on the up-to-date information we have received from 2020 applicants. 

If your email address has changed since you applied to volunteer, please let us know by emailing [email protected]

What happens if I’m not sure if I can/ will want to volunteer with WaterAid next summer?

We understand that things may feel uncertain at the moment and that people’s circumstances may change over the coming months.

However, to help us plan for next summer we'll be asking applicants to express an interest in carrying over their application for 2021. By doing so, this does not confirm a place on our team, and you will be able to withdraw your application at any time by confirming this in writing to us at [email protected] – please bear in mind our Deposit Terms & Conditions for withdrawing if you wish to so after accepting a volunteer place, these T&Cs will be sent with all place offers. 

Can I change the festivals I’ve applied for?

At this stage we are carrying over applications for the same festival(s) you applied for in 2020.  For example, if you did not apply to volunteer with us at Glastonbury this year, you will not be able to add that to your application for 2021. 

If this changes we will update applicants at the earliest opportunity. 

What happens if I can’t remember which festivals I applied for this year?

In the e-mails you receive from WaterAid about your festival application it will state which festival(s) you have applied for.  If at any stage you need further clarification you can contact the festivals team on [email protected]   

What happens if the information I put on my application has changed since I completed the form at the beginning of 2020 i.e. my contact details or how I’ve supported WaterAid?

We understand that some of the details you put on your application form at the start of this year may have changed by the time we get to 2021.  To make sure we have the most up-to-date information for you when we are allocating places, you will be asked to complete a new form towards the end of this year – we will keep this form as short as possible, but we also need to give you the opportunity to make sure we have your most up-to-date details, for example: current contact details, ways you have/are supported WaterAid and referee details.

Are WaterAid taking any new applications for 2021?

At present we are not taking new applications for 2021 and will be aiming to fill our 2021 festival volunteering team with people who applied to join our team this year. 

If this changes, we will announce this at the earliest opportunity on our festival page, and through communications to our supporters. 

To keep up-to-date you can: 


Do I need to complete training before the festival(s)?

Yes! It is compulsory that all volunteers complete training before attending their first festival with WaterAid this year. Training will be completed online and will prepare you to be ready for attending the festival as part of the WaterAid team, and the role you’ll be carrying out onsite. 

If you are offered a volunteer place, after accepting your place and paying your deposit, you’ll be sent a link to the online training area, instructions for how to complete it, and a date by which you need to have done so. You can do this in your own time, and it will need to be completed in one session. Our festivals team will be on hand to support you with this and answer any questions or discuss areas of our work or your role in more detail. 

You will also need to download some information online (i.e. rota) nearer the festival, and you’ll be sent information about how to access this. 

The majority of volunteers offered a place at Glastonbury are also required to attend a training session in person. The details of these are on the application form where you will also be able to state which session you would prefer to attend. If you volunteered at Glastonbury 2019 with WaterAid, then you may NOT be required to attend a face to face session this year. Our team will be in touch if this applies to you. 

What happens if I do not complete training?

If you do not complete your training or attend a required training session by the deadline given, your place will be withdrawn and your deposit will not be refunded to you as per the volunteer agreement.

How much information about WaterAid will I need to know?

Talking passionately and confidently about WaterAid and our work is a key part of most of our volunteer roles at the festivals. We will provide you with basic information about WaterAid’s work in your training. Lots of information about WaterAid’s work can also be found on the WaterAid website and we encourage all volunteers to take a look before volunteering.

If you are not as confident about talking to the public, or would prefer a role where you do not need to do this, then please ensure you read the role descriptions and select an appropriate role(s). If you have any queries, please contact our festival team to discuss.

How do I keep up-to-date with what’s happening before the festival?

Once you have accepted your place by completing your online acceptance form and paying your deposit, we will be in touch in the run up to the festival with updates via email.

At the festival: Travel and food

When do I need to arrive onsite at the festival, and when can I leave?

You must stay onsite for the duration of your shifts and you must be able to camp with the WaterAid team. Further information about arrival times will be given to confirmed volunteers.

If your application is successful, your shift times and rotas will be shared with you ahead of the festival. You will be able to leave the site after your last shift. If your shifts finish before Monday morning and you wish to leave the site you must inform the WaterAid management team, so that we know you have left the site early.

How do I get to/from the festival?

You will need to arrange your own travel to and from the festival. We recommend public transport as a quicker, cheaper and more environmentally friendly option. All festivals have coaches leaving from various locations around the UK, which drop you at the festival. Shuttle buses also run to/from local train stations.

We have a limited number of car parking passes. If you are offered a volunteer place you’ll be able to state on your acceptance form if you’d like to request a parking pass. We will let you know after you have confirmed your place if we are able to offer you a car parking pass. If you do drive to/from the festival, we strongly advise car sharing with other WaterAid volunteers for environmental reasons, and to ensure we have enough parking passes for our volunteers.

Please check the individual festival websites for further information on all transport options. If you accept a volunteer place, we recommend booking your transport as soon as possible after you have accepted your place and paid your deposit.

Does WaterAid cover my travel expenses?

We will provide a contribution towards your travel costs to and from the festival, and for the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to travel. We take these factors into consideration when setting our maximum allowances. In 2019, volunteers were able to claim up to £35 per person in travel expenses.

If you choose to claim your travel expenses, you’ll be able to do so after the festival, and these will be paid by BACS (directly into your bank account). If you travel by public transport you will need to provide us with receipts when claiming your expenses. If you travel by car, the person driving will need to claim expenses for any other WaterAid volunteers in the car that wish to claim, and reimburse them accordingly. If you are the driver, you will need to tell us your to/from locations, mileage and the names of any WaterAid volunteers travelling in your car that you are claiming on behalf of.

You will be able to claim your travel expenses after the festival using an online expenses form.

What happens about food onsite?

WaterAid volunteers will either be provided with: a) vouchers to use at the onsite crew café, or b) an expense allowance, towards a meal on the days you have a shift at the festival (to be reimbursed after the festival). We will confirm the individual arrangements for food and expenses with you for each festival you are attending.

At the festival: Roles and shifts

What would I be doing at the festival?

For information about roles at Festivals visit our 2020 Festival Volunteering page.

Many of our roles involve the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene services at festivals as this helps us raise awareness of these global issues as well as vital funds!

You will be on the same role the throughout the festival, and will not be able to swap roles with other volunteers. Your pre-event training will be tailored specifically to the role you are undertaking.

If you have further queries about our roles please do get in touch with the WaterAid Festivals Team at [email protected] or on 020 7793 4594.

How many hours will I have to volunteer for?

Our teams volunteer for approximately 6 – 8 hours a day (not including travel to and from your shift), spending a maximum of 24 hours over the festival volunteering. We sometimes have teams which are required to volunteer overnight, more information about this is available in the role descriptions for each festival.

When will I find out my team/shift times?

We will share your rota and shift times with you before the festival.

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

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

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. In some roles there are areas to shelter, but you will be expected to be prepared for all weather, so please bring suitable clothing and footwear (sturdy closed toed comfortable footwear)!

At the festival: Camping

Where will I be camping?

All WaterAid volunteers must camp in the crew-only secure area specified by WaterAid. If you have friends or family camping in general camping at the festival, you will still need to camp in the WaterAid campsite and unfortunately they will not be able to join us in this area. Further information about the campsite and facilities will be given nearer the festival.

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 information about what to bring with you. It can get quite chilly at night time, so please make sure you bring enough warm clothes/sleeping gear to stay warm and dry. As space at the campsite is limited, we ask that volunteers bring as small a tent as you can manage with, or share a bigger tent with other WaterAid volunteers (i.e. 2 people in a 4 person tent) – we want to make sure all our volunteers have enough space for their tent! Gazebos are not permitted in our camping area.

Can I bring a live-in vehicle (campervan or caravan)?

No. Unfortunately, we are not permitted these in our designated camping areas. As a WaterAid volunteer, you must camp in our campsite.

After the festival

Will I be able to give my feedback to WaterAid about my experience at the festival?

Yes. Shortly after each festival we will send volunteers an online survey to complete, so you can tell us what went well and what we can improve on. The results will be used to feed into planning for future years.

When can I claim my expenses and deposit back?

Shortly after each festival we will remind you how to claim your expenses and deposit back if you wish to, or how to donate your deposit to WaterAid. You must inform us you want to claim these back, no later than 30 days after the festival in accordance with the Deposit Terms & Conditions.

Can't find the answer to your question?

You can email our festivals team at [email protected].