Festival volunteering in 2022

We have places available to join us at:

  • Boomtown Fair
  • Smoked & Uncut, Lime Wood (23 July or 22 - 24 July)
  • Smoked & Uncut, The Pig at Bridge Place (13 August or 12 - 14 August)

We're currently operating a waiting list for all other festivals (including Glastonbury). This means that, whilst we expect to fill our teams from our existing pool of applicants, places can – and often do! – become available. If you're accepted onto the waiting list, we'll let you know as soon as possible if we're able to offer you a spot at your chosen festival(s).

COVID-19

If it is required by the festival you are volunteering at, then yes, you will need to. We will let you know as soon as possible if any extra measures are being introduced at the festival you are volunteering at.

At this stage it’s too early to say what COVID-19 control measures festivals will need to implement this summer. We will keep you updated as we get more information.  

Festivals are currently working out what their COVID safety measures will be in order for their festival to go ahead this year. Until we know what these are, we can’t say for certain whether you will need to wear a mask or not. However, depending on your volunteer role, you may need to wear a mask during some tasks, for example, cleaning.

The safety of our staff and volunteers is a top priority for us. We've been working hard over the past year to adjust activities and minimise risk to ensure that all volunteers and staff are fully prepared to go on-site, and stay as safe as possible.

  • We are following UK government guidelines closely. 
  • We will only attend events that we have assessed as having adequate health, safety, and security measures in place. 
  • We have integrated COVID-19 into all planning, including: COVID-19 volunteer policies, enhanced risk assessments and enhanced training (particularly around cleaning measures).
  • We are also providing enhanced volunteer welfare and support measures this year, including: additional Q&A/ webinar opportunities for volunteers, additional online and onsite training, mental health first aid plans and phone call check-ins prior to arrival on-site.

Yes, if a festival cancels because of COVID-19 and you have already paid your deposit, you will be able to claim your deposit back via the deposit reclaim form. We will get in touch after the festival has cancelled with more information on how you can do this.

Unfortunately, we can’t roll over volunteering places to next year as we don’t know what activities we will be doing at festivals in 2023 or how many places we will have to offer.

In line with government guidelines, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, we ask that staff and volunteers do not attend the event if: 

  • they have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and haven’t completed their full isolation period (as defined by the UK government) before arriving on-site at the event;
  • they are awaiting results of a COVID-19 test due to a possible exposure or illness;
  • they display any symptoms of COVID-19;
  • they are otherwise required to self-isolate

If you are unable to attend the festival for any of the above reasons, you will be entitled to claim back your deposit, as per the deposit terms and conditions (PDF).

The safety and wellbeing of our staff and volunteers is our top priority. If at any point during the festival you feel unsafe or anxious about volunteering you can talk to a WaterAid staff member in person or via the event mobile numbers, which will be on 24 hours a day. If you then decide you want to leave site, we will help get you offsite and home safely.

That’s totally fine – the safety and wellbeing of our volunteers and staff is our top priority. If you’ve changed your mind about volunteering please give us a call on 020 7793 4594 or drop us an email at [email protected] and we’ll happily talk this through with you.

In short, no! We know that this year feels different for many, and we completely understand that some people might not feel ready to return to festivals and events.

On our application form we always ask applicants to let us know about how they've supported WaterAid recently – this includes if you’ve volunteered with WaterAid at festivals in the last three to four years. We will still take this into account when allocating places in 2023.

How to apply

We don’t ask you to choose exactly which roles you'd like to carry out. Instead, we ask all applicants if they’re happy to carry out roles that include the following:

  • Roaming around the festival
  • Cleaning
  • Cleaning toilets
  • Night shifts
  • Working in a female toilet urinal area (only for those who identify as female).

Most of our roles involve cleaning of some sort, along with speaking to the public about WaterAid.

We’ll be offering roles based on the above criteria and which roles are most suited to each applicant, based on relevant skills and experience, and previous support for WaterAid.

If your application is successful, we'll email you with a full role description of the role we’re offering you.

We welcome applications from people with additional accessibility requirements, and where possible we'll do our best to make any reasonable adaptions to our roles. There will be an opportunity to detail any additional requirements on the application form, and we may be in touch to discuss any requirements and the roles we have available.

You must be at least 18 at the start of the first festival you apply for. Applicants will be asked to confirm this on application, and will need to show photo ID on entry to the festival. 

If you are 17 at the time of applying, you must be turning 18 before the start of the first festival you wish to apply for. You will need to check the festival dates carefully and enter your date of birth on the application form. 

In order to fill out the application form, you will need:

  • details about you (including details of any adjustments you would require to volunteer)
  • details of your support for WaterAid
  • to have read through our festival volunteering information and have decided which festivals you would like to attend with WaterAid in 2022
  • the details of two referees – see below for who can act as a reference.

If you're applying with any friends and family, you'll need to have their full names (you may apply with up to three friends/family, and all three of you will need to apply individually).

All of our festival volunteering opportunities are based in the UK. Certain visa restrictions apply for volunteering in the UK, so please check your visa allows you to volunteer, as we are unable to support volunteer visas. By applying for our festival volunteer team you are confirming that you have a right to volunteer in the UK, and we may be in touch for proof of your visa.

If you’re offered a place, you will receive an email with the following information: 

  • the festival(s) you’ve been offered a place at 
  • details of the role(s) you’ve been offered 
  • a link to an online acceptance and deposit payment form .

You will be given a deadline to complete the online acceptance form and pay your deposit, to accept your place.  If you don't complete the form by the deadline we will take this as notice that you do not wish to take up your place, and we will re-offer this place to someone else. 

Yes. On accepting your role, you will pay a refundable deposit through our website to confirm your volunteering position with WaterAid.

If you are volunteering at multiple festivals, you will need to pay one deposit per festival.

More information about deposits can be found in our volunteer deposit terms and conditions (PDF).

We operate a refundable deposit scheme in order to: 

  • ensure we have dedicated volunteers who commit to attending the festival with us and carry out the role they have agreed to,
  • ensure we are able to deliver our services onsite to an excellent standard,
  • contribute to costs incurred on the rare occasion where a volunteer does not adhere to the volunteer agreement.

If volunteers don't complete their shifts, or drop out after the deadline and we are unable to replace them, this could impact negatively on WaterAid’s reputation and relationship with the festival, and potentially on any donations we receive. 

Many festivals we work at are sell-out events, and we have a duty to safeguard the passes allocated to our WaterAid team as part of our partnerships.

For these reasons, on the rare occasion that a volunteer drops out of their volunteer place after the deadline or does not complete any of their shifts onsite, we will keep their deposit. 

It's important that we cover our costs, so we can continue our work providing clean water and sanitation to the world’s poorest people where it is needed most. 

Upon completing your volunteer role, in accordance with the volunteer agreement (PDF) and deposit terms and conditions (PDF), you can choose to receive your deposit back or donate some or all of your deposit to WaterAid after the festival. You will be able to complete an online expenses form, and can inform us of your choice on that form post-festival. We must receive this form no later than 30 days after the end of each festival you attend in order to refund your deposit. 

If you do not adhere to our volunteer agreement and deposit terms and conditions, we reserve the right to keep your deposit. 

If you’re unable to attend the festival having already committed to volunteer and paid your deposit, you must notify us as soon as possible and by the deadline given for your festival (usually 30 days before each event).

If you notify us later than the deadline stated when applying, it becomes very difficult to replace you on the team, and therefore to help ensure we cover our costs your deposit will not be refunded. 

Please note: we would consider reviewing this in special circumstances such as serious illness or injury where a valid medical certificate can be provided, or unavoidable personal circumstances such as bereavement or pregnancy. 

This year, we're allowing volunteers to bring their children along to Camp Bestival Dorset and Camp Bestival Shropshire. Every child (or pair of children) will need to be accompanied by two guardians, both of whom must be WaterAid volunteers. Email us on [email protected] and we'll let you know more about how this works.

Unfortunately at other festivals, you can't bring children or other dependents with you as a WaterAid volunteer. We're also unable to accommodate volunteers bringing pets on-site.

Yes. We welcome applications from people with disabilities, and where possible will do our best to make any reasonable adaptions to our roles accordingly. 

Please bear in mind that many of our roles can be quite physically demanding, including:

  • moving around big open field festival sites on uneven ground (possibly with lots of mud)
  • standing/being on shift for approximately 6 hours
  • cleaning and carrying equipment around the site.

However, we commit to doing our best to provide adaptations, additional resources or equipment if they are needed. An example of this could be providing a chair to sit on during shifts, or being placed in close proximity to camping area to help minimise walking distances. 

If you would require one of our roles to be adapted, would like to discuss this further or have any queries please contact us at [email protected] or 020 7793 4594. 

For further information, please visit the individual festivals’ websites for lots of useful information about accessibility and facilities on-site.

There is an opportunity on the application form to list up to three friends or family members who are also applying. Please only list names of those who are applying in 2022. We'll then try our best to put you in a team with them. 

If you would like to bring your child/children to Camp Bestival, please email [email protected].

As part of our safeguarding processes we require satisfactory references for all our festival volunteers, before volunteers arrive onsite. This is part of our safeguarding measures and is to ensure that the volunteers we take to represent WaterAid are suitable to be part of our festival team and carry out the volunteer roles on offer this year.

We require the details (name, occupation, email address and phone number) of two referees, both of whom will need to comment on your suitability to represent WaterAid at a festival. 

Ideally, we ask for your first reference to be from either a current employer (line manager or equivalent) or a current educational institution (teacher, tutor, or equivalent). 

For your second reference (or if you do not have either of the above reference types), we will ask for a reference(s) from:

  • a previous employer from the last three years (line manager or equivalent) 
  • a current volunteer manager 
  • someone who has known you for five years 
  • a representative from a professional body such as a club or association (e.g. Rotary Club, community or faith group) 

These reference types are set out on the application form in order of preference, to ensure that we have the most relevant references from you.

We will keep your references for as long as you are an active festival volunteer, and then for three years after you cease to volunteer. An active volunteer is someone who has volunteered at a festival with WaterAid within the last two years. References will be held securely.  

Every applicant will need to provide two references on the application form.

However, if you volunteered with us at a festival in 2021, we may not need to contact your referees. This will be dealt with on a case by case basis, and if we do need to contact your referees, we will let you know.

Yes! We want our volunteering opportunities to be accessible for everyone, so if you feel money is a barrier to you volunteering, please get in touch with us by emailing [email protected], or by calling 020 7793 4594, if we can help with:

  • Setting up a payment plan for your deposit
  • Borrowing camping equipment
  • Additional help with expenses
  • Anything else that we could do to support you to volunteer with us.

All volunteers will be provided with at least one free meal per shift whilst volunteering and up to £35 towards travel expenses.

Training

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 on-site.

If you're offered a volunteer place, then after accepting and paying your deposit, we'll send you 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'll also need to download some information (such as your training guide) nearer the time of the festival, and we'll send you information about how to access this.

You will also receive onsite training at the festival, as part of your on-site briefing. This will be an opportunity to talk through your role in more detail and ask any final questions you may have.

If you don't 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.

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. You can find lots of information about our work on our website, and we encourage all volunteers to take a look before volunteering.

If you're 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.

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

At the festival: travel and food

You must stay on-site 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 at 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 early.

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're offered a volunteer place you’ll be able to state on your acceptance form if you’d like to request a parking pass. We'll let you know after you've confirmed your place if we're 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.

We will provide a contribution towards your travel costs to and from the festival, up to £35 per person.

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'll 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.

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

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. You will be sent a training guide tailored to the role you are undertaking, as well as receiving specific on-site training.

If you have further queries about our roles, please get in touch with us at [email protected] or on 020 7793 4594.

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.

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

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 please bear in mind that this isn't always possible.

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

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 won't be able to join us in this area. Further information about the campsite and facilities will be given nearer the festival.

Yes! You will need a tent, camping mat and sleeping bag as a minimum. It can get quite chilly at night time, so please make sure you bring enough warm clothes/sleeping gear to stay warm and dry. We'll send you detailed information about what to bring with you nearer the time.

As space at the campsite is limited, we ask that you bring as small a tent as possible, or share a bigger tent with other WaterAid volunteers (e.g. two people in a four-person tent) – we want to make sure all our volunteers have enough space for their tent! Gazebos are not permitted in our camping area.

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

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.

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 and conditions.

Can't find the answer to your question?

If you have a question that isn't answered here, or you'd like to discuss any aspect of festival volunteering with us, please get in touch – we'll be happy to help!

You can email the festivals team on [email protected], or call the supporter care team on 020 7793 4594.