Application process

What festivals do you have spaces at in 2020?

Applications to volunteer in 2019 are now closed. More information about festival volunteering in 2020 will be available in January.

In the meantime you can join the WaterAid Festival Volunteering Facebook group and or register your interest in volunteering with WaterAid.

How do I apply?

Applications to volunteer in 2019 are now closed.

When applications for 2020 open you will apply via an online application form on our website.

You will be given the chance to let us know more about your support of WaterAid on the application form.

How old do I need to be to apply to volunteer at a festival?

You must be 18 years+ 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 years at the time of applying, you must be turning 18 years 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.

When can I apply?

Applications to volunteer in 2019 are now closed. More information about festival volunteering in 2020 will be available in January 2020.

Do I need a visa to volunteer?

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.

Please note for Glastonbury 2019 volunteering opportunities you are also required to attend a training session in the UK ahead of the festival, and we are unable to support with expenses for this.

When will I know if I’ve been offered a place or not?

When applications open in January 2020 there will be more information about the application process and timings, so keep an eye on our website.

What happens if I’m offered a place?

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

  • The festival you’ve been offered a place at
  • The role 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 do not 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.

Why do you need references if I’ve volunteered with WaterAid before?

As part of our safeguarding processes we require satisfactory references for all our festival volunteers. We ask for these each year, even if you have volunteered with us before to ensure that our background checks are up-to-date. It is also 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.

Will I need to pay a deposit if I’m offered a place on the team?

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

Why do I need to pay a deposit?

We operate a refundable deposit scheme for the following reasons:

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

On the rare occasion that a volunteer drops out of their volunteer place after the deadline and WaterAid keeps their deposit, this is a contribution towards administration costs such as: application and recruitment costs, processing the deposit, producing volunteer information, training and resources. All of these processes take months of staff time and resources from multiple WaterAid teams.

Where volunteers do not complete their shifts onsite, this could impact negatively on WaterAid’s reputation and relationship with the festival, and potentially to any donations WaterAid receives.

It is important that WaterAid covers its costs to continue our work providing clean water and sanitation to the world’s poorest people where it is needed most.

Will I receive my deposit back?

Upon completing your volunteer role in accordance with the volunteer agreement and deposit terms and conditions, 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, WaterAid reserve the right to keep your deposit.

What happens if I am no longer able to attend once I’ve accepted my place and paid my deposit?

If you’re unable to attend the festival having already committed to volunteer and paid your deposit, you must notify the WaterAid festivals team as soon as possible and by the deadline given for your festival (usually 30 days before each event). If you notify us by this date, we will return your deposit to you after the festival has taken place. This process stands for each festival if you have accepted more than one place.

If you notify us later than 30 days prior to your arrival at the festival or after the date 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.

Can I bring my children or other dependants with me?

Unfortunately, you cannot bring children or other dependents with you as a WaterAid volunteer. We are also unable to accommodate volunteers bringing pets onsite.

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

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 the festival site on uneven ground (possibly lots of mud); standing/being on shift for approximately 6 hours; carrying equipment around the site. We do our best to provide adaptations, additional resources or equipment if they are needed, but we do this within the constraints of a festival environment and what is available onsite at festivals may be different to that in everyday life – for example, we cannot guarantee that we will have access to electricity for charging or powering equipment, and we cannot ensure that there will be flat, paved ground to access our work areas.

Please read the descriptions on our website for further information about available roles. If you have a personal assistant or carer they will also need to apply and take on a volunteer role, as we are allocated a set number of tickets to provide agreed services onsite.

If you would require one of our roles to be adapted, would like to discuss this further or have any queries please contact the WaterAid Festivals Team 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 onsite.


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.

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.

What face-to-face training sessions are available for Glastonbury volunteers this year?

If your application to volunteer with WaterAid at Glastonbury is successful, you must attend one face-to-face training session. The dates and locations of these sessions will be on the application form.

When completing the Glastonbury volunteer application form, you will have the opportunity to select your first and second preference for these training sessions. We do our best to accommodate your training session choice. If your application is successful we will let you know which training session you have a space on when we send your volunteer place offer.

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?

Further information about the roles on our 2020 festival volunteer teams will be available on our festival volunteering page as soon as they are released in January.

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 asked to list any 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. You are not able to apply as a group to all work in the same team, because we have relatively small teams – one of the best things about festival volunteering is meeting new people!

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] or call us on 020 7793 4594.