Something a little bit different for today and I’m jumping on the “Throwback Thursday” bandwagon with this one. With festival season well under way this month and most the line ups now out (Longitude in Ireland my fave so far), i’ve decided to look back at my years ‘working’ music festivals for free.
I never really went on a lads holiday, instead me and my mates travelled the country hitting various music festivals, but instead of paying hundreds for tickets we signed up to work them and get entry for free. I say work but it’s really not what you think, we still caught 80% of the festival (sometimes not missing any music at all) and it had plenty of perks, including free food, staff camping (none of that “Alan” at 4am shite), decent toilets and you get to see what it all looks like behind the scenes, bumping in to the odd celeb here and there.
When I look back and think of some of the artists I’ve seen live for free, it’s mad. Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Rihanna, Muse, Stevie Wonder just to name a few (it’d take a lot of memory to name them all) plus all the smaller bands, DJs and entertainment that come with these things. I’ve been all over the country to the likes of Bestival, T in the Park, Wakestock (RIP I think?) Parklife and Kendal Calling during my early years and loved every bit of it. Since then I’ve been to a lot more and usually pay for a ticket nowadays, but it was a great way to open my eyes to music festivals and the life experiences that come with it, without breaking the bank.
So what does working a music festival include? The main job I had was sacrificing about 12 hours of a day taking tickets and sticking wristbands on punters. The good thing about this was this shift was usually on the Thursday of a festival, before the music had started, so I didn’t mind working the full day if it meant getting the rest of the weekend to enjoy. Time flies too and it’s great chatting to all the different people on their way in (T in the Park was the best, Scottish people are hilarious!). Apart from Parklife, which I did online promotions for, wristbanding was the main job at all these festivals for me and it’s WELL worth doing at some of the big festivals instead of spending £300 on a ticket, often coming home with more money than I left with.
Other bits we had to do at some of the events was stewarding, this basically meant telling drunk kids to stop pissing on the barriers and pointing them in the right direction. I’m proper glad I did this at 18 and some of the best summers of my life. It also eventually got me work experience for a job in the music industry after graduation, so even though it started out as freebie, it actually had meaning.
I did this through Festaff but i’m sure there’s a few different ways of working festivals, just ask about! Whilst i’m here I may as well share my love for Bestival, if you haven’t been I recommend going and it’s now a special place for me, just a shame it’s the other side of the country.
What festivals you going to this summer? I’m absolutely buzzing for Ice Cube at Parklife and a reunion weekend at Kendal Calling lined up. Check out my top mixes found getting me hyped for the summer months.