Throwback: My Years Enjoying Music Festivals for Free

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.

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T in the Park 2011 I think…

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.

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Cascade of Colour is a UK Men’s Lifestyle blog delving in to the world of Male Fashion and Grooming, Food, Music (a lot of this!), Design, Tech and Travel. Want to get in touch? Drop me an email at cascadeofcolour@gmail.com

14 thoughts on “Throwback: My Years Enjoying Music Festivals for Free

    1. Thanks for reading Milly, and glad you can relate to working music festivals. I certainly met some great people too and it was some of the best years.

  1. Fab post! Took me right back to my few years of festivals with my friend, she worked for a music company and got free tickets & vip camping which was AWESOME! I love the sound of working festivals – the vibe must be great, plus yes…you gotta love decent camping and a decent toilet! Thanks for the heads up about Festaff 👍

    Leigh at Fashion Du Jour LDN HQ x
    http://www.fashiondujour.co.uk

    1. Thanks for reading Leigh, staff camping is the closest thing you can get to VIP plus you get access to most areas behind the scenes too. Already counting down to my next festivals, glad you enjoy!

  2. I love festivals, but teenagers with GCSE’s have kept us away for several years now. My eldest is 22 and has worked a few himself over the past 4 years – it’s a fantastic way to see all kinds of bands – especially ones you probably wouldn’t have chosen to – you can catch some fantastic surprise gems 🙂

    1. Absolutely! And with you getting in for free you don’t feel as pressured to see everyone and get your moneys worth, i’ve found some great hidden gems at Bestival in the past 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the post

  3. I’ve always wanted to work at festivals like this! I never want to fork out the cash for tickets when sometimes you don’t know the line up, but ticketing and litter picking is a sacrifice I’d be willing to make.

    1. Honestly you will really enjoy the ticketing / wristbanding stuff, it flys by and you get to have a chat to everyone on their way in. Ticket prices can be a bit pricey nowadays. Thanks for reading Jess

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