Festivals are a time for people to come together and revel in their passions, a time to take a break from the ordinances of everyday life and celebrate something near and dear. If you are willing to put in the work and efforts, then it won’t be too hard to have the time of your life joining the craze of festivals as an international volunteer. Those who volunteer at festivals abroad will get a behind the scenes look at the organization and coordination that goes into festival and event management, but they will also get to work with people from a range of backgrounds and enjoy the excitement that comes along with festivals worldwide.
Why Volunteer Abroad at Festivals
Year after year, festivals all around the world depend on the devoted work of volunteers, both international and local, to make sure every part of the festival goes off without a hitch. Though it may seem like all fun and games while you are in attendance, there is actually a ton of work that goes on behind the scenes in order to make festivals run smoothly and successfully. Volunteering at a festival abroad is your opportunity to earn free admittance, get a unique backstage view into how festivals run, and experience the excitement of another culture’s revelry.
All around the world, no matter what beliefs and customs each country may possess, festivals exist and play a similar role in society. The goal of every festival is the same, to allow people to celebrate a tradition. Festivals can be big or small, so each one is run by a variety of organizations. Although there are a range of opportunities around the world, and even more festivals that exist, below is a list of some of the most popular options for festival volunteering abroad.
In North America, Mardi Gras reigns supreme. This New Orleans based celebration typically lands on the end of February or beginning of March, celebrating the approach of Ash Wednesday. Brazil’s Carnaval coincidentally falls at a similar time in Rio de Janeiro, and is the largest celebration of its kind in South America.
In Europe, volunteers flock to festivals new and old to experience the event and also contribute to its success year after year. From Oktoberfest in Munich to Carnevale in Venice (not to be confused with Brazil’s Carnaval) to a variety of film and music festivals in Belgium, there are a wide array of celebrations that invite international volunteers to join their team.
In Asia, festivals as broad and diverse as the Harbin Ice Festival in China, Diwali in India, and the Ultra Music Festival in South Korea all depend on the the continual support of volunteers to help everything run smoothly.
Volunteering at a festival abroad can take you anywhere in the world, so do some research to find which one seems like the most fun and rewarding experience for you!
Festival Volunteering Abroad
Those who decide to volunteer abroad at festivals typically carry out a wide array of different tasks; setting up, collecting tickets, handing out wristbands, monitoring the crowd, and cleaning up the grounds are all common tasks of festival volunteers. If you have a specialized skillset, such as in first aid or stage design, then you can often volunteer to provide these more specific skills as well.
If the work sounds mundane, keep in mind that volunteers usually perform their duties in shifts, and in your free time you can enjoy the festival just the same as everyone else. It’s a win-win situation on both sides; volunteers earn free admittance to the celebration and the festival can run successfully for everyone, all because of the work by volunteers!
Different types of festivals will also set up volunteer work in different ways. For example, volunteering at a music festival, which tends to last around three days and cater to a specific crowd, will be a lot different than volunteering at Mardi Gras in New Orleans, which lasts for two weeks and is essentially mayhem in the streets the entire time.
No matter what way you go about it, volunteering abroad at a festival will be a great way to join in the swarm of excitement, experience a significant cultural event, and ensure attendees have a great time.
Have Fun. The most important part about volunteering at a festival is that you have fun. Wherever you are in the world, cutting loose in your free time and joining in the event will be an experience you never forget.
Make it Happen. Quite simply, most festivals could not continue to succeed without the helpful support of volunteers. It is hard enough to break even when putting on a festival, so the volunteer force in attendance is greatly appreciated by everyone on both sides of the table.
Quirky Culture. While volunteering abroad at a festival, you will get a glimpse into the everyday culture of your host country, and you will get an even more interesting glimpse into the way people celebrate. Three cheers for cultural immersion!