So a few weeks back I did something I have never done before. I went to a large camping music festival. I went to a music festival with 25K people…by myself. I camped by myself for the first time. I volunteered.
I had a great time.
I do not regret it at all, and I am very thankful that I experienced it. I am excited for next year festival season to do it again!
While I know that it takes volunteers and lots of people to put on events like music festivals, golf tournaments, swim meets etc. I just never thought of myself volunteering at a music festival. Just wasn’t on my radar. Boy I wish I had figured this out years ago! I missed out on some opportunities over the years because I thought I didn’t have the money or didn’t have someone to go with. Little did I know I could volunteer!
The festival itself, I had some highs and lows. See, I had initially bought a ticket and had plans to go with a group. That blew up the week before. So even though I changed my expectations when I decided to volunteer, I wasn’t without baggage.
I thought volunteering would be great because I would be immediately immersed with others. Make instant festival friends. When in actuality I struggled with that. Looking back, besides some logistics of my volunteering, it probably had more to do with my “baggage”. I wasn’t open to the new relationships, no matter what I think was, I wasn’t. And that’s OK. I was open to volunteering and experience that, which has in itself so much value!
I got lucky. It was a four day festival. The first time this festival had ever been put on. It was a unique festival for many reasons- Great line up, close by and only two stages right next to each other, so no “competing” music acts. I paid $300 (cost of a ticket) and worked 18hrs over 4 days, I got my money back. Sounds great right? Going in I was hoping I didn’t miss any of the “must see” bands on my list. I get my schedule the Monday before the festival….I work ALL Day (7am-9pm) on Thursday and (745-3) on Friday. The only catch was….I still didn’t know what I would be doing. Oh forgot to mention, as a volunteer we got into camp Wednesday night…before the general public. How awesome is that? I got to be on the grounds and check everything out first!
So turns out Thursday I end up having to work the Box office. Talk about right up my alley! Its pure customer service and logistics. Hello!! That’s what I do every day. Plus it was the first day of this festival and the first time for the festival. Boy were things a little ‘hectic’. But I went in with my take charge attitude and made myself valuable. They day was crazy busy but I ran things like I have been doing it for years (not just hours). And while there were some bands I missed on Thursday, none of them were bands I haven’t seen before or wouldn’t have opportunity to see again over the weekend. It was crazy though, by 830 when I was about to get off, I realized I was a little stressed out from the day. Like seriously, stressed from a volunteer shift??? Trust me that stress didn’t last long. I was off just in time to see Gov’t Mule, who was on my must see list. I got off just in time to walk down the hill into the music. Not even time to get a beer or scope it out. I didn’t care, I was there for the music and a wonderful show is what I got. It was perfect.
Then I got even luckier on Friday…. I worked the entrance ticket gate. So after your car got searched, we were the ticket scanners. The thing was, they didn’t have all the gates open, so they didn’t need all of us and I ended up just sitting around filling in and chit chatting. It was like my reward for working so hard the day before!
The volunteer gods who made my first Festival volunteer experience spoiled me. It’s going to be hard to be that lucky again. But that’s ok. It was meant to be that way this year. It was EXACTLY what I needed and where I needed to be.
After Friday, I was done to enjoy 2 and half more days of music on my schedule with no responsibilities to anyone else.
It was a blast. It was memorable. Lockn‘ was great. Can’t wait until next year!