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How to Get Into Festivals For Free

Posted: 13th January 2015 16:18

Have you got a festival wish list that would have you camping in a muddy field every other weekend, but don’t quite have the budget to match?  Or perhaps you’ve spent hours on the phone and refreshing the webpage trying to get your hands on the tickets in the first place, only to miss out.  Well, it’s not too late!

A lot of companies take on temporary staff to work at festivals.  You get a free wristband in exchange for your time, and some jobs are even paid.  Either way you choose to do it, you get to soak up the atmosphere, see some live music, and meet the like-minded people who’ve also chosen to work there.  Plus you get access to staff camping and even warm showers; heavenly by day three when the main field has become more of a swamp (while the less said about the toilets, the better).

Volunteering means that you’ll probably get to see a bit more of the action – you’ll be allocated a few shifts over the course of the festival, with plenty of free time in between.  There are loads of companies offering work at festivals, so check out what they offer and figure out your best option.  Unfortunately you’re likely to be required to pay a deposit on your ticket, but you’ll get it back after the festival is over.

There’s such a wide variety of jobs at festivals that you’re bound to find something that suits you, and you’ll find that the experience of working for your ticket makes it so much sweeter.  As staff, you’ll meet 10 times the number of people you would as a regular customer; plus, you’ll be the one who discovers the best kept festival secrets that you’d never know about otherwise.  Once you’ve worked one, you’ll definitely be reluctant to go back to paying like everybody else.


Stewarding is a popular voluntary option.  You might be ticketing on the gates, enforcing fire regulations across the campsite, giving advice and directions, or working by the stages monitoring the crowds.  If you spot anything problematic, it’s your job to report to managers and security to make sure everyone stays safe and happy.

Keeping it Clean

Festivals can get pretty messy, and loads of litter pickers are required during and after the weekend.  You could also be required to give advice on how to use the recycling facilities, change the bins when they get full, or sort through the rubbish on the conveyor belt in the recycling centre.  It is not the most pleasant smelling vacancy but the hours are usually good.

Charity Work

If you’re already involved with a charity, check out if they’re going to the festival of your choice.  A lot of charities have stalls raising money there, as well as walkabout volunteers campaigning throughout the weekend.  It’s a great opportunity to get involved, plus charity work always looks good on a CV!

Work at a Stall

Alternatively if you know a vendor who’s going, see if they could do with an extra pair of hands.  This could be anything from working in a food truck, manning a vintage clothing stall, or helping out a local crafter who sells handmade jewellery.  It’ll vary if they pay you, or just offer the ticket.


Fancy yourself as a star bartender?  It’s hectic work quenching the thirst of thousands of festival goers.  You can expect busy shifts and you’ll probably be covered in cider by the end of the day – but on the up side, a lot of the bars are located near enough to the stages that you’ll be able to see (and hear) the whole thing – and get paid to for the pleasure.


Security staff is another great paid option, and you’ll be needed as soon as they start putting up the stages right up until till the last person goes home.  It does have the potential to be confrontational, but also you have the chance of being right in the middle of the action. Without being a festival photographer, this is the best chance to get front row seats to your favourite bands!

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