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Managing Music Festival Volunteers in COVID Times.

Andy Robertson

Many music festivals rely on an army of more than 200 volunteers to help run their events each year. As the coronavirus pandemic still persists around the world what impact will this have on event organisers pushing ahead with their 2021 events on how they train and manage their volunteers. 

Using volunteers at music festivals has been a long tradition going back decades and most events would likely never happen without them. Organisers of the largest music festivals put so much importance on their volunteers that organisers often employ small teams of full-time staff to recruit, train and manage them. With so many mixed duties and rosters to manage this is hardly surprising, however their focus will likely have to shift this year. The applications for volunteers are almost always oversubscribed so recruitment should not be an issue this year, however volunteer managers may have to put more emphasis on recruiting people with skills and experience related to health screening. What is the likely change in focus going to be for volunteer mangers in the 2021 festival season?

Traditional training was fairly simple and required the presence of volunteers to attend onsite sessions weeks or days in the run up to the event dates. This would cover topics like understanding site maps, performance scheduling, ticket scanning and payments processing for example. New for 2021 will be additional training on new coronavirus specific health and safety rules and regulations that may be prevalent at that time. This could include the monitoring and compliance of social distancing rules, visitor temperature screening and compliance with mask wearing if required. Volunteers are also likely to be assisting with COVID-19 testing if that is deemed necessary, working closely with professional medical staff that may be employed to administer them. In addition, expect most training of the volunteer teams to be done via remote call sessions rather than in person.

Revised Duty Rosters.
The duty rosters will likely change in light of coronavirus with new duties to assist in implementing new coronavirus related restrictions. Irrespective of how the organisers arrange their temperature screening (thermometer or thermal imaging) more people will be required to police this at all entrance gates to the festival.

Contingency Planning.
There will be more emphasis on contingency planning for the volunteer's managers with constant checks and testing of volunteers before and during the festival dates. Managers will need the ability to move and change volunteer’s duties around depending on their availability and any potential sickness or quarantine requirements. In addition, as festivals may be subject to date changes all volunteers need at agree to an element of flexibility in their availability. 

For any music festival organisers and volunteer managers planning their 2021 events using a software management platform like
Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need to plan every aspect of their volunteer recruitment, training and management. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors guestlists and ticketing.

Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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