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Running a Music Festival Volunteer Training Day.

Andy Robertson

Music festival organisers rely on volunteers to help run their events, they can number in the hundreds depending on the size of the festival. A dedicated volunteer training day may be the best and most cost-efficient way to get hundreds of volunteers briefed and trained prior to the event taking place.

Festival organisers start recruiting volunteers early in the planning phase to ensure they get the numbers required to run their event. The application process will require prospective volunteers to provide details of relevant experience and their availability plus a commitment to attend training days. Much of this application process can be automated with the right software and organisers usually aim to have achieved the required number of volunteers months in advance of the live date. Rather than running a piecemeal series of training dates it is more efficient to select a single day for training. 

Volunteer Training Day Benefits. 
A single training day for volunteers is a great way to judge commitment of the volunteers and demonstrates a willingness to work for the festival. Volunteers get an opportunity to network with their peers and meet the organising team giving them a better sense of the event and improving volunteer retention. A single training day ensures that organisers can cover all the required topics in one go without having to repeat the process with another group on another day. 

Volunteer Management. 
Organisers should assign a volunteer manager who will usually be a full-time member of staff from the organising entity. It is essential that they have the necessary experience of managing sizeable volunteer teams from previous events. Both the application process and the training day are opportunities for the volunteer manager to assess individual's abilities and attribute responsibilities to carefully selected team leaders. Breaking down the volunteers into smaller groups with an assigned team leader helps the management process as the volunteer manager will only have a handful of direct reports rather an army of people demanding their time. All volunteers should understand the reporting escalation process to keep management efficient. 

Training Day Content. 
The activities for a training day need to be planned and prepared well in advance by the volunteer manager and will need to cover a large number of aspects about the festival. This preparation will be smoother if the volunteer applications have been analysed to understand shifts that have been preselected along with assigning individuals based on previous experience. Volunteers can be notified in advance of the training day schedule and specific duties each individual has been assigned. The preferred date selected for any training day should be a few weeks prior to the live dates and could be run at a suitable convenient venue or on the festival site if the build has been completed. Typical activities for a volunteer training day should include assigning roles and responsibilities with additional training for team leaders. Training on health and safety processes along with practical demonstrations by qualified first aiders is essential so that volunteers know what they can and cannot do. Role playing in each volunteer duty can be an important part of the training day and should include customer service principles. 

A well-run volunteer training day will benefit both organisers and volunteers with improved efficiency and volunteer motivation in preparation for the festival's live dates. Organisers should review the volunteer training process each year to achieve continuous improvement for future events. 

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics including a dedicated volunteer management module. 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, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Image by Matheus Bertelli via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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