PAGE FOUR: VOLUNTEERING
A (hopefully) Useful and (possibly) humorous
Guide to Survival
as a Camper and Volunteer
at The Philadelphia Folk Festival
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SECTION C The First time Volunteer.....
First. let me give you the main address for Volunteering:
The Phila Folk Fest
7113 Emlen Street
Phila PA 19118
215 242 1300 / 1301
Volunter EARLY and, if you have a preference as to which Committee you want to be on, let it be known. You don't get if you don't ask, and the EARLIER you ask the BETTER your chances!
OK. To be honest about it, MOST of the Committees at Festival are comprised of returning Volunteers and any new spots are usually filled by their friends and relations. It may be nepotistic, but it works quite well for the Festival. If you are a 'casual' first-time volunteer, especially if you wait untll late July to volunteer, you will probably wind up in either Parking, Camping or Security. (I spent four years on Camping and three in Security and loved every minute of it.) But for all Committees the drill is pretty much the same.
I will outline the "Laws Of Festival " and you will observe and honor them!
01: Thou Shall Show Up For Thy Shift On Time: Properly Equipped, Sober and Ready To Go
( and preferably fifteen minutes early.)
We rely on your presence. If you cannot fulfill your shift, please let SOMEONE in authority know about it and let 'em know why in ADVANCE. This way they may be able to fill your slot,
but you are STILL gonna be in a world of disapproval.
"Yea ", saith the Chairman,
"there is NO reason for missing thy shift, neither shalt thou offer any lame excuses ".
If you die at Festival, please be sure you report to your committee headquarters
and THEN fall down, so the event can be noted.
"Be Prepared" for Cold, Dark, Heat, Rain, etc... Telling your crewleaders that you have to run back to the campsite for....whatever....will not endear you to them.
Find out who you are relieving and be sure they can find your tentsite if you have a four a.m. shift.
Bring a WIND-UP alarm clock.
(The chipmunks are on strike again, so there's no-where to plug in an electric alarm clock!)
Volunteering is VOLUNTARY until you VOLUNTEER.
After that, you can pretty much rely on the fact that they're counting on you to BE THERE, to BE FUNCTIONAL and to BE PREPAREDfor (Rain) (Cold) (Heat) (Dark) (Whatever)
for the duration of your shift.
If you do not show up for your shift and have not pre-alerted the committee as to your absence, you may find yourself stopped at any of the check-gates and escorted to the appropriate headquarters. This is something you do NOT want to have happen, especially if you entertain any fansasies of being invited back next year. Red-flagged badges usually get the "NFG " stamp (no-effin'-good) and that's it for your career as a Festival Volunteer on ANY committee and your continued presence at THIS Festival..
As a Volunteer, you are a part of the larger machine, and you are VERY important to it's smooth operation and to the care and feeding of the Festival-Goer (who paid a LOTTA BUCKS to be there.).
02: Thou Shalt Understand What The Hell Thou Art To Do During Thy Shift.
If you are unclear as to your duties, ASK YOUR CREW CHIEF. In the unlikely event that the Crew Chief does not have the answers, then BOTH of you should go talk to the Field Supervisor or next-in command.
Be clear as to what is expected of you. Know where to be, when to be there and what to do,
and everything else is simple.
03: Thou Art NOT a 'Cop', neither may thou 'Coerce' compliance from the sheep.
Your job is to explain the rules and reason people into obeying them. You, no more or less than the ticket-holders, are a guest of the Festival. You have NO 'Police' powers and - should you encounter a situation where your powers of persuasivness or gentle reason are insufficient (and you will, oh, you will...) then call for backup and your Crew-chief, explain what's going on and what you did to try to ameilorate it and
LET THEM HANDLE IT.
A tip: it works MUCH better if you are acquainted with the rules and why they're in place. Explaining that someone is not permitted thru THAT gate at THIS time because .....(whatever)...
works SO much better than just saying, "You can't do that. "
THAT'S IT! Those three rules will ensure you have a smooth series of shifts and - even if you don't exactly distinguish youself in service - at least you'll get invited back next year! Of course, the more you learn about Festival and your committee in general, the better a Volunteer you will be and that sort of stuff IS noticed, I assure you. I went from casual volunteer to Crew-chief, then to Field Supervisor and after a while was asked to CoChair the Comittee.
BUT: ALL THAT BEING SAID:
After your shift is done, you still have one more major responsibility to the Folk Festival:
Don't let Volunteering be the 'be-all and end-all' of being at Festival!
Have Fun! Make Music! Enjoy Yourself!
You get fed. For free.
It may not be inspiring ( although this year the food was exceptionally good!) but it'll keep you on you feet and happy for the duration. The Food tent hours are extremely flexible.
If you'd prefer to feed yourself - see sections ( 5 ) and ( 6 ) of the Camper's Guide.
THERE ARE NO PROVISIONS FOR SPECIAL DIETS (other than Vegetarian) MADE BY THE VOLUNTEER'S FOOD TENT.
You get free admission to the Festival.
If you want reserved seating, you need only pay the extra money required for said seating. HOWEVER: If your favorite act is on at the same time you have a shift, you WILL attend your shift unless you have PREVIOUSLY arranged (and received permission) to swap shifts wih another volunteer!
You get to camp for free.
Check out the ticket prices and you'll see just how much your presence as a Volunteer means to the Festival. That's a buncha bucks! If you can volunteer early ( from Monday on) to help set up your Comittee, you will be loved and respected by one and all.
If you are available from (say) June on a regular basis, you may want to talk to the Grounds Committee, the largely un-sung group who actually set up the Festival, build the Crafts and other booths, the stage, set the fences and do all the other dirty work. Without them there would be no Festival.
Show up. Do your shift. Once your shift is over, have fun.
Have a Great Festival!
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