Poverty is one of the fundamental issues which prevents many people from accessing what they need to fulfill their basic human rights – whether that be food, water, shelter or education. The charity Oxfam work around the world to combat this, and consequently improve people’s rights as a result, meaning their work could not be more important.
However, volunteering for such an important cause need not be as serious – by joining the Oxfam Festivals team, you can spend your summer at an amazing range of festivals whilst raising funds and awareness for Oxfam, meeting new people, and even gaining experience to put on your CV.
I first volunteered in 2017 at Camp Bestival as a steward with a friend, and I can’t recommend it enough. As a steward, you interact with the public, helping them out with any enquiries or concerns they may have and keeping them safe. We did three 8 hour shifts throughout the festival, but otherwise the time was ours to explore and enjoy everything that was going on. We also spent a lot of our time in the Oxfam marquee chatting to other volunteers, who were all so lovely they convinced me to volunteer at Reading that summer with them too.
I’m not a camping fan by any means, but as a volunteer you get a little more of an upgraded experience – from access to the Oxfam marquee, which has hot water and phone charging, to the meal tokens you get, to the amazing staff boat at Reading (which takes you down to the main arena every day from staff camping), you definitely get some great extras. Importantly, stewarding at all of the festivals they work at is free – you pay a deposit which covers the price of a ticket at the most expensive festival you sign up for, but this is returned after the festival – meaning if you can’t afford lots of festival tickets, this is the perfect way to fill your summer whilst getting to feel good about it at the same time.
If you’re now convinced, being a steward is really straightforward – you don’t need to have any experience, and places are simply first come first served. If the idea of attending festivals sounds great, but stewarding doesn’t appeal to you, there are also roles available as campaigners and Oxfam festival shop volunteers, although these have different requirements.
Volunteering with Oxfam Festivals the summer before uni was absolutely incredible. I can’t wait to go back in future years, and hope to see some of you in the Oxfield in summer 2020!
For more information on how to get involved, visit https://oxfamapps.org/festivals.