Festival Angels / Festival Pastors at Download Festival 2017
John Probyn of Festival Republic has asked if there could be a Christian presence at Download doing something similar to what Festival Angels do at Leeds Festival.
At Leeds Festival we work in three areas of Prayer Café, Detached (Street Angel/Pastor type work) and providing the Festival’s Lost Property provision.
Festival Republic are wanting us to replicate this work at Download Festival. We have already stated that we wouldn’t be willing to take on the Lost Property Provision this year, but may be willing to take it on in future years.
At Leeds we have a team of 170 volunteers, but would seek to start with a team of around 50 volunteers at Download and gradually increase the numbers over the years. At Leeds we have found the best way to develop the ministry is through word of mouth from people who have been involved in previous years, so 20 volunteers in 2011 grew to 50 in 2012, to 130 in 2013, and 170 last year with the possibility of a waiting list this year.
The purpose of the Festival Angels involvement at Download would be the following;
To be a visible Christian presence at a secular venue where young people don’t expect Christian involvement.
To show Christian care to all at the festival, including the workers.
To engage in conversation about Christianity with Festival-goers through creating a welcoming café in which festival-goers can sit, relax and chat.
To raise money for local churches or charities through selling teas and coffees (£1 each)
What the Festival Organizers provide us with:
A supply of Festival Wristbands. A minimum of 50 for 2017, with more available each year to allow the work to grow (the more wristbands, the more Festival Angels are able to do; but it also depends on how many volunteers we can bring in). We have found that the number of volunteers grows each year as the work we do is understood and advertised by word of mouth through the churches.
A 10m x 5m marquee. This is provided by the Festival organizers free of charge and put up by them in the traders’ alley, next to a main thoroughfare from the tents to the music.
Free water and electricity, piped directly into the marquee.
Chairs and tables (normally about 6 tables and 12 chairs).
12 radios – these are used by the detached workers so that they can contact the first aid tent if necessary.
Insurance – we are included within the Festival’s liability insurance.
What Festival Pastors / Festival Angels will provide the Festival with:
Our plan for 2017 is to develop in line with Festival Angels’ provision for Festival Republic at Leeds. We are working to provide the following:
A safe place where festival-goers and workers can relax under shelter and on seats. The Prayer Cafe will provide a place where people who have had too much drink or drugs can recover under a watchful eye but still be with their friends and, if they deteriorate, we are in regular contact with the first aid tent for them to assess and deal with if necessary. In this sense the prayer cafe offers some of the facilities of the ‘welfare’ tent in a less formal setting.
A place of prayer. Post-it notes are placed on the tables with pens and a few Bible verses and people are invited to write a prayer on a post-it note and hang it on a line across the tent. We promise to pray for all prayers that are posted.
Festival workers are provided with free tea and/or coffee. Sometimes this involves workers coming to the cafe, but the team also plans to take tea and coffee out to guards across the site.
Emergency cover. At other festivals we have been asked to provide an emergency place to sleep for festival goers on the Sunday night as many could not leave site due to a major traffic incident in the area or flooding. A larger Prayer Cafe tent will ensure that overnight provision is sufficiently robust to enable us to provide emergency cover, should it be required.
Detached workers patrol the festival site supporting festival-goers in whatever way is needed. This will operate in a similar manner to local Street Pastors’ schemes and the detached work of Festival Angels at Leeds. Detached workers will be a safe local presence across site, providing water and suncream, giving directions and helping disorientated festival-goers to find tents or friends, contacting first aid in an emergency and helping others to reach first aid/welfare. These workers can also provide a point of contact between campsite managers and welfare/first aid and be a resource to support other parts of the festival operations in response to needs.
Detached workers provide a simple and effectivenon-partisan reassuring presence; that is neither stopping them doing things (such as security guards) nor selling them things (such as traders). Detached pastors/angels are able to create a more friendly and safe atmosphere. Our presence on the streets of major towns and cities has been proven to show a lowering of crime and violence.
Further expansion is possible for future years:
Increasing the number of detached workers across site. To allow us to support festival-goers across a wider area and to work closer with car parking operations and to support access to and from the site for those unable to walk.
Lost Property. Leeds Festival Angels act as the Lost Property providers for the festival. We could work in a similar way.