Leeds Festival Angels - Frequently Asked Questions!
What’s the purpose of Festival Angels? To treat each person we meet with care, compassion, love and courtesy and to pass on the word of God through our deeds and actions.
How many hours do I have to volunteer? We ask for a minimum of 16 hours though many Angels provide more hours than this. You can specify on the application form what hours you would like to work and as far as possible we will do our best to accommodate you. Nearer the start of the festival the Coordinator who is responsible for the area you’re working in will email you with your rota. In return we will provide you with a wristband which will give you access to the festival at all times.
Where do I camp? We have a volunteer camp site which is away from the main Festival Goers camp sites. It’s situated close to the staff car park. The campsite is managed by a Campsite Manager and we will work hard to make your “free” time as enjoyable as your “work” time. Of course, if you wish to camp in one of the Festival Goer campsites (if for example you are joining friends) then that would be fine. We’re sorry but we can’t accommodate Festival Goers who are not volunteers on the staff camp site.
What if I don’t want to camp. Can I travel in and out? Yes of course. If you would prefer the luxury of your own bed (and about half of our volunteers do!) you can drive in and out of the festival site each day. We park on the staff car park which is a different access route to the main Festival Goers which means that we don’t get stuck in some of the traffic queues that can occur at the start and end of the festival. You will be provided with a staff car park permit which must be displayed in your vehicle.
I am camping but I don’t have transport. How do I get there? We meet on the Tuesday evening – the day before the festival starts, at the Anglican church in Scholes for an Induction/Welcome evening. If you can get there we can try and arrange for someone to take you down to the festival volunteer camp site.
How long will it take to walk from the staff car park/staff campsite to the area where I’m working? The festival is huge. However, the Lost Property and Prayer Cafe tents are located close to each other, it’s about a 25-30 minute walk from the staff car park.
We will be running a minibus service to and from the staff carpark which will take you to the Lost Property and the Prayer Café tents and take you back at the end of your shift. . The Detached Teams meet at the Lost Property tent before going on shift. The times of the minibus are coordinated to operate in conjunction with shift start and end times.
What about toilets....? Wedo have our own Portaloos which do not get used as much as some of the other festival facilities. If you are very fastidious and worried about this, you can buy a wristband for the luxury loos which would cost you about £30. Some of our team are avid luxury loo users!
Do I get breaks when I’m working? Yes of course. We have a dedicated “Cloud Hub” which is our volunteer rest area which you can use before, during or after your shift. It’s located behind the Lost Property tent and you can get a cuppa there during your break.
If you’re working in the Prayer Cafe there is also a small rest area at the back of the Cafe with facilities to relax whilst you’re on your break. There are times in the Prayer Café when its difficult to take a break as it’s so busy, but the time passes quickly. If you do need to have a rest though, just let your Team Leader know and they will ensure you are looked after.
What about food? The food at the festival is expensive so we would recommend that you bring your own. We have cooking facilities in the Cloud Hub for making toasties and there is also hot water, a fridge and a microwave. If you bring your own provisions you can prepare your own food there and if you are able to contribute anything to the communal kitchen, like butter, biscuits, milk, cereals or sugar it will be much appreciated.
What if there is any trouble? Festival Angels are more likely to be hugged than hurt! The Festival Goers really appreciate what we do and are grateful for the support we give them. In saying that, we also want to ensure that you remain safe at all times. Each area that we work in has direct radio contact with Festival Republic who organise the festival. Each campsite also has designated welfare/security staff whose role is to keep everyone safe. There is also a very comprehensive first aid/medical support service which can be called on if needed.
What training will I get? The induction evening, which takes place on the Tuesday before the festival weekend, will provide you with an overview of the Festival Angels operation and the area that you are going to be working in. When you arrive for your first shift, you’ll be greeted by a Team Leader who will explain what they would like you to do and help you to feel at home. Each shift will also have experienced Angels who will be able to help and support you.
I’m in the Prayer Cafe what is it like? The Prayer Cafe has been described by Festival Goers as their “safe space.” It’s an open fronted marquee with a drinks serving area and tables and chairs for Festival Goers to relax in. It seats about 30-40 people.
What goes on in the Prayer Cafe? There are two main aims of the Cafe. On a practical level we serve drinks to Festival Goers to keep them hydrated. We sell reusable travel mugs to Festival Goers for £5 each which, once purchased, can be used for unlimited refills throughout the festival. So you might be helping sell the mugs on the first few days or serving drinks, or replenishing stock (biscuits/milk etc) or topping up the hot water urns or keeping the café tidy. We will try and fit you to a job that you feel would suit you.
On a spiritual level we also provide the opportunity for prayer or reflection for any Festival Goer. We encourage the writing of prayers which we hang on a prayer line. We also try to interact and have conversations with the Festival Goers by providing a listening ear and practical help and support where possible. Although the Prayer Café is Christian, not all the Festival Goers want prayer …some just want a sympathetic presence which we will, of course, provide.
What drinks do you sell in the Cafe? We serve tea, (including green tea) coffee, hot chocolate, orange and blackcurrant cordial (hot or cold) and also provide hot water for porridge or pot noodles.
What are the different shifts like in the Prayer Cafe? Morning The morning shift starts off slowly but soon gets very busy as the Festival Goers awaken and are in need of a cuppa! There is often a queue to get served and it’s all hands on deck, providing them with their early morning sustenance. This suits some people as the time passes quickly and you are really busy providing practical support. The down side of this is that there tends not to be much time for connecting with the Festival Goers on a personal level.
Afternoons The afternoon shift tends to be quieter especially once the festival starts (unless it’s raining) as there are acts and bands that the Festival Goers want to see. This allows more time for chatting and connecting with festival Goers who do visit the Prayer Café, which some volunteers really enjoy. The down side is that it can be quieter which some people don’t really like but the number of people working in the afternoon is less than the morning to reflect this. You will still be kept busy, but the pace is less frantic.
Evenings The evenings can be the most unpredictable in the Cafe. The acts and bands that are on can take a lot of Festival Goers away from the Cafe as the main stage is open. By the evening some people may have had a little bit to drink so can be intoxicated which can make for some very interesting conversations! Some Festival Goers may need assistance if they have lost their friends or cannot find their tent or they need help with a myriad of other issues that can occur. We can also experience an increase in visitors to the Café once the acts have finished on stage and Festival Goers call in for a drink and maybe a chat before returning to their campsites.As an Angel on this shift you can provide reassurance and help to people when they are feeling vulnerable, which is a privilege.
Nights At night we do not serve many drinks (but they are available if needed); we offer support and companionship to anyone in need. This can come in all shapes and forms but the overall requirement of a Festival Angel at night is to listen and not judge. We can have some really deep conversations with people, and it can be an opportunity to connect with Festival Goers on a much deeper level.
The bands don’t start until Friday lunchtime. What happens in the Café up until then? Festival Goers start arriving once the gates are open. For those with Early Bird tickets that means around midday on the Wednesday. The café will be open for business from then. Mug sales at the Café form a significant proportion of the time early on. As the Festival Goers settle into their campsite and once they have bought their mugs, we then tend to see a gradual shift away from sales to the serving of drinks and hot water.
Will my shifts be the same times each day? We try and be as flexible as we can regarding shift hours to suit individual requests. Some Festival Angels prefer to work the same hours each day whilst others prefer to mix and match their hours across different shifts. There are some new stipulations for the Detached team, which you will find below.
What happens if I am delayed on the way in to my shift? At the beginning and end of each shift Festival Angels are signed in and out of their rota. If you are likely to be delayed at the start of your shift, due to traffic for example, we’d appreciate it if you could call your Team Leader on the mobile number provided to let them know.
What do you do on the Detached Team? Our aim is to help Festival Goers feel welcome. On Detached you'll work on a team patrolling the festival site, helping with all sorts of things such as putting up tents, carrying luggage, finding their friends, or helping them to the medical tent.
Do I have to be super fit to do Detached? No, but we do walk a LOT! Detached teams patrol the festival site including the main arena and camp sites so a team may walk many miles during the course of their 3-hour shift. We recommend comfortable and supportive shoes, wellies aren't always the most supportive footwear! On the plus side, Detached is flexible and you can decide with your team where you want to patrol and walk at a a pace that you set. We would recommend that if you have difficulty walking or any health issues to please consider if this is the right team for you. Please also let the Team Leaders know at the start of your shift if you have any concerns.
Is it safe? As with other Festival Angel teams we've had a very positive response from Festival Goers. In the day-time teams are a minimum of two people and for the night shifts we increase this to three. Each team has a radio so that you can contact your Team Leader or the appropriate festival department if you need support from anywhere on the site you just ask for assistance. We’ll give you a briefing on how to use the radios if you're new. You may wish to work your shift with a friend, but we will also endeavour to make sure new Festival Angels are also on a team with experienced Angels. On each camp site there's a security caravan and there are security staff in the Main Arean and other music venues if there are any situations you need to report or require assistance with. If you have any questions or concerns during the festival, please do also let your Team Leader know.
Do I have to work a night shift on Detached? This year we're asking all our Detached Angels to sign up for at least one 3-hour night shift, (between 9pm-6am). This is to ensure we have these shifts covered as this is the time when we are needed the most. We do understand not everyone may be comfortable with working during a night shift, or it may not be practical if you are not camping on site. If it is difficult for you to do a night shift please let the Coordinator for the Detached Team know, and we will look at how we can help.
What’s the temperature like at night? It can get quite cold so make sure you have lots of layers.
Will I be provided with a uniform? All Festival Angels are provided with a free T-shirt which is your uniform and you can also purchase a Festival Angels hoodie for £15.
What about valuables - where can I store them? We would recommend that you do not bring anything of value to the festival. If possible, use a small bum bag to store your essentials that you can carry with you at all times. If you are working in the Cafe or Lost Property you will be able to keep any personal belongings in the tent and there is a staff area but please be warned that there is no secure area so we cannot guarantee safety.
Will I have to administer First aid? Although some Festival Angels are first aiders that is not our primary task and Festival Republic provide large team of medically trained staff who can be called upon if needed. If you came across someone who needed first aid, you would stay with them, offering reassurance, until the medical staff arrived.
Do I need a DBS to be a Festival Angel? Many Festival Angels are DBS checked through other roles that they undertake. We do not specifically require our volunteers to be DBS checked. We take up references for all volunteers as part of the recruitment process and Festival Republic, which run Leeds Festival, also has to approve you as a volunteer through checks that they have in place. Understandably security is, and should be, very tight and we take our responsibilities seriously in this regard.
What shift patterns will I be working? In June/July each Coordinator will send out information about your shift pattern. This will be done using either Doodle polls or using the information that you provided when you volunteered. The detached team work 3 hour shifts, the Prayer Cafe are 5 or 6 hour shifts except the night shift which is 8 hours. In Lost Property the shift patterns are 4 hours and 6 hours overnight.
How old do you have to be to volunteer? You must be 16 and if you are under 18 you must be accompanied by a parent or someone taking parental responsibility for you.