My family and I have been coming to Elderflower fields on and off for the last ten years. When we first came the kids were toddlers and now they are teenagers, whatever their ages, they have always really enjoyed this very family friendly festival. From taking part in woodland activities to making crafts and art, to dancing with their parents to fantastic and varied musicians.
We have always come with friends and family and everyone who comes loves the festival. It combines great food stalls, varied and quality music, and great activities for people of all ages. We have loved meeting up and just letting go for the weekend, to immerse ourselves in the Elderflower ‘vibe’.
Covid 19 changed everything, the festival had to stop for two years and all our lives were changed forever, whatever age we were or what jobs we do, we have all been massively affected by the global pandemic. Like many people, I was forced to take stock and look at all the things I took for granted as well as trying to do things a little differently post lockdown. As a result, I decided to try volunteering at the festival, I wanted to experience a different side to the festival as well as giving a little bit back to the event that has given me and my family so much joy over the years.
From my initial enquiry to the pre-event briefings, the organisation and inclusiveness of the volunteering application process have been fantastic. An initial online submission results in a call from the volunteer coordinator. I think it’s great that a personal call is made to chat about the festival, discuss the roles and responsibilities are, and generally answer any questions or concerns you may have.
I was directed to the Elderflower Fields Friends Facebook group, which is a fantastic resource to meet and start interacting with others. What becomes immediately apparent is the number of people who volunteer year after year. Many people volunteered from the early days and they have loved being such an important part of the growth of the festival. Another thing I noticed is the number of families and groups who volunteer together. Mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends and cousins, so many people seem to be related or are friends, this adds so much to the experience and I will be definitely encouraging my kids to volunteer with me next time!!
Volunteers get free entry to the festival for you and your children as well as the option of staying in a dedicated area of the festival. It has its own, very clean, toilets and washing facilities and there is a catering van providing great food for when you are on shift. A covered dining area, a marquee with an info point and tea and coffee is always available. I was really impressed with the crew area which is located right at the heart of the festival,
Volunteers are asked to commit to three six-hour shifts and need to attend a relaxed briefing session (pictured above). They try to give you an early, late and day shift and accommodate groups and families who want to work together. There are loads of varied tasks undertaken by the volunteers, from helping at the info tent, greeting people, driving buggies, patrolling the campsites and performance areas as well as helping with artists.
I was allocated as a buggy driver, my role was to shuttle artists and their equipment from the site entrance to the various stages. I was also required to help with transporting guests with accessibility needs as well as moving supplies around the site for the various traders and activities. I was issued a buggy and a radio and given a full briefing by the transport coordinator.
Over my three days of volunteering, I met some incredible people, artists, organisers, guests and other volunteers. Everyone I met or worked with was friendly and enthusiastic, and everyone agreed, Elderflower fields has a really special atmosphere.
I thoroughly enjoyed my three shifts and saw a side of the festival I would never have seen before, it was also fantastic to feel like ‘part of the team’ and adds another level of connection and affection towards the event. It can be tiring and be prepared to remain calm and friendly under sometimes challenging conditions but the rewards more than make up for the effort involved.
To put on a festival in 2021 has been incredibly challenging, uncertainty and confusion have meant that just getting the festival up and running was a huge achievement. Some pretty terrible weather on Sunday also added to the difficulties but the team pulled together and made it an unforgettable weekend.
By volunteering, I’ve seen just how much work is involved in putting on such a fantastic festival. I really enjoyed being involved this year and it definitely enhanced my experience of the weekend. I still had loads of time to enjoy the festival as a guest whilst allowing me to meet new people, guests, artists and organisers. I will definitely be putting my name, (and my kid’s) down to volunteer again!!