Is there a festival on your bucket list, but the cost of admission and camping is keeping you from attending? Fear not. These tips for volunteering and RVing at festivals can help you get there.
Enjoy the benefits of volunteering and RVing at festivals
Volunteers are the backbone of big and small festivals alike. From music celebrations to wine and food showcases, festivals around the U.S. rely on volunteer assistance. In exchange, many festival organizers offer perks like free admission, RV camping spots, souvenir t-shirts and more.
Aspiring attendees usually get to help with everything from traffic control to t-shirt sales, recycling to ticket takes. Sometimes festivals require pre-event training, sometimes you just show up and lend a hand.
These festivals with RV camping are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how you can get into a bucket list event at no charge.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Festival
Head to sunny New Mexico in mid-September and during the first week of October you can be a part of history. The Albuquerque International Balloon Festival is an annual celebration of hot air ballooning, music and even a rodeo. This nine-day extravaganza is a well-oiled machine with a fleet of “Navigator” volunteer groups that include a RVers workamping team.
In exchange for attending at least one mandatory training session and working at least three shifts of about eight hours each, you get a free water and electric site and fun perks like access to the Navigator Hospitality Tent for meals and snacks, party invitations, souvenir t-shirts and more.
The Joshua Tree Music Festival
Are you a music festie with a passion for global music? If so the Joshua Tree Music Festival in Southern California should be on your bucket list. Held in spring and fall, this is a multi-day family-friendly gathering of global music, organic living, eco-consciousness raising, and modern hippie vibes.
The event attracts thousands of attendees to the Mojave desert for dancing and merriment. Twice yearly Joshua Tree Music Festival organizers wrangle more than 200 volunteers and in return offer free admission and camping for donating a designated number of hours.
Kerrville Folk Festival
The Kerrville Folk Festival is one of the nation’s largest gatherings of Americana roots music. Held in the Texas Hill Country during late spring/early summer, this festival is a 45-year tradition of non-stop music, camping, arts, and fun.
The festival lasts 19 days and recruits hundreds of volunteers to assist with everything from guest shuttles to merchandise sales to backstage hospitality help. An extensive volunteer handbook on the festival’s website for volunteers details the expectations and rewards of helping at one of America’s greatest music events.
Things to know before you go
Often times event organizers require would-be volunteers to solidify their commitment by making a “volunteer deposit.” This good faith act can cost as much as a full-priced ticket, but when the event is over, you get it back.
Unfortunately, it’s one of the best ways for festival organizers to ensure that potential volunteers are serious. In addition, guests who accompany volunteers may have to pay some or all of the cost of a ticket. And finally, pets are usually banned from music festivals.
Most festival organizers enthusiastically recruit people through their websites and social media. If you see a festival you want to attend, contact the organizers. Ask how you can help out in exchange for admission and hopefully camping passes too. Even if you end up paying for your camping spot, volunteering and RVing at festivals still saves you a bundle on the cost of admission.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.
Linda Venable says
You might check your facts. Last year we volunteered at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. We had a marvelous time! However, we were required to work more than that for a free site, that DID NOT include water or electric. Dry camping for 11 days. Was it worth it? Yes, it definitely was! Also, we initially had to pay for our site, and were reimbursed once we had completed our work requirements. The SWAG was amazing, too! Definitely a must do, but know what you should expect.