Thursday, 22 May 2014 10:07

Get Your Festival Fix by Volunteering

Written by  Young Swan
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Lollapalooza 2013 Lollapalooza 2013 PHOTO: Ashley Garmon

So you’re sitting out the music festivals this year because although your heart is telling you yes, your wallet is crying no. Music festivals are expensive, so you’re not the only one staying home.

You don’t have to be, though.

For the thrifty and hard working, there’s a pretty easy way to go to festivals for free: by volunteering. We’ve compiled a list of regional music festivals that offer volunteer opportunities- unfortunately, most of the positions are filled by June, so use this guide to make sure you aren’t missing out again next year. Almost every music festival needs volunteers, and if you apply early, you’ll probably be brought on board.

Pitchfork Music Festival
July 18-20

Our Chicago neighbors host this three-day summer festival in Union Park, featuring more than 40 bands, highlighting the best in new and emerging music, as well as classics. This year’s headliners include Beck, Neutral Milk Hotel and Kendrick Lamar.

How to volunteer:

Pitchfork works through many non-profit groups to staff the festival. Your best bet is to get in touch with volunteer coordinators of Chicago-based non-profits to find out if they’re looking for volunteers and if you’re accepted, you’ll be notified by Pitchfork.

August 1-3

Grant Park hosts this festival, one of the largest in the nation. Headlining acts this year include chart-toppers Eminem, Outkast, Kings Of Leon, Arctic Monkeys and Skrillex.

How to volunteer:

Volunteer applications open up mid-May, so keep an eye on them being added to the FAQ under “Volunteer Information.” In the meantime, you can contact with questions. The FAQ can be found at

Electric Forest

June 26-29

Double JJ Resort gets trippy with this four-day electronic music festival featuring around 100 artists, including Zedd, Cut Copy, Tycho, and Flying Lotus.

How to volunteer:

Read the FAQ and then fill out the application through You’ll need to sign a waiver and provide a refundable down payment of $285, but by putting in around 18 hours of work you’ll be free to enjoy the festival.

Movement Detroit

May 24-26

Hart Plaza comes to life with this three-day celebration of Detroit’s electronic music legacy. More than 100 artists make up the lineup, featuring bands such as Skream, Bonobo, Baauer and Action Bronson.

How to volunteer:

Fill out the simple form and give your available hours through

Common Grounds Music Festival

July 8-13

Adado Riverfront Park is home to this all-inclusive festival with genres varying from hip-hop, pop, alternative rock and country. 35 bands are set to perform, headlined by Big Sean, 311, Fits and the Tantrums and Earth, Wind & Fire.

How to volunteer:

Fill out the volunteer application online through The volunteer pool fills up quickly, so apply early. If the volunteer pool is full, you can apply to be wait-listed.

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