Give it a go…you never know what it could lead to!

Give it a go…you never know what it could lead to!

The Festival of Thrift offers lots of amazing opportunities for people to get involved with the event as volunteers.  It’s a great way to learn new skills, meet people and have fun at the same time.

Kathryn Harker, 24, from Redcar and Alex McCabe, 21, from Newcastle share some fond memories of their time volunteering at the Festival and the benefits they gained as a result.

Tell us a little about what you do in the 9-5

Kathryn:I work as cinema staff at a local multiplex cinema.

Alex:I’m currently a part time student at Newcastle College in my final year studying towards a BA Hons in Creative Enterprise. In 2016 I started an FdA In Events Management at the College, which I graduated from in July 2018.

When did you volunteer at the Festival of Thrift and what motivated you to get involved?

Kathryn:  I volunteered at the 2018 Festival of Thrift, assisting the Artist Liaison team in the run up to the event. I decided to volunteer because I have in interest in arts administration and I was keen to find out what I could learn from the organisers at the Festival of Thrift. I’ve been going to the festival for years and love what they stand for and do for this community, so last year I decided it was time I got in touch to find out how I could get involved.

In September 2017 I was given the opportunity to volunteer for three days at the Festival of Thrift as part of my work placement hours. This was the first large scale outdoor event that I had the opportunity to be involved with.

What did you get to do in your role?

Kathryn:  As a volunteer I reported to the Artist Liaison Manager, assisting with the delivery of the artist programme of events over the festival weekend. This included supervising artist groups to ensure that they were well looked after and that they stick to time slots for scheduled performances in various locations throughout the festival. Other duties included assisting the Production Team, stewarding and the transportation of props.

Alex:The three days were jammed packed with lots of tasks and responsibilities.  Like Kathryn, I spent the weekend shadowing the lovely Alicia Carroll, Festival Artist Liaison.

What was the highlight of your time as a Festival of Thrift volunteer?

Kathryn:  For me personally, a highlight of volunteering comes from rewarding moments, such as, pausing to appreciate watching a huge crowd of people smile and join in with a performance from a group you’ve come to know. Getting to know the artists, you learn how much each performance means to them, so to watch them entertain and enjoy themselves doing so, knowing you solved any problems that occurred to get them there on time to perform in that moment, makes you feel a great sense of pride.

Alex: I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know and working alongside the Event Team, they made me feel so welcome and were very accommodating. I immediately felt part of the team.

The Festival is on the lookout for volunteers again this year, what would you say to people thinking about getting involved?

Kathryn: I’d say why not give it a go? Everyone involved in the festival is friendly and passionate about what they do, so if you’re interested the Festival of Thrift already, or simply just interested in helping at festivals in general, the Festival of Thrift is a wonderful place to start. If you’re interested in a specific area of volunteering let them know, you never know what it could lead to.

Alex: If you are a keen team player and are interested in events, then I definitely recommend that you look into volunteering at the Festival of Thrift. It is an opportunity for you to develop and enhance your skills and experience but not only in events but in your day to day life.

How has the experience benefited you and would you do it again?

Kathryn: I gained a lot of confidence and it has allowed me to move forward in other stages of my career that I maybe wouldn’t have pushed myself to do if not for volunteering at the festival last year.  On the whole, I learnt a lot and everyone I met through the experience was happy to help with any questions I may have had. It was a fast-paced and exciting experience. I would definitely volunteer again at the Festival of Thrift, and can’t wait to be there again this year when I’m looking forward to learning even more!

Alex:  Since taking the opportunity to be involved with the Festival of Thrift, I have found my love and passion in the event industry is definitely outdoor festivals especially working and liaising with artists. The Festival of Thrift has opened up so many opportunities for me and since being involved with it I have already started to build a good reputation for myself within the industry which has led to me a number of opportunities to work on a variety of different outdoor events within the North East. In 2018 I was given the opportunity for paid employment with the Festival of Thrift as Assistant Artist Liaison. I was overwhelmed by the opportunity and didn’t think twice about accepting the offer.

Has the festival affected your views on living sustainability and what do you do to help you to live a greener life?

Kathryn: Thanks to the Festival of Thrift, I’d say my view on living sustainably has improved for the better. Through ideas and tips I’ve picked up from the festival, I have become more aware of the ways in which I can personally help contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle – be that through their online and social media presence, or from attending the festival and seeing these ways in effect for myself.

To live a greener lifestyle I carry a tote bag everywhere I go and I’ve started eating and shopping locally in independent stores – this way I know the money is going back into the community and when the goods are sourced or made locally. I recycle whenever possible and use a reusable bottle to drink tap water, with the aim to reduce my plastic waste. Also, I make good use of public transportation or walk when I can.

Alex: The Festival has had a really positive impact on my views of sustainability. I have changed and developed my approach and have implemented small but effective changes in my life such as recycling and reusing old and unwanted clothing, I have also purchased a reusable cup and metal straw.

To find out more about volunteering at the Festival of Thrift and to register your interest visit:

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