23rd August 2013
Seeing as I have never been to another festival, I can’t compare Reading 2013 to anything, but saying that, I thought it was an incredible experience all thanks to Hotbox!
I went to Reading as a volunteer with Hotbox Events. This meant that I was a Tower Cat whilst at the festival where I had three, eight hour shifts – none of which clashed with the festival!
The role of Tower Cat meant that I had to stand at either the top or bottom of the fire towers that were dotted around the campsites, and basically, look out for fires!
I volunteered with my friend, Zoe Peterkin, and would definitely recommend it to anyone!
Volunteering with Hotbox meant that you got to go to the festival for free! While not everyone got all three days free off work, most people had at least two, meaning it was definitely worth it! They also accommodate you well, with dare I say it, nice toilets and showers – compared to the campers’, they were luxury!
We set up our tent in White Camp with the other workers, in our own little Hotbox site. While at first we thought this would be annoying – it was a bit of a trek away from the arena – it worked out really nicely. It meant that we could sleep when we wanted (there were night, afternoon and morning shifts) as well as meet other volunteers. We also got discounted food, so can’t complain at all!
I met a lot of great people whilst volunteering and witnessed some varying sites!
My first shift was on the Wednesday. This, was definitely a quiet day. Our first shift involved standing at the top of the tower, looking across at an empty field. The reason for this? The campers hadn’t arrived yet. Things picked up at around 3pm when the early bird ticket holders were let in, but until then, we just got to sit out in the sunshine and enjoy the summers day!
Our second shift was the most eventful! We had the Thursday night shift which meant we were working from 1am till 9am. It was hard work to stay awake! The first few hours, until around 3am were brilliant. We were surrounded by drunk campers enjoying life! I met a lot of people this night, all of which, proved a great entertainment for me, and kept my spirits high when stood in the cold night! However, I also witnessed a few scary scenes. One thing I would say, is that to be a Cat Volunteer you need to be open to help people, no matter what state they are in. I helped a lot of people who were seriously drunk, high, ill – while it was scary to see them in such a state, it felt good that I could help get them back to safety!
Monday was our final shift. We had the day shift on Monday, which consisted of, taking down tents that people had left behind and clearing all people out of the campsites. This again, was a laugh, and while we wanted to go home, it didn’t matter so much. Everyone just enjoyed themselves! We were also allowed to take whatever we wanted, from the items left behind. While I didn’t take anything (didn’t like the idea of where they had been) both volunteers and workers left the festival with tents, chairs, alcohol, clothes and god knows what else! So they definitely made the most of their time there!
Volunteering at Reading is definitely worth a try. If you don’t mind spending a few days working in the campsites, giving you full access to the festival for free, then it’s definitely worth doing! Tickets for Reading, or any festival, don’t come cheap, but volunteering gives people a way to enjoy the experience, and provide a helping hand to others.
Reading is a great festival to volunteer at, and Hotbox a great company. Definitely worth signing up for!