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Volunteer at the National Folk Festival!
The National Folk Festival needs the support of more than 800 volunteers to work with Festival staff and technicians to pull together an event that will make Salisbury—and Maryland—proud!
All National Folk Festival volunteers will make great memories and enjoy more than a few pleasant surprises. At the end of the day, volunteers will go home with a free T-shirt and the undying gratitude of Festival attendees and organizers.
Volunteers may sign up individually or with groups of friends or business associates. Average volunteer shifts are three to four hours; prospective volunteers may sign up for several shifts during the three-day event.
The Festival is also a wonderful place for your family, school, church, office, or civic organization to volunteer as a group!
Go HERE to register online. You will receive an automatic email confirmation of your application.
Training will be provided.
Questions? E-mail Festival Volunteer Coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org
Love to see how the magic is made? You’ll get a “backstage pass” to behind-the-scenes action, as part of the backstage support team. These volunteers support our hard-working stage crews by helping the venue function smoothly. You might be assisting with hospitality, helping with seating, making sure only authorized people are backstage, or taking a moment to watch the show. Seven stages need your help maintaining a calm and welcoming environment. Medium physical demand.
We need energetic and outgoing folks to keep National Folk Festival going into the future! The Bucket Brigade collects audience donations to support this free event. You’ll be walking around in teams, reminding audience members that a “drop in the bucket” makes the Festival possible. This is a fun assignment – you get to chat with festival patrons and listen to great music simultaneously. It’s also a perfect volunteer opportunity for clubs, work teams, and families. (Volunteers under 16 are welcome, when accompanied by an adult.) Sign up individually or as a team! Medium physical demand, with lots of walking.
Family Activities Area
If you love facilitating creativity and learning, the Family Activities Area may be a good fit. Local organizations organize crafts, games, and interactive activities for the Family Area, where children and families can create, learn, and play together. Volunteers provide support to organizers and audience, helping with activities, keeping the area tidy, and more. Medium physical demand.
As a Festival Desk volunteer, your smile and helpful demeanor will welcome festival performers and staff to Salisbury. As you check them in and provide key information, you’re helping them be ready to present a fantastic festival. After your shift, the Festival is only steps away! Volunteers must be friendly and organized. Low physical demand.
First Aid Stations
Band-Aids, icepacks, and a little shade can make all the difference to someone having a hard time. Volunteers staff first aid stations where festival goers can seek assistance for basic needs. EMT Services will be monitoring the entire site and will handle all serious issues. Prior experience treating minor issues and triaging more serious situations is helpful, but not required. First Aid certification is not required to be a First Aid volunteer, who will all attend a training session prior to the Festival. Low physical demand.
Help us build a green festival, by joining the Green Team. We will be establishing recycling and composting opportunities across the Festival. The hardest part is keeping trash out of the recycle and compost bins, which is where volunteers can make a big difference. Volunteers will staff eco-stations around the festival, assisting festival patrons to get their trash in the right place and sorting bins before they are picked up. Medium physical demand, with some walking.
Ice & Water Brigade
The Ice & Water Brigade keep Festival participants hydrated, and food and beverages cool, by supplying water and ice to food courts, beverage sales booths, and backstage hospitality. A key role is monitoring the water and ice levels in various locations, so they can be refilled in advance of need. Volunteers with strong backs and good logistical minds are especially welcome. Medium physical demand, with some lifting and carrying.
Welcome. Direct. Assist. Recommend. These are some of the things you’ll do as an Information Services volunteer. Whether you’re handing out Festival schedules or manning an Info Services booth, you act as an Expert Ambassador to the National Folk Festival. Help festival-goers get what they need, where and when they need it. What could be more important than that? Low physical demand.
Assisting in the Marketplace is an opportunity to support artisans from around Maryland and the Delmarva peninsula. Volunteers play an important role helping vendors load in their wares and get settled, as well as pack up after a great weekend. During the festival, volunteers help by standing in for vendors who may need a moment away from their point of sale. This is a great opportunity to get to know the Marketplace craftspeople a little – and see their beautiful wares earlier than anyone else! Medium physical demand.
Maryland Traditions Folklife Area
The Maryland Traditions Folklife Area celebrates the music, crafts, and traditions that thrive in our state. Folklife Area volunteers work with Festival staff to support master artisans as they demonstrate their craft and occupational traditions throughout the weekend. Before the event, some volunteers are needed to do setup on Friday. Especially needed are volunteers to help the tired but grateful artisans pack up their wares on Sunday. Medium physical demand.
If you love matching up a customer with the right CD or t-shirt, we can use your help in our Festival vending booths. You’ll be selling music from the artists performing at the Festival, as well as festival-specific merchandise like t-shirts or stickers. Volunteers with retail experience are especially helpful.
And let us know if you know how to run a cash register! Medium physical demand, with periods of standing.
What was the name of that song? You’ll have reason to ask the artists as one of our Music Loggers. We need personable, detail-oriented folks to record and accurately document live Festival performances, from a prime reserved seat near the audio engineer’s house mix position. These recordings and written logs will become part of the permanent collection in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. We provide the recorders and training, and you provide attention to detail and a friendly demeanor. Low physical demand.
Are you available during the work week? We are looking for volunteers to help with general office work, such as stuffing packets, organizing t-shirts, or helping with mailings. The greatest need is in the weeks leading up to the Festival. Let us know your availability, and we’ll welcome your able assistance. Low physical demand.
Site Setup & Take Down
The best-kept secret of the Festival is how much fun the Festival Operations crew have. You could be doing anything from painting platforms to hanging signage, setting up chairs to building the dance floor. Practical experience in construction, carpentry, or logistics is ideal – but we’re happy to have anyone who is willing and able. Festival Operations begin two weeks prior to and lasts for 4-5 days after the Festival. Join the team for a day, a week, or the whole event! Tasks vary from low to high physical demand.
Soft Drink & Water Sales
Do you have retail experience? Know how to run a cash register? We could use your help in our Festival beverage sales booths, where soda and water are sold. Medium physical demand, with periods of standing.
If you’re comfortable behind the wheel and enjoy hosting new people, consider joining the Transportation team. We need safety-conscious, patient drivers to provide shuttle service to performers, staff and presenters. The Festival will provide a fleet of vans and golf carts, with a radio dispatcher to keep things flowing smoothly. All drivers will participate in mandatory training and must be at least 21 years of age. To ensure the safety of all, Transportation volunteers are required to go through a background check of their motor vehicle record. Low to medium physical demand.
We are looking for friendly, organized people to get our volunteers off on the right foot. The Volunteer Registration greet fellow volunteers, sign them in, and assist them in getting to where they need to be. If you’re great at being welcoming and keeping a cool head when it gets busy, we need you at Registration! Low physical demand.
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Underage Volunteer Policy
For volunteers under 18, the following requirements apply:
- Under 12: We are not able to accept volunteers under age 12, with or without an adult.
- Ages 12 – 15: Volunteers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian at all times.
- Ages 16-17: Volunteers ages 16 and 17 who are not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian are required to bring a signed waiver form to Volunteer Check-In each day they volunteer at the National Folk Festival. Without it, the minor will not be able to volunteer. Waivers will be provided.
- All volunteers under 18 must have a parent or guardian co-sign a waiver form. Waivers will be available prior to and at the event.