Thursday, 6 August 2015

How to go to a festival for free (and have an amazing time!)

Last year I wrote a post of 20 things I want to do before 20. One of those things was go to a festival, however being a student and therefore poor, it wasn't looking very likely. So I looked at other ways of going, which is how I found out about Hotbox Events. With a £230 returnable deposit, a free ticket and other perks, and something to go on your CV, I was all for it. I even persuaded Tom to join me. So a couple of weeks ago with the car loaded up, we set off for Southwold.
Volunteering with Hotbox Latitude
It was such a good few days! We had such a good time, got to enjoy the majority of the festival, see all the acts we wanted and met some cool people. We were really lucky with the weather too, in fact we actually needed some rain as it got so dry and dusty!

Our first shift was a Thursday late (17:00-01:00). We were on a gate managing the queues and ensuring everyone got through swiftly. As it was the gate where coaches came, there was either nobody in sight or loads of people all at once, so if it was quiet we helped struggling campers carry their stuff in. The shift went quite slowly but there isn't much going on the Thursday night so it's not like we were missing anything!
Volunteering with Hotbox at Latitude
The second shift was a Saturday night, which is 01:00 -09:00, and we were working in yellow campsite (the infamous party-all-night camp) so we saw a couple of interesting things. Our main roles were to help (intoxicated/lost/stoned/upset) festival goers, watch for fires and thieves and report anything that needed reporting. It was a long night, but again we didn't miss any acts as the Friday headliner (Alt-J!) finished at 11pm.

We slept until about 3pm Saturday and still felt tired after being up ALL night but there were acts we I wanted to see :P. Catfish and the Bottlemen were sensational. We also saw Laura Marling, the Vaccines, José Gonzalez and a few others!

The third and final shift was Sunday early (09:00-17:00) working in the Performers Campsite. Unfortunately, I didn't see anyone famous haha, but it was the best shift as we worked with some great people and it didn't go too slowly, as we were trying to star-spot all day!

On the Sunday evening we got to see Years & Years who were incredible! A really good set and Olly had so much energy. La Roux was OK, SBTRKT were good live, and Noel Gallagher was cool  - though I find it really hard to like him as a person and he spent most of the time insulting the audience!
Ed Sheeran secret guest Latitude 2015 Volunteering at Latitude with Hotbox
A highlight of the weekend was seeing Ed Sheeran - he was a secret guest Friday night and my sister spotted his tweet and let us know where and when he was going to play. We were so lucky to see him as it was a small stage and most people got turned away by security. Unfortunately we had to leave a little early to get to our shift on time, but it made Tom's weekend to see him!
Volunteering with Hotbox at Latitude
Overall I would highly recommend volunteering at a festival, it's a good experience and you get more out a festival than if you were just attending normally. You also get to camp in the staff area which means nicer toilets, showers, plugs to charge your phone, tea/coffee making facilities and cheaper food. With the deposit, Hotbox also allows you to work Reading/Leeds as well, and if we weren't going to be in Germany then, I think we would be going to Reading too!

If you are considering doing this, I would recommend applying as soon as you can (it opens around Feb usually) as you get priority on your shift preferences the earlier you apply so you're more likely to get the shifts you want (and you don't miss your fav band).

We had a really good weekend and I'm so glad we did it! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments or drop me an email.

P.S, if you're still wanting to go to a festival this year, Hotbox have applications open still for Leeds festival, so get in quick!
Volunteering with Hotbox at Latitude
Hannah Lane

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