As a not-for-profit organisation, Byron Writers Festival relies on the generous support of volunteers both year-round in the office and for the annual Festival.
Our 2016 Festival Volunteers ready for action! Pic: Jeff Dawson
A thank you to our Volunteers
We would like to sincerely thank the many dedicated volunteers who assist us with a multitude of daily tasks. For example, without our magazine mailout team, we would not be able to get northerly out to our members . Other volunteers regularly help us to manage and keep a tidy borrowing library, assist with the endless piles of administration, and lend a hand with many more tasks too great to mention.
2017 Festival volunteer applications will be open 1 – 26 May. For updates, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.
Thank you for your interest in joining our Volunteer Festival Event Team. Every year we have a fantastic team of over 200 tireless volunteers who help us pull off this incredible literary event. Our volunteers provide invaluable time, experience, skills, energy, personality, colour, a sense of community and so much more. We couldn’t do it without you!
The Frequently Asked Questions (below) are designed to provide clarity of information to prospective Festival volunteers to assist you when filling out your application form and throughout the application process.
Thank you for taking the time to read through them before you submit your application. These can also be downloaded as a PDF document and kept as a reference and/or beside you as you navigate the application form.
The Online Application Form will be available on this webpage on May 1.
Should you have a query regarding volunteering at the 2017 Festival, please contact: [email protected]
If you do not receive a confirmation of application within two weeks of the cut-off date, please check your junk mail. If you are certain you have not received confirmation, email the Volunteer Coordinator ([email protected]) to confirm your application was received.
The Volunteer Coordinator will be in contact via email to advise you as to whether or not your application has been successful.
Due to the extremely high volume of applications, we are unable to provide individual feedback on your application results.
Rosters are determined by volunteer availability, experience and skill set, in order to best meet Festival requirements.
LATE JUNE – EARLY JULY
Draft Rosters will be created and disseminated to successful applicants for confirmation.
Volunteer agreements signed and returned.
Compulsory Orientation and Safety Meeting on site for all volunteers.
What are the key dates for Festival Volunteer Team Requirements?
The Festival Weekend runs from Friday 4 August until Sunday 6 August.
Our Workshop Program runs from Monday 31 July until Thursday 3 August.
Our Primary School Program runs from Monday 31 July until Thursday 3 August.
Our Secondary School Program runs on Thursday 3 August.
Evening events are generally Thursday to Saturday of the Festival Week 3-5 August.
How old do volunteers need to be?
Volunteers are required to be a minimum of 18 years old.
Are there any selection criteria to be a Volunteer at Byron WF?
A love of books, ideas, reading, writing and festivals is a great start.
Our volunteers are friendly, reliable, punctual, flexible and are team players.
AS A MINIMUM, we require our volunteers to commit to two FIVE HOUR shifts across two days.
Priority of allocations is given to returning volunteers and to those able to volunteer for more than the minimum two shifts.
Rosters are determined by volunteer availability, experience and festival requirements.
You must also be available to attend the Volunteer Safety and Orientation Briefing on Saturday 29 July, even if you have been a volunteer for the ByronWF in the past.
Is the Volunteer Safety and Orientation briefing compulsory?
Yes. This briefing supplies the critical Work Health & Safety information, allows you to become familiar with the Festival site, gives you the opportunity to meet your team and be briefed by your shift supervisor, as well as providing you with your volunteer T-shirt.
Do I require any qualifications to be a festival volunteer?
Our volunteers have a variety of qualifications and skills; the common factor is that they are keen to be involved with the Festival and work towards the goal of assisting to bring a successful Festival to Byron Bay. However, there are some specialised roles that require certain skills and experience.
What sort of roles are available as a volunteer?
The application form will ask you to tell us your skills in the following areas and will also ask you to select your top three role preferences. There are no guarantees that you will get your preferences as rosters will be determined by availability, experience and festival requirements.
Front of House & Ushers
Ticketing and Gate Control
Volunteer Assistant Coordinator
Master of Ceremonies (MC)
Site Assistant/Bump In/Bump Out – some heavy lifting
Parking and traffic management
Kids Big Day Out Volunteer
If you have particular talents or work experience that suit a certain role, please note this on the application form when we ask about your ‘previous experience’ and ‘related skills’. If there is something you can offer that is not on the list, please let us know! Think about how your skills may transfer into a festival setting.
What are the specialised roles that require certain skills and experience?
Primary school days involve presentations by some of Australia’s best-loved childrens’ authors at various venues around the Northern Rivers. Preference for Schools Days is given to those applicants with previous experience and who hold a Working with Children’s Check Certificate. https://www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au/child-safe-organisations/working-with-children-check
If you wish to work a coffee machine you need to have barista training
To serve alcohol, an RSA is required. Hospitality Service Staff for the Opening Night Event (3 August) need be confident with tray service, fast and able workers, and be physically mobile.
For marquee supervisors/venue coordinators who will be managing volunteer staff, leadership and previous Byron WF experience is required. These roles are open to experienced Festival volunteers (ByronWF or other festivals) and/or require approval from the Volunteer Co-ordinator
To assist with bump in and site assistance, you need to be mobile, physically fit and able to do heavy lifting. eg. Parking/Signage/Marquee/Decor/Sponsor or Markets setup
The survey team conduct customer research with the Festival Patrons. A brief training session for the survey team will be held beforehand (to be advised). Volunteers for this role must be confident, friendly and self motivated.
To be a Master of Ceremonies, you need to be a quick thinker, a confident public speaker, an excellent time keeper. Some knowledge and experience of stage management would be preferred.
The Writers’ Green Room is HQ for the guest authors. This role is suitable for experienced Festival Volunteers who are familiar with how the festival works.
Volunteer HQ : The Volunteer Assistant Co-ordinator will greet and register volunteers at shift start, pass on briefings at shift change, and inform the Volunteer Co-ordinator of any gaps in the roster. Volunteers for this role must have excellent communications skills, emotional intelligence, ability to work under pressure, problem solving skills.
What if my availability changes after I have submitted my application but it is BEFORE the cut off date?
When considering your availability on the application form, please check and double check your calendar. Try to be realistic about how much time commitment you can manage.
If your plans change in the meantime, please break our hearts quickly rather than slowly.
A change of availability form will be available at www.byronwritersfestival.com/volunteer and you can update your availability there.
Once the cut off date has arrived, the rosters will be created. As you can imagine it takes a lot of time and careful consideration to match over 200 volunteers across the Festival.
If my availability changes AFTER the cut off date, what do I do?
Please advise the Volunteer Coordinator ASAP so your shift can be re-allocated.
Emails should read CANCEL MY SHIFT or SHIFT CHANGE in subject heading with your name.
I have some health or mobility restrictions. Will I be able to volunteer?
Yes, absolutely. We aim to be as inclusive as possible. We will endeavour to find a role that will suit your restrictions. Please advise us of your restrictions in the online application so that we may cater for your abilities.
What if I am from Interstate?
There are only very limited positions available for those travelling from interstate. Byron WF does not cover travel or accommodation costs. If you are flying home on the Sunday afternoon, please choose shifts that allow you time to get to the airport etc.
What does the festival provide to its volunteers?
The chance to be involved in a vibrant, literary cultural event.
As a volunteer you will receive a position description outlining your duties, orientation, insurance for your rostered shift, and less experienced volunteers will be allocated a supervisor.
You are provided free parking and lunch for the day that you are rostered. We also have a wonderful volunteer Facebook group which can assist for carpooling.
Volunteers are provided with a T-Shirt as well as an opportunity to attend the Festival on the day of their shift, either before or after their shift. These Day Passes are not transferable and are not redeemable for cash.
A thank you party for our volunteers will be held at our Centre after the Festival.
Will my food and travel costs be reimbursed?
No. You are provided free parking and lunch for the day that you are rostered.
Is there a uniform for volunteering?
Volunteers are provided with a ByronWF volunteer team T-shirt, which must be worn while on duty. If the weather is cold we suggest wearing the T-Shirt over a long sleeved shirt so as not to cover up the Festival T-shirt which identifies you as a volunteer.
Once you have received confirmation of your acceptance as a Byron WF volunteer you will be asked to complete an online T-Shirt order form.
Can I do more than the minimum of two shifts?
Yes. Volunteers that indicate they are able to do more than the minimum two shifts are given priority.
What if my application is not successful and I miss out on the Early Bird Ticket Rate?
If you were not successful in your application to be a volunteer (and you have applied before the Volunteer Application closing date 26 May) you can purchase tickets at the Early Bird rate. You need to contact the Volunteer Co-ordinator to arrange a manual ticket purchase, prior to June 14 to arrange this.
This offer is only valid for the applicant themselves, not for friends, relatives, etc.
You haven’t answered my question specifically, what can I do?