The New Bedford Folk Festival depends annually on 200+ volunteers who donate hundreds of hours of their time to make it a success. Volunteering at the New Bedford Folk Festival is a wonderful and economical way to experience the conference as well as a tremendous opportunity to help a great cause. We will give you a one general weekend pass in exchange for a 4 hour volunteer shift along with a free volunteer t-shirt provided on the day that you volunteer, as well as Free Parking at the Elm Street and Zeiterion garages (Bring photo ID). Below is a summary of the volunteer positions that will be needed for July 6 & 7. We will be providing training and information sessions for the positions that you sign up for. Please plan on attending one (1) of the sessions.
Volunteer Training Sessions in the Penlar space which is adjacent to the Zeiterion.
Day and Times:
Monday, July 1 – 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Tuesday, July 2 – 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM and 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
We prefer you apply online using the button above but, if you prefer to print the application, PDF volunteer application. The printed application should be delivered to the Zeiterion Box Office located at 684 Purchase St.
Volunteer Job Descriptions
Most volunteers will be expected to fill multiple roles.
Festival Set Up and Breakdown
The Load-In/Set Up Crew will set up tables and chairs in the tents, place police barricades/bike racks around the tents and entrances to certain areas. This role requires lifting up to and not more than 30 lbs. It is more about repetitive work and carrying items. Other tasks may include marking off craft vendor spaces with tape, moving sandwich board signs, and other tasks as needed by festival staff. The Load-out Crew breaks down all of the above.
Craft Vendor Volunteers
Here you will assist our craft vendors in finding their spot and quickly unload. The goal is to assist vendors to load-in, and then it’s imperative that they move their cars quickly so other vendors can move in. Once the vendor is unloaded and driven away, return to the vendor check-in station to work with another vendor. You will likely do this 10 different times during the morning. Some of you will be on parking/street duty, making sure that normal traffic does not enter into the “footprint” of the event by only allowing the craft vendors through the street barricade. This will require moving the street barricade many times, letting vendors only in and out.
Will Call Check In
Locations: Custom House Square and Zeiterion
The Will Call line is for patrons who pre-purchased tickets. These patrons must check in at Custom House Square or Zeiterion, whichever is closer. There will be a list of names of patrons for Will Call. Ask for their ID and reference the ID check against the Will Call List, then cross off their name and place a wristband on their wrist. If you encounter someone who has a Premium Pass Ticket, please let them know that they can pick up their special lanyard at the Premium Pass Lounge located at the Zeiterion.
Locations: Custom House Square, Zeiterion, and NB Whaling Museum.
Patrons exchange their tickets for their festival wristbands at Custom House Square, the Zeiterion, and the Whaling Museum. The patron gives you their ticket and in turn, you place an appropriate colored wristband on their wrist. Volunteers and Staff MUST put the wristband on the patron, as this is how they enter into a ticketed stage/tent, unless they are Premium Pass, who are identified by their lanyard. Premium Pass patrons pick up their lanyards at the Zeiterion and do not need wristbands unless they are drinking.
A volunteer will walk the line of patrons waiting for will call, tickets or ticket exchange to answer questions and gather emails and zip codes. If they refuse, do not press them. Move along. We want our guests to spend time with the music and art, and as little time as possible in line. If your area gets especially busy, let the staff person with a radio know, and we will send over additional help, when it is available.
Artist merchandise is sold in the lobby at the Zeiteiron. Volunteers will assist by processing sales using the Square cash register system and keeping merchandise organized and stocked. Some experience running a register is preferred but not necessary.
Stage Ambassadors, Greeters, Ushers & VIP area
Your job is to check that people entering the stage areas have the appropriate wristband or lanyard, and to hand out programs. The stage areas will be barricaded and should have two volunteers at each entrance point. Please ask patrons to show their wristbands by holding up their hand in the air. It helps if YOU hold up your hand in the air as an example while saying “Please show us your wristbands!” This makes the line move quickly.
All venues are general admission with the exception of limited reserved sections at two locations, Zeiterion and NB Whaling Museum for Premium Pass Holders. Chairs & outside food is allowed in the tents and at the Zeiterion, not in the NB Whaling Museum or Seamen’s Bethel. Only bonafide service animals are allowed at all locations.
- Zeiterion Performing Arts Center (indoor)
- NB Whaling Museum (indoor)
- Seamen’s Bethel (indoor)
- Custom House Square (tent)
- Purchase St. Stage (tent)
- Showcase Stage (tent)
- Southcoast Stage (tent)
Artists will enter through the separate Artist Entrance. You will be posted here to open the door for artists to access Artist Hospitality. Only artists and their guests or festival staff can access Artist Hospitality. Once an artist enters through this door, direct them to the assigned area. Please check that Artists are wearing their appropriate lanyards to gain entry. If an artist hasn’t picked up their credentials yet, direct them to the Zeiterion at the Zeiterion indoor bar. This is where the artists will receive their lanyard and will drop off any merchandise for the store.
Food Court & Bar
Your role will be to help keep the food court clean, answer questions, and assist as needed. There will be up to 8 food vendors in the area and we want to make sure it is as clean and neat as possible. You will clear and clean tables and straighten chairs, collect trash, alert the operations crew when the barrels are at capacity and need to be emptied. If patrons wish to drink, they must have their ID check in order to receive a proper 21+ wristband and we have security to do this, it is not a volunteer responsibility.
Premium Pass Lounge
The Premium Pass Lounge is located at the Zeiterion on the corner of Spring St. and Purchase St. You will be responsible for keeping this area clear of trash and comfortable for the guests. You will check for the appropriate lanyards at the entrances to this area.
These patrons pick up their special lanyards and t-shirts here, and only those with a Premium Pass Lanyard are allowed in this room. Premium Pass patrons bring their ticket here to receive their lanyard. A list is kept of those who have picked up their lanyards in the Lounge. The room has a private bar, tables, and private bathrooms. If you encounter someone who needs an accessible restroom, please direct them to the main lobby doors and use the lobby’s accessible bathroom.
Parking Lot Attendants
Two parking lots will be reserved for Folk Festival performers and volunteers. One is at Union Street and Acushnet Ave and the other is at Spring Street and Purchase Street. You will be required to ask to see proof of volunteer shift – a printed email will work or see their t-shirt – and ID for artists to check against list of performers.
Volunteers in this position will perform a variety of jobs to support the sound and stage crews across the festival. Ability to handle light lifting, move chairs, deliver supplies to stages and ticketing locations.
Please think of this role as vital to the success of the event! You will help fill in during busy times in various roles, and critical times when there is a no show. You will be available to share information about stages, parking, directions and more to patrons walking the festival. Flexibility and a positive attitude is important.