What being a volunteer in the music industry has taught me

Posted: 15.08.2016
Author: Maria Jose

Having the opportunity to do volunteer work in the music industry is something that I have to be grateful for thanks to being in the UK. I’m not saying you cannot volunteer if you live in another country, I’m saying that the UK is a place where music and volunteer work is really valued and appreciated, and perhaps one of the most rewarding ways to do something that you really love.

I’ve been a volunteer at Sofar Sounds (a non-profit organisation that runs free concerts all over the world) for almost a year, and I’ve had the immense opportunity to volunteer with Festival Republic this summer at Latitude Festival. Both have taught me a great deal, and I’m going to try to summarise in a few words why it is worth to take advantage of the volunteering opportunities that the UK and UK universities offer.

Sunset at Latitude Festival

Being part of a team is more rewarding than working alone. Although I thought I was aware of this, sometimes when I was at school and also at university I thought that working alone made me more disciplined and I that I learned better that way. However, being in charged of a music event requires of a lot of details and there is no way that one person alone can actually do it, and after realising that I was part of a team in both Sofar Sounds and Latitude Festival, I begin to understand that all projects in life are something made for people to conjunctly work on them.

Backstage and dressing rooms at Latitude Festival

You have to be wise when choosing what to spend your time on. When I was at Latitude Festival, I had to choose shifts and that meant choosing between gaining work experience and watching my favourite artists. But when I reminisce about it, I don’t regret choosing either, as I feel that I spent my time wisely even if I didn’t watch some of the artists I wanted, mostly, because I loved working on stage.

Meeting Eka from Sidestepper at the backstage

There is nothing more gratifying than feeling that you are part of a community that spreads love. For me, there is nothing that demonstrates love more than seeing people sharing music, there is no anger, no disrespect; just people listening to their favourite artists and sharing their happiness about it. And I LOVE feeling that thanks to something I did, there is someone enjoying music and being happy.

I could probably keep talking about everything I’ve learned. However, I’ll rather leave some suspense for you to think about being a volunteer in your own industry, and see what you can learn from the experience. I assure you, you won’t regret it (plus, it looks great on your CV!)