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Festival safety: Volunteer edition

By Caitlin Kehoe

As we all know, festival season is in full swing and there are plenty of awesome events in and around our province to enjoy. Last week, Melissa shared some great safety tips to keep in mind while you adventure at festivals this summer.

But what about those of you who will spend time working or volunteering at one? Attending festivals as a fan can be a little overwhelming at times; when you’re there to do an important job, it can be even more so, and it comes with its own set of risks.

The good news is it’s totally possible to be safety conscious during your shifts and still have the time of your life!


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Bottles of water and reflective vests are necessities for these festival volunteers.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Fuel up. When you are spending hours in the hot sun, you can become dehydrated more quickly than you realize. Take the time to drink water (and plenty of it). Be sure to eat, too. This seems obvious, but there could be times when eating may not be at the forefront of your mind. Keep small snacks like granola bars on hand and use your breaks to eat a full meal. Not only is this important for your health, you will also be much more useful to the people around you when your energy levels are high.

Use the buddy system. The tried-and-true system we learned in kindergarten is still around for a reason—it works! Make friends with a fellow volunteer and keep tabs on each other during your shifts. If you see a person who looks sick or hurt, for example, and you want to head over and make sure they’re okay, let your buddy know where you’re going so they will be ready to help if needed. Someone should always know where you are in case of emergencies, even if you’re just taking a quick washroom break.


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Know where important places like the first aid and security stations are.

Be prepared. We are all aware that weather in Alberta is unpredictable, and this becomes extra relevant at outdoor festivals. Regular attendees have the option of finding a shady area or taking cover from the rain but, as a worker, you’ll likely have to stay put at your post. Make every effort to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way. Wear a hat and sunglasses as protection from harmful rays and have a lightweight disposable rain poncho ready to go. When it gets dark, wear a reflective safety vest to stay visible.

Give yourself a break, kid! We typically default to “go mode” at festivals so this can be challenging, but it’s important to delegate some downtime to rest and recharge. This is especially true if you’re scheduled to work a shift during crazy late or early hours. On your breaks, take the time to sit, grab a bite and enjoy the music or other events. At the end of the day, be sure to get some quality sleep. Your body will thank you in the morning.


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Stay safe and have fun out there this summer!

Whether you’re heading to a festival as a worker, a volunteer, or a fan, be sure to bring your safety-conscious attitude and make some unforgettable memories while you’re there!

What are some safety tips that you think should be shared with festival-goers? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @HeadsUpAB.

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