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‘Without you (volunteers)…this festival just would not happen’. These words, spoken  at the end of a concert, were music to my ears. Ryedale  Festival is fortunate in having both dedicated and efficient staff and enthusiastic volunteers, who work in partnership to achieve the successful festival we know. 

At a single event the audience experiences the tip of the volunteering iceberg of which it is great fun to be a part. Please join us!

Volunteering begins in the days immediately  after the festival  with a ‘wash-up’ meeting in which the festival is reviewed in depth and improvements noted for the future.  After a volunteers' tea party, preparations for next year’s festival begin with venue assessments by volunteers working with festival staff.  How many venues are there? This year they spread geographically from Filey to Thirsk and from Lastingham  to Sledmere; in size they ranged from The Grand Hall, Scarborough Spa to tiny churches such as the one at Crayke. Every venue must be  visited, photographed and assessed for its audience potential, coffee concert and bar possibilities . Volunteers and staff consider  lighting for pathways, signs, and  wheelchair access. 

The festival has at least two other concerts or mini festivals including the launch concert at Easter. 

Publicity for these is always immaculately and professionally presented but relies on the skills of volunteers for proof readingdistribution of brochures and publicity.This process  at present is being reviewed -  by a volunteer.  Once the Events Manager  knows the schedule, she informs volunteer Julie Symmonds who organises accommodation for artists among volunteer hosts. This is a way of getting to know the artists and really helping the festival in both financial and PR capacities. The Events Manager also gives  Andie Cattle, another key volunteer, a list of those artists requiring food and her  volunteer artists'- tea-makers  provide feasts of sandwiches and cakes. This is another chance  to have a personal contact with artists. Publicity continues with the placement of banners and signs in and around Ryedale  by volunteers and staff.

How do artists get from station to venue or from host to performance? The answer is via volunteer drivers  led by Gerard Simpson.  They do a massive amount of toing and froing but also have first contact with the artists.

At the concerts themselves, welcome is given and the smooth-running of each concert is overseen by Ian Riches, the front of house manager, and head steward, Jon Boots whose volunteer Stewards often have the chance to sit in on concerts without a ticket ; programme sellers  boost the festival’s coffers with the sale of souvenir and red programmes. The festival pop-up shop is there to sell CDs, books and memorabilia, staffed by volunteer helpers.  Fifty nine events require a lot of volunteer help with refreshments: coffee in the mornings and the bar at night. Artists sometimes require a page turner who is of course guaranteed a seat; artists are shown the festival’s appreciation by being presented with a Yorkshire rose by a group of volunteers led by Elsa Owlett. 

How do we know what is going on online? And how do we book tickets?   Volunteer  Mary McAllister - Rees  works on the website day and night during the festival, tweeting and retweeting. Refining and improving the website goes on all year  by Mary and Ian Riches.The festival  box office, during the booking period, is helped  by volunteers who take phone bookings.

If sponsor hospitality is required, as it is at Sledmere and Hovingham from time to time, this is also covered by volunteer catering and presentation

Volunteer opportunities therefore are many and varied.|Volunteering offers a chance to help and advance the festival while at the same time making many new friends among the audience and other volunteers. 

To become a volunteer use the web Volunteer Contact Form or post the Volunteer Form