What memory stands out most when you think of your time at the Festival?
For me it’s definitely a collection-the overall feeling of family that I get when I’m there. I have grown up attending the festival, and every step I take reminds me of something, and often someone, from when I was a toddler to the adult I am now. I haven’t missed a Festival in my entire life, and since losing my father (Bergen Amren, a long time volunteer and former performer himself!) I must admit most memories that come forward are involving him in some way.
Why do you volunteer for the Festival? What inspires you?
The festival is like a family to me. I love being part of something where I feel totally at home and life myself. It has nurtured me in so many ways, and I honestly don’t believe I would be the same person without its influence in my life. I continue to come back so that I might inspire that love in others- I also feel like I’ve become such a ‘regular’ that it would feel unnatural to do anything other than to volunteer. I am deeply and emotionally invested in the kitchen and would (and often do) gladly give up any time experiencing the stages just to help out and do as much as I can in the back to make the food and the kitchen to be as wonderful and memorable for performers and volunteers as possible.
What’s your favourite part of the Festival?
Definitely that feeling at the beginning of the Sunday where everything has fallen into place, there’s a sense of routine and comfort, and we get super busy but everything feels under control because my team(s) are finally confident in their ability to work cooperatively and efficiently. But then again, there’s the sense of accomplishment and a certain high you get at the end where everyone who sticks around to pal up food gets to take a breath and just talk openly with one another. And the after party is always such a good time. This is like being asked what my favourite type of potato dish is- the more I think about all the options the less I can commit to choosing any one over another.
What advice would you give to new volunteers?
Let go of your expectations. Show up willing to work hard, understanding that the beauty of what you’re a part of is worth any amount of sweat you end up putting in. Your efforts will never go unappreciated. You will be welcomed into a community of humans whose hearts are just as open as their minds, and who, if you give them the chance, will totally win yours over. The opportunities that will arise-meeting performers, connecting with all sorts of people you would never usually interact with, being a part of such a massive event- will be unlike any other if you really throw yourself in and give it everything you’ve got. Show up with a love for music and experience and the most gourmet food any music festival has to offer in an environment that gives you access to the backstage of such a diverse selection of artists that you really won’t be able to predict who you will get to meet. If you do this, I promise you will walk away with many new friends, new favourite bands/performers, and a new-found passion for a genre of music you’ve never listened to before. This experience is every kind of worth it.