Vanessa Pickering

Committee: Performers Transportation
Number of years volunteering: 11

What memory stands out most when you think of your time at the Festival?

One year K’naan played the festival. All of his crew were great people and a joy to help. His manager needed an express ride out to Stage 5 with cd’s and a forgotten instrument. Along the dusty “yellowbrick road” I asked him about the tour and what stood out for him and did he miss home. We chatted for a brief few minutes and at the end of the ride he gave me a K’naan cd and said (and I paraphrase because this must’ve been 7 years ago) “On this tour, we decided that when someone “got” what we were doing and showed us kinship – we would give them a piece of us – a piece of our music to carry on.”

And, Shirley from Stage 3 always stands out because after every one of her shifts, she comes to thank the Performers Transportation team for helping out. She might not know it, but her visit and thanks makes our day.

Why do you volunteer for the Festival? What inspires you?

Music has always brought the best people into my life. Folk fest is no different. I met one of my very closest and dearest friends 13 years ago at VFMF and he and I volunteer together every year (minus two I had to be away).

Plus, having music put a shiteating grin on my face is one of the best feelings ever. Stumbling across a performer I’ve never heard of and just having to stop – to listen.

What’s your favourite part of the Festival?

Seeing my team (Team BOOMSTATION!). Some of them I see throughout the year, but others it’s just at VFMF and it’s a happy reunion everytime.

Sharing music is a huge part of my life. I use to make countless mixtapes, then cd’s then usb sticks for friends. Seeing someone else light up because of music is pure joy to me. In the words of a fellow Winnipegan, Mr. John K. Samson:

“These are my favourite chords, I know you like them too.” – sharing music with friends, new, old and young is the best part about VFMF.

What advice would you give to new volunteers?

The weekend of folk festival is a gift. Yes, you have to work a piddly few hours – but the music and people you’re exposed to – enjoy the diversity of it all! And don’t make your coordinator’s life hell because you want to watch such and such a band or don’t want to work early morning shifts blah blah blah. Coordinators are volunteers too! (p.s. big shoutout and love to Alisa Levenstein who is an inspiration to our entire performers transportation team and works tirelessly to make the whole weekend fun for us all!)