Volunteer FAQs

Below you will find answers to our most commonly asked questions.

IS THERE AN EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION FOR RETURNING VOLUNTEERS?
Early bird registration opens at noon on Monday June 17, 2013 and closes on Sunday June 23rd at noon. It is open to 2012 returning volunteers ‘in good standing’, which means volunteers who performed effectively in their role and successfully completed all of the shifts that they signed up for. The Early Bird invite is for volunteers who want to return to the crew they volunteered in last year. A private invite will be sent out on Sunday June 16, 2013 to those who qualify. If you would like to try a different crew this year, you can register after Early Bird closes.

WHEN DOES REGISTRATION OPEN?
Registration opens on Monday June 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm (noon). Go to the ‘Volunteer Registration’ page above, choose ONE crew and click on the link of the crew to start the online registration process.

I’M 13 YEARS OLD. IT SAYS THAT YOU MUST BE AT LEAST 14 BY THE DAY OF YOUR FIRST SHIFT IN ORDER TO VOLUNTEER. IS THERE ANY WAY I CAN GET AROUND THIS? CAN YOU PLEASE MAKE AN EXCEPTION FOR ME?
Unfortunately there are no exceptions.  We must follow our policies to make it fair for all participants.

I’M OVER 65 YEARS OLD. CAN I STILL VOLUNTEER?
Absolutely! There is no ‘age maximum’, only an ‘age minimum of 14 for volunteering at Ottawa Folk Festival.

ASIDE FROM AGE, WHAT ARE THE BASIC REQUIREMENTS TO BE A FESTIVAL VOLUNTEER? AM I QUALIFIED?
All  volunteer positions require Accessibility Standards Customer Service Training, and most positions require fluency in English (with French being very beneficial), basic customer-service skills, a friendly and professional demeanour, a willingness and ability to follow directions and abide by volunteer policies, and a commitment to making the festival a wonderful experience for everyone.

I LIVE OUTSIDE CANADA AND WOULD LIKE TO VOLUNTEER FOR THE FESTIVAL. IS THIS POSSIBLE?
We readily welcome qualified volunteers from every corner of the world. Please note that accommodations are not provided and all ‘out of country’ volunteers need to take care of any paperwork that may be required to volunteer/travel in Canada.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I CANNOT ATTEND ONE OF THE MANDATORY TRAINING SESSIONS?
Please be advised that some components of the volunteer registration process will require you to attend a mandatory training session before the start of the festival.  If you discover that you will be unable to attend any mandatory sessions, please let us know. While we will make every effort to find suitable alternate arrangements, unfortunately we cannot guarantee placement for volunteers who are unable to complete mandatory training sessions. Not all activities have mandatory training sessions.

HOW MANY SHIFTS DO I NEED TO DO?
The shift minimum for all activities is three. Some exceptions may apply.

HOW LONG IS EACH VOLUNTEER SHIFT?
The length of a volunteer shift will vary depending on any number of factors: tasks/duties of the position,   changeover periods, staff schedules, etc. The average volunteer shift is approximately four hours long.

AM I EXPECTED TO SHOW UP FOR ALL THE SHIFTS I SIGN UP FOR?
YES! The shifts you have signed up for are the ones we expect you to complete. Please be sure to commit to the shifts you have signed up for. If you are unable to keep your commitment, please take time to tell us so we can remove your file from our system, and adjust our expectations on site.

I’D LIKE TO VOLUNTEER WITH MY FRIENDS. CAN WE BE SCHEDULED TO WORK TOGETHER?
Because you create your schedule according to your own interests and availability, the easiest way to be scheduled for the same shifts as your friends is for all of you to coordinate with each other which activity and shifts you’ll be signing up for. It’s important to note however, while on shift you may not always get to work together, as your crew leader will assign you to a position where the need is greatest. We cannot guarantee that you will be scheduled with your friends.

CAN I BRING A CAREGIVER/SUPPORT WORKER WITH ME TO MY SHIFTS?
Volunteers needing personal assistance or support while on duty must have a support worker with them during their volunteer shifts. Support workers need not register unless they plan to carry out volunteer duties as well.

I USE A WHEELCHAIR OR OTHER ASSISTIVE DEVICE FOR MOBILITY. WILL FESTIVAL VENUES BE ACCESSIBLE TO ME AS A VOLUNTEER?
Our festival site is accessible, but some stages may require a bit of assistance, navigational or otherwise. Speak with Volunteer Services if you would like to know more about accessibility. If you need some assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask! We have an Accessibility team to specifically address and support accessibility issues for our volunteers and our patrons.

DO I GET FREE OR PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT WITH BUYING TICKETS AS A VOLUNTEER?
Since we recognize the efforts of volunteers by offering opportunities to see concerts for free, we do not have a program for volunteers to purchase discounted tickets.

WILL I GET TO WATCH THE CONCERTS WHILE I’M VOLUNTEERING?
Volunteers sign up to perform specific tasks. In some cases, you can hear or perhaps catch glimpses of the show while on shift.  The focus of your shift however, is to perform the task you signed up for. It is important to stress that you should not expect to watch shows while you are on shift. This is why we offer volunteer incentives to see shows before or after your shifts, or on your days off.

I HAVE VERY SPECIFIC AND SPECIALIZED SKILLS OR SERVICES THAT I WOULD LIKE TO OFFER AS A VOLUNTEER. HOW DO I SIGN UP FOR THE “SPECIALTY” SHIFTS AND/OR FOR POSITIONS WITH “MORE RESPONSIBILITY” OR “IMPORTANCE” THAT ARE NOT LISTED ON THE VOLUNTEER REGISTRATION SITE?
We believe that the wealth of experience and skills our volunteers bring to the festival is both wonderful and impressive. That said, we consider all of our volunteer positions valuable and important. Well-meaning prospective volunteers have previously inquired about jobs such as writing press releases, coordinating special events or parties, or interpreting for dignitaries, to name but a few. These tasks are mostly handled exclusively by festival staff.

I PURCHASED TICKETS BUT NOW HAVE DECIDED I WANT TO VOLUNTEER AND NO LONGER NEED MY TICKETS. CAN I GET A REFUND?
We would love to have you join the volunteer team, however all tickets are non-refundable.

HOW DO I CONTACT VOLUNTEER SERVICES IF I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?
You can contact Volunteer Services by emailing: volunteers@ottawafolk.com, or by calling 613-230-8234.  Our regular business hours are 9:30 a.m.to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, excluding holidays. Please note that we are generally not equipped to be a drop-in office.  Please call in advance.