Guest Blog: Giving Something Back Pays Back to YOU in Spades
By Gabriel Chernitsky
In July of last year, I returned to Folk Fest as a first time volunteer. Having been to the festival twice before and having had a lot of fun there, I wanted to give something back to Folk Fest.
My first day of volunteering was on Thursday. The volunteer area boasts an impressive kitchen; a structure large enough to prepare food for all the volunteers, staff, and performers. The many volunteers who cook in the kitchen are known as “La Cuisine.” I was taking part in the “cold storage” crew, sometimes referred to as the “reefer crew” in good humour. My team was responsible for bringing ingredients in and out of the storage trucks and tents.
The job was easy to learn, four other volunteers and I quickly took to, carrying the supplies that the kitchen needed to prepare lunch. We were able to take a break once lunch was prepared. The folks at La Cuisine are very friendly, with most of them having been volunteering for many years. Everyone was in good spirits; I was happy to help the crew make a tasty lunch. Every meal is different so I was always curious to see what we would be bringing out of the trucks. One shift, we would carry giant bowls of salad, in another buckets of jello, and boxes of crickets on one occasion.
The festival took place during one of the hottest weekends of the summer. I am extremely thankful for the crew who ran the refreshment tent everyday for keeping everyone hydrated (and caffeinated!). One of my favourite moments in La Cuisine was on the last day, when we all gathered in one of the storage trucks to see a live performance. This was a fun way to round-off my volunteering experience. I can't quite remember what the performer sang, but it was a song that was topically weather appropriate, perhaps it was “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash?
One of the nice things about the volunteer area is that you will see many familiar faces. I ran into many friends while in the volunteer area. I knew that some of my friends were volunteers, but I didn't expect to see so many at once! Everyone is spread out in different crews so stories from across the whole festival were shared.
When not volunteering, I would spend my time in the festival and the campsite. I had camped in the previous two years, but now that I was at the festival as a volunteer, I felt that my festival experience was larger and more complete. There were many memorable shows and experiences, and I certainly look towards returning this year and many more after that.
Hope to see you there!
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