The Most Frequently Asked Questions

What does volunteering at festivals with Hotbox Events involve?

You can find lots of information about volunteering at festivals with us on our festival info pages.

You can chat with our festival staff and volunteers in our festival forums which are also a handy place to ask questions about volunteering at festivals.

If you'd like to see some photos of our staff and volunteers working at festivals, you can head over to our festival photo galleries!

back to top

How and when can I apply to volunteer at music festivals?

You can apply to volunteer with Hotbox Events at music festivals using the Hotbox Events PAAM online festival volunteering application!

If you don't yet have a Hotbox Events PAAM account its quick and easy to sign-up to volunteer!

Our festival volunteering applications usually open on the 1st of February each year, if you sign-up to PAAM you'll be the first to know!

back to top

How & when will I find out if I have a position at a festival?

After you have paid your deposit, your festival and event applications will be assessed and positions applied for will be allocated by a member of Hotbox Events staff.

Generally, you should receive a confirmation from Hotbox Events PAAM within 24 hours.

Positions are filled on a first-come first-served basis.

Generally, we only refuse applications for one of the following three reasons:

  1. The applicant does not fulfil the criteria specified by the festival specific "about" pages on the Hotbox Events website - the sections titled "To apply you will need to".
  2. If it is ascertained the applicant has previously been blacklisted by Hotbox Events or another festival staff or volunteer organisation which provides staff or volunteers to a festival or event Hotbox Events works with.
  3. The applicant fails a PNC check.
back to top

How will my shifts be organised at the festival?

Volunteer shifts are allocated before the festivals via Hotbox Events PAAM.

We upload the shift patterns to PAAM about a month before each festival. Once the festival shift patterns have been uploaded we will contact you; asking you to login to PAAM; view the different shift patterns available; and select the shift patterns you would prefer in order of preference (1 being your most preferred shift pattern).

Shifts are then allocated to volunteers in order of deposit payment date; the earlier you pay your deposit the more likely you are to get the shift pattern you would like.

Please note that if you apply as part of a group we will use the average of your deposit payment dates. E.g. if there are 3 of you in a group, the first of you paid at the beginning of March, the second in the middle of April and the third at the end of May; we will use mid-April as the deposit payment date when assigning all three of your shifts patterns.

The shift patterns are designed to ensure that all volunteers have at least 16 hours off between shifts and at least two event evenings off to enjoy the festival!

If you are applying with friends and wish to be allocated the same shift pattern, please ensure that you list their names in the relevant section of your PAAM profile.

Once your shift pattern has been allocated it will be displayed on your overview page. This will be about three weeks prior to the event.

Please note that regardless of shift you will be expected to arrive on-site by the festival’s ESSID - you can check the festival's ESSID via the about pages on this website.

If you have any queries about shift patterns that are not covered by the above, please contact us.

back to top

Can I work with my friends?

Yes! Groups of friends are welcome to apply together. Make sure you list each other’s names in your profile when applying so that we can group you onto the same shift pattern; this means you’ll be on and off shift at the same time so that you can enjoy your free time at the event together.

Please see our FAQ ‘How will my shifts be organised?’ to find out exactly how the shift allocation process works and don’t forget, if you’re applying with different friends at each event, make sure you login to PAAM and update your friends list in time for shift allocation for the next event.

back to top

Which festivals and events can I apply to work at?

As long as you are over 18 years of age before the arrival date you can apply to work at Download Festival, Latitude Festival, V Festival South as well as EITHER the Reading Festival or Leeds Festival.

tickYOU CAN APPLY TO WORK AT: Download, Latitude, V South & Reading Festival.

tickYOU CAN APPLY TO WORK AT: Download, Latitude, V South & Leeds Festival.

crossYOU CANNOT APPLY TO WORK AT: Reading & Leeds Festival (same weekend).

back to top

Why do I need to pay a deposit to volunteer at a festival?

The festivals insist on the deposits - it is to stop people applying, then either not turning up, or turning up, taking their crew pass and running off into the festival.

We'd prefer not to have to ask for deposits but it's cut the problem from around 40% to 3%.

The festival's volunteers are part of the staff schedule thus event licence; if 40% of the festival's volunteers weren't available the event would be in breach of its licence.

When a deposit is withheld this is withheld by the event not Hotbox Events.

back to top

Why are deposits not returned until late September / early October?

We return festival deposits as soon as possible once all of the season's festivals have passed.

We cannot return deposits before the last festival of the season has passed as our merchant provider has a release strategy for funds received. This means that your deposits are held by the merchant provider and protected in the event that a festival does not take place; standard practice for merchant providers when processing event ticket and deposit payments. Once all of the season's festivals have taken place all deposits being held by the merchant provider are then transferred to Hotbox Events no later than 30 days after the last event of the year has taken place, so by the beginning of October.

We do offer for deposits to be paid via bank transfer or cheque if preferred; we return deposits for all volunteers and festivals at the same time so the earliest we can return deposits is when we receive the transfer from the merchant provider.

Although we work with some fantastic festivals and recruit and manage over 2,000 volunteers every year we're actually a relatively small company. We only employ 3 full-time staff and each of us works for both Hotbox Events and our parent company Hotbox Studios Ltd. This means for example it just isn't possible for us to process the Latitude Festival cheque and bank transfer deposit returns at the end of July or beginning of August when we're preparing to manage 1,500 volunteers at V South, Reading and Leeds Festivals.

Our full deposit returns process is detailed below:

First half of September

  1. Collate all feedback from supervisors and managers post the year's season (1.5 weeks).
  2. Calculate the individual returns. This involves over 2,000 volunteers, thus a lot of payments from varying sources (Online, Cheque, Bank Transfer). Also, numerous factors contribute to the final figures e.g. meal voucher purchases, loss or damage of equipment or uniform, missing shifts, not turning up at all, various percentage deductions depending on initial payment method (1.5 weeks).

Second half of September

  1. The bank prints and posts the cheques for us (1 week).

Each year we do our very best to send out deposit returns ASAP, and although we say it could be October just to be safe, we aim for late September.

back to top

Borders and Immigration (EEA) - proving your right to work and volunteer in the UK

To undertake unpaid voluntary work, as well as paid work in the UK, you must have the right to work either through your citizenship or a work visa. Under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act of 2006 Hotbox Events is required to check your right to work before we can allow you to start working on the festival site.

This means that before you can start working with us, you will need to produce documentation to prove you have this right. If you do not produce this documentation, we cannot let you work or volunteer with us.

The list of valid proof of right to work is produced by the UK Border Agency not by Hotbox Events and these are the ONLY documents that will be accepted by Hotbox Events.

VERY IMPORTANT

We need to see the original documents which means you need to bring them to the festival site.

We also need to hold a copy of the documents as detailed below. To expedite the sign-in process onsite and if you are able please scan your documents and upload via the Your Files section of your PAAM profile.

NB: We will still need to see the original documents if you upload copies pre-event.

What will we accept as proof?

The easiest document to bring is either a UK or European Economic Area/Swiss passport or a non UK/EEA passport with a valid visa showing your right to work in the UK.

If you do not have a passport, we can accept a long form* birth certificate AND one of the following:

  1. Your National Insurance (NI) card.
  2. An official document from a previous employer clearly showing your name and NI number.
  3. An official document issued by a government agency (e.g. HM Revenue and Customs, Department for Work and Pensions, or the Social Security Agency in Northern Ireland) clearly showing your name and NI number e.g. the letter now sent in place of an NI card.

*a long form birth certificate includes your parent's details.

A UK Driving Licence IS NOT valid as proof even in combination with a birth certificate or NI card.

All documents which contain an expiry date must be current (except those showing that the holder is a British citizen, a citizen of the UK and Colonies having the right of abode, a national of an European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland or their family members with permanent residence).

What will we do with your document/s?

We are required by law to store a scanned copy of your documents for at least two years after you have finished working with us. We will keep your documents securely on encrypted disks, stored in a secure safe and on the highly secure PAAM servers. We will not share your documents with any third parties other than UK Borders and we will destroy them in an appropriate manner after the two years is up.

More information?

For more information please visit the link below - there is a quick answer tool which can help to determine which documents you need to provide:

www.gov.uk/legal-right-work-uk

back to top

Can I work at a music festival if I don't live in the UK?

Those from the EEA (European Economic Area which includes all the European Union countries) can work as paid staff or volunteer with Hotbox Events without any restrictions.

If you are not from the EEA you will need the appropriate VISA to work as paid staff or volunteer with us.

For more information please see the Borders and Immigration FAQ.

back to top

Borders and Immigration (Non EEA) - proving your right to work and volunteer in the UK

To undertake unpaid voluntary work, as well as paid work in the UK, you must have the right to work either through your citizenship or a work visa. Under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act of 2006 Hotbox Events is required to check your right to work before we can allow you to start working on the festival site.

This means that before you can start working with us, you will need to produce documentation to prove you have this right. If you do not produce this documentation, we cannot let you work or volunteer with us.

The list of valid proof of right to work is produced by the British Government not by Hotbox Events and these are the ONLY documents that will be accepted by Hotbox Events.

Please note Hotbox Events cannot act as a sponsor for volunteers or short term workers.

VERY IMPORTANT

We need to see the original documents which means you need to bring them to the festival site.

We also need to hold a copy of the documents as detailed below. To expedite the sign-in process onsite and if you are able please scan your documents and upload via the 'Your Files' section of your PAAM profile.

NB: We will still need to see the original documents if you upload copies pre-event.

What do you need?

If you are not entitled to the right to work through your citizenship i.e. you are not a citizen of the UK, European Economic Area, or Switzerland then you will need a passport endorsed to show your right to work in the UK or a Valid Bio Metric Residency Permit issued by the British Government.

If you have a Visa entitling you to work or volunteer in the UK this MUST be contained within a current passport. A Visa contained within an expired passport cannot be accepted as right to work document, even if the Visa is in date.

If your passport containing your Visa has expired, you can find details of how to transfer your Visa to a new passport or apply for a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) here www.gov.uk/transfer-visa

What will we need to see?

What you will need to show us depends on the circumstances of your stay.

If you are in the UK on a student visa

Students from outside the EEA have limited rights to work in the UK. You will need to provide us with proof, before you get to site, that you meet one of the criteria below. Please scan your documents and upload via the 'Your Files' section of your PAAM profile.

As you will be working for 24 hours in one week you are also required to provide evidence of your academic term and vacation times for the duration of your studies in the UK while you work. Please note the criteria you must meet depends on when you applied for your visa:

1. You were granted leave under the Immigration rules in place prior to the 31 March 2009 and your visa is still valid.

2. You were granted leave, that is still valid, Between 1 April 2009 and 4 July 2011 and are studying a foundation degree course or degree level course)

3. You applied for permission to come or stay in the UK after 4 July 2011 and are studying:

i) A degree level (QCF or NQF level 6 (or equivalent)) or above with a recognised body or a body that receives public funding as a higher education institution or are on a short-term study-abroad programme in the UK whilst enrolled with an overseas higher education institution.

ii) Below degree level (QCF or NQF level 6 (and equivalents)) and with a recognised body or a body that receives public funding as a higher education institution.

iii) You are studying at a minimum QCF or NQF level 3 (or equivalent) with a publicly funded further education college and the publicly funded further education college is a highly-trusted sponsor. If your college is not a highly-trusted sponsor you must be studying at QCF or NQF level 4 or above.

If you are in the UK with full rights to work

You will need to bring your passport with a valid visa or Bio Metric Residency Permit showing your right to work in the UK.

What will we do with your documents?

We are required by law to store a scanned copy of your documents for at least two years after you have finished working with us. We will keep your documents securely on encrypted disks, stored in a secure safe and on the highly secure PAAM servers. We will not share your documents with any third parties other than British Government and we will destroy them in an appropriate manner after the two years is up.

More information?

For more information please visit the link below - there is a quick answer tool which can help to determine which documents you need to provide:

www.gov.uk/legal-right-work-uk

back to top

Can I swap an application between events?

If you haven't yet paid your deposit, you can change the festival/s applied to via your Hotbox Events PAAM account.

If you have paid your deposit and have been offered a position via Hotbox Events PAAM, unfortunately not, sorry.

back to top

Where do I camp when working at a music festival?

You must camp with our staff and volunteers in the secure area provided.

The staff and volunteer camping area is next to the staff showers, toilets and cafe.

We ask you to not camp in the public areas as:

  1. We have a duty to look after you and keep you safe, easier done if you’re camped with us!
  2. Volunteers are required to check in at the cabin before each shift and make sure they are aware of updates throughout the festival, again easier if you’re camped in the Hotbox compound.
  3. In the past staff and volunteers have been involved with incidents due to camping in the public areas.

Think about it - if you had been told off by a member of staff or one of your friends had been evicted by security, then later in the day you find someone who works at the festival camping next to you, how might you treat them?

back to top
We're 🎶@OfficialRandLL 🎪 setting up ready for you to arrive, safe travels and see you tomorrow #ReadingFestivalvahttps://t.co/1nrksAJd0jd0j