Deposits, tickets and wages

Do I need to pay a refundable deposit to work or volunteer at festivals?

Yes, you need to pay a refundable deposit to work or volunteer at festivals.

You only need to pay once per year as one deposit covers you for as many festivals as you would like to join us at!

You can pay your deposit once you have applied to join us.

Deposits can be paid by debit card, credit card, bank transfer, or cheque.


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

We'd prefer a deposit wasn't required.

Unfortunately the festival industry was forced to make this a standard thing about 15 years ago due to people applying, then either not turning up, or turning up, taking the crew pass, and disappearing into the festival. The deposit system has reduced this problem from around 40% to 3%.

Deposits are returned in full within 30 days of the festival - which is as soon as they can be as they are held in a ring-fenced account by the merchant provider until the festival has passed.

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How much is the refundable deposit?

If this is your first time joining us, the deposit is £95.

If you've joined us in the past, the deposit is reduced to £45.

The deposit covers you for as many festivals as you would like to join us at each summer. You only need to pay one deposit to cover you for a whole season of festivals!

We do not charge any admin fees or card fees on deposits, meaning as long as you come to the festival and complete your shifts you'll receive your full deposit back!

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How can I pay my refundable deposit?

You can pay your deposit once you have applied to work or volunteer with us.

Deposits can be paid by debit card, credit card, bank transfer, or cheque.

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When do I need to pay my refundable volunteer deposit?

Places are allocated on a first come first served basis.

So there is not a specific deadline or date by which you need to pay your deposit.

We keep the option to pay your deposit open until all of the volunteer or paid steward positions available have been filled.

So if you can currently still pay your deposit, this means we have places :)

Please remember that we cannot confirm your place until you have paid your deposit!


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When will I get my refundable deposit back?

Your deposit will be returned within 30 days of the last day of the last festival you have applied to volunteer at each year.

Early returns

If you have:

  1. Cancelled your place at a festival in your PAAM account and;
  2. Not applied to volunteer with us again in the same year and;
  3. Requested an early deposit return;

We will endeavour to send your early deposit return within at most 30 days of the date you requested the early return, occasionally this can take slightly longer if you request an early deposit return whilst we're onsite during peak festival season!

We say 30 days to send early deposit returns just in case we are at a very busy period in the summer but we aim to send faster and usually do so at least once every 7-14 days when not in peak festival season.

Once sent by us, the time for you to receive your early deposit return is dependent on the method by which you paid your deposit.

Cheques usually take 1 to 2 days to arrive, card refunds can take up to 7 days.

Why it takes up to 30 days after each event

After each event we...

  1. Collate all feedback and notes from our event staff (1.5 weeks).
  2. Calculate individual returns based on event feedback (1 week).
  3. Our bank prints and posts out the cheques (1.5 weeks).

Why we return deposits as cheques

We return deposits as cheques irrespective of payment method (card, bank transfer, or cheque) for the following reasons:

  1. Each deposit return cheque is made payable to the person who paid the original deposit. Thus avoiding the problem of one person paying a deposit, for example a parent or friend, and another receiving the deposit return.
  2. We do not hold bank details for any of the 3,000+ volunteers who join us each year, so cannot return as bank transfers.
  3. If we asked for bank details from our volunteers, this would leave the process open to human error e.g. volunteers entering incorrect sort codes and account numbers. This may sound unlikely but each year mistakes are made by our staff and paid stewards when providing bank details on payroll forms!
  4. If a sort code or account number was entered incorrectly; a deposit was sent to the account; the account was valid; the deposit return would be lost.
  5. The cheques are printed and posted, in batch, on our behalf by our bank, this means we can send thousands of deposit returns relatively quickly.
  6. It would take a very long time to setup thousands of bank transfers each year, and this would again leave the process open to human error when entering sort codes and account numbers.
  7. Should there be a problem with a deposit sent as a cheque e.g. a volunteer hasn't updated their postal address and it was posted to an old address, it's quick and easy to cancel a cheque and post to a new address.

We believe the above is the safest way to get deposit returns to you!

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If a festival does not go ahead will my deposit be returned?

Of course, if for any reason a festival does not go ahead, your security deposit will be returned to you in full.

This includes a festival being cancelled due to COVID (COVID-19).

For further reference you can see how Hotbox Events' handled all festivals unfortunately being cancelled in 2020 by visiting our 2020 news area; all deposits paid were returned in full within 1-2 weeks of each festival being cancelled.

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If I am suffering from a serious illness, disease, or virus, will my deposit be returned?

Of course, if you are suffering from a serious illness, disease, or virus, your security deposit will be returned to you in full.

This includes contracting COVID (COVID-19) and being required to self-isolate.

Where appropriate and possible we will require to see a doctor's note.

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Why are volunteer places not confirmed until a refundable deposit has been paid?

We receive over ten thousand applications every year, for two to three thousand volunteer positions.

Many apply on a whim e.g. never really intending to volunteer at a festival.

The deposit is your way of showing your commitment to joining us!

Once you've paid your volunteer deposit your place will be confirmed within 24 hours, usually within the hour!

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Can I pay my refundable deposit in instalments?

This isn't something we currently offer sorry!

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Can I pay for my friends, or can my friend / parent / guardian / relative pay my refundable deposit for me?

Of course!

Please note when deposits are returned they are returned to those who paid them e.g. if your parent pays your deposit your parent will get it back, not you.

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If I cancel my position, is my deposit still refunded?

As long as you cancel at least 20 days before the arrival date for the festival.

For further info please read the volunteering agreement.

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I've bought a ticket for the festival, can this be refunded if I volunteer or work as a paid steward?

Yes, although you will need to apply to join us, pay the refundable deposit for the event and have your position confirmed before we can refund your ticket.

Once your position is confirmed, please email with:

  •  The ticket type and what event the ticket is for
  •  The ticket reference number
  •  The order number
  •  The name of the ticket holder on the order

We will then send the above details to the festival organisers to refund your ticket.

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Do I need to pay a refundable deposit to work as festival staff?

Yes, everyone who joins us onsite needs to pay a deposit, so festival volunteers, paid stewards and festival staff.

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How much do Hotbox Events staff get paid?

The majority of the Hotbox Events festival teams are volunteers.

The hourly rates for paid stewards can be found on the info page of each festival.

Senior Hotbox Events festival staff positions are generally offered to those with at least a couple of years' experience volunteering with Hotbox Events.

For those offered senior staff positions, hourly rates vary dependant on position. If you are offered a festival staff position at one of our events your days of work, shift lengths, and hourly rates, will be outlined in your interview and contract.

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