Edinburgh has gained worldwide renown for the large number of events that congregate under the banner of the Edinburgh Festival. While putting on your own show is a great way to be at the heart of the festival, another option is to find a temporary position or, much easier, volunteer to work at the festival.
Along with the Fringe and the International Festival, Edinburgh also roughly concurrently celebrates, among others, Jazz and Blues, Art, Film, Books and the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo.
The tricky part will be finding affordable accommodation in Edinburgh’s cheap hotels in central parts of town, or anywhere else across the city for that matter, as accommodation is not always provided to volunteers.
Most of the festivals will take place in August but one or two are held in other months. Typically an interest in the subject of the festival is required.
Edinburgh International Festival
Held from August 9 to September 2 in 2012, the festival adds to its staff in the run up and over the course of the festival itself. Positions are mainly in the technical department, artist liaison, press office and ticketing services. As they become available, vacancies are advertised here.
There is currently no positions listed on the Fringe jobs page but expect this to change in the run up to the event. Various venues and organisations take on volunteers during this period including venue management company Paradise Green Promotions. They offer coveted accommodation to those taking on catering, front of house and theatre tech roles.
The Pleasance, a Fringe comedy and theatre venue in Edinburgh (and London), will start putting information on their jobs page from February. Currently they list the roles they filled last year. These include press, street publicity, runners and tech crew. Volunteer staff are offered subsistence money (£600 last year) and accommodation.
In recent years the BBC has increasingly had a presence at the festival. In 2011 they took on volunteers to ‘support the Events team and the BBC production teams backstage, assisting with meeting and greeting, looking after street performers and general runners duties.’
It is also worth enquiring with NGOs. In the past organisations such as Amnesty and the WMD Awareness Programme have put on events and exhibitions at the Fringe and taken on extra volunteers during this period. Another organisation worth trying is Forest Fringe,
In 2012 the Fringe will take place from August 3 to 27.
Edinburgh International Book Festival
Over a hundred committed staff with an interest in literature and the arts help to run the largest book festival in the world. 2012 positions will be posted here in March/April. The EIBF will be held from August 11 to 27.
Edinburgh Art Festival
Peacock Visual Arts have in the past sought volunteers for their exhibitions during the festival season, while Creative Scotland has carried adverts from the festival organisers on their website.
Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival
In 2011 the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival recruited volunteer drivers aged over 30 and with a clean driving licence. There is also one internship position. In 2012 the event runs from July 20 to 29.
Edinburgh international Film Festival
The EIFF begins recruiting paid and volunteer staff early in 2012. Until then a list of the volunteer positions filled last year can be found here.
Edinburgh International Science Festival
Held from March 31 to April 13, 2012, recruitment for volunteers begins in January. More information can be found on their jobs page as it becomes available. Typical roles include marketing interns, press/PR volunteers, production assistants, photographers, office staff and team leaders.
What skills are needed at Edinburgh’s festivals?
Working as an Edinburgh Fringe volunteer
Edinburgh Festival volunteer and internship positions are also sometimes advertised on Gumtree.
Images courtesy of zoetnet and tabsybelle