By Lois McClure, Assistant Partnerships Manager
Two weekends ago we were back in the festival fields at Latitude! It was absolutely amazing to be with our festival crew again and a huge thank you goes out to our colleagues who managed our pop-up stores so brilliantly. Following the long weekend, we caught up with two of our crew to see how they found the experience.
Getting there and bedding in
Rebecca De Torre: I travelled by car, but many colleagues use public transport which is organised by the festival team. You arrive to camp, choose your tent for the week and you’re then split into 3 areas based on your shifts – earlier, lates and nights. This is so we slept in the same areas as our team and didn’t disturb someone on another shift. On our campsite there are ‘real’ toilets and lovely hot showers for us all! We also have a cabin where we can make hot drinks and use the microwave and fridge if needed.
Colin Brown: Everything is so well organised and the communication ahead of time is great. The Partnerships Team set up Facebook groups so you can start to chat with others who’ll be going, and closer to the time each shift set up a WhatsApp chat which really helped during the week. Trains are booked for you unless you choose to drive. We even got seat reservations which is great knowing you can just enjoy your journey. By the time you reach camp everything has already been set up!
What’s the work like?
Rebecca: The shop itself is just like your own base store – except you’re in a field, there’s a DJ and the customers are dancing in the aisles! Dancing on the tills and seeing the smile on customer’s faces is honestly what makes it the best experience – I absolutely love it!
Colin: The experience and the vibes are something else. Our shift was 7am-3.30pm which meant that we had the majority of the day to explore the festival and catch all the headliners. This is where the WhatsApp group was so handy – everything we did we did as a full team. We laid out our plans and communicated throughout the night so anyone wanting to join us could join – so if you wanted a nap or just to take an hour after the shift to relax, you could do so knowing your team had saved you a space wherever they were.
What made your festival experience easier?
Rebecca: We had 3 daily yoga sessions on the camp site each day – it was a great way to wind down before or after a shift! We also got pizza ordered for all the colleagues on the training day, this is a great chance for everyone to socialise and get to know each other before the real madness starts the following day on shift.
Colin: The Partnerships Team really know what they’re doing and on day 1 they provided lunch during your shift and order in pizza in the evening. The rest of the festival is free choice and meals are fully expensed – which is great because Latitude has so many tasty options!
What was your highlight?
Rebecca: The highlight for me are the friendships you make with other colleagues. I have friends who I wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for being part of the festival crew. The connections you create really are amazing.
Colin: The atmosphere in store is unmatched. Team Early started the week as 24 strangers and over the week became a family. Day 1 in the shop was absolutely electric, we had customers absolutely loving the music and the colleagues fed off that energy. A personal highlight was simply experiencing live music again too. To be in a field with thousands of strangers rocking out to some of your favourite songs was unforgettable.
What would you say to people who are thinking about joining the festival crew next year?
Rebecca: Go for it! Everything is organised for you so there’s no need to panic about that. If you love your job and love festivals, then you’ll love this! It’s a fantastic opportunity for everyone and something you won’t regret.
Colin: My advice to anyone sitting on the fence would be to take the leap and embrace it. Travel is taken care of and is as simple and comfortable as possible. The expense of festival food is only temporary as you claim this back immediately afterwards. Camping might seem daunting – but we’re truly spoiled by the facilities Co-op provide. I genuinely don’t think I could do a festival as a regular punter after the luxuries provided by Co-op!
The thought of meeting dozens of new people might feel intimidating – but when you consider everyone else is in the exact same boat as you it makes it so much easier to put yourself out there. It’s an environment that’s free from judgement.
Latitude may be over but stay tuned for more festival content over the coming weeks as we head to Creamfields, Leeds, Reading and Isle of Wight Festival!
And if you missed it, you can read how more about how we’re co-operating for a fairer world at festivals this season here.