By Emma Parkes, Partnerships Manager

Festival Season 2021 is over for another year and what a season it’s been! We’ve been to Latitude, Reading Leeds, Creamfields and Isle of Wight, delivering a truly Co-op experience for our colleagues, customers and members at each and every festival. And we couldn’t have done it without the help and support of everyone involved, so a huge thank you goes out to the teams and colleagues who made it all happen. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m already excited for next year – and to get you all in the mood, six colleagues who were part of our 2021 Festival Crew explain why you need to be part of the 2022 team.

Damian Peters, Latitude Festival

Latitude was my first-ever festival and I absolutely loved it! The organisation of the weekend was fantastic. You’re looked after from the beginning. All your travel is arranged. The itinerary for your time at the festival is clearly explained and the provisions for colleagues are great. Tents, airbeds, hot showers, sanitary facilities and a wide choice of delicious food – you can’t really ask for much more. 

Meeting colleagues from around the business was one of the highlights. You learn so much about their roles and the Co-op. And because you’re all in the same boat, you have a shared experience which brings you all together.

But, for me, working in store was the best part of the experience. The vibe, busyness and banter with colleagues and customers was brilliant. It’s hard work, just as it is in our stores, but the amazing atmosphere that’s created by the DJ and Festival Leaders Team is unforgettable. 

So, if you’re on the fence, get off it! It’s a fabulous experience. You’ll meet and make friends with colleagues from all over the business. You’ll see amazing music and performers. And what’s more, you’re getting paid to do it! Why wouldn’t you want to go?

Jade Potter, Leeds and Isle of Wight Festival

Camping at the festival is great fun. Your tents are already popped up for you so there’s no need to brush up on your skills. And it’s a great way of getting to know your team as the sites are organised by shift. The site also has 24-hour security so you can be at ease throughout the day. 

One of the best things about working the festivals is meeting new people. I’ve met the most amazing colleagues who I would never have met without doing this. And now they’re life-long friends. 

When you’re not working in the store, you’re free to enjoy the festival as you please. It’s not just the bands you can see but there are fun fairs, silent discos and comedy acts. If you want to relax after your shift, there are also yoga sessions at the camp and a seating area so you can socialise in comfort. 

If you can’t quite decide if a festival is for you, I would say just dive in. It’s an opportunity to gain new friends, networks, skills and life experiences. I would work at every festival if I could!

Colin Brown – Latitude, Reading, Isle of Wight 

2021 Festival Season was special. There’s a certain magic about being at festivals with other colleagues. Everyone is in the same boat – dropped into the middle of a field with a group of strangers, and something about that seems to bring out the best in people. 

In 2019 I was a little scared because I was travelling to the opposite end of the country – camping for the first time in my life and feeling too shy to start a conversation with anyone. But working at festivals improved my confidence and now I’m as confident as I’ve ever been. Today, I can chat to anyone about anything and my career is beginning to flourish as a result.

Lori Richards – Reading, Isle of Wight 

My experience working with the Festival Crew was superb! I found the festival organisation brilliant; all arrangements were sorted before we got there. Any problems we faced were dealt with swiftly by the Partnerships Team. 

Although I was very nervous to meet new people, I found that meeting other colleagues was actually really easy. Working for the Co-op, we all had things in common and it was also great to learn new things about other colleagues from across the UK. After spending a week with the team, we have all now become close friends. 

No matter what age you are, I’d encourage everyone to do at least one festival whilst working for the Co-op. It was a brilliant adventure and I can’t wait to apply again next year! 

Gemma Cooper, Creamfields

I’ve never had two better working weeks than the two festivals I’ve worked at. I loved it and if that was a job I could do every day, I would without hesitation!

For colleagues who are worried about camping, don’t be – we were provided for excellently and had fantastic facilities that made us feel right at home. You also spend very little time in your tent as most of the day you’re on shift and then exploring the festival with your new friends. 

It can seem daunting to meet new people, but everyone is in the same position. You’ll all recognise each other’s nervousness and will become really close. Your experience leaves you on a high; you meet colleagues from all over the Co-op and keep in contact long after. You don’t get this opportunity anywhere else – so grab it while you can!

Tracey-Ann Da Silva – Reading

I didn’t know anyone when I had arrived. I was so anxious; I remember walking in with all my bags not knowing what to do. I was one of the last to arrive that evening but when I arrived, I was greeted by a bunch of colleagues who made me feel so welcome. 

It’s amazing how within a week of being together you learn so much about them and what they do. My experience wouldn’t have been the same without the colleagues I shared it with. 

Working in our pop-up stores is demanding but it’s also really rewarding. You’re always on the go and it can get busy inside the stores. But the hard work is worth it as the atmosphere with colleagues and customers is electric. We even had time to have a little boogie on the tills which is always a bonus.  

If you’re thinking about applying next year, don’t overthink it and apply!

That’s a wrap

So, there we have it. Festival Season is over for another year but what a blast we’ve had.

If you were part of our Festival Crew this year, please comment and let us know what your highlight was! And if you have any feedback or concerns you’d like to voice ahead of next season, don’t hesitate to get in touch at festivals@coop.co.uk

You can also click here to find out how we turned plastics and fabric at festivals this year.