Seeking Volunteers for 2017 EMRF
When the Eastern Mass Rhythm Festival was created 13 years ago, there were certain basic ideas that we agreed to have at the core of what made the event work. One of those ideas was that the entire festival had to be an all-volunteer operation. The organizing staff are volunteers, the instructors are volunteers, and everyone who chips in for setup and teardown is a volunteer. This is what helps to tie the festival into the local community of drummers and dancers.
In the early days of the festival, our staff of five pretty much did everything. As the festival has grown, we realized the need to get other people involved, not only because we really needed the help, but also because we saw the value in having the community invested in the process of making the festival a success. With each passing year, the festival not only grows in attendance, but it also becomes more complex, with more moving parts and more details to juggle.
For the past few years that we've put out the call for volunteers, it was an open invitation for you to arrive early and dive into the melee of frantic activity of getting everything in place by the official start time of 10am. And when it came to the end of the day, we were happy to have you stick around after to pack things up. But honestly, it was all pretty random. Stuff got done, but not always in the most organized fashion.
This year we plan to raise the bar by opening the festival to vendors, which will add yet another layer of infrastructure and organization to manage along with everything else. But we welcome the challenge in hopes that it will bring more variety and depth to the whole event. That said, we see the need to improve how we tap into the volunteer resource so the many tasks can get done more efficiently and folks get a stronger sense of belonging to the festival itself.
To that end, we are creating a better system for organizing and engaging volunteers as teams. We're putting together a handbook describing all the aspects of the festival infrastructure, so that people can see the nuts and bolts that hold the event together. We are considering a "volunteer boot camp" to train folks on how to carry out the setup and teardown tasks before the actual festival day. So stay tuned as we roll out our new volunteer program.
You'll hear more about this as the year progresses. If you see a spot where you can contribute to the effort, let us know. We're very excited about this year's festival and we look forward to including you as part of the excitement.
Most of the help will be needed between 8:00AM and 10:00AM on the morning of August 5th. The organizing team will arrive shortly before 8am (with coffee and donuts!) and will dive right in at 8:00AM. We'll divvy up the tasks into sections and assign groups to each section. We'll deliver all the materials to the appropriate locations with instructions on how to set things up. There is some lifting, but not too strenuous if shared by multiple hands.
We will also need help during the festival to load in and load out various instructors for their workshops. You don't need to commit to the whole day, because we want you to have fun, but maybe one person to assist at each of the workshop locations for the half hour before each session (11:30AM — Noon, 1:00PM — 1:30PM and 2:30PM — 3:00PM).
And then finally, whoever is left standing at the end of the day can help us tear it all down and pack it up from 6:00PM to 8:00PM.
Thanks so much in advance...
— The EMRF organizing team
Dave Curry, Ed Rooney, Susan West, Paul Lagueux and Mike Morin