Festival season is upon us

The festival season is upon us.

Ah, no, not Christmas. European summers are filled with all sorts of festivals, from classical music to comic books. You can’t think of any topic and there will be a festival this summer.

Why is this of interest on a blog about European jobs?

Most of these festivals are organised by volunteers and have been going for years, so they tend to have a wealth of experience when it comes to organising them. They’re really small versions of real companies, but are only visible for a short period of time, mostly during the summer season.

If you have just got your degree, are still studying, are unemployed or find it difficult to gain relevant experience, have a look at volunteering with these festivals. It’ll look great on your CV and you gain some real experience.

Most festivals tend to start organising a year ahead and will have a need for all sorts of people, from web designers to IT staff and from marketing/PR specialists to fundraising professionals.  A lot of work needs to be done and these festivals are always short of money, so any help is welcome. As not many people are generally involved you can quickly take on responsibility, a chance you wouldn’t easily get when you’re new to a company. Who could say that they were responsible for a multi-million budget at the age of 20? Or were looking after the publicity for an international organisation that featured all over the media?

To give you an example of a small, but very international festival, have a look at the Casalmaggiore International Festival in Italy. A large number of rising international classical stars gather there every year to study with leading international musicians and perform on stages in the wider area, which includes Parma, Cremona and Mantova.

You will be able to find similar festivals near where you live. Do a bit of research online and you’ll be able to find loads of opportunities. They might have vacancies listed on their website, but if not, contact them directly. As this is a generally underused way of getting experience, you’ll most likely be welcomed with open arms and get a valuable experience to boot.

You have to be prepared though for how amateurish some of the festivals are run though. All sorts of politics can be played out as most of these “well meaning” people would have no chance to run a business in real life and this shows in how they run their festival. Often they’re a real mirror of how poorly smaller companies are run, so no surprise there. Just be aware, but it’ll be a good experience one way or the other.

Have fun!


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