Saturday, November 16, 2013

I Love Being Event Staff

It's great being event staff. I have never paid for a music festival because most of the time I get in for free doing some form of volunteer work, whether it's gate staff or photographer for Murdoch (I guess those days are over now... oh well). It gives me the freedom without all that much responsibility. Just do the thing and everything is OK.

It would be an absolute nightmare to be important. The people organising things look constantly busy, rushed, stressed out, like they're burdened by the responsibility. They're grateful for the help and I am thankful for the rewards which is: I get to walk places normal people don't and no one questions it. The magical aura of "staff" shrouds me in this grand glow of moderate-responsibility with amazing freedom.

Tired? Well I get to go to some sectioned off staff area where there might be chairs. If I'm there for Murdoch then the Murdoch tent (or radio caravan if it is Southbound) is free for me to chill in. Feeling crowded? A quick nod to the security guards and a flash of my mystical staff-band adorned wrist and I can simply walk out of the festival and then back in. No one questions what I'm doing. I don't need a reason I can just walk places, so long as they are not specific to different staff members. I can't go everywhere but the fact that I go nearly anywhere is a blessing made all the sweeter by the hundreds of people all around me who have made a commitment to stay in a certain spot for the festival. If they leave they forfeit their right to be there. No passouts.

This makes everything so casual. I do my job and once done I chill. Life is good when no one expects grand things from you. One festival I left it and went to McDonald's with friend and brought the security guard a coke on my return. This freedom turns a day of unpaid work into a relaxing day out. Unlike festival goers I don't have to prove my identity when I go through gates. They know I'm one of the staff and it's bam, straight in or out without breaking my stride.

Recently I was working (paid this time) at a film screening. My job involved interviewing people about their responses to the festival and I basically had free reign to walk in and out as I pleased as the event staff knew who I was and the staff of the cinema knew I was with the event staff so didn't question me walking in and out of a cinema holding a giant camera. Of course I wasn't going to wander off unless I had to but afterwards I was told to dump the footage on a laptop that happened to be located in the projector room. So I just walked into it. It was a bit odd without asking anyone but when event staff the location sort of becomes your domain and you feel free to do as you wish if it helps you do your job, and walking around without supervision just so happened to be part of that.

The projectionist came up minutes later and I said hello. He didn't seem at all phased or concerned that I was up there by myself. I had a reason related to my job and he gave me help in locating the laptop (it wasn't up there, it had been moved). That's the joy of being staff: as long as you don't be a dick everyone just accepts what you're doing.

I like that. It is so liberating to just be able to do something and everyone accept that it's OK. It doesn't make the job feel like a chore and it doesn't weigh me down. Volunteer or paid, it is the way to go.

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