YOUTH MATTERS Sean Kennedy...Fancy seeing the top festivals on a budget? Then get volunteering

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I love music and have been attending gigs for years, but I had never been to a festival until recently.

Leeds, Reading and Download festivals provide a wealth of new music, fantastic headlining acts and unmatched atmosphere.

All needs are met with camping, food stalls, open air bar, buses to town and plenty of merchandise to choose from.

But all of this comes at a price, tickets alone can cost upwards of £150.

There is however an answer that can cut down costs and still allow people to enjoy the festival through volunteering.

So far I have volunteered twice and would recommend it to anyone.

It is an excellent way to meet people and give a chance to see behind the scenes, sometimes meeting the acts themselves.

Many people are aware that charities such as Oxfam who provide a ‘free’ ticket in exchange for your services as a steward or a litter picker.

But some are put off by the large refundable deposit (£300 in some cases) or the long hours litter picking in the notorious British summer showers.

This should not put you off; your camping, food and often some drinks are provided over the shift which means you have to bring less with you.

Also, once the deposit is paid you can volunteer at multiple festivals over the summer.

Oxfam is not the only charity that offers this service, Vinspired is a charity that offers opportunities for 14 to 25-year-olds to volunteer at events, making them a good starting point if you are interested.

This is how I found out about YNot festival in Derbyshire; last year Feeder and Maximo Park were headlining.

I was working on the VIP bar backstage which was great as I didn’t have to stand in the rain and also met the Rifles, Miles Kane and other acts.

We didn’t have to pay a deposit, worked a maximum of five hours a day and were given two meals a day.

Though the choice was limited to sausages, curry and other meals it was warm and very tasty.

Although I was on bar this year, in previous years as a litter picker and steward we still managed to catch most of the acts and had a laugh with the other people on shift. Volunteering has allowed me to meet some great bands and save money while still enjoying the festival – it is well worth the effort.