Volunteering FAQs

Who can volunteer for Hillside?

Anyone aged 13+ can volunteer with Hillside. Some volunteer jobs have age requirements , so make sure to read the job descriptions provided on the application.

How do I apply to volunteer?

The application is on our website from March to May every year.

How many volunteer hours do I have to contribute?

If you are volunteering during the festival, you have to be available Friday, Saturday and Sunday in order to volunteer. You are asked to give 12 hours of volunteer time to Hillside. You may be scheduled to work 4 hours each day or 6 hours on each of 2 days. If you are volunteering pre- or post-festival , you are expected to give 18-20 hours of your time to Hillside. All pre-festival jobs need you to be available during business hours/daytime during the week leading up to the festival and the Monday following the festival.

What kinds of jobs do you have for volunteers?

We have all kinds of jobs available for volunteers. You can find out what is available and read the job descriptions on the volunteer application form. All volunteer positions require you to be available for all 3 days of the festival. Pre- and Post-Festival jobs require you to be based in Guelph and available to work daytime hours in the week leading up to the festival.

What do I get for volunteering my time?

Our thanks to volunteers includes a weekend pass to the festival, camping on the island, free shuttle buses from downtown Guelph to the island, free Mainland parking, snacks and beverages throughout the weekend, 2 breakfasts, 1 meal for every shift you work on site, training, meaningful work and a great community. Volunteering at Hillside counts toward the 40 hours of volunteering high school students need to graduate in Ontario. It also counts as work experience for everyone, giving people valuable opportunities to learn teamwork as well as supervisory and leadership skills.

Whom do I contact about scheduling?

When you have been approved and assigned to a crew, the coordinator of that area will contact you. Your coordinator is your contact with Hillside and will provide you with a schedule, training dates and materials, the volunteer guide, and answers to your questions. All of our coordinators are volunteers too, they don't work in the office. Please be respectful of their time.

Can I volunteer with family, friends and/or loved ones?

Yes, you can. We love families and groups of friends at Hillside. Please list your family/friends on your application. We try our best to keep people together, but it’s not always possible. Volunteering is still work, work that needs to be done with care and pride so we may need to place you with a crew or have you work a particular shift because we need you. Meeting new people is part of the fun of volunteering and you will have lots of time after 11pm to hang with friends and family in the village. Remember that children 12 and under have free access to the festival and so can camp with you, but please be sure to have childcare in place during your shifts.

Is there training/orientation available?

Yes, we give all volunteers some form of training. Some areas have mandatory training sessions pre-festival, so be sure to read the area description before applying. Your coordinator will let you know when training is taking place.

How do I get to Hillside?

You can drive to Hillside and park in the volunteer parking area with your free parking pass. If you are driving, consider carpooling as a more environmentally-friendly mode of travel. Hillside offers a free shuttle bus for volunteers and patrons. See the Volunteer Guide for shuttle bus details. Cycling is another popular mode of travel to Hillside and you will likely meet many fellow cyclists on your way to the festival.

Where do I sign in/get my wristband?

Arriving on Friday? Go to the Main Gate tent on Hall Rd. You can’t miss it – it’s the big tent in the field where parking lots are located. Get into the volunteer line-up and have your photo ID ready. You will be banded and given a program and a bandana by one of our wonderful Gate volunteers. You can jump on the shuttle and get a ride up to the causeway and entry point to the island or take a lovely walk on the trail.

Where do I camp? When can I arrive?

Volunteers camp on the island in Volunteer Village. Walk up the causeway and make use of our LIVe N LOVe crew to help carry your gear up to the village. If you are arriving on Friday morning,you may drive up to the village to unload your gear but your vehicle must be off the island by noon. Camping is open to volunteers on Friday, July 14. There are some exceptions to this rule. If you have been scheduled to work Thursday or Friday before 1 pm, then you may camp Thursday night. Your coordinator will put your name on the early-access list for security/ Welcome Crew so you can get on the island. Sorry: only those folks who are working early can camp early. You can make early camping requests to your coordinator if you have needs that fall outside the above criteria. Note that only volunteers and children 12 and under may camp in Volunteer Village. Sorry--no friends or relations who are not volunteers. Please leave your camping area cleaner than you found it.

Can I bring a trailer/RV/bus into camping?

The short answer is “yes” with the following rules attached: you must be able to bring your vehicle Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, and you may not leave with your vehicle until Monday morning. Volunteer Village is nothing more than an open space with emergency lanes fenced in. The village is home to about 1000 people over the weekend and once all the tents are in, there really is no room to drive safely.

What about food + supplies?

Hillside provides some food and we have access to clean drinking water all weekend. Our backstage Hospitality area always has water, lemonade, coffee and tea available and fresh fruit and veggies for volunteers. We also have a water tanker on site for filling bottles and thermos jugs. Volunteers receive a token each day that they work and are able to grab a nutritious vegan/vegetarian wrap from Hospitality. Breakfast is available Saturday and Sunday for all volunteers. The rest of your food and nutritional needs are up to you. You may bring food to the festival or money to purchase meals from any of our really good food vendors. Meals range in price from $8-$15.

What else should I bring?

A tent, sleeping bag, reusable water bottle, sunscreen, hat, rain gear, comfy closed toe shoes, and comfy clothes including long sleeves and pants for evenings by the lake, prescription meds, pain, allergy and digestive aides, after-sun lotion, diaper rash cream, personal care items, and firewood. We are on an island and it’s a long journey back to town, so please remember to bring what you need.

What types of clothing should I bring?

Clothing for all weather possibilities – hot, cold, wet, dry – we live in Canada, eh. Closed-toe footwear for working your shifts. You will be informed by your coordinator if you are required to wear specific clothing while working.

Do my volunteer hours count towards my high school volunteering requirements?

Yes, they do. If you have your record-keeping page at the festival, you can ask your coordinator to sign off on your hours. You can also contact the Volunteer Program Manager at [email protected] or 519-763-6396 to sign your sheet post-festival.

Whom do I contact if I have to drop out or change a shift?

Life is full of surprises! Please contact your coordinator via email, text or phone call if you need to drop out of your volunteer role due to unforeseen circumstances. You can also email the volunteer manager to inform them, too. If you are at the festival and an emergency arises, please contact your coordinator immediately so they have time to find a Floater to fill your shift. You can text, email or leave a message for your coordinator at the Calm Zone and be sure to tell the folks at Calm Zone that your coordinator needs to get this message right away.

*Photo: Joey Panetta