Below you will find answers to our frequently-asked questions about the volunteer program. For information about the festival itself, check out our festival website, www.ottawabluesfest.ca.

Will there be any volunteer opportunities for the festival in 2017?
Yes! We depend on a mighty team of volunteers to make sure our festival is running smoothly. Openings will be posted online on a first-come, first-served basis, check our online registration regularly for openings.

What happens if I can’t attend one of my shifts?

We can’t run the festival without our volunteers, so we’re counting on your attendance! It’s expected that you’ll show up for all of your scheduled shifts, even if you signed up for more than the minimum. In order to avoid missing shifts, make sure not to sign up for more shifts than you can commit to.

Remember: In order to keep your free show privileges, you must attend ALL of the shifts that you’re scheduled for.

How do I apply for specialized positions that aren’t open during public registration?
We typically post our specialized positions well before public registration opens, usually as early as February or March. To find out what they are, what requirements they have and how to apply, you can click HERE.

How do I volunteer for the Photo Team? Would I get to take pictures of the artists?
If you are interested in applying for our Photo Team, the application is typically available in March. We require a photography-based résumé and online portfolio. We suggest highlighting your ability to take engaging photographs of people outside and in a busy environment. Please keep in mind that we typically have only 2-5 positions to fill each year.

No, volunteers on our Photo Team do not have the opportunity to take photos of our artists. Our volunteer Photo Team focuses on capturing our volunteer program in action. We have over 3500 volunteers who make our festival possible, and we need group shots, portraits, action shots and crowd shots of the volunteers at our great event.

How old do I have to be to volunteer for RBC Bluesfest?
In order to volunteer with us, you need to be at least 15 years old by the beginning of the festival (July 6, 2017). Keep in mind there are certain areas that have different age requirements (e.g. any position involved in serving or selling alcohol has a minimum age of 18).

But I’m only going to be 14! Can’t you make an exception?
While we appreciate your interest and enthusiasm in joining our team, we unfortunately can’t make an exception for this rule. But we look forward to seeing you at the next festival, so mark it on your calendar!

Why can’t I volunteer in more than one Area?
Having our volunteers work all their shifts in one Area helps us to keep things consistent and means that you don’t have to learn the ropes for a new activity every time you come in. Our Area Leaders also depend on the experience of their team to keep things running smoothly, and to help new volunteers get the hang of the day-to-day activities & expectations of their Area.

However, if you hate routine and love the unknown, check out our Alternates team. Members of this team fill in across the festival in whatever Area needs a little extra support—so who knows what you’ll end up doing!

Do I get to see shows for free?

Definitely! That’s one of the great benefits of volunteering at RBC Bluesfest. You can see shows on your days off, and before or after shifts. To be entitled to free admission throughout the festival, you must attend all of the shifts that you sign up for.

  • New volunteers: You must complete your first volunteer shift before attending any shows.
  • Returning volunteers: You can attend any shows before your first shift!

If I don’t get a spot during public registration, can I go on your waiting list?
Our registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and we, unfortunately, don’t offer a waiting list for registration. What we recommend is that you keep checking in to see if any spots become available, which happens right up to the start of the festival.

Can I sign up to volunteer with a friend?
Absolutely! We often have volunteers working together in areas throughout the festival site. To increase the chances of this happening, you and your friend should sign up for the same shifts at the same time, using separate computers. However, because volunteers are placed where they’re needed, we can’t guarantee that you’ll work together; your Area Leader may need you to work separately during your respective shifts.

I want to sign up with my family (children, partner, sibling, etc)—is there anything special that we need to know?
Yes, there are a few of things that you should keep in mind:

  • Much like volunteering with a friend, we cannot guarantee that family members will be able to volunteer on the same shift, or if they do, that they’ll be assigned to the same roles/tasks.
  • Each family member needs their own PRIMARY email address; if the same email address is used for more than one volunteer as their PRIMARY email, the files will merge and cancel out all but one of the registrants. Sharing the same SECONDARY email address is fine and will cause no problems.
  • We recommend that your respective Emergency Contacts are not someone who is working at the festival at the same time as you.

How many shifts do I have to sign up for?
We ask that you sign up for a minimum of 5 shifts, although some Areas may require more. Each shift is approximately 4 hours long but can vary depending on the activity’s requirements. Please read over the duties and requirements of any Area you may be considering volunteering for to make sure that you can meet the expectations of the position for the length of your shift.

What is Accessibility Standards Customer Service Training? Why do I have to do it for the festival?
Accessibility Standards for Customer Service is a provincially-driven act created to increase awareness and services for people with disabilities. All organizations that provide goods or services directly to the public are affected by this act, and that includes volunteers for RBC Bluesfest.

Do I have to complete the Accessibility Standards Customer Service Training before registration? Where do I have to go to do it?
The training can be completed anytime between when you register and when the festival starts. The training takes approximately 45 minutes and is available for free online at: http://www.accessforward.ca/front/customerService/.

Please note, there is no certificate or proof of completion. If you’ve done the training before, you do not need to do it again. Once you’ve completed the training, please update your training information on CVENT to reflect completion.

Can my time at RBC Bluesfest count for high school hours?
Yes! Make sure to bring your school-issued form with you and have your Area Leader sign it immediately following each shift.

Do I need to go to Orientation Night?
We highly recommend you attend one of these sessions held at the festival site to find out the details of your assigned duties, as well as get a tour of the festival grounds and see all the key volunteer areas (they usually change a little every year). It’s also a great opportunity to meet your Area Leader and the team of volunteers you’re going to be working with!
See our orientation schedule here:

Is there any volunteer parking onsite?
No, there is no onsite volunteer parking. However, we are located centrally at LeBreton Flats, so we recommend using public transportation, walking when possible, or taking advantage of our fantastic (and free!) Bike Park valet service, located outside of the festival gates.

Do RBC Bluesfest Volunteers ride OC Transpo for free?

RBC Bluesfest volunteers can access OC Transpo for free to and from the festival—three hours before gates open until two hours after the music stops.

Please Note: This perk does not start until the festival begins (July 6, 2017) and it only applies once you have signed into Volunteer Check-In and received your volunteer accreditation (wristband). You will show your volunteer wristband to the bus driver as proof of payment.

  • New Volunteers: Your volunteer wristband will be distributed to you when you are signing in for your first shift. Please DO NOT come to Volunteer Check-In to receive your volunteer wristband on a day prior to your first shift.
  • Returning Volunteers: You can access OC Transpo for free once you’ve signed in for your first shift or a free show and received their wristband.

What does the festival do with tips?
Tip money collected at the beverage areas of the festival supports volunteer appreciation initiatives. Primarily, the funds provide the delicious food that is prepared for volunteers at the Outdoor Blues Café, but it also supports other recognition initiatives like on-site random draws, the post-festival volunteer appreciation party, off-season get-togethers and our Service Award ceremony.

What do funds raised through Bead Tent, Silent Auction, autographed commemorative posters and 50/50 tickets go towards?
These funds directly benefit two festival-created charities, Blues in the Schools (BITS) and Be in the Band (BITB). Both of these programs have been extremely successful and are sources of community pride.

Blues in the Schools is an award-winning educational program created to promote the history and culture of Blues music by bringing national and international artists and educators to local schools for two-week residencies.

Be in the Band puts young musicians in touch with other young musicians as potential bandmates, and recruits professional musicians to mentor and provide technical support and equipment so that participants can take full advantage of a quality ensemble experience.


I volunteered with RBC Bluesfest last year—when does Early Bird open this year?
If you were part of our team in 2016 and finished the season in good standing (i.e. you completed all the shifts you signed up for, had a good attitude and complied with our Volunteer Code of Conduct), you will receive your Early Bird Invitation in May 2017. This provides you with the opportunity to return to the Area you volunteered in last year, as well as have first pick of available shifts before public registration opens.

I volunteered last year, but I want to volunteer in a different activity for 2017. Can I get an Early Bird invitation for a new Area?
Our Early Bird invitations are a perk used to incentivize volunteers who wish to return to the same Area.If you want to select a different team, you will have to wait until public registration opens.

I didn’t receive my Early Bird invite and I am a volunteer in good standing, what do I do?
Sometimes our Early Bird invitations end up in the junk folder in your email.  Take a quick look there, and if you still can’t find it, you can contact Volunteer Services volunteers@ottawabluesfest.ca.  We will do our best to get back to you in a timely manner with more information.  Keep in mind that to be a volunteer in good standing, you completed all the shifts you signed up for, had a good attitude and complied with our Volunteer Code of Conduct.


I did not receive an email after clicking FINISH on my registration, what should I do?
First step is to check your Junk or Spam folder and add cventplanner.com and the domain name ‘ottawabluesfest.ca’ to your Safe Senders list. If you still can’t find your confirmation email, contact Volunteer Services at emason@ottawabluesfest.ca as soon as possible to verify that we have the correct email address for you, and to confirm that your registration went through successfully.

I am already registered, how do I sign into my account?

Click on the link that was sent to you after you completed your registration and enter your confirmation number (also found in that first email). You can also go to the ‘Volunteer Registration’ page of our website, search for your activity name, click on the link to sign up and then click on the ‘Already Registered’ link at the top right of the page above the RBC Bluesfest banner. Enter your email address (the same one you used to register) and your confirmation number.

Is my Agenda final? Can I make changes to my Agenda/Shifts?

You can make changes to your agenda up until July 4th @ Midnight. RBC Bluesfest and your volunteer team are counting on you to complete all of the shifts you sign up for, so please be sure to remove any shifts you are unable to commit to as soon as you know!

How do I change my Agenda/Shifts?

Sign into your volunteer account (see above question for how to), click ‘Modify Registration’, scroll to the bottom of the first page of your registration and click NEXT to go to the shift selection page. To add a shift, search for the shift you want and then ‘click to add shift’. To remove a shift, click ‘MY SHIFT, click to remove’. You must click FINISH on the final page of registration to save your changes and update your agenda. Once you have completed your schedule changes, you will receive an auto-confirmation email from your Area Leader with your new agenda.

I want to make changes to my agenda/schedule, but there are no shifts left to move to, what should I do?

If all of the shifts in your activity are full, then you will not be able to make changes to your agenda at this time. Spots tend to open up during the last two weeks of June. If you need to change a shift, we suggest you check shift availability by signing into your account, click ‘Modify Registration’ and scroll to the second page where the shifts are located. ALL SCHEDULE CHANGES MUST BE MADE BEFORE JULY 4th @ MIDNIGHT.

How do I cancel my registration if I can no longer volunteer at the festival?

We sorry to hear you are no longer able to volunteer at RBC Bluesfest! Please sign into your volunteer account as soon as possible (before July 4), enter your confirmation number and click ‘Cancel Registration’. Once you are done filling out your reason for cancelling, click on the FINISH button.  If you are cancelling after July 4, 2017, please email your Area Leader to notify them of your cancellation.