How many hours do volunteers work?

The terms for voluntary work at Roskilde Festival were heavily debated when Roskilde Festival changed the standard hours for a lot of volunteers.

In 2013, the same terms for standard hours will apply as in 2012. Below, you can read the answers to some of the questions we were asked in the last couple of months.

Read more about who the volunteers are and what they do on the separate pages on volunteer work here.

How many hours must a volunteer work at Roskilde Festival 2013?
The standard hours are 32 hours. This standard reflects the festival period of 8-10 days, and applies to volunteers in the clubs and organisations working in this period.

The standard hours depend on the concrete job, and some volunteers work more hours and others work less. However, if a volunteer works during the four days where the inner festival area is open the standard hours are still 24 hours.

Why does Roskilde Festival maintain the standard hours from 2012?
We increased the standard hours in 2012 from 24 hours to 32 hours. We did this because we believe that this standard fits better with a festival period stretching over eight days. We also believe that the standard of 32 hours will contribute to a closer and funnier working relationship between the volunteers, thereby creating a bigger commitment.

What is your justification for saying that 32 hours will create a bigger commitment than 24 hours do?
We base this on our evaluations of the 2012 festival. It consists of surveys among the volunteers and meetings with the people in charge from the clubs, and there were pros and cons. The new clubs who were at the festival for the first time in 2012 did not experience the same problems as the clubs with more festival experience.

At the same time, our own experiences from when we introduced the 32 hour standard for the majority of the festival's own volunteers, roughly 11,000 in total, were that the solidarity surrounding the work was crucial in order to foster the commitment. On the whole, the experiences from 2012 have confirmed our belief that 32 hours is also the right standard for 2013.

Do other volunteers work more or less than 32 hours?
The voluntary contribution at Roskilde festival is basically about commitment, and it is difficult to work out the exact hours. Some work 24 hours during the four days where the inner festival area is open, while the majority of those working in service and trade are organised according to the new 32 hour standard.

The workmen and work crew, who build up and take down stages and stands, typically work very hard for 80-100 hours for three weeks. Finally, there are the nearly 900 volunteers who put many hundreds of hours into the festival both during and the rest of the year. They are the ones we call “the passionate”

What challenges did the clubs experience in 2012 as a consequence of the increased standard hours?
Our evaluations show that a number of clubs experienced that the more experienced volunteers didn't come back. At the same time, a number of clubs experienced that they had to compete for new volunteers and some clubs couldn't get enough volunteers to carry out their work assignment as planned. The clubs that were at the festival for the first time in 2012 did not have the same challenges as the more experienced clubs.

Has last year's critique from several clubs had no effect on the Roskilde Festival management?
Roskilde Festival should have been better at helping the persons in charge of the clubs that had problems with recruiting and motivating their volunteers in 2012.

We maintain that the standard hours of 32 hours is the right decision, but that it was introduced in the wrong way. Therefore, in 2013, we will create a number of concrete initiatives that will help the clubs in relation to recruitment, knowledge sharing and retention of new as well as old volunteers.

What concrete initiatives will help the clubs in 2013?
The purpose of the following initiatives is to ease the work with recruitment, organising and to contribute to a stronger and funnier community among the volunteers at Roskilde Festival 2013:

  • An increased flexibility because of more wristbands that will be given to the key volunteers who the club or union wants to bring in to e.g. ensure motivation, experience and training. The need for extra wristbands will be determined for each club or union and can as a maximum make up 5% of the volunteers in the club. Volunteers with extra wristbands will not prompt extra settlement with the clubs or unions. 
  • The persons in charge from the clubs or unions will in 2013 be invited to a number workshops and courses, that will focus on knowledge sharing and sparring on motivating and organising the volunteers. 
  • Dedicated daily support from the festival secretariat for e.g. recruitment, drawing up contracts and employee organisation. 
  • With www.nemvagt.dk we give free access to a newly developed duty roster tool, that will ease the administrative burden.

Is this in reality about reducing the number of volunteers at Roskilde Festival?
The standard hours should be equal to the festival period. We increased the hours from 24 to 32 hours, because we believe this fits with a festival period which in later years' has been expanded from 4 days to 8-10 days.

However, Roskilde Festival has an ambition of turning a strong growth in the number of volunteers in the last couple of years'. The number of volunteers has gone up from 29,000 in 2010 to 33,000 in 2012.

Was Roskilde Festival short of volunteers in 2012?
For about three weeks before the festival began we were 500-1.000 volunteers short, corresponding to 1.5 – 3% of the collective workforce of 33.000 volunteers. During the festival we could reorganise a number of clubs' areas of responsibility, so that the use of volunteers was down scaled without the general audience service level suffering.

However, some of the clubs did not reach the expected number of volunteers, which affected their earnings basis.

What will Roskilde Festival do if there are not enough volunteers in 2013?
We expect Roskilde Festival 2013 to be just as good as the 2012 festival, based on about 30,000 volunteers' efforts. The experiences from 2012 show that Roskilde Festival can be carried through with a standard of 32 hours, and that a flexible approach to the employee organisation can ensure yet another fantastic festival.

What is the hourly salary for volunteers at this year's festival?
Volunteers are not paid a salary. Though, some the Danish media in the spring of 2012 came up with an hourly salary of DKK 56 for some of the Roskilde Festival volunteers (apparently by dividing the ticket price by 32).

Volunteers give something of themselves and hopefully get a whole lot in return in the form of experiences, community and knowledge. They will have to find salaried work elsewhere.

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