Crowd at the Pitchfork Music FestivalThe last place to be stuck this summer is at home, sitting in your own sweat, while everyone you know is raging. Strapped for cash doesn't mean zero fun and volunteering at hot summer concerts can be a sweet option for an unfortunate cash situation. Festivals operate and function with a host of sponsors, organizers and volunteers. For Bonnaroo and Pitchfork Music Festival 2010, volunteers are essential.

The Chicago non-profit community drives many volunteers to the Pitchfork Music Festival. Held Friday, July 16 through Sunday, July 18 in Chicago's Union Park, the way to volunteer for Pitchfork is by joining a local organization that volunteers at the festival. Anyone willing to volunteer for an organization that does valuable social work or change in our community can volunteer, said Jen Hensley, who handles volunteers for the festival.


After selecting a local not-for-profit, the volunteer can work directly through their organization for Pitchfork. A typical shift is about 6 hours. For Saturday and Sunday, morning, stay the entire day for free. Friday and Saturday evening shifts come back the next day for free and usually, Sunday evening volunteers choose the day they spend free at the festival.

"Volunteering for Pitchfork ensures that local not-for-profits, that do work throughout our community, get to share their message with a receptive audience and earn a small donation that they can use to continue the work they do day in and day out to make Chicago a better place to live," said Hensley.

About 500 volunteers work each year at Pitchfork, from local organizations. In 2009, some of the volunteer groups included United Way, Saving Shelter Pets, Rock for Kids and Literacy Works.

At Bonnaroo, a full weekend pass is extended to volunteers. There is a $25 application fee and a separate online deposit that equals the weekend pass amount. Returning volunteers are given priority; shifts are split according to pre-festival volunteer and during-festival volunteer categories. For example, both have three shifts; However, pre-festival volunteers have 12-hour shifts while during-festival volunteers work six-hour stints.

The festival takes place Thursday, June 10, through Sunday, June 13, in Manchester, Tenn. The volunteer program is coordinated through Work Exchange Team (WET), an organization run by Shimon Presents, a publicity, promotions and Grass Roots marketing group. Shimon Presents is behind some of the largest outdoor festivals, including: Rothbury, Lollapalooza, All Points West, Phish Festival 8, All Good, Wakarusa, Wanderlust Festival, Mulberry Mountain Harvest Festival, Amberland, Camp Bisco, Bear Creek Music and Art Festival, Langerado, Echo Project, Captain Planet Foundation, P Diddy StarMaker Auditions and HeadCount.
Do some research and you'll find than any or many of the above events need your helping hands. In exchange, you'll get something sweet for your ears. For a Summer of 2010 that promises lots of hot music, how cool is that?

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