Ottawa Bluesfest Is Giving Free Passes To Volunteers & You Could Spot Alanis Morissette

Organizers say fewer volunteers have signed up this year.

RBC Bluesfest volunteers.
Contributing Writer

RBC Bluesfest volunteers.

If you're looking for a summertime gig that comes with some sweet perks, you might want to consider volunteering with RBC Bluesfest , which gets you free entry to the 10-day festival.

After a two-year hiatus, the RBC Bluesfest is coming back, and music lovers can go check it out from July 7 to July 17. The music festival is looking for more volunteers to join its team, as the number of applicants is lower than usual right now. Typically, Bluesfest sees volunteers sign up in the thousands, with over 2,000 volunteers pitching in for previous years.

Festival organizers say the hiatus might be one of the reasons why volunteer turnout has taken a dip this year, aside from any COVID-19 concerns people may still have.

"When you don't do an event at the same level for two years, you know, you lose connections with some people [who] want to do other things, etc.," Joe Reilly, RBC Bluesfest spokesperson, tells Narcity. "Also, we have a really strong youth volunteer program, but it only works until certain ages, and people age out of it. So, we've had two years where people have aged out of that."

Bluesfest volunteers cover 30 different areas of festival happenings, like the "green team" that orchestrates park cleanup and sorts garbage and recycling material. There are also other roles to fill in information services, public relations, lost and found, emergency services, the beer garden and backstage hospitality.

Free passes for volunteers

As a perk, Bluesfest volunteers will have a free pass to the festival. So, if you sign up, you might be able to catch some of your favourite acts like Luke Combs, TLC or Rage Against The Machine without having to spend any money on a ticket. You'll also get a free festival t-shirt and a meal during each shift.

Usually, volunteers are asked to sign up for at least 20 hours, or about three to five shifts. But this year, Reilly says that this guideline will likely be less strict since the festival really needs volunteers.

"I think that sense of camaraderie, and team that gets built up around people who don't even know each other is really amazing to watch happen," concluded Reilly about the festival's helpers.

Plus, you can even get community service hours for the shifts you show up for. Nice!

Organizers note that the festival lineup is a strong one this year, with Sarah McLachlan and Jack Johnson kicking off shows on Thursday and Friday. Is it ever nice to have the festival back in full swing!

RBC Bluesfest volunteer

When: July 7-17, 2022

Where: 1 Vimy Pl., LeBreton Flats Park, Ottawa, Ontario

Who Should Sign Up: Anyone interested in catching live music or a fun summer experience! Must be at least 15 years old to volunteer.

Apply Here

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Sarah Crookall
Contributing Writer