Volunteering at FARM

If you have general questions about volunteering at the conference itself, please send an email to volunteer@farmfolk.org. For questions about volunteering throughout the year, or more general questions about FARM, please use the info@farmfolk.org address.

In 2020, Cindy Morgan is once again the Volunteer Coordinator, although Smitty Smith will be joining her in carrying out those duties.

FARM is grateful for the generosity of all those who give of their time to make FARM happen!


PLEASE READ EVERY TAB BELOW before completing the application!

Volunteers are the lifeblood of FARM! We use over 200 hours of volunteer time just during the conference itself, not to mention all the hours people put in planning and leading up to the conference. Volunteers are used from 9 a.m. until 2:30 a.m. on most days of the conference, and they help with almost every event scheduled, in one capacity or another. Truly, without volunteers, FARM couldn’t happen.

There are two levels of volunteering at the conference itself: part time (total of 4 hours spent volunteering) or full time (total of 8 hours spent volunteering). The actual shifts vary in length, from 1 to 6 hours, depending on the task. You may be assigned more than one shift in order to reach your total time commitment as a volunteer. For example, a part-time volunteer might have a single 4-hour shift, or two 2-hour shifts, or a 1-hour and a 3-hour shift.

STEP 1. Fill out the application form below. This includes the information we need to contact you, as well as the hours you are available to potentially be scheduled during the conference. The more flexibility you can give us, the easier it is for us to match you to a shift. You can list your top 3 preferences as to tasks (see the list tab for an idea of what they entail), or if you have no preference, let us know that too. Most tasks happen in the area near events, so you won’t be too far from the action.

STEP 2. Within 2 weeks, you’ll receive an answer as to whether you have been accepted as a volunteer, and at what level. Each level has a different code to use on the registration form so that the computer knows how to reduce the registration cost.

NOTE: You will get your actual assignment(s) closer to the conference.

After you are accepted, if you need to withdraw from volunteering altogether, or make changes to your availability, please send that information to volunteer@farmfolk.org, with a subject line of “FARM volunteer changes for [your name here]” to help your email stand out in the queue.

In exchange for your volunteer help, we will reduce your registration cost (this requires a code, which is sent after an application is submitted & accepted). A part-time volunteer will pay 50% of the registration fee at the time they register, plus $20; a full-time volunteer will pay a flat fee of $40, regardless of when they register. In the past, we were able to waive registration—but that was before we expanded the registration fee to include some meals. Now, registration for the conference includes dinners on both Friday and Saturday evenings for everyone, including all volunteers.

First time volunteers are only eligible to work at the part-time (4 hour) level. More experienced volunteers may apply for either the part-time or full-time (8 hour) level.

We may not be able to accommodate all requests to volunteer. There are a very limited number of full-time spots available during the conference, with a greater number of part-time slots to be filled. Sometimes a person’s availability and preferences preclude our being able to use them as a volunteer, since our needs are quite time and task specific.

List of Volunteer Tasks

(these are the major ones; others may arise)

  1. Prep/set up (only available if you are there Weds evening or Thurs morning): immediately prior to the conference, help with any and all tasks related to set up, including putting out signage, stuffing tote bags, preparing name badges, setting up the registration and merch areas, setting up instrument check, hanging banners, etc.
  2. Registration (prior experience preferred): staff the registration/merchandise tables; check in pre-registered and walk-in attendees; sell Taste of FARM tickets; sell merchandise; answer questions; be the welcoming face of FARM. This position requires some additional training (which may include reading procedures in advance of the conference, and an on site meeting).
  3. CD sales: during the evening official showcases on Thurs/Fri/Sat, staffing the CD table where the performers will have merchandise for sale. This position required some additional training on site.
  4. Instrument check: staff the table in the instrument check room, where people can leave their instruments during the conference. This room is only unlocked when there is a volunteer to monitor it.
  5. Workshop host: sit at the door of the workshop room; pass out any handouts the presenter has; keep a rough tally of attendance; hand out evaluation forms to everyone who comes; let presenter know when time is almost up.
  6. Door monitor: check credentials to be sure that only registered folks are at whatever event is occurring in this space (presenter roundtable, breakfast, special events). Direct people without credentials to the registration area to get credentials for the conference.
  7. Green room/stage go-fer: monitor the green room during the evening performances, watching over the belongings/instruments of performers; assist the sound folks as asked, and assist in corralling performers.
  8. Hall monitor (for Private Showcase floor and Performance Lane): keep an ear on the noise level, and shush people as necessary; as 2:30 nears, remind people that music must stop in that area of the hotel by 2:30; direct them to the all night jamming areas that are available elsewhere in the hotel if they want to continue playing.
  9. Clean up (only available on Sunday): help to take down banners, box up supplies, collect various recycling; be generally helpful to Conference Director and her agents as we clean up the place

Please contact us if you have skills you believe might be helpful to our organization.

The more of us who put our energy and ideas into the organization, the more useful FARM will be to folk music and dance in the Midwest and those of us that perform and manage. Much of the organizational process of FARM is accomplished over the internet between the Annual FARM Conferences.

If you can you answer these questions, it will help us immensely:

Is there a venue in your area that should know about Folk Alliance and FARM?

Is there a conference hotel in your area that would be a good location for a future gathering?

Would you like to help plan future Gatherings?

Is there a workshop you would love to see?

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