Volunteer!

NEFFA runs on volunteers! Earn free admission to the Festival with just a few hours of your time. As an all-volunteer organization, we need year-round volunteers too.

Volunteer FAQ

Please read through the complete FAQ before signing up to volunteer. Signups are open!

What kinds of volunteer jobs can I do?

NEFFA has three general categories of volunteers:

Festival General Volunteers work at the annual Festival.  Positions require no specific background; any training necessary is provided by NEFFA, usually during the Festival weekend. These volunteers can earn full or partial Festival admission. Jobs can range from posting signs as part of Festival setup, putting together dance floors (under skilled supervision), helping at the registration table, directing cars towards parking, Festival setup and/or strike, and more. Contact volunteering@neffa.org for more information, but read the rest of the FAQ first! The Volunteer signup site typically opens in February.

Festival Sound Volunteers work specifically at the annual Festival. Most positions require some or extensive background as a Sound Technician, but there are a number of positions available to those with interest but no background yet. These volunteers can earn full or partial Festival admission. The Sound Committee runs workshops during February – April. Specific jobs may include sound setup and strike, assisting larger bands in getting on and off stage, running a sound board, and more.  Contact SoundVols@neffa.org for more information, but read the rest of this FAQ first! The Volunteer signup site typically opens in February.

Committee Chairs work on the Festival for most of the year. These volunteers typically attend NEFFA Board meetings (monthly, usually over Zoom) as well as working on their projects, alone or with a small committee, year round. We have chairs for Sound, Parking, Tickets, Food, Marketplace and more. Contact president@neffa.org for more information.

NEFFA is more than the Festival! If you’re interested in the Ralph Page Weekend, the Thursday Contra Series, or in learning about the other things that NEFFA does, contact president@neffa.org for more information.

Volunteers earn a full Festival admission for six hours of work. For 2024, Sound Volunteers may apply up to two hours of pre-Festival training towards their six hours if they work at least four hours at the Festival. For all volunteers, fewer than six hours are pro-rated and may earn admission to a single or two sessions.

ONE hour: Free admission to the Friday evening session.

TWO hours: Free admission to any one session on Saturday or Sunday.   Remember that Saturday morning and evening are two separate sessions.

THREE hours: Free admission to both Saturday sessions or Friday plus one Saturday session or Sunday.

All volunteers much be ticketed for each session in which they are working.

There are a number of setup/takedown jobs. These include hanging signs, putting together dance floors, and general site setup/takedown (may require some heavy lifting). In addition, Sound volunteers will be needed to put together and then take apart and put away sound systems (mics, cables, speakers, etc.) and to hang acoustic drapes in the Trade Center (requires heavy lifting).

Many Festival committees rely on volunteers at the Festival. Positions include Family Activities, Safety, Information (hospitality), Instrument Check, Membership, Parking, Performer Sales, Sound, Volunteer Check-in, and as Early Entry Monitors. There are many jobs for those who wish to be active and a limited number of jobs for those who prefer to be seated for their shifts. There are both indoor and outdoor jobs. Some positions have age minimums.

Many NEFFA volunteers start young. General setup/takedown can be done with parents. Instrument Check takes volunteers from age 16 (need to be strong). Volunteers in the Family Activity Room must be at least 12. Sound has occasionally accepted volunteers as young as nine years old (with a parent in tow) but most Sound volunteers tend to be at least in their teens. All volunteers under the age of 18 must have the permission of a parent or guardian and must provide contact information for that adult.

Yes! NEFFA has openings for non-technical volunteers, for Sound technicians at all experience levels, and for Zoom/video staff. Training is provided for most positions. Many experienced sound engineers got their start at the Festival!

Just like General Volunteers, Sound Volunteers need to work six hours for a free full-Festival admission. All Sound team jobs require a minimum 2- or 4-hour shift. A few require longer shifts. Most team members sign up for multiple shifts, averaging at least 4-6 hours total work at the Festival, which, when pre-Festival training is included, qualifies them for free admission to the entire Festival weekend.

Yes. Once volunteer applications open the complete list of jobs will be listed so you can view them as part of the application process.

Volunteer signups usually open mid-February. Watch the NEFFA home page, or better yet, sign up for our mailing list, The NEFFA Loop, for a link to volunteer signups when they open. If you haven't volunteered for NEFFA recently, you may also click on the "Volunteer Signups" button at the top of this page to add your email to our database. Once we open for volunteer applications, that same button will instead let you sign up for your preferred volunteer experience.

When you sign up, you will select the times you are available to help. The more times you are available, the more chances you have of getting an assignment. Some jobs require a 2-hour minimum shift, so be sure to indicate if you have multi-hour availability. We do our best to accommodate all volunteers by giving preference to time over job choice. Please understand that we are all volunteers, and there are critical jobs & times that must be priority filled. We will do our best to place you in a volunteer job, though we cannot guarantee that we will be able to find a suitable position during the times you are available.

For scheduling reasons, we discourage volunteers from working BOTH as a Sound and a General volunteer. If you wish to do so regardless, please send an email to BOTH volunteering@neffa.org and SoundVols@neffa.org. We apologize for the inconvenience.

If your SCHEDULE CHANGES AFTER YOU HAVE SIGNED UP in the volunteer application system, or you have to CANCEL BEFORE THE FESTIVAL starts, promptly notify volunteering@neffa.org if you are a General Volunteer or SoundVols@neffa.org if you are a Sound Volunteer. If it's early in the application season, we will use your revised schedule to assign you hours. If you make these changes within 2-3 weeks of the Festival, we may no longer have the flexibility to assign you hours. However, if you do not receive hours and still want them, you may go to the Volunteer table at the Festival to see if an alternate assignment is available.

Volunteer assignments are sent out approximately two weeks before the Festival. If your assigned schedule doesn’t work for some reason please contact us immediately. On arrival at the Festival, volunteers should pick up reserved tickets and confirm assignments at the Volunteer Check-in Table at the Festival entrance.

Most of the time when we don’t assign a volunteer position, the problem is that your availability doesn’t match our scheduling needs. The more flexibility you have for scheduling, the greater the chance that you’ll be able to volunteer.

We take volunteers right up to the Festival! The best spots go to those who volunteer by March 15, which is when we start distributing assignments, but we take volunteers right up to the start of the Festival, and occasionally even during the Festival. We regret that we are unable to provide refunds, though, to those who have already paid for a Festival admission.

We expect all volunteers to notify their supervisor (volunteering@neffa.org for General Volunteers, SoundVols@neffa.org for Sound Volunteers) of conflicts in advance and to honor their volunteer commitments; we’re counting on you! If an emergency or illness prevents you from showing up, please do your best to get a message to us. If anything less than an emergency prevents you from honoring your volunteer commitment then we will expect you to pay for your Festival admission (if you attended).

The New England Folk Festival Association works year-round, not just on Festival planning, but also on a weekly contra dance, the Ralph Page Dance Event, and a grants program. Contact president@neffa.org for more information on how you can join the NEFFA community of volunteers.

Scroll to Top