So.. I absolutely had to get down to Body & Soul this year mainly because of the hype. Even though Alex Turner told us not to believe in it, I did. I’m usually the first one to buy my Electric Picnic ticket however Im moving to Copenhagen for my Erasmus so I knew Id miss it this year. Body&Soul seemed like the perfect chance to get a festival under the belt before I left, thing is though, I’m broke. The only way I could afford to go was if I volunteered, so I did.
The application process was a bit of a mouthful. Just select general volunteering and truck on through it. Don`t worry about writing how good you are at helping others, blah blah blah, they need you more than you need them so be brief and concise yet informative. Once you get selected its really smooth sailing, there will be emails back and forth. Join the Facebook group “Body&Soul Volunteers” and just keep an eye on it.
OK juicy bits… Being a general Volunteer you have to go down the Thursday (the day before the festival starts) for an induction of sorts. I got a Bus Eireann from Busarus (Dublin) to Athboy. There was a bit of panic as to how I would get from Athboy or Delvin to the festival site but it was handy.I met a couple of lads on the bus that were all in the same boat as me, strapped for cash. When we got off in Athboy some bowsy hopped on us “Dyas want a lift to the site lads, €5 each?” happy days.
It was very quiet Thursday, only Volunteers on site. We registered and strolled into the volunteer campsite without gettting searched. We set up camp and headed off for induction where we got our schedules for the shifts we would be working. I got lovely shifts which I recommend asking for prior to the festival
I suggest you volunteer with at least one mate though because Thursday was kind of lonely, made a few friends but nothing major exciting.
Friday – I headed to the volunteer HQ Friday morning, then got sent to Gate A with the rest of my group. We got there and the security guard told us just to chill out until we get instructions but we already knew we were going to be working the car-park. Three hours of sitting in the morning sun went by until two 23/4 year old laid-back bowsys (fellas, lads, young men) pulled up in a fiesta and tell us all to stand at stations. I was last to get picked so I had to go with the two bowsys and actually direct cars into the slots where as everyone else just stood at a station telling cars to go right or left. It turned out to be quite tiring and I ended up doing two extra hours but I was done my shift before the festival started and before my mates from home had arrived. I got a lift back to the campsite off one of the co-ordinators and he made sure HQ knew I had worked extra.
I got all my gear from the Volunteer campsite and brought it over to where my mates were in the general camping and then my weekend pretty much began. I wont go on about what I got up to as this is more intended for volunteer information but basically I knew I was back up for 8am if I wanted to keep my deposit…
Saturday 7am – So Im sitting in a tent with girls I barely know accompanied by one or two of the lads and a can of dutch gold. Im looking at my watch (black casio, argos €11.95) repeating out loud “Im in work in an hour, that deposit is GONE” and then laughing with everyone so I dont feel too bad. Some how I got it together and made to the HQ tent where I had to check in. I kept the head down and got sent to where I would be stationed (information tent). I was sent with one other guy who was more or less in the same condition as me… wrote off. From 8-2 we sat slumped in chairs at what were like 6th year school desks giving every tom dick and Larry information about the festival we had only gathered the whole 24 odd hours we had been there. Toilets and showers were to our right, everything else was more or less to our left and If we didnt know the answer it was also to our left. Most people were friendly, some annoyed that we were as clueless as them but how and ever it was pretty handy considering. We were relieved at 2 on the button and the weekend continued. My next shift wasnt until 2 on Sunday so I could really let loose Saturday night even though Friday was loose in itself.
Sunday – The same guy and myself were sent to look after the “sanctuary”. Literally the most peaceful place on planet earth with no looking after needed. The guy in the high-vis? Ye got him? Thats not me, but Im beside him. We just watched a workshop of people rolling around in the grass effectively just exploring their bodies and their soulies.
I got to leave two hours early, walked to the HQ tent and got my deposit back there and then. All smiles heading back to the camp where the matesos were getting ready to kick it up a gear once again.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. It ran so smoothly and I didnt miss out on anything I wanted to see. However I would do it with one friend and only one as you can be paired together. Ive done 3 electric picnics and 1 melt festival. Ok thats not loads but Body&Soul tops the lot regardless. For this reason I think spending the money to buy a ticket is so unbelievably worth it. Next year, I wont be volunteering simply because Il be buying a ticket. See ye there, Il sort ye out with some pistachios 😉