In February of 2016, I went to the first team meeting for the Wollongong Writers Festival, ready to offer my services as a volunteer gofer for whatever needed doing.
To my surprise, what needed doing was for me to take over the fundraising role for the festival. I had helped out at fundraising events in previous years, but now I was in charge of coordinating them, running them, and managing a team of volunteers.
By the time the festival’s main weekend came around, we had raised approximately $3000 through fundraising events alone, and I could finally stop scheduling my time around baking sessions and trips to the bank. My work wasn’t over, however.
Taking on a role I had occupied at the last two festivals, I was a roving social media volunteer at as many Wollongong Writers Festival events as I could make it to between work shifts. This involves the fairly simple and unfortunately rude-seeming duty of taking photos at events, and live-posting them on the festival’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. It made it a little difficult to enjoy the events themselves, but I was still able to see some amazing performances, and I now have some great photos, if I do say so myself.
I helped out in this capacity at satellite events leading up to the festival, as well as over the main weekend, although on the first night of the festival’s condensed program, I handed over the duty of social media to another volunteer. On that night, my time was consumed by bartending at the Festival Launch: another great way to meet people and have a good time whilst still contributing behind the scenes.
The festival was carried out beautifully, with a diverse program thoughtfully coordinated and supported by the tireless WWF team. I was lucky enough to be volunteering at the festival’s final event, and when we all went for dinner and drinks afterwards, it was with a deep collective feeling of achievement and satisfaction.
If you’re interested in what the festival was actually like – from a purely audience member side of things – check out the blog that I wrote for the WWF website, linked below.
And definitely, definitely, keep an ear out for the Wollongong Writers Festival in 2017!