HowTheLightGetsIn 2020



HowTheLightGetsIn is the world’s largest and most exciting philosophy and music festival – and we need YOU to make it happen!

Volunteering at HowTheLightGetsIn is an amazing way to get involved with the process of turning our vision into a reality, as well as an opportunity for you to enjoy the festival itself with minimal costs.


Why should you get involved?

1. ACCESS. In return for their short daily shifts (typically between 5-6 hours), festival volunteers get a staff wristband giving them access to a whole range of debates, live music, film & comedy - not to mention insane discounts on the festival eateries and some of the visiting stall holders!

2. SKILLS & EXPERIENCE. Volunteering looks great on your CV and all of our volunteers can request a reference when they need it for future employment. You'll get to network with festival organisers and gain an insight into the behind-the-scenes running of a large-scale event.

3. FUN. The team is always diverse, welcoming and up for having a lot of laughs. A lot of our volunteers come back year after year to have reunions and see the same friendly faces they got to know in previous years. 



HowTheLightGets Hay 2020 is set in a magical location on the edge of the Black Mountains, alongside the river Wye in the famed book town of Hay! The festival site is right behind the Co-Operative in Hay-on-Wye. 

Newport Street, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford HR3 5BG

Accommodation - Camping

All our volunteers and staff camp for the festival. This means you need to have your own tent and camping equipment, but you get a free camping space in our festival campsite as part of your volunteering benefits. The campsite is right across the road from the festival site with hot showers and cabin toilets. 


Dates & Times

As a volunteer, you will need to be available for training on Thursday 21st May 2020 - timings are TBC - but this training is likely to be 16:00-19:00. 

You will also need to be available for all event days inclusive from Friday 22nd May - Monday 25th May 2020. The very latest finish on Monday 25th will be 10pm. Please therefore plan to travel back home on Tuesday 26th. 


What roles are available?

  • Being a steward is the best way to see as much of HowTheLightGetsIn as possible whilst being instrumental in the smooth-running of the festival. A steward’s role is by far the most varied, covering a range of responsibilities from managing queues and crowds to working the box office or turning over venues between events. You’ll gain a thorough understanding of the inner workings of a festival, whilst being immersed in all the wonderful events HowTheLightGetsIn has to offer.

    What skills would I need?

    Our stewards need to be reliable, responsible, and friendly. We’re looking for applicants who are confident engaging with lots of people, and are on-the-ball and alert. Experience stewarding at other events is preferable but not necessary.

    When would I be working?

    Training: Thursday 21st May (timing TBC, but likely to be 16:00)
    Volunteering days: 08:00 Friday 22nd - 22:00 Monday 25th May
  • Our publicity street team is the front line of HowTheLightGetsIn and they are integral for the success of the festival. The street team is responsible for the promotion of the festival in the town of Hay itself, engaging with the general public and encouraging them to give us a visit by supplying information. This might be by interacting with local businesses, manning the publicity base on the main Hay road, or simply giving out flyers. It’s a fun and active way to immerse yourself in the spirit of both the festival and the Hay-on-Wye community.

    What can I bring to HowTheLightGetsIn?

    To be part of the street team you need to be a confident speaker, happy to speak with passers-by and give clear information or directions. Most importantly, we’re looking for people who are enthusiastic about HowTheLightGetsIn, so that they can best engage with the public!

    When would I be working?

    Training: Thursday 21st May (timing TBC, but likely to be 13:00)
    Volunteering days: 08:00 Friday 22nd - 22:00 Monday 25th May
  • HowTheLightGetsIn are looking for outgoing affable people to help make Hay2020 a success. We are seeking volunteers who love to be outdoors come rain or shine.

    Traffic Management stewards are crucial to the set up and pack down of the festival. You co-ordinate the traffic movement during build week and pack down – so before and after the festival itself.

    The main advantage to traffic management volunteering is the time you get to dedicate being at the festival itself. Because you volunteer before and after the event, Traffic Management stewards get to access the whole bank holiday weekend of the festival completely free – and don’t have to volunteer during the actual event. It’s therefore perfect for those who are flexible with their time and want to have unadulterated access to the festival over the event weekend.

    Must be available to volunteer for 13th – 21st May AND 25th – 28th May 2020.

    Previous traffic/ car park management experience
    Radio experience highly desirable

Or, if you're looking for a more intensive volunteering experience, why not check out our Kick-Starter Programme? This skills development programme is aimed at young people looking to get their start in festivals, events, and the arts. Please visit our official Kicks-Starters page to learn more!



"I want to express my sincere gratitude for the stewarding experience you have offered us: it has been nothing short of transformational! Although it was the first time I volunteered for a festival, I am already stewarding with another one this weekend!" - Madalina Benderschi, Chișinău, Moldova

"Thanks so much for the opportunity to work with you guys at the festival. It was so much fun - would love to be involved again next year!"Katie Poundall, London, UK

"I was honoured to serve for this wonderful event as a steward. I booked months ago, flew from China for 11 hours (!) and found that it was so, so worth it!!" Luyao Zhang, Hong Kong, China


How to Sign Up

Please follow the link below to complete the application form.

Every volunteer pays an honesty bond of £50 to secure their place, which is refundable after the successful completion of all shifts. Please note the honesty bond is non-refundable if you drop out within a month of the festival.



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