Pulling attendees from all over New England, Solarfest is an amazing venue to listen to great music, make purchases from eco-minded vendors, and learn from a great workshop series which offers something for everyone from children and beginners on sustainability and renewable energy to more advanced topics for seasoned veterans. This year was my second time in attendance and my first as a volunteer at this particular event.
Some of the reasons I decided to help out include a friend who was also volunteering, for the cost of my volunteer t-shit I had a weekend pass and free camping, big events always need more help and I was in a position to offer this, and I was going to be running a workshop so it already felt like I was already committed to giving my time.
Over the course of the weekend I still had plenty of time to catch the music I wanted to listen to, including a great band that featured a bagpipe and a lot of great dancing music, only I got a chance to meet some new people who ended up being a lot of fun to hang out with. The experience was enriching overall, in part because I felt more intimately connected to the festival and what was going on there.
One of the greatest things I learned was that it takes a lot of people to make something like this happen – from the crew that feeds all the hands on deck, to the mechanics who are making sure that the panels are up and running at their optimal level at all hours of light, volunteers sell tickets, run the info booth, help in the presentations. This particular event needs about 300 volunteers in order to be successful for the approximately 6,000 people that descend yearly onto this idyllic farm in Tinmouth, Vermont. Since some of those people are repeats (Sat and Sun), this figures out to roughly a 1 to 10 ratio of volunteers to paid attendees.
But what really struck me was that this particular experience illustrates in a big way just how important it is to have many active volunteers in order to make great community events happen. Whether its little league, Solarfest, a fundraising gala, or a concert in the park, volunteers are essential. So I’ll be back next year, because I appreciate what Solarfest not only gives to me, but what it provides others as well and I want to continue to support that.
In any event there are typically needs that could be met with an extra set of hands for a few hours. Can you help out at Solarfest or in your community? I appreciate it.