Volunteers at the Abbey Medieval Banquet

Volunteer at the Abbey Medieval Festival

The Abbey Medieval Festival would not be what it is today without the generosity of our volunteer community.

Our ‘Maxime Heroica’ (greatest heroes) team experience the Abbey Medieval Festival from behind the scenes, dressed in costume and speaking in a medieval-manner. Our volunteers fill a wide variety of roles and come from diverse backgrounds.

Volunteers from the 2018 Abbey Medieval Festival can complete the returning volunteer application form.

Volunteers are needed right across the Festival calendar of events, which include:

  • Medieval Banquets: Saturday 29 June and Saturday 6 July 2019
  • Kids Medieval Family Fun Week: Monday 1 to Friday 5 July 2019
  • Abbey Medieval Festival: Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 July 2019

Volunteers are also needed to help with the Festival set-up and pack-down.

Learn more about the roles we have available, including opportunities to join the Festival coordinating committee, official photography team and the Abbey Medieval House Troupe.

Check out our frequently asked questions for volunteers below to learn more about volunteering at the Abbey Medieval Festival, or contact our volunteer coordination team for more information.

Frequently asked questions about the volunteering experience

What is the Abbey Medieval Festival about?

The Abbey Medieval Festival is an annual fundraising event for the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology. It started in 1989 and has grown to be the largest Medieval Festival in the southern hemisphere.

The Abbey Medieval Festival aims to educate patrons about the life and times of the Middle Ages (600 – 1600CE), historical accuracy is our mission!

Where does the money raised go?

All surplus from the Festival goes to the Abbey Museum. The funds are used to maintain and care for the remarkable collection that showcases the history of human endeavour and creativity. Surplus funds are also used to improve the Abbeystowe festival site including building infrastructure and props.

How old do I need to be to volunteer?

Volunteers must have turned 14 before the Festival. If you are under 18 years of age you will need to provide a signed Parent/Guardian Consent form. This form will be provided by the volunteer coordination team.

Do I have to volunteer for the Festival weekend?

No, we have plenty of opportunities available for volunteers:

  • Medieval Banquets, hosted on Saturday 29 June and 6 July
  • Kids Dig It! Medieval Family Fun Week, held from Monday 1 to Friday 5 July
  • Festival set-up, Monday 1 to Friday 5 July, and Monday 8 to Friday 12 July
  • Pack-up week from Monday 15 to Friday 20 Thursday 18 July

How much time do I need to volunteer?

We greatly appreciate the time our volunteers generously offer, so even if you can only work a few hours we’d love to hear from you.

You can apply for as many of these on the volunteer application form.

What are the benefits of volunteering for the Abbey Medieval Festival?

The benefits of volunteering include gaining new experiences, learning new skills, meeting new people and as a Festival volunteer you are provided with:

  • food and drinks during your rostered work hours
  • Festival weekend volunteers receive a commemorative t-shirt.
  • Certificate of Appreciation
  • Invitation to the exclusive volunteer Thank You Function Saturday 10th August 2019 at the Abbey.

Many friendships have been forged sharing a weekend like this!

I want to volunteer for the Festival weekend, will I have any free time to see some of the event?

Absolutely! We understand volunteering can be hard work and we like to reward our dedicated volunteers by letting them enjoy some of the Festival they are contributing to.

You will be given breaks during your shift where you are welcome to unwind, have some food at our Volunteer Centre, and wander around the Festival site. Depending on the role you are assigned, you may be able to shuffle your break time to catch a joust, or a show featured in the Festival Program—your Festival Supervisor will discuss this with you.

What happens after I sign up to volunteer?

Our volunteer coordination team and most of our Festival coordinators are also volunteers, many of them have full time work outside their Festival commitments so communication will primarily be by email.

On submitting your application you will receive an automatic email confirming your application has been received.

You will also be automatically added to the volunteer mailing list to receive updates from the volunteer coordination team.

Once your application has been reviewed (allow 2 weeks) we will be in contact to discuss details.

Starting in April, the volunteer coordination team will start assigning roles, and you will be contacted by the coordinator or team leader for the area you’ve been assigned to.

How am I assigned a volunteer role?

Our volunteer application form ask some questions about you, your experience, and any certifications (for example RSA) you may have. Your answers to these questions help us allocate a role to you.

If you are a returning volunteer you can nominate to fill the same role as in previous years or may choose to have a change.

Whilst we do our very best to accommodate your preferences we can’t always promise to be able to place you in your first preference.

I’ve never volunteered at the Abbey Medieval Festival before; what support will be there for me?

We want to make sure your volunteering experience for at the Abbey Medieval Festival is fun and as rewarding as possible. The wonderful volunteer coordination team, as well as the other dedicated coordinators, will be on hand to answer any questions, concerns, or calm any nerves you may have, and guide you along the way.

We also host volunteer inductions in June for general volunteers, with an extra one for our gates crew to learn the point of sale (POS) system ahead of the event.

Volunteers are expected to attend 1 of these inductions and details will be sent out to all volunteers closer to the event.

Can I wear my own costume?

No, while we are a Medieval Festival, our volunteers still wear a uniform. There is the choice between a tunic ‘dress’ or short tunic and pant combination.

Some roles may require slightly different costumes such as our VIP volunteers, or no costume such as our encampment reviewers who wear plain clothing to blend in with the public.

Once you have been accepted for a volunteer role we will ask for your measurements to help our sewing team pick the best costume for you. You will be able to try on your costume during the volunteer induction.

What happens if I sign up and then can’t make it?

We completely understand that this happens and all we ask is that you let us know. If it’s in the weeks before the event, you can email the volunteer coordination team and let them know you are no longer available. If it’s days or hours before your shift, you will be provided with contact details to notify the relevant people.

I’d like to do a little more than just volunteer at the events, what opportunities might be available?

The Festival coordinating committee is largely made up of volunteer coordinators who are assigned a specific portfolio. These portfolio teams can work up to all year round to make this Festival happen.

If you’re interested in getting more involved with the event management side of the Festival, please let the volunteer coordination team know, or complete our expression of interest form.

We are also always on the lookout for volunteers for the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology.