The Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) is CAMRA’s flagship national event taking place in London every August and this year is it’s 40th anniversary.
It features over 900 real ales from not just around the UK but also some rare casks from the USA. It also has two large cider & perry bars and a number of world beer bars. Adding to this is entertainment, food vendors, retail stalls, games and more.
Other than a little help from CAMRA HQ and warehouse staff, the festival is organised and staffed by CAMRA members that work as volunteers to share their passion for it all.
GBBF is a huge event and requires hundreds of volunteers with roles doing bar work, cellar, finance, stock management, membership sales, games hosts, foyer staff, glass sales & returns, stewards, office assistants, press officers, site team and more. The festival is on an impressive scale for customers, there is even more to experience as staff with a lot behind the scenes!
Many experienced volunteers travel down the week before the festival and help with construction, the majority head down on Sunday or Monday morning and help with final touches to set up then enjoy the heritage pub crawl around London on Monday evening, before getting into working the festival for the week whilst it is open from Tuesday to Saturday. After closing time on Saturday you are required to help start cleaning and packing away before then being invited to a staff party.
If you enjoy and care about beer festivals it is a good (if tiring!) experience to take the week off work and head down to volunteer at GBBF. If you work the full week the festival will provide you free accommodation in staff halls of residence along with breakfast every morning, you get access to a free staff bar in the ‘volunteers village’ upstairs from the festival and a free staff t-shirt, glass and programme. The ‘volunteers village’ also has a staff canteen providing lunch and evening meals at a subsidised price and volunteers get a generous discount on beer from the public bars.
If you would like to volunteer fill in the online form at www.gbbf.org.uk and if you enjoy volunteering there, don’t forget we also need volunteers for our own Steel City Beer Festival in Sheffield this October!