The festival is always one of the highlights of my year, but what you may not realise is that planning for the event begins way back in January. I have volunteered on the organising committee for the past two years and amongst other things oversee the press and trade session, press contact and social media promotion. Even being involved, it still blows my mind that such a fantastic event is solely organised, set up and staffed by volunteers. While the organising side of the event can be a little stressful (especially in the immediate run up to the event) I think people would be surprised how easy it is to get involved and how rewarding it is. In fact, this year I have managed to complete my role while backpacking around Europe – if you have access to email and a little imagination anything is possible! Opening night is my most stressful time as it’s when all the year’s planning comes together for press, trade and tasting sessions. Come Thursday the fun begins, and I get to take a step back from my formal role and become a manager, moving around the festival in a variety of roles. Most likely you’ll find me on the token desk, though I’ve also been known to pull a few pints. However, my favourite job is glass washing as Brian, John and the team down there are fab and have the best playlists! 2020 is going to be a big one for me as I am planning on relocating out of the city, though I am hoping to remain on the organising committee and carry on all the great work that goes into the festival from afar. If you want to get involved in the organising side of the festival, we are always looking for passionate people to help out and volunteer – see you in January to kick off Steel City 46!