The information below describes volunteer positions, expectations, and the typical event-day schedule.
Please scroll to the bottom of the page for information about signing up as a Berks Jazz Fest volunteer.
Volunteering with Berks Jazz Fest
Each year, approximately 400 volunteers team up to help make the Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest a great musical experience for the tens of thousands of fans who enjoy the annual festival.
Berks Jazz Fest volunteers assist with everything from concert production — setup to teardown — to transportation, hospitality, merchandise sales, ushering at events, and numerous other tasks.
The Fest would not be possible without the support and commitment of our loyal volunteers!
General Volunteer Information
- All Volunteer Personnel must be registered with and confirmed by the Berks Arts Council.
- Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older.
- Volunteers do not have to be current members of the Berks Arts Council or an employee of a sponsoring company, but we do strongly suggest it. If you are not a member and wish to become one, please contact Kristen Stubblebine at the Berks Arts Council at 610-898-1930 x 21. (Member registration can also be completed online at http://berksarts.org/become-a-member.aspx)
- All volunteers are required to commit to working a minimum of 3 concerts during the 10-day Fest.
- Volunteers sign up to work specific concerts. However, if the Volunteer Coordinator cannot assign you to that concert, you may be assigned to a different concert taking place at the same time.
- Volunteers are expected to carry out the duties of their assigned position. They may also be asked to fill in at other positions as needed. A list of job descriptions is provided below.
- All volunteers are required to attend a 1-hour orientation held at the GoggleWorks, Center for the Arts, 201 Washington Street, Reading, PA 19601.
- All volunteers are required to obtain a Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest Volunteer T-shirt, which serves as a “uniform” to help volunteers stand out from audience members. T-shirts can be purchased from Berks Arts Council. (Berks Arts Council members at the $25 Arts Appreciator level and above receive a free t-shirt.)
Volunteer Job Descriptions
Most Berks Jazz Fest volunteers work Front of House – from the lobby to the edge of the stage. Front of House (FOH) positions include Ticket Takers, Ushers, and Merchandisers. All volunteers assigned to these positions are under the direction of the House Manager – the person who supervises all front-of-house activity at each venue.
House Managers are selected based on their experience as Berks Jazz Fest volunteers. There is always at least one House Manager on duty at all times at each venue. Their duties include:
- Assigning positions to volunteers at each concert
- Arranging for all volunteer breaks
- Relieving volunteers when needed and assisting in carrying out multiple duties
- Supervising the front of house and attending to any major problems as efficiently as possible
Ticket Takers are charged with taking tickets from patrons and guiding them in the general direction of their seats. Ticket Takers are expected to arrive 90 to 120 minutes before the start of each show to receive specific instructions. Their duties will include:
- Becoming familiar with the facility and seating to help guide patrons more efficiently
- Checking tickets for correct times and dates
- Assuring that no one enters the venue without a valid ticket for the event
- Keeping the flow of traffic moving in the outer lobby
- Escorting late patrons to the proper door and monitoring exit/re-entry doors during concert
- Reporting any problems to the House Manager
- Giving ticket stubs to House Manager after show has started
Ushers are charged with helping patrons to their assigned areas and assisting patrons with any issues in finding their seats. Ushers are expected to arrive 90 – 120 minutes before the start of each show to receive specific instructions.
Ushers are required to bring flashlights to each performance. Their duties include:
- Becoming familiar with the seating layout to seat patrons quickly and correctly
- Becoming familiar with facilities to guide patrons more efficiently
- Keeping track of reserved seats for sponsor seating
- Directing traffic after concert begins
- Staying on-site during and after concerts to assist patrons as needed
Merchandisers are charged with counting inventory, selling merchandise, and accepting donations and membership registrations for Berks Arts Council. Merchandisers are expected to arrive 90 – 120 minutes before the start of each show to receive specific instructions. Their duties include:
- Managing and selling merchandise (Must be comfortable handling cash)
- Responsible accounting of the revenue made with the merchandise sold
- Maintaining separate accounting for artist’s merchandise with separate sign-off sheet
- Keeping all merchandise areas neat and keeping inventory counted
- Becoming familiar with facilities to guide patrons more efficiently
Other Volunteer Jobs
In addition to the positions described above, there is sometimes a need for volunteers to fill the following positions:
- Event Support (helping with refreshments and directing patrons at concerts and receptions)
- Surveyors (Requesting patrons to complete audience surveys)
- Runners (running errands for various staff members and artists)
These jobs will be assigned to volunteers who have proven themselves reliable in the past.
NOTE: Although volunteers are assigned to specific positions, Berks Jazz Fest volunteers function as a team and assist with other tasks as requested by the House Manager.
All volunteers are required to wear their Berks Jazz Fest Staff T-shirts along with name tags that should be prominently placed on the right side of the shirts. It is very important that volunteers wear both the T-shirt and name-tag so they can be easily recognized and addressed by patrons and staff members.
Volunteers are also instrumental in Berks Jazz Fest Production – all on-stage and backstage activities. This includes all “load-in” and “load-out” activities. These positions require long hours and physical labor.
If you are interested in volunteering for Production, please contact Gary Spencer at 610-898-1930 x24 or Spencer@BerksJazzFest.com
FOH Sequence of Events for a Typical Performance
90 -120 Minutes Before the Event: All volunteers arrive and sign-in on the attendance list. Volunteers are admitted for duty only if attired per dress code.
75 Minutes Before the Event: VOLUNTEER BRIEFING by House Manager, where special instructions and situations are discussed. Merchandise personnel complete their set-up at this time.
60 Minutes Before the Event: Ushers report to their assigned stations; LOBBY OPENS. Ticket Takers start taking tickets and merchandise areas open. Ushers are inside the house checking the seats in their assigned areas.
45 Minutes Before the Event: HOUSE OPENS! All Ushers will seat people, watch for problems, enforce rules governing smoking, food & beverages, and recording equipment (audio and video).
Show Time! Ushers clear the aisles and wait in the lobby for latecomers. All volunteers are requested to stay on-site until the House Manager relieves you of duty. Those volunteers wishing to remain at the show after being relieved by the House Manager may do so, but will be requested to assist if any problems arise.
If you are interested in volunteering with Berks Jazz Fest, please complete the volunteer inquiry form below.
If you need additional information or have questions about volunteering, please contact Kristen at Kristen@BerksArts.org or 610-898-1930 x21.