Big Red Bash seeking volunteer crew - July 2017

Submitted: Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 at 16:44
ThreadID: 133766 Views:9424 Replies:3 FollowUps:4
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The Big Red Bash, Australia's biggest remote music festival is seeking volunteers to help conduct the event 4,5,6 July 2017. For 2017 we've developed an online volunteer system where you can view the jobs and apply for your shifts. Jobs range from simple road marshalling and set up teams to specialist roles including scaffolders, educators, caterers, builders and more. In return for contributing your time you'll get a free ticket, camping in the crew area, a T-shirt and other goodies. You'll receive training for your role and you'll be supported by our experienced event team.Check out the vols page for more info:
Lucas Trihey, Event Director.
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 07:02

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 07:02
I understand that the BiG Red Bash was a charity event in the past. Looking through the current website, I can't find any mention of it being a charity, and it is now referred to as a Music festival.

To add to the confusion, many external PR generated websites refer to the Big Red Bash as a charity event. Many use the same term, "This amazing event is all in the name of charity" Eg

Camper Trailer Australia

Caravan and Camping Sales

Lets go Caravaning and Camping

Australian Traveller

And your own Big Run Events webpage says

"Many of our events are charity fundraisers, so not only can you have a BIG experience yourself, your participation and fundraising efforts also help to make a BIG difference to the lives of many others." However it doesn't appear to highlight which events are for charity and which ones are not.

I do see there is a charity auction of signed merchandise which is great.
Perhaps incorrectly, I assumed the event is a charity event. I hope it was in the past.

Can you please confirm if this is a charity event where all proceeds are donated to a charity, or a private "for profit" company event. I suspect many volunteers and customers would like some clarity on that before signing up.
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Reply By: Birdsville Big Red Bash - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 08:25

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 08:25
Hi Boobook,
It's worth looking at how it all started - in 2013 the Bash was part of the Big Red Run which has now raised over $800,000 for diabetes research (roughly 600 people came to watch John Williamson on top of Big Red) but since that first one the Bash has outstripped the Run and takes a lot of organising. We've always sought to be transparent and we actually brief marshals and crew to answer questions about a charity connection with the facts - "No, it's not a charity but it does support charities". And without the Bash to piggyback off the Big Red Run wouldn't be able to raise all those funds for JDRF. Others that do well from the association include everyone from the Birdsville School P&C to dozens (hundreds?) of Queensland businesses from the passing traffic and RFDS through fundraising.

As Greg the event founder puts it: "The Big Red Bash is not in itself a charity event. It is a commercial event requiring a number of year-round full time staff, very significant expenditure and investment and a high level of operational and financial risk. An event of this magnitude with these characteristics is not able to be operated as a pure charity event.
It does however provide support to charitable causes, most notably Juvenille Diabetes Research Foundation through the event's support of Big Red Run which has to date raised over $800,000 for this charity. In addition we conduct a charity auction at the Big Red Bash to further boost this fundraising, as well as undertaking fundraising for the RFDS during the Bash.
We hope this explains and clarifies the situation. We do go back and explain this to any publications that mistakenly explain the event itself as a charity/fundraiser."

All the best,

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 10:06

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 10:06
Thanks for that clarification. Perhaps it should be made clear right up front on the website which seems to be silent on the matter, and there is so much confusion in the media and community, rather than waiting for people to ask after they get onsite.

I think it should also be made very very clear on the "Volunteer" page since people are providing their labour, travel and time to benefit a company's increased profit in exchange for a free ticket, and not providing their labour as a contribution to a charity. I see "volunteers" also need to work shifts ( min 3 hours) and need to register their credit card. If they can't do all the labour they are rostered for some reason, they will be charged.

To be honest, I would be astounded "Volunteers" can be used for working for a company that makes a profit where fees apply for not doing every shifts.

I am sure some people would be happy to provide labour in exchange for a ticket, however many like myself would definitely not volunteer, if that is the correct term, knowing that their efforts are free labour to a profit making venture. Either way it isn't volunteering, it is providing labour in return for a free ticket

I just think you have a responsibility to the community to clear it up, especially as you call it "volunteer work". For example, is it a workplace?

I can't understand why it isn't addressed up front and has to be questioned.

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Reply By: Birdsville Big Red Bash - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 11:07

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 11:07
Thanks Boobook,
Whatever your thoughts are on wanting to volunteer or not I guess it's up to the individual what they decide. The key is that we are transparent so people can make informed decisions - and we are happy to answer questions like yours if people want to be really clear.
We'll continue to contact publications who make mistakes about what they call it and we'll take a look at the website wording to ensure there's no ambiguity. It doesn't help anyone if people come along under a misapprehension.
This volunteer model is common at lots of music events and it's above board and legal. The people are indeed volunteering their time in return for a ticket, a prime camping spot and a few goodies. We take great pride in how we look after our volunteers (and our small paid crew) and the vols we've had in the past come and tell us how great it was to contribute to the event and to be part of something so unique and interesting.
I can go into the legal details of the vols if you like but I'd prefer to do it by email - but suffice to say the relevant govt authorities are aware of this model, it's widely used, appropriate safeguards are in place and the vols are insured under the event policy.
We also devote a lot of time to training the vols so they are well prepared for their role.
You might be puzzled by people who volunteer - but hundreds of people step up and offer to help out because it's a pretty rare opportunity to get involved in something amazing. And as organisers it simply wouldn't be possible without lots of volunteers - in 2014 we asked if people would come and help and they did! Then by 2016 we had 200 vols who all said they loved the experience. We are incredibly appreciative of the efforts of the vols and we show this by looking after them, preparing them well, offering premium camping spots and telling them how important they are :-)
So it comes back to us being transparent - hence the detail on the website about time committments and so on.
The credit card thing is a new this year - with over 300 vols for 2017 it's been pointed out that a dodgy person might volunteer, get their ticket and not turn up to their shifts. It hasn't happened yet but I guess with increasing numbers there might be someone who wants to outsmart the system. The 99% of honest people won't be troubled by this (and they are signing on in droves).
So Boobook although I'm not trying to convince you to sign on I'd like to say thanks for raising these issues as there might be others wondering as well. We'll continue to strive for transparency and people can decide if they want to get involved.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 11:17

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 11:17
Thanks for your time answering. I hope it is a success and the weather is kind next year.

So long as people give their time with their eyes open, then I'm sure they will get a lot out of it.
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Follow Up By: Member. Rob M (QLD) - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 11:30

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 11:30
I have attended the last two bashes and have already booked tickets and caravan sight for next year.
We did sit one night with a group of volunteers for a few quiet drinks and to a person they were having a huge time.
Many had never been outback before and made the trip just for the BASH.
I guess some people just enjoy volunteering at these type of events as they do at commonwealth and Olympic Games.
I would think that the financial benefits for the region would be immense.
Have to agree with the weather comments as the atmosphere at Big Red is, shall we say, better than the Birdsville oval.
Looking forward to next year.
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Follow Up By: Birdsville Big Red Bash - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 15:52

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 15:52
Thanks guys, yeah the usual weather pattern is dry so let's hope it sticks to the script. You are right Rob the Bash drags in massive funds for western Qld - we might see you out there!
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