If you’ve stewarded with us before please fill in the form at the bottom of this page and we’ll look forward to seeing you in May.
If you’ve never stewarded with us before, please read through the following information to find out a bit more about our role at the festival.
What you need to know about stewarding at Hay Festival
We are looking for people keen to join our team. You must be 18 or over, and happy to contribute to the festival atmosphere. If you’re confident in talking to anyone, giving directions, making small talk, and helping to manage large crowds of visitors, then this role would suit you. You’ll need stamina as you’ll be on your feet for several hours at a time. If you have never visited the Hay Festival before, we recommend you attend as a visitor before you join the stewarding team.
You will be joining over 300 volunteer stewards who will be covering more than 600 events over 10 days, both on and off the festival site. We are a friendly group of people who work hard during the festival, but also enjoy ourselves immensely. We have stewards from many different countries and various walks of life, representing a wide variety of literary interests and personal backgrounds. We hope you will find the experience immensely rewarding, not only in your exposure to some of the finest literary events but also in your contacts with our guests and your fellow stewards!
Due to the time taken in training, we require you to commit to a minimum of EIGHT sessions. (Not to be confused with ‘events’, a 'session' is either morning, afternoon or evening).
Session Times are as follows:
Morning: usually 9.30am for 10.00am start until 2.00pm
Afternoon: usually 2.00pm until 6.30pm
Evening: usually 6.30pm until end of day’s events (usually around 10.30-11.00pm)
The Venue Head will send you for meal breaks during these times. Meals are provided during your session as appropriate. There are also on-site cafés, or you can bring a picnic.
Once you 'get the bug' you may well want to be there all day every day, like many of us!
Please note that you will not be given a timetable for stewarding; you decide your dates. You also decide which sessions on your selected dates you wish to steward. If these dates differ from the dates you have ticked on the application form, please let us know straight away. You will need to sign in at each venue every time you arrive to steward.
PLEASE NOTE: We do not design the stewarding rotas to take account of your event preference. If there is a particular event or events that you wish to see, we recommend that you buy a ticket and join the audience. We cannot promise that you will be able to steward events that you wish to see. However, it is very likely you’ll see events that you would never have thought to attend, and you’ll love it!
Registration for new stewards
When you first arrive onsite to register you will have an induction with an experienced steward, and a guided tour of the festival site. You will then be directed to one of the venues for further training, where you will shadow another steward until you feel comfortable with your role.
You will be provided with an identity badge when you first register, and given a high visibility steward's jacket at each venue you work, both of which you must always wear when you are on duty. Make sure your badge is visible outside your clothing. Please leave your hi-vis jacket at the venue when you leave.
Once you have signed in at the Stewards’ Office on site, you can show your steward’s badge to the car park attendant at Clyro Park and Ride and you will not have to pay. Frequent shuttle buses run between the car park and the festival site. You can also show your badge on the shuttle bus into town and you will not be charged.
Stewards must remain at the same venue for each session worked, unless directed to another one by a senior steward.
Duties include taking tickets, managing the queue, observing the audience during an event, picking up litter after events, taking a microphone around the audience during question and answer sessions (if you would like to), and assisting any visitor who requires help, directions or advice while they are on the festival site.
Stewards must be aware of special arrangements made for the disabled in all locations on site, including walkways, toilets, each venue and parking.
Stewards should conduct themselves in a calm and courteous manner at all times. Consumption of alcohol prior to or during the period of duty is not permitted. Should a member of the public express annoyance or disgruntlement towards you (very rare, do not engage with them but politely tell them that you will get the Venue Head.
Be aware of evacuation and emergency procedures and meeting places. Details are available at each venue.
You will need to bring a pen with you when you check in for work. There will be many changes to the printed programme. Events move to different venues (usually due to lower or greater ticket sales than expected) and these will occur every day. You must record these changes on your own programme, which you will carry with you at all times whilst on duty. A list of the day's changes will be found in the stewards' office and at all venues. We would prefer you to make the changes at your venue.
You will receive venue assignments at the time of check-in and must report to the Venue Head for responsibilities specific to that venue. Stewards must inform the Venue Head before they leave.
There is no set dress code. We would suggest that you aim for comfort, particularly in the footwear department, as you may be on your feet for quite a while. We have had very, very wet and windy festivals and gloriously hot and sunny ones, and sometimes a mixture of the two during the same year! You will also need your own copy of the festival programme to make notes for the day. Visitors have lots of questions about which tent they should be in, so you’ll need to make a note of any venue changes.
For each full session that you work, the Head of Venue will give you a ticket for a meal in the staff dining tent. There will also be tea, coffee, water and biscuits freely available in the stewards' area at each venue.
If you need to stay in the vicinity, we suggest that you look for somewhere as soon as possible as it will become extremely difficult to find anywhere later on. The Festival recommends visithay.co.uk if you are unable to find anywhere yourself. There are also campsites nearby during the festival week (Wye Meadow Camping and Gypsy Castle Campsite are the closest. Tangerine Fields is a little further away in Hay)
Policies and Guidelines Documents
When you have received acknowledgement of your application and have read this information, please do not be concerned if you do not hear from us for quite a while. We will be in touch again some time in May to send you our Health and Safety document and our Children's Policy and Guidelines, which you must read before you arrive on site. It is an important part of your duties to ensure that these policies are followed. You MUST acknowledge receipt of the policies and that you have read them.
Please let us know if you have had a current CRB/DBS check.
Security and First Aid staff will be on site at all times. Generally, any need for either must be reported to one of the Venue Head Stewards – or anyone with a radio if you are not at your venue - so that they can contact the paramedics or security via radio. You will have no need to take people or direct people to them.
Stewards' On-site Meeting
There will be a pre-festival, stewards' meeting, usually held the day before the festival starts. Information about this will be sent out nearer the festival dates. This will give you a chance to meet some fellow stewards, have a tour of the site and see each of the venues. This is not an induction.
This meeting is not compulsory. If you live a fair distance away, please do not feel that you have to attend.
We will email you a copy of this information after you have filled in the form below. You might find it useful to print it out and bring it with you to the festival. If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to email Jan, our Steward Administrator. Jan is always available to answer your questions.
IMPORTANT: We would appreciate it if you would write your full name in the subject of emails to us. We deal with up to 300 stewards, so trying to find someone on the system when they have an email such as ‘email@example.com’ is more than a little time consuming! If your email address shows your name clearly, that’s fine. Thank you.
If you find later on that you are no longer able to steward for any reason, please let us know as soon as possible. We usually have a waiting list for stewarding and we will be able to offer your place to someone else.
Thanks very much for your support. We will be in touch again in April and we look forward to meeting you in May.