As I’ve said before, I’ve had quite a few random jobs in my time, including working for Peppermint Bars three times. It’s a great way to get into a festival without paying – perfect for students and anyone wanting to save a few quid. With Peppermint Bars you can work at Bestival, Glade, Rockness, Creamfields, Secret Garden Party and Camp Bestival, among others.
I worked at the Tower of London Festival, the Manchester GMEX Festival and Lovebox and had three very different experiences.
Manchester GMEX Festival
I worked 5 nights at the Manchester GMEX a few years ago when I was living there. I saw Hard-Fi, Bloc Party, Ian Brown, Arctic Monkeys and Manic Street Preachers, all for free. I even got to see their warm ups beforehand it was amazing. I also got paid a little above the minimum wage at the time, and got to work with some really cool people. I don’t remember this being particularly hard work either as when the bands are on barely anyone comes for a drink – not on the back bar I was on anyway.
Tower of London Festival
I worked at the Tower Festival for four nights a few years ago. It was a ‘lovely’ event held in the moat at the Tower of London and saw classical and world music artists bring their music to the Big Smoke. There were about 10 of us working the bars for Peppermint. We basically had to set up and serve customers as they came in, then serve in the breaks and shut it all down again. Working at Tower Festival was one of the easiest jobs I’ve had. Mature crowd, barely drank and I was assigned to a cool bar with some great guys, one of who I ended up going to Ibiza with. I was paid a little more than minimum wage, got a free drink and a free dinner too.
My experience of working for Lovebox was awful. I worked on a huge bar with barely any staff right near the stage. This meant that we couldn’t get to the customers quick enough – and they got angrrryyyy. And quite rightly so. I’ve been on the other side of the bar at festivals enough to know how annoying it is to need a quick drink when you want to see who’s on stage. When I worked at Lovebox Festival they had a ridiculous system of serving customers, which I’m sure actually took longer.
We were given a break for lunch, but nobody told me there was a lunch out the back so I ended up spending an hour’s wage on a burger before being told when I went back I should have got a sandwich. No one else knew either. I wanted to leave, but because we had handed in our passports at the start I couldn’t leave without leaving that. And every traveller’s passport is their Grandma – you just wouldn’t leave her.
I ended up sticking it out. It was exhausting, knackering and the atmosphere among the staff was non existant.
This was the last festival I ended up working at for Peppermint, but I definitely wouldn’t rule it out again. If you decide to give them a go try and get on a bar as far away from the stage as possible, don’t hand your passport in unless you really have to and try and make friends with the fellow bar staff straight away. If all else fails; just stay safe in the knowledge that you only have to do it for a few days and that it’s not your real job.
If you want to volunteer with Peppermint Bars register at www.festivalvolunteer.co.uk with Festival Volunteer. If you want paid work, register at www.peppermintstaffing.co.uk with Peppermint Staffing. Obviously the festivals you can work at will change depending on your choices.