Volunteer to Help at a Concert
Simply put, volunteers are what make the Brew tick. Responsibilities include booking, publicity, setting up / breaking down, baking, hosting, and more. What’s in it for you? Aside from being a part of the strong and vital folk scene, your hard work pays off in the form of complimentary admission to shows you work.
Ways You Can Help
Bakers provide goodies at our indoor shows in exchange for free admission. If you enjoy baking, and would like to contribute to the refreshments that accompany all Brew shows, please email our baking volunteer coordinator.
Hosts provide overnight housing and breakfast in exchange for 2 free admissions If you enjoy good company and would like to provide lodging for performers, please email our lodging volunteer coordinator.
At-show volunteers work at the show and get free admission. The tasks are a bit different by show location – find a task list by location below for more info. Email the volunteer coordinator to volunteer your time.
Click each job to find out more about the role you’d be responsible for carrying out.
Want to get more involved?
We also have positions for behind the scenes work that needs managed throughout the season.
Sign Up to Volunteer
*Bakers are not currently needed for outdoor events.
Bakers are asked to bring between 80 and 100 pieces of baked goods. Please bring “hand” snacks, (i.e., something that doesn’t require a fork or plate) and cut them fairly small. Bakers should arrive 40 minutes before showtime. They may come in earlier to save a seat if they’d like. However, if the performer is still doing a sound check, the bakers need to wait but can be first in line to go in once the sound check has finished.
If you enjoy baking, and would like to contribute to the refreshments that accompany our indoor Brew shows, please email our baking coordinator.
Have questions? Email the baking coordinator before or after you sign up to volunteer.
If you enjoy good company and would like to provide lodging for performers, use the form on the Volunteer Signup page tell us about accomodations you can offer our performers.
Housing in a private home is offered to all performers. Our philosophy is that we’d rather pay the performer a little extra than pay for a hotel room. Many performers enjoy getting to meet and spend some time with a community member. Hosts should keep in mind, though, that many performers spend incredible hours on the road and put incredible energy into being “on” for the crowd. Sometimes when they get back to the host house, they simply want to crash in privacy. Even though it can be exciting to have a performer as your guest, please keep in mind their need for rest and privacy.
Generally the performer will not arrive at your house until after the concert, and usually they leave after breakfast the next morning. You simply arrive at the concert and let the door person know that you are hosting the performers. They will be expecting you and will have your name on a list. You will receive complimentary admission for two for your hospitality.
Sometime during the evening, approach the performer to introduce yourself and let them know they’ll be staying at your place. Don’t wait until the last minute as the performer will be wondering. After the show, you’ll wait around for them to pack up and be ready to go. Keep in mind that this can take a while. When they’re ready, they’ll follow you home. Or, if there are two of you, you could offer to have one of you ride with them.
You need to be flexible with the whole after-show process. Sometimes performers want to go out to eat at this point, sometimes they take what feels like forever to be ready to go, and sometimes they even decide to just get on the road and skip the hospitality you’ve planned for them. Often there’s an after show party, which you and the performers would be invited to.
When you get back home, just do what you’d do for any guest: show them their room, the bathroom, and anything special about your house. If they have lots of expensive stuff in their car, offer them a spot in the garage if you have one. In cold weather, they’ll need to carry instruments in, so offer to help with that.
It would be nice if you’d offer breakfast the next morning but this is not a requirement. If you’d like to offer them dinner the night before or if you’d like to give them the option of arriving at your house before the show, let Performer Liaison know and s/he’ll get the offer communicated to them. Certainly these things are not expected, but this might be something the performer would enjoy.
If you enjoy hosting, and would like to offer your home to performers, use our form to tell us about accomodations you can offer. Have Questions? Email our hosting coordinator before/after you sign up.
- Get a copy of the contract from performer liaison.
- Contact volunteers to confirm that they’ll be able to make it to the show
- Coordinate with baking coordinator to make sure bakers are lined up
- Talk to Mel four or five days before the show to go over details. He’s the one that can best answer specific questions. Make sure Mel will be picking up tickets/money from ticket outlets and that he’ll bring the checkbook and change. If he won’t be at the show, get the pre-signed checks (for performer, opening act, room rent). Mel will put together the apron with change, checks, extra tickets, etc. You need to get it from him. Confirm who is transporting coffee supplies, etc. from CWB to WPSU if the show is being held there
- Check with Mel about access to the building and where to get keys if necessary.
- One week before a WPSU show, contact WPSU Station Manager to confirm time we’ll need access to:
- Loading dock
- TV studio
- Green room
- Conf room closest to food kiosk (for chairs)
- 2nd floor lounge/break room (for chairs)
- 150 chairs on rolling racks in the studio
- Buy perishable & miscellaneous supplies indicated on shopping list from show manager of previous show
During the show:
- Make sure coffee pot in the CWB basement is started first thing. It takes a long time for the water to heat up.
- Make sure all duties are delegated and volunteers know what they need to do
- Give the ticket taker the change and money apron
- At the CWB, tell assistant manager whether to use the stage and how many chairs to set up, based on expected audience size. (Don’t forget to count volunteers, comp tickets, performer guests, and opening act.)
- At the CWB, take a photos of how everything is set up so that you’ll be able to make sure everything is returned to its rightful spot afterwards.
- Decide with the emcee when each set starts; communicate with the performers regarding the start and end times of each set and any signals about when to end each set; make sure the performer is ready!
- Assign someone to control house lights.
- Personally thank each volunteer and baker.
Work with performers
- The show manager is the main interface with performers on show night.
- Greet them, show them the dressing room, answer any questions
- Get someone to help carry gear if needed
- Verify the specifics of the contract
- Confirm the length and number of sets (usually two 45-minute sets)
- Provide stools, chairs, and drinking water on stage.
- Offer to get coffee, snacks, etc. for them. They’re often too busy focusing on other things to do this themselves.
- Introduce the performer to the volunteers and to any DJs present.
- Introduce the performer to their overnight host.
- Let the performer know that the CD sales person and ABC are not responsible for any losses. Confirm whether they still want us to handle their sales.
- Get someone to help load gear after the show.
- Fill out Show Audit Sheet (give to Mel) and pay performers. Give extra money to Mel.
- Make sure everything is properly cleaned up and put away and all doors locked. Do your best to make sure everything is put back where it was originally, (as best as possible) and the heat is left set where it had been before the show.
- Leave check for rent of CWB on desk
- Give shopping list to next show manager
- If any bakers were no-shows or didn’t bake enough, let Beth know
- Post to ABCD-L with comments on how things went & suggestions for improvements
- Supervise room set up
- Get things started and rolling. If the setup volunteers are doing ok, move on to check on coffee, door, making up white boards, etc. At the CWB, be sure to pay special attention to where everything was, as it’s important to put everything back in its rightful spot afterwards.
- Help at door
- While people are coming in, hang out with door person unless you are needed elsewhere. It works well for door person to sell tickets and asst mgr to tear them. As people come in, remind them to sign the mailing list.
During the show:
- If needed, help out with coffee or CD sales.
- Skim the money from the donation basket and hold onto it until the end of the evening – then count it and give it to the manager. At the larger venues, it’s especially important to keep up with the skimming job since there are so many people, so much money collected, and the money is a distance from the performance area.
- Help latecomers find seats; if necessary, ask for a show of hands to locate empty seats.
- At the CWB, ask parking volunteers if any cars are parked illegally, with special attention to house directly opposite CWB. Make announcement to get those cars moved.
- Just before performer’s encore, duck out to front hall so you’re ready. As people leave, stand at the door with a stack of flyers and give them to people that want them. Thank people for coming.
- Unlock doors
- Unlock the two therapy rooms on the left side of the main hallway.
- The room next to the concert hall is used for storage only. Please do not have performers or the public use that room. The key is in the upper right hand drawer of the office desk on a key ring; the drawer is full of odds and ends so the keys may not be obvious at first glance. The key is coded with a green marker. The two therapy rooms are used by the performers to store their stuff and warm up.
- Carry up the refreshment table from the basement and coffee pot first so the snack table person can get coffee water started. If needed, the key to the basement is hanging on a nail in the coatroom next to the office, just to the right as you enter from the main hallway. The basement key opens the outside entrance along the alley near the rear of the building. From there, you can access the storage area.
- Set up the stage if three or more performers will be on-stage at once.
- Carry it up from the basement.
- Three wooden braces go under it. Pencil markings indicate orientation.
- Hook it to the wall
- Attach brown cloth skirt around it
- Carry up more stuff from basement. (Snack table person helps)
- CD/tape display case
- Enough chairs to fill the room (don’t use chairs from spa).
- All the plastic cases of stuff
- Move hallway items to the therapy room nearest the concert room or the back room:
- Pillows on the bench in the concert room.
- Wooden yoga props in the concert room.
- Misc Yoga stuff on the concert stage.
- Small benches on either side of doorway to concert room.
- Pictures hanging in the hallway.
- Plant and the wooden stand in the hallway. (This plant stand has been mistaken for a stool twice and broken, so put it out of harm’s way). Plants by the door to the yoga studio can remain there.
- Set up chairs as indicated on diagram. Pay special attention to keeping aisle space so that patrons can get to their seats and that there is a clear path to the emergency exit.
SNACK TABLE/ COFFEE
At our indoor shows only. Your jobs are to make coffee, take care of the snack table, clean up afterwards, and help the other volunteers as you can.
- Start coffee and hot water first..
- Supplies: coffee maker, water pitcher, carafes, filters.
- Use 12 ounces of coffee per carafe. (measuring cups are in the coffee supply bin)
- To use a carafe or another pitcher to catch the coffee, you need to remove the top and pump mechanism if you use the carafe. Be careful as they break really easily.
- Wait for the green light to come on before you brew a pot. Once the light is on, position the carafe under the filter basket and hit “Brew.”
- Once the carafe is full, replace the pump and top and label the carafe with the type of coffee.
- Wait for the green light to come back on before making the next pot.
- Set up the refreshment table with the following.
- Table cloth
- Hot chocolate and teas
- Cold drinks
- Sugar and sweetener
- Hot and cold cups
- Basket for contributions
- Do not put out paper plates. They encourage people to take too much!
- Thank bakers as they bring their items in. You may be their main contact with ABC, so even though you are another volunteer too, do thank and make them feel appreciated. Introduce the bakers to the show manager and any other volunteers so they can thank them, too. Cut the baked goods into smaller portions if necessary.
During the show:
- Make more coffee if it is needed. Sometimes we run out before the show even begins!
- During Breaks
- Replenish and rearrange snack table
- If needed, make more coffee or hot water at end of first break. It is expected that the snack table person may need to miss part of the show in order to keep up with the coffee needs.
- After the last break, unplug the coffeemaker so the water in the reservoir can start to cool.
- Empty the coffee maker. First run cold water through it so you don’t burn yourself as you empty it. Remove the small screw in front of the reservoir cover and remove the entire top of the coffeemaker. Insert the plastic drain hose down to the bottom of the reservoir and siphon the water out of the tank. Replace the top.
- Thoroughly rinse each carafe.
- Give money from contributions basket to manager.
- If goodies are left over, make a care package for performers to take. Before emptying carafes, see if performers want coffee “for the road.”
- Make shopping list of items needed for next time; give to manager.
The assistant manager will come by now and then to skim the money off the donation basket.
DOOR & CD SALES
At the CWB, one person does both tasks (with assistant manager helping) during ticket taking. At WPSU, two individuals share these jobs. As the audience is coming in at the start, both people work at the door. At the break after the opening act, one person works the door and the other is at the sales table. By the next break, both people work the sales table.
Be very careful to keep the money separate for ticket sales and album sales for each performer. Even though the performers have agreed in their contract that Acoustic Brew is not responsible for any loss, do your best to keep the money straight.
Keep the money with you at all times!
Pre-show (CD sales):
- Get change from the show manager
- Check with performer for price of CDs and other products
- Find out if checks are ok for CDs, who to make them out to
- Make up sign board with prices of all items, how to make out checks
- Get basic overview from performer: Which album is most recent? Which is most like tonight’s show?
- Arrange products for sale
- Put out ABC flyers/post cards and mailing list
- Get change from the show manager
- Get tickets to future shows from the show manager; sell them throughout evening
- Make sign on signboard with the following info. At CWB, display it outside the entrance.
If the show is sold out (Door)
- Have people without tickets stand in line, putting their name on a waiting list in the order they arrived.
- At the beginning of the show, show manager counts number of seats available and lets that number of people in.
- If someone has extra tickets, have the next person in line buy them directly from that person.
Doors Open (Door)
- Don’t let audience in until official “doors open” time.
- The exception is bakers and hosts (and at-show volunteers, of course) who may come early to save a seat.
- If sound check is not finished by “doors open” time, still keep the audience out
- Sell tickets if any are available
- Take tickets
- Remain in hallway until main act’s second set starts.
During the show:
- Sell CDs,
- Encourage people to join mailing list
- Stay in hallway until patrons are finished buying CDs
- As people leave, thank them for coming
- At the CWB, remind people to be quiet outside
- Have ABC flyers in hand; give them to people who want them
- Balance CD money with performer
- Fill out Door Form; make sure door money balances
- Give money and door form to manager
The emcee is viewed by audience members (especially new ones) as being the main representative of Acoustic Brew. Besides emceeing the show, the emcee interacts with the performer, helps decide when sets should begin, and is available to talk to audience members who have suggestions or want to get involved as volunteers.
- Establish a professional feel for the ABC. Help show the audience and the performers that we’re a well-run, professional organization.
- Make sure that the performers get an introduction that does them justice.
- Get audience members excited about future shows.
- Spend a minimum amount of time onstage; say what you need to say quickly and efficiently
The emcee should know where the performers are and that they’re ready to go on before getting up to introduce them. The emcee should coordinate directly with lights person (generally one of the CD sellers does this) when they’re about to start each set. You need to give the lights person enough time to get up to the lights box. Make sure the lights person understand not to turn on the lights before the encore.
Things to cover (in no particular order)
- introduce the opening act
- introduce the main performer
- point out that we’re entirely volunteer-run
- thank the evening’s volunteers
- encourage people to sign the mailing list
- encourage people to be generous at the snack table donation basket
- encourage people to purchase performer’s recordings
- at the CWB, remind people to be quiet outside
- mention upcoming shows
- thank the audience for coming
Divide the announcements among the available breaks, so that they’re sprinkled throughout the evening. Try not to talk too long during any one break. There are four available opportunities to speak. Feel free to rearrange what’s said when.
- The opening break. Make a few welcoming announcements and then introduce the opening act.
- Immediately after the opening act has finished performing, before people stand up to take an intermission. Encourage people to visit the snack table and be generous at the donation basket; encourage them to sign our mailing list.
- At the end of that intermission. This break includes introducing the main performer.
- Before introducing the main performer’s second set. Thank the evening’s volunteers; mention upcoming shows; reintroduce the main performer.
There could be two other breaks, but it is suggested that you not speak at those points: One is after the main performer’s first set, and the other is at the end of the evening. Out of respect for the performer and the mood they’re trying to create, try to avoid getting up on stage at those two points.
Introducing the main act:
This is the time to establish the performer’s credentials and set the stage for how special it is to have them. Try to be brief, about four sentences or so. A good technique is to describe them as “tonight’s performer” and don’t mention their name until you end the introduction with “Please welcome…”. Prepare your comments in advance by browsing their website and any promotional materials they’ve sent. Introduce yourself to the performers in advance and ask if there’s anything in particular they want you to mention, but not “What should I say about you?” That only makes us look unprofessional. Before you go out to introduce the performers, make sure they’re ready to go on.
Mention upcoming shows
This represents an important promotional opportunity for us, a chance to get people excited about those shows. Besides giving names and dates, try to say a word or two about each show. And if someone oohs or aahs or applauds at the mention of some upcoming performer, that’s perfect — it’s good publicity for us. In addition, the current show’s performers, who are waiting to begin their second set at that point, hear the list too; often they know some of the upcoming performers and will put in a plug for those shows.
Thanks to Tina Hay who wrote the bulk of this guideline.
BEHIND THE SCENES POSITIONS
- Coordinates booking of main acts with the assistance of a booking committee.
- Negotiates the details of the contract.
Once the main acts are booked, PL takes care of signing and returning contracts. For opening acts, we don’t use contracts, but PL sends a “letter of agreement” with all pertinent information. Before each show, the Performer Liaison:
- Confirms with main & opening acts: arrival time, show time, length of show, details of contract
- For CWB, confirms they’ll play without sound system.
- For other sites, has main act arrive 2 hours before doors open and opening act 1 hour before doors open for sound check (later ok if it’s a solo act or easy sound check)
- Finds out housing needs and lets housing host coordinator know
- Sends directions
- Takes care of any special needs
- Lets show manager, asst manager, and host know what performer’s plans are
- Gives a copy of the contract to the show manager
- Gives a copy of performer bio to emcee
At-Show Volunteer Coordinator
- Lines up all show-night volunteers
- Posts to abcd-l a list of volunteers for each show
- Show manager then confirms with each volunteer the week of the show.
Baking Volunteer Coordinator
- Lines up people to bake for each show.
- Posts the list to abcd-l.
- We need 1 baker for every 20-25 audience members.
- Lines up people to host performers.
- Prints and distributes tickets to ticket outlets
- Calls ticket outlets mid-week and show morning to check on ticket sales
- Tracks ticket sales and payments to outlets
- Post to Brewlist/Facebook/Twitter/Website to advertise show
- Gets copy of main and opener bios to emcee
- Calls Folk DJ before folk calendar with ticket status
- Send press releases with photos to local newspapers for each show
- For larger shows, or those where ticket sales are lagging, post artist’s promo material in local shops & PSU bulletin boards.
- Design and print season postcard and show posters
- Interface with hosting service (ISP) on any website issues.
- Maintain domain name registration, and ISP account(s)
- Update website each season and as needed during the season
- Manage E-Tix site
- Manage Paypal payment site
- Manage Contact Us page and php scripts used by patrons and others to send mail to volunteers.
Opening Act Coordinator
- Selects and books opening acts with the assistance of a booking committee.
- Negotiates details of the contract.
Contact Us about your interest in getting more involved by emailing our Volunteer Coordinator.