My Volunteer Experience at Leopallooza

Tuesday, 12th September 2023By Sophie Houghton

I’m Sophie, and I was lucky enough to be this year’s volunteer Marketing Assistant at the wonderful Leopallooza festival. This opportunity was brought to fruition by the Leopallooza team and the Pearl Exchange, a local charity in Bude, Cornwall who focus on the experience and wellbeing of Bude’s young people, their mental health, arts, crafts, entertainment and general life enjoyment! I heard about this opportunity on my usual mindless scroll through Instagram. Being a social media enthusiast (obsessive), this was a great find for me, and a definite indication that you should follow both the Pearl Exchange and Leopallooza on all (yes ALL) of your accounts. Do not risk missing out on any of these opportunities next year. 

It’s hard to encapsulate every highlight of this experience. First and foremost would be the people I worked with! I worked closely with the Leopallooza team, such as with the Marketing Manager Hannah. Working 3 days in the office before the event allowed me to work closely with Hannah and the team, who made me feel so incredibly welcome it was wonderful. I toured the site as it finished being built, was introduced to the myriad of staff who work to put the event together, and even got to meet a couple of the acts during the event. I met Hannah’s lovely media team, photographers and videographers who help capture the fantastic content you see posted to their social medias during and after the event. I feel privileged to have met so many friendly, talented people at this event, and it given me a great insight into the world of festival organisation. 

Now, let’s talk about the festival itself. It was a whirlwind of sights, sounds, and tastes that made every moment unforgettable. The music itself has to be up there as a highlight for me. The mix of genres found at Leopallooza allow for that perfectly balanced weekend. Whether it was the heavy beats of electronic dance music, found at the Treeline stage, the high energy vocals of the Scribes or the euphoric harmonies of Aurora, a little bit of everything could be found at this beautiful little festival. 

It was eye-opening seeing how festivals work behind the scenes. The meticulous planning, the coordination of countless moving parts, and the dedication of the organizers. It gave me a newfound appreciation for the hard work that goes into creating these memorable experiences. There was also a deep sense of community that enveloped the entire event. There’s something amazing about being part of a gathering where everyone is there to celebrate life, music, and art. It truly feels like the perfect place to bring people together, and in a rural location such as Bude, this is even more important.

One of the best new skills I’ve picked up from this experience is video editing. Whether you’re a YouTuber, content creator, or just someone who wants to make cool videos, knowing your way around video editing software is essential.

I mostly tried out the basics: cutting, trimming, and splicing clips. If you add some cool music, you’ve got yourself an Instagram reel, an excellent piece of social marketing content for advertising and engaging a wide audience. Alongside video editing, I was introduced to content briefs. These are essentially a blueprint for creating the best possible content. They outline the goals, target audience, key messages, and more, ensuring that your content hits the mark every time. They help you stay focused, keep your messaging on point, and ensure that your content resonates with your intended audience. Learning how to create and use them effectively has made my content creation process a whole lot smoother. I’ve always been intrigued by the digital realm, especially using social media. However, this festival experience exposed me to the power of digital marketing in a real-world context. From the way the event promoted themselves on social media to the beautiful content I saw being created in real time, I feel motivated me to want to learn more, to dig deeper into the world of SEO, content creation, and social media strategies. Now, when I look at job applications, I see a whole new realm of possibilities. I can envision myself bringing valuable digital marketing skills to the table, helping companies navigate the ever-evolving landscape of online promotion. This experience has given me the confidence to take that leap and pursue such a career. I’ve got a friend who’s musical career has incredible potential, one of which will benefit massively from good social media promotion. Thanks to what I’ve learned, I’m excited to offer my help and share my newfound knowledge with them. It’s a fantastic feeling to think that my experience can help someone else on their own social media journey. On the personal side, this experience has shown me the importance of shared experiences, the joy of dancing and experiencing life with others. This has made me even more interested in potentially working for festivals in the future and, if not, cementing the fact I will attend many, many more.

To anyone who is either interested in working with a festival, a charity or just working for a great cause, I really recommend giving this a shot. I say this especially directed to those of you out there who think it might be too overwhelming, that it could be too hard or too outside your comfort zone. If you believe your anxiety couldn’t take it, or logistics are in the way. I was supported in every aspect of this experience. I wasn’t restricted by not being able to drive. I was never left to my own devices unless I’d said I was fully comfortable. There was constant check in chats, and everybody I met was so kind and comforting that I was able to settle in after the first day. Transport was sorted, food was provided during the event (which was amazing, can I just say) and all in all I just had the best time. Thank you Leopallooza, and thanks to the Pearl Exchange! I would 100% do it again, but perhaps I’ll give someone else the chance to first…