Being a Fringe Vollie is an experience like no other!

Fri, Nov 24 2023
Adelaide Fringe Volunteer program is an integral part of making Australia’s biggest arts festival the success that it is. In 2023, 140 incredible and diverse Fringe Volunteers contributed a total of 1,535 hours across the festival, more than half of which have been participating for years. We sat down with two of our Volunteers, Anna Finster and John Wright, who shares why being a Fringe Vollie is an experience like no other.
Two smiling men wearing hat infront of a colourful background holding Adelaide Fringe signs
John (on the left) at 2023 Vollies Celebration. Photo: Jenny Kwok, Adelaide Fringe 2023.

John Wright - Volunteer since 2017

What made you decide to become a Fringe Vollie? 
After first volunteering at WOMADelaide, I realised how much I loved connecting with people. So when the opportunity came to volunteer at the Fringe I jumped at the chance. l love the vibe of the Fringe – the sense of community with Fringe participants, volunteers, staff and the viewing public. I’ve been volunteering for some time and am still enjoying it.

How does volunteering with Adelaide Fringe meet this passion?
Having a particular interest in the Arts through being a primary school teacher for more than 40 years, volunteering at the Fringe enabled me to be around like-minded people as well as helping the general public. Getting to meet so many wonderful people visiting our city and helping them with their needs has been a pleasure.

What core Fringe values do you align with? 
The sense of community amongst the volunteers is excellent. The Fringe team is always helpful, supportive and has so much energy. This energy often carries over to the volunteers and makes undertaking shifts a pleasure.

What has been your fondest memory during your time as a Fringe Vollie? 
How long have you got, I have so many! One year I was volunteering with a first-time volunteer on the banks of the River Torrens. After a 4-hour shift she thanked me for teaching her so much about how to deal with the public, both adults and children alike. I was so pleased I had made such a positive effect on another volunteer.

Another time was when volunteers were asked to be part of the 2018 Fringe Program Launch. We had so much fun throwing giant beach balls around and releasing our inner inhibitions. Haha!

Lastly, working in the information booth in the Mall has always been fun, particularly when patrons you have recommended a show to come across the next day and say the show had been so good, they were recommending it to their friends. It makes it all worthwhile!
Two volunteers wearing blue tshirts smiling at the camera at night
Anna (on the left) at The Yurt Migration Museum. Photo: Jenny Kwok, Adelaide Fringe 2023

Anna Finster - Volunteer since 2022

What made you decide to become a Fringe Vollie?
Having experienced a change in my work situation and just finished university, I was looking for something new and exciting to do. I have always loved the Fringe so I thought this could be a fun way to get involved in Adelaide's arts scene and make new friends with similar interests.

How does volunteering with Adelaide Fringe meet this passion?
Being a volunteer at Fringe allowed me to experience a different side of the festival, and to meet lots of new people I mightn't have crossed paths with otherwise. I also gained some new skills, particularly in customer service, which have allowed me to feel more comfortable interacting with the public and have also afforded me some new opportunities. Currently I am volunteering with Girl Guides, helping reopen a World Guiding Centre in Mexico, and I believe my experience at Fringe may have helped me in securing this role.

Plus, I got to see more shows than I ever have previously, across a wide variety of genres - which was definitely a bonus!

What core Fringe values do you align with?
While I aim to align with them all to some degree, I think a big one for me is 'be collaborative'. Being a team player and working with other volunteers/staff to make the festival a success. I also believe that being passionate, showing enthusiasm and being engaged with what you're doing goes a long way.

What has been your fondest memory during your time as a Fringe Vollie?
I really enjoyed all of my time as a vollie, especially being able to chat with Fringe goers, recommend shows and the mad rush of welcoming, directing and scanning peoples tickets at Fool's Paradise. However, my fondest memory comes from closing night. I was on shift at the Migration Museum and got to watch the last few shows there. The very last show, ‘Creepy Boys’, was packed with artists, volunteers and staff and it was lovely to celebrate the end of a busy season together.
The Adelaide Fringe Volunteer Program is proudly supported by Lumo Energy SA. Registrations to become a Vollie in 2024 close Wednesday 6 December. Learn more here.