Celebrating the Norfolk and Norwich Festival volunteers

Norfolk and Norwich 2014 volunteers. Kym Glover-Main, Oliver Whitall, Helene Fritzsche and James Durrant.
Photo by Simon Finlay. Norfolk and Norwich 2014 volunteers. Kym Glover-Main, Oliver Whitall, Helene Fritzsche and James Durrant. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Monday, May 19, 2014
4:35 PM

While audiences are watching the vast array of entertainment at this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival, an army of volunteers are working hard to make sure everything runs smoothly and everyone is having a great time.

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Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2014 volunteers. Photo: Iselin Valvik.Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2014 volunteers. Photo: Iselin Valvik.

More that 120 volunteers aged 18 to in their 80s have joined this year’s festival team and their roles include everything from Adnams Spiegeltent hosts to event stewards to drivers to working with the NNF marketing team

Easily spotted at festival events from their festival t-shirts and cheerful smiles, they are the equivalent of London 2012’s Games Makers, and described by festival director William Galinsky as the public face of the festival and a “group of angels” who help make sure everything runs smoothly.

He said: “The volunteers are absolutely amazing. We could not run the festival without them.

“They are so generous with their time, and they are kind of like a group of angels who make sure the audience have a great experience.

“At events like the Garden Party in particular they are essential to make sure people know what’s going on, and they just help make sure every single festival show is a success.

“They are all such lovely people and so helpful, and I have had so many people this year saying how amazing the volunteers are - they look after the audiences, they look after the artists, they are just incredible.”

As well as paying tribute to all the volunteers’ hard work, Mr Galinsky said he also wanted to thank the festival staff overseeing the volunteer programme - head of operations Clare Lovell and volunteer coordinators Sava Radulovic and Maura Flatley.

This year the festival’s volunteer programme is sponsored by East of England Co-op.

• The Norfolk and Norwich Festival runs until Sunday. For more stories and reviews of festival events visit http://www.edp24.co.uk/what-s-on/norfolk-and-norwich-festival

• For more about events and to book tickets visit www.nnfestival.org.uk or call the box office on 01603 766400.

Volunteer highlights

Eighty-eight-year-old Jim Durrant, from Norwich, has been volunteering with the festival for many years.

This year so far he has been a steward for the Voice Project’s show Souvenir at Holkham Hall and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Festival Chorus concert.

“There is just a great community feeling about it - lots of people get involved, there is a huge variety of events and the volunteers are great fun,” he said.

His 2014 highlight so far has been the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra concert which he said was a “particularly fine performance.”

About festival highlights still to come, he said: “All the Adnams Spiegeltent shows are terrific fun and have a marvellous atmosphere. For me, I’m looking forward to the Cathedral Choir by Candlelight on Friday.”

Helene Fritzsche, from Germany, is visiting Norwich especially to be a festival volunteer.

About her festival highlights, the 27-year-old said: “It was great to join in the whole process of building boxes for the People’s Tower, and the Voice Project was very magical.”

Her top tips for what to see this week are S.Carey from Bon Iver at Norwich Arts Centre and the free festival finale Safe House at St James Development Site in Norwich.

Kym Glover-Main, from Norwich, has been volunteering at the Opus No 7 performances and also at the construction of the People’s Tower outside the Forum.

Kym, 54, said: “It’s just great fun. It’s the cultural side, it’s the people side, and it’s great to see everyone involved.”

“I think the People’s Tower is my highlight. It was just lovely seeing so many people get involved - older people, children, families - it was a great start to the festival.”

Her tip for what not to miss this week is the free festival finale Safe House on Saturday.

“It’s going to be fantastic. I saw As The World Tipped at Eaton Park a few years ago which was similar to Safe House, and that was amazing.”

Oliver Whittall, a 20-year-old Norwich University of the Arts student, is a volunteer host in the Adnams Spiegeltent.

“It’s my second time as a volunteer. It’s really nice being part of the festival community and the events are amazing. You get to see some fantastic shows that you wouldn’t see anywhere else.”

He said his festival highlight so far was the Orkestra Del Sol performance at the Adnams Spiegeltent, and that this week he was looking forward to Molotov Jukebox in the Spiegeltent.

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