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What to Expect From Working Your First Gig as Event Staff

William Newman
April 1, 2022

New to the event staff scene and getting ready to work your first concert?

Working an event gig is a great way to get your foot in the door of the event planning and management industry. It's a great opportunity to learn new skills, grow your experience, or even make some extra side cash for your summer plans.

This post will provide an overview of what you can expect from working your first event gig. We've gathered some information about the position, what you should consider, and what you should bring to make the most of your experience.

Remember that every event is different, so some tips may not apply to every situation. But if you're looking for some all-around guidance, keep reading!

You’ll Have to Be Clever about the Way You Pack

One of the first things you’ll notice about event work is that it can be pretty physical. You’ll likely be on your feet for long periods and carrying heavy equipment, so comfort is key.

But that doesn’t mean you should show up in beat-up clothes. You’ll still need to look presentable and professional as part of your team.

One way to achieve this is by being clever with your event outfit. For example, wear comfortable shoes that you can easily slip off and on. Also, pack a small bag with essentials like deodorant, makeup, and a spare shirt.

You might also want to bring along snacks and water to keep your energy up throughout the event. If you’re picky about food offerings or have health concerns, prepare accordingly.

You’ll Be Working With an Event Staff Team

The event staff role is generally a team effort.

Whether you’re setting up chairs, working the registration table, or manning the event security, you’ll likely be working with at least one other person.

This can be a great opportunity to network within the event industry. But it also means that you’ll need to be a team player!

Be sure to arrive on time for your shift, and be willing to pitch in where needed. If you work well with your team, you’re more likely to have a positive experience. And the work will go by much faster, too.

You Might Have to Handle Difficult Situations

Of course, not everything will go smoothly at every event. There will be challenges, and it will be up to the event staff to handle them. This could mean anything from addressing a guest’s concerns to diffusing a tense situation.

As event staff, you’ll need to be calm and level-headed. If your manager uses concert management software, it will make handling tough situations considerably easier. So check the system your team uses and make sure that it’s working well for your team.

It’s important to remember that the event staff is there to help make the event run smoothly. Guests should feel like they can approach you with any problems or questions.

You’ll be an asset to any event team if you can handle tricky situations well.

You’ll Grow Your Experience

Working as event staff is a great way to gain experience in the event industry. Even if you’re not interested in event planning or management as a career, the skills you learn can be transferable to other roles in your future.

Some of the skills you can develop include:

  • Customer service
  • Problem-solving
  • Management skills
  • Networking skills
  • Organization
  • Leadership

No matter your role, you’ll be developing new skills and abilities. And who knows, you might even find that you enjoy event work more than you initially thought!

You Might Have to Work Long Hours

Another thing to keep in mind is that event work can sometimes be demanding. As a result, you might find yourself working long hours or even overnight shifts.

This can be tough, but it’s important to remember that the event staff experience is what you make of it. This is especially important if you’re working a long event. So make sure to take breaks when you can, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

If you approach the job with a positive mindset, you’re likely to have a great time.

You Might Not Like All of Your Duties

Keep in mind that you may not love every aspect of event work. It’s important to remember that event staff roles are often highly versatile.

Your team leader could ask you to do something that you’re not comfortable with or don’t think is a good use of your skills. If you don’t like one particular duty, talk to your event manager about possibly switching to something else.

They may accommodate you, and you’ll be much more likely to enjoy the event when your group has a healthy level of communication.

You’ll Have to Put in a Lot of Effort

Becoming event staff isn’t always easy. First, you’ll likely have to apply for the position and then undergo an interview process.

Once you’re hired, you’ll need to be prepared to put in your fair share. Event work can get physical, and you’ll need to be ready to put in long hours in hot weather conditions.

But if you come prepared for the challenge and you’re willing to work hard, event staff gigs can be a great experience.

The Job Comes with Advantages

While working at an event can be demanding, it has many advantages.

You'll most likely have your own tent, so you won't have to stay with the visitors at a festival.

You can also expect a dedicated pitch on-site and private showers and toilets that you can use. You could even come with friends and meet up after your shift. That way, you can make many and have some fun!

Many festival organizers even provide their employees with food for free, saving you money when you get hungry from working. So you can expect food and drinks like pizza, burgers, soft drinks at the event---and sometimes even more.

Alcohol is also usually provided for event staff, but this will depend on the event you're working at (make sure to check with your boss first and drink responsibly).

In some cases, you might get free tickets to the event itself. It's a great perk, especially if it's a concert or event you've wanted to see.

Plus, staff often has access to backstage areas of the event/festival, where there will be more snacks, potentially well-known people, and places to unwind after a busy shift.

You’ll Meet Lots of New Friends

You can also expect to meet many new friends while working as event staff.

This is because you’ll spend a lot of time with the same people, and you’ll quickly get to know them well. You might even make some friends for life!

There are people everywhere from all walks of life at events/festivals, so you’re sure to meet someone you click with.

You’ll Have to Follow Rules

While event staff roles are often highly versatile, you will still be expected to follow a set of rules during your shifts. For example, if you’re working at a concert, you might be asked not to take photos or videos of the event.

It can be tough when asked not to take photos or videos of your favorite artist performing, but it’s important to remember that you’re there to work and not as a spectator.

There will always be opportunities after your shift to enjoy the event. And you may even run into the performers backstage during your shifts.

You'll get briefed on all the event's rules before your shift, so you know what is expected of you. If you aren't, be sure to ask your event manager about the specific rules before your shift, so you know what to expect.

Your Pay May Come Later Than Sooner

Keep in mind that your pay for event staff work may not come as soon as you finish your shift. Therefore, it's critical to have a plan for finances and realize that some event planners pay their workers after the event.

This is all determined by local payment laws and the nature of your contract. If you're a freelancer, you may invoice the organizers at any moment, but things may be different if you're hired as a temporary or full-time employee.

In some cases, it could be weeks before you receive your paycheck. If this happens, it's often because event organizers have to wait to get paid themselves by the event sponsors. Then, they use that money to pay their employees.

Before you start working, check with your hiring manager to ensure you know when you'll be paid. This way, you'll be able to budget ahead and plan your expenses.

Get Event Management Software for Your Team

Event staff can be a great way to make some extra cash, learn new skills, or even get your foot in the door of the event planning and management industry.

Be sure to pack cleverly, work well with your team, and keep a positive attitude, and you'll make the most out of your time in the role.

At Staffconnect, we’re rated number one for staffing management services. Our event management software can easily organize Staff, Clients, Scheduling, Reporting, Payroll, and more, all in one complete system.

If you or your manager need help managing event staff, event catering staff, or event-day staff, contact us today.