Thank you for your interest in becoming a volunteer for the Ilkley Literature Festival. Applications are currently closed.

In the meantime, please do read through the information below which tells you a little more about what’s involved in being a volunteer.

Volunteer Roles

Our volunteers help the festival run in many ways, including:

  • Setting out venues ready for events
  • Greeting ticket holders, answering queries and giving directions
  • Taking tickets on venue doors
  • Seating the audience when venue doors open
  • Working the microphones during Q&A sessions
  • Sitting in on events
  • Serving refreshments at special events or in one of our café bars
  • In addition to the more traditional interview or panel style events we run workshops, outdoor events and a Children’s Festival, all of which need the support of our volunteers to run smoothly.


Workshops are usually held during the weekends and those helping are encouraged to participate. The role here is to assist the event manager in looking after the author leading the workshops, making drinks and ensuring participants have required materials for the session.

Outdoor Events

In this role you will accompany authors and members of the public on outdoor events, e.g. around Ilkley on a historical tour of the town, or up on the Moors for a poetry writing walk. Volunteers will support the author in charge and help deal with any emergencies. You need to be happy to be outdoors in all weathers. These events can last up to 2 hours and you need to be able to walk throughout that time.

Children’s / Young Person’s Events

Experience of dealing with children and families, as a parent, teacher, playworker, grandparent, older sibling etc is useful but not essential in this role. Many of our young adult volunteers enjoy helping with Children’s events.

Serving Refreshments

The Festival needs volunteers to help run the Festival Cafes, making and serving tea, coffee and biscuits or cakes. The Cafe can be hectic at busy times! Duties include serving members of the public, authors and clearing up afterwards. In addition to this, we sometimes host drinks receptions prior to certain events. We may ask volunteers to assist in the serving of beverages at these.

Distribution of Marketing Materials

Although most of our programmes are sent out by a mailing house, we still mail over 3,000 items ourselves. Volunteers are needed throughout the year to help stuff envelopes and once our programme is released we encourage volunteers to help distribute these in their local areas.

Qualifications for all Volunteering Roles

No previous experience is needed but you will need to be:

  • Over 16
  • Punctual and reliable
  • Practical and hardworking
  • Have a courteous, calm approach to the public
  • Enjoy dealing with people
  • Supportive of the Festival in its commitment to making events accessible and welcoming
  • Smart and well-groomed, and wear a white top and black trousers/skirt
  • Some Stewards need to be more active than others: pick the role which suits your needs

Training and Rewards

We provide a Festival Briefing on, covering a range of issues including Health and Safety and Festival procedures, which all volunteers need to attend, particularly so for the first year of volunteering.

All events will have a Festival Event Manager so you will never be left alone on an event.

Volunteers get in free to the event they are working on and get regular news updates on what’s happening at the Festival.

If you have any questions or queries about becoming a volunteer, please contact us via info@ilkleylitfest.org.uk

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