Volunteer of the Month
Our volunteers are amazing, and we love sharing their stories! Know a volunteer who deserves recognition? Email Emily McCormick at Emily@CalgaryFolkFest.com
February 2017 | Nicolai Semenoff
Volunteering since age 14, Nicolai has been a part of the Environment crew for almost every year. His outgoing personality and willingness to take on any task has proven himself to be a valuable member of the team. Last year, Nicolai moved up in the ranks and became a Crew Coordinator, and we are very happy to see him in this role. Like many of our volunteers, he started as a patron, attending the Festival with his family. Once he joined our team, he quickly learned about the magic of volunteering at the Festival: ‘I continue to volunteer almost entirely due to the mentality and spirit of the Festival. Something about visiting the Island a day before it’s bustling with artists and Festival goers, and then being there when everything is winding down, just taking in the spirit of it all, is really what it’s about for me. It is a unique way of experiencing the Festival environment that isn’t necessarily offered as a non-volunteer. It is a sense of giving back to or feeling like a part of the whole function, if you will. Additionally, the acts are always great, so there is nothing to worry about on that front.’
January 2017 | Clare Stanfield
The Beer Garden crew has a reputation of being one of the teams to be on at the Festival. One of the reasons why is because of the fantastically wonderful people that lead the group. Clare Stanfield is one of these people. Clare has been with us for a long time…like a really long time. She was around before we had continuous delivery from the reefer. That means you had to change every…keg…by…hand. She was around when you had to fill out a paper application to volunteer. She was around when dinosaurs roamed Prince’s Island Park…well…not quite that long :P We have been very grateful to have Clare with us for around 20 years, and are immensely happy that she doesn’t intend to leave us anytime soon: “Every year, I go through a thought process where I ask myself if I want to do this again – I’m getting old and it’s tough on my body! And in all honesty, I just imagine NOT doing it, and that’s it. Mind made up, I come back. I love the Beer Garden, watching the team grow, yet somehow be able to maintain it’s family feel.” Aside from being a great (and hilarious) Crew Coordinator, she’s an excellent spokesperson for volunteering: “Frankly, it’s just fun. I love the music, but that’s become less and less of a motivation over the years. I’m just happy to have a rousing, boisterous, successful, silly, totally great four days in the Beer Garden with people I truly enjoy. It’s what life is all about, y’know?” Oh yeah, Clare, we know ;)
July 2016 | Jess Watson
If you have entered the Festival from the West Gate, our lovely Production Security crew has greeted you. One of the passionate Crew Coordinators on this team is the fantastic Jess Watson. While leading a large crew (80 volunteers strong!), can seem like a daunting task, Jess makes it seem easy, and puts in an effort to make sure everyone feels welcome. Volunteering in general is an important part of her life, as she enjoys using her time, skills and abilities to better the community. The CFMF holds a special place in her heart, because ‘it feels like family.’ She says ‘I’ve now convinced a lot of my friends to volunteer, and have been privileged to make some amazing new friends at the Festival.’ Great times and good people keep Jess coming back, even if she’s a little sore at the end ‘My body and specifically my feet are in pretty rough shape come Monday, but it’s worth it…every single year!!’ This will be her 6th year volunteering, and we are so happy to have her positive attitude, and bountiful cookie supply on our side.
June 2016 | Michael Alvarez-Toye
If you have been to the volunteer parties, you will recognize Michael’s face. He started on the Festival Parties crew in the late 90s, and just never left. Working hard on this busy late-night crew, he makes sure that everyone has a great time, or, as he likes to put it, he helps keep the spirit of the Festival alive! Even before Michael became a dedicated volunteer, the Festival was an important part of his life. ‘For me, Festival weekend is my weekend every year. It is the one weekend I look forward to, where I can immerse myself in music, ambiance, friendships, new discoveries…the list goes on!’ Being a volunteer is very important to Michael, he says, ‘For me, being a part of the family we call volunteers, is a special piece of who I am. It meshes perfectly with my persona, having in fact added to it. If I could sum it up, volunteering has gifted me a lifetime of memories and lifelong friendships. And that’s what makes one’s life worth living.’ Thank you, Michael, for keeping us rocking long after the Main Stage has ended!
May 2016 | Emily Sasges & Leah Gardner
Emily and Leah work hard to get our message out to the masses! They are the enthusiastic co-coordinators of the Promo Booths crew. This group goes out to various community events, festivals, etc. to shout our praises and try to sell some tickets. They help build the buzz and get people pumped for July. Even though one of them now lives in BC, they are always back to help with incredible passion and wonderfully creative ideas – talk about commitment! Emily and Leah continue to volunteer, because they believe in what we do as a whole: ‘the Festival provides a meaningful venue for performing musicians and we are grateful to be a part of the organization behind such a meaningful show! The Festival is such a special place – it seems to be the only time per year that brings together family and friends from all ‘walks of life.’’ We are thrilled to continue to have such strong leaders on our team – thank you, Emily & Leah!
April 2016 | Ayon Pradhan
Ayon is one of the many brave volunteers who work in the Music & Merch Tent. A CFMF volunteer since 2006, Ayon became a Crew Coordinator in 2010, and now we can’t seem to get rid of him! Known for his sharp sense of humour, Ayon is always there to help any volunteer in need. His outgoing personality fits perfectly with the bustle and excitement of the merch tent. When Festival season comes around, he looks forward to getting back together with his crew, meeting and chatting with incredible artists, and, of course, the after parties! Ayon started to volunteer with us as a way to give back to the community, and because of the many incredible tales of opportunity and camaraderie that surround our fair Festival, and the fact that the CFMF truly cares for our volunteers. Ayon says ‘Everything I was told is true. The CFMF really does take care of its volunteers; I have been with the core members of my crew for about 10 years now.’ Thanks, Ayon – here’s to 10 more years!
March 2016 | Debbie Noesgaard & Judy Todd
Cousins Debbie Noesgaard and Judy Todd are a prime example of the family love that we see at the CFMF every year. They are both long-time and passionate volunteers – Debbie started volunteering in the late 80s! In addition to Festival Hall and Block Heater volunteering, Debbie and Judy help coordinate the Food Servers crew – that’s right, they hold the delicious key to your meals. Their willingness to take on any task proves them to be strong leaders, and their warm and positive personalities don’t hurt either. Judy and Debbie love volunteering around Calgary, but consider us ‘the best volunteer gig in town.’ Judy says ‘ I continue to volunteer because it is so much fun – the music is always great, the staff and performers have always been friendly and easy to work with, the patrons are so laid back and interesting to talk with, and the other volunteers are great and interesting. Because of this, I have always felt appreciated.’ We are thrilled to have this double-trouble dream team on our side – the family that volunteers together stays together, right?
February 2016 | Desmond Murphy
Volunteering with us for almost 20 years, Desmond Murphy is nothing short of a miracle for the Festival. Acting as a co-coordinator on the Volunteer ID crew, his positively, organization, and know-how are imperative for setting all you volunteers up for success. He helps make and distribute the packages for over 1800 volunteers within a matter of days. While this crew carries a lot of pressure, you would never know it with Desmond. When talking about why he volunteers, Desmond says that he wants ‘to be part of something bigger, something that makes our city a great place, and something that brings some other kind of life, vibrancy and culture to this Stampede-centric cow-town. As well, I get to volunteer with my family members on an amazing crew with amazing people, many of whom are also “family” volunteers.’ You are one of the good ones, Desmond, and we are so happy to have you as part of our Folk Festival Family.
January 2016 | Leigh Mclachlan
While Leigh has been a longtime patron of the CFMF, she is relatively new to the Folk Fest volunteer family. That being said, we can’t imagine our lives without her! Leigh volunteers with us as a CFMF, Festival Hall and (soon to be) Block Heater volunteer. Leigh cannot be torn from Festival Hall, patronizing whatever events she doesn't volunteer at, and even popping by the office – just to surprise the CFMF staff with tasty treats! As one of our amazing Office Support volunteers, Leigh helps the staff get organized prior to the summer Festival. She takes on any task with a smile on her face and a funny story in her back pocket. Volunteering is second nature to Leigh, who is also involved with Inn from the Cold, the Calgary Fringe Festival, and WideCut Weekend, just to name a few. When asked about her experience with the CFMF, Leigh says ‘I think Folk Fest and the staff and the volunteers add so much to our community and culture in Calgary. I appreciate all the people involved and their hard work. I could not imagine my life or Calgary without Folk Fest!’