Over 500 people dedicate their time, services and expertise to the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival. Volunteers eagerly anticipate the start of the Festival and some take vacation time to help out, contributing over 22,000 total hours of work. Our volunteer coordinators are essential to day to day operations over the course of the Festival. Divided into teams, our committed volunteers oversee everything from stage, transportation, and box office to sales, site maintenance, and beer and wine sales.

Photo: Brian Goldschmied

List of Volunteer Opportunities:


Objective: To ensure the stage is effectively set up and that performing artists are satisfied with layouts and levels.

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Our goal is to make sure the artists are treated in a friendly and professional manner as our important guests of the festival so they enjoy their time at the festival and in our city.  This includes provision of all the quality staging, sound and lighting equipment they require.  Therefore we must work very closely with the professional sound and lighting technicians.
  • In most cases, our work is accomplished as a team so there are usually others around to answer questions or assist if required.  Prior experience, while helpful, is not mandatory.
  • Often heavy lifting is required and volunteers must be fit and strong (this will be a specific goal for recruitment in 2014).  Also, volunteers must provide their own safety footwear (CSA green triangle).  The festival provides gloves, tools, etc.  Safety is very important and all volunteers must attend a pre-festival safety and emergency procedures training session.  In addition, new volunteers must attend a stage and sound training session on the last evening before the festival opens to become acquainted with the site and some of the key requirements of the job.
  • Some volunteer shifts are quite long.  For example, many shifts may be from noon (or even earlier) to near midnight or later.  There are other shifts during the day, say from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Other shifts for evening shows may start in the afternoon and end well after midnight.  These are just examples, but specifics are announced after concert and sound check schedules are known.
  • Volunteers are expected to take at least four shifts, and preferably more.
  • The 2014 festival runs from June 20th to July 1st including Canada Day, but stage volunteers are required for a variety of shifts and types of work including set-up and tear-down from Thursday, June 12th to Wednesday, July 2nd
  • Set up the sound equipment (microphones & cables) and stage furniture for each sound check and concert.  This may also involve helping musicians with their instruments, amplifiers and the like.
  • Between shows, clear away equipment required for the previous band and set up for the next concert.
  • At the end of the day (or group of concerts), pack away equipment so that it is secure and protected from the elements.
  • During the concerts there may be a requirement to provide security for the backstage area, but those who are not required for that duty may go to the front to watch and hear the show.
  • In the week leading up to the festival, the stage crew takes a major role in unloading and setting up the audio gear (main speakers, mixing boards, cables, etc.), lighting for the stage, scaffolding, stage trusses and stage drapes.  As soon as the festival is finished our crew takes down and loads all the gear on the trucks ready for transportation.

Qualifications & Requirements:

  • Friendly, energetic, reliable, efficient and responsive when contacted
  • Ability to lift, shift and strike up to 50 pounds of technical equipment on and off stage
  • Able to do long shifts, sometimes starting early and working late into the evening until things are packed up from the last show (OLG Stage shifts may end after midnight)
  • Able to climb and build scaffold, lift risers, etc.
  • Ability to take direction
  • Knowledge of sound equipment and stage set-up is an asset, but not essential
  • Be able to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Licensed venues require Stage Hands to be at least 19 years of age
  • Reports to the Stage Volunteer Supervisor

Site Crew

Objective: To ensure the park grounds are kept clean and safe for festival patrons, and all levels of service are maximized to accommodate guests to the best of our abilities.

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Keeping the festival grounds & tables tidy
  • Handing out Festival programs at the main entrance
  • Monitoring back gate access

Qualifications & Requirements:

  • Friendly, energetic, efficient and reliable
  • Enjoy working with others
  • Be able to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Often requires you to stand on your feet for long periods of time
  • Confident dealing with the general public – effective communication skills
  • Clean, with comfortable footwear
  • Reports to the Site Crew Volunteer Supervisor


Objective: Providing transportation for the Jazz Festival performing artists in a safe, friendly and professional manner.

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Transporting artists to and from the airport, hotels and event venues
  • May be asked to transport gear and various other items as needed.

Qualifications & Requirements:

  • A valid driver’s license
  • A clean driving record
  • Must be 25 years of age or older
  • Punctual pick-up and drop-off times essential
  • May be required to lift heavy instruments
  • Suited to friendly, outgoing and responsible person
  • Knowledge of the city and its history
  • A high level of professionalism
  • Reports to the Transportation Volunteer Supervisor

Bar Service (Beer)

Objective: To provide Jazz patrons a responsible beverage service (wine, beer, coolers, water) in a safe, efficient and pleasant atmosphere, and in both official languages

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Selling and/or collecting beverage tickets
  • Cashier transactions-either for beverage ticket for cash bar
  • Recognizing what is acceptable I.D. and checking valid I.D. of patrons
  • Recognizing signs of intoxication, and knowing appropriate action to take
  • Communication appropriately with co-workers, supervisors, festival staff & patrons
  • Serving of wine, coolers and draft beer
  • Balancing cash vs. Sales, performing daily/evening inventory, performing shut-down duties, clean-up, etc…If required upon
  • Monitoring, servicing & handling of supplies and materials if required upon

Qualifications & Requirements:

  • Show proof they are at least 18 years old and poses a valid Smart Serve Card
  • Arrive for assigned shifts on time and remain for committed duration
  • Clearly communicate shift changes to coordinator in clear and timely fashion
  • Follow supervisor’s instructions, and accept required tasks if asked upon
  • Perform tasks in a friendly, reliable, and efficient manner
  • Work in an outdoor environment that is subject to changing climate conditions
  • Accept that some server duties may require prolonged durations of standing

Logistics Crew

Objective: To create the Outside Site venue grounds so it is visually appealing, effective and safe for patrons, volunteers and performers.

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Set up and deconstruct the Outside Site logistical settings
  • Move tables, chairs, equipment
  • Construct the site areas as required

Qualifications & Requirements:

  • Requires a great deal of lifting and carrying – must be comfortable with moving large and heavy objects
  • Ability to commit to a full day of work before the Festival
  • Available the morning after the festival to deconstruct the site
  • Prepared to take direction and follow instructions
  • Enjoys working with others and is a great team player
  • Comfortable and sturdy footwear needed – CSA approval required
  • Reports to the Logistics Volunteer Supervisor


Objective: To process orders accurately and quickly, to handle cash when required, to deliver information in a friendly manner, such as refusing service to patrons who are showing signs of intoxication, and to check for age of majority with diligence.

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Collecting/selling event tickets, checking ID’s
  • Balancing cash and ticket sales at the end of each shift

Qualifications & Requirements:

  • Experience in money handling
  • Be able to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Licensed venues will require agents to be at least 19 years of age
  • Bilingualism is an asset
  • Smart Serve certificate
  • Bartending/serving experience an asset
  • Must be friendly, efficient and reliable
  • Often requires you to stand on your feet for long periods of time

Evening Box Office

Objective: To sell tickets and Festival passes on site Main Entrance (Laurier St) 6:15-10:30pm to the public and to provide information on the program at:

Main Entrance (Laurier St.) 6:15-10:30pm
OLG After Dark Series (City Hall) 9:00-11:30pm

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Selling event tickets
  • Answering questions about the Festival, the performances and the site
  • Balancing cash and tickets at the end of each shift

Qualifications & Requirements:

  • Must be friendly, efficient and reliable
  • Often requires you to stand on your feet for long periods of time, up to three hours
  • Be able to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Experience in money handling
  • Box Office Volunteer Supervisor