For months now, we have been inundated with Rovers looking for information on how to staff EP/ Castlepalooza and pitch some tents with the Rover Team! Fear not… here’s all the basic information you need!
Tent Pitching at the various festivals around the country is the main fundraising event for Rover Scouts. Each year we collectively pitch over 1,000 tents and collect vital funds for the ‘Rover Action Week’ (RAW) Fund which in turn, powers local Rover Crew service projects all over the country.
Service projects are the key focus of the current Rover Team. We want as many crews getting out there and doing good in their communities! Here are few examples of what Rover Crew’s like you have completed with the fund; sensory gardens for St. Michaels House, facilitated rehabilitation programmes and establish a mental health conversation in a local community.
You’ll be asked to arrive to the festival the night before the main cohort of festival goers. This usually happens on the Thursday night. There, you’ll be briefed on any health and safety arrangements. This includes checking in in the morning and in and out from breaks etc, so we know your last whereabouts at all times in the event of an emergency. You’ll also hear the organising teams expectations of you and what your expectations of the organising team might be. You will be given your ‘Friday Only’ wristband, put it on straight away and do not lose it, as replacements cannot be guaranteed. Please be aware that your wrist band has a number printed on it that links directly back to Scouting Ireland’s wristband allocation. At any point on Thursday night or Friday day, if you behave in a way that is illegal or goes against the ethos of Scouting Ireland, you will be asked to leave site.
This is also when you can ask all of those burning questions you have!
Early Friday Morning
Early Friday morning, you’ll all gather in the staff campsite and help carry the gear to the Main Site. At Electric Picnic this tends to be Jimi Hendrix. Once the gear is dropped, you’ll be given another short briefing and an ‘attendance’ call to make sure everyone is safe, well and ready for the day. You may be split into two ‘sub camps’ from here. Ie Jimi Hendrix and Oscar Wilde for example, to try cover the most ground as possible.
You’ll head off with your ‘Sub Camp’ Chief (to be all scout nerd about it) and help set up the HQ tent. This is your base and your safe zone for the day. It will have a constant supply of water and snacks to keep everyone going between breaks.
Once your HQ is set up, you will then be split into small teams of 2/3 for the day. It is vital that you stay with your group as it’s a safety precaution and allows for easier rotation of breaks.
You’ll then start to head off and pitch some tents! This is a slow burner, the morning will have dribs and drabs before everything kicking off around 11am. Expect to have your first ‘tea /coffee break’ around now. Then It’s absolute bedlam!! You will be in high demand and people will be queing at HQ for you to come pitch their tent. How quickly the campsite can fill is extraordinary. Where people expect you to pitch a 6 man tent is even more extraordinary… Be prepared to do your best and make reasonable suggestions to people if it’s really not going to work out for them.
You’d be amazed at the ‘absolute hack’ (condition) of some tents… the general festival population underestimate the importance of pegs, so a little ‘scouty’ ingenuity goes a long way. This is where your vast experience of pitching tent comes in real handy! You should expect to get your lunch somewhere between a 4 man and a 6 man tent here…
We expect to keep working until approx 5pm, however the campsite fills a varying speeds every year and we sometimes have to stop before this as there is no space left. At all.
Once the organising team have said ‘pegs down’… it’s all hands on deck to get the HQ tents packed away and all our gear back to the staff campsite. There will probably be a ‘roll call’ here too, just to make sure nobody is left pitching a tent somewhere… Jimi is huge after all.
Once the final ‘roll call’ has been taken, you are no longer under the care of the organising team.
This is your free time! You’ve worked a seriously long and tough day and deserve to go shake what your momma gave ya! This is a National Event, which normally means no drink. However the culture that exists at Irish festivals means that once your over 18, a sensible drink can be had. Please be aware that the wrist band you will be wearing has a number printed on it that links directly back to Scouting Ireland. If you behave in a way that is illegal or goes against the ethos of Scouting Ireland in anyway, you will be asked to leave site.
Once saturday morning comes around, it’s all bags packed and ready to head home! As we only have Friday passes, you are expected to leave site on Saturday morning and make your own way home.
Monday (Gear Sweep)
On Monday we come back to the festival site. Here we do a ‘Gear Sweep’ for any new/ barely used gear that can be donated to homeless shelters across the country. We have filled transit vans and cars to bursting point with brand new sleeping bags and useful camping gear. The ‘throwaway’ culture that exists at festivals has been under scrutiny in recent years. This is our way of both helping the planet by keeping as much waste from landfill, and reusing barely used camping gear to those who need it.
You can sign up to both of these options when applying to tent pitch. Priority will be given to those who have signed up to both tent pitch and collect gear.
Usually around July, the Rover Team will announce bookings are open for EP!
Castlepalooza and other such festivals will also be announced in advance with ample time to get booked in.
Booking will either be via a Wufoo form and you can then call National Office and pay over the phone using a card, or via the My.Scouts website. Bookings are made as an individual and you do not need a whole crew to apply. We estimate to have over 150 Rovers apply each year so book early. Wristbands are limited by the festival organisers (EP, Castlepalooza etc) and we are obliged to strictly comply with the number of wristbands made available to us.
Due to high demand we recommend signing up to both tent pitch and collect gear. Priority will be given to those Rovers who have signed up to both tent pitch and collect gear.
Tent pitching is an amazing experience and it’s one of our best events of the year! Join us and see what all the fuss is about. If you have any further questions please get in touch!
All photography credits to @Tom Clarke