Tuesday, November 10, 2020                                                  

Dear Berks Jazz Fest Volunteers:
The past eight months has been unprecedented with the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the arts, music, and entertainment industries.

We are thankful for the continued support of our donors and volunteers who help us to continue our mission to inspire, engage and unite the community through arts education, collaboration, and presentation.

Our team has been actively planning the 30th annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest — two years in the making – with the same great artists and schedule! The fest dates are April 9-18, 2021. All tickets purchased for the 2020 Berks Jazz Fest will be honored in 2021. The concert schedule is posted at www.berksjazzfest.com

As we approach the 2021 event, the Berks Arts team is in communication with local and state officials regarding venue capacities, social distancing requirements, health and safety requirements and other new event regulations put into place. As we all know, the regulations are changing almost daily. Berks Arts is committed to doing our best to keep all our patrons and volunteers safe during jazz fest.

At this time, all staff, patrons, and volunteers will be required to:

  • Wear face masks in all event facilities
  • Will have temperature screenings completed before each show
  • Encouraged to wash hands frequently and/or use hand sanitizer
  • Be seated according to the Event Safety Alliance protocol

If you have been exposed to COVID or test positive within 10 days of the fest, not feeling well or currently ill, we ask that you do not attend the event

The Berks Arts staff has been attending COVID-19 and Event Safety educational sessions. Information learned in these will be part of the Volunteer Training. A call for volunteers will be held at the end of December/beginning of January. Our volunteers are critical to the success of this event. We will implement all required safety protocol, as necessary. Berks Arts will provide face masks and gloves for all volunteers each day of the event. In addition, the venues will have hand sanitizer stations and will encourage frequent hand washing. We want to keep you safe and healthy!

Berks Arts is carefully monitoring the pandemic and its impact on live music events. As we learn about any significant changes on hosting live concerts, we will communicate these to you. The primary communication tools used will be the Berks Jazz Fest website, Facebook page, and emails from info@berksart.org or vcberksjf@gmail.com. We appreciate your flexibility and patience during this time.

We miss you and looking forward to working with you again!

Sincerely,
Meggan Kerber                 Gary Spencer                        John Ernesto
Executive Director            Production Manager           BJF General Manager


Berks Jazz Fest Volunteering Overview
Berks Arts Council is thankful for the 300+ volunteers that give of their time and talent at the Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest. Volunteers are critical to our success as they assist as ushers, ticket takers, production crew, hospitality team, merchandise team, transportation and other tasks. 

You can join in the fun by becoming a volunteer for the 2021 Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest and celebrate 30 years of jazz music in Berks County. 

General Volunteer Information

  • All volunteers must sign up via the electronic system by February 1, 2021 at 5:00 PM. Registration does not imply confirmation.
  • Volunteers are required to attend one of two training sessions. Training is required for veteran and new volunteers. 
  • Volunteers are required to purchase a volunteer t-shirt int he amount of $15.00 to be worn during all shifts. 
  • Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older.
  • All volunteers are required to commit to working a minimum of 3 concerts during the 10-day Fest.
  • Volunteers sign up to work specific concerts. However, if the Volunteer Coordinator cannot assign you to that concert, you may be assigned to a different concert taking place at the same time.
  • Volunteers are expected to carry out the duties of their assigned position. They may also be asked to fill in at other positions as needed. 
  • Volunteers will not be scheduled for back to back concerts (for example: 7/7:30 show and a 9:00 show or a 9:00/9:30 show and a Midnight Show). It is important that you have the opportunity to take a break between shows and travel safely. Thank you for your understanding.

     Volunteer Job Descriptions

Most Berks Jazz Fest volunteers work Front of House – from the lobby to the edge of the stage. Front of House (FOH) positions include Ticket Takers and Ushers. Volunteers interested in assisting with Merchandise should contact the Berks Arts office at 610-898-1930.  All volunteers assigned to these positions are under the direction of the House Manager – the person who supervises all front-of-house activity at each venue.

House Managers

House Managers are selected based on their experience as Berks Jazz Fest volunteers. There is always at least one House Manager on duty at all times at each venue. Their duties include:

  • Assigning positions to volunteers at each concert
  • Arranging for all volunteer breaks
  • Relieving volunteers when needed and assisting in carrying out multiple duties
  • Supervising the front of house and attending to any major problems as efficiently as possible

Ticket Takers

Ticket Takers are charged with taking tickets from patrons and guiding them in the general direction of their seats. Ticket Takers are expected to arrive 90 to 120 minutes before the start of each show to receive specific instructions. Their duties will include:

  • Becoming familiar with the facility and seating to help guide patrons more efficiently
  • Checking tickets for correct times and dates
  • Assuring that no one enters the venue without a valid ticket for the event
  • Keeping the flow of traffic moving in the outer lobby
  • Escorting late patrons to the proper door and monitoring exit/re-entry doors during concert
  • Reporting any problems to the House Manager
  • Giving ticket stubs to House Manager after show has started

Ushers

Ushers are charged with helping patrons to their assigned areas and assisting patrons with any issues in finding their seats. Ushers are expected to arrive 90 – 120 minutes before the start of each show to receive specific instructions.

Ushers are required to bring flashlights to each performance. Their duties include:

  • Becoming familiar with the seating layout to seat patrons quickly and correctly
  • Becoming familiar with facilities to guide patrons more efficiently
  • Keeping track of reserved seats for sponsor seating
  • Directing traffic after concert begins
  • Staying on-site during and after concerts to assist patrons as needed

Other Volunteer Jobs

In addition to the positions described above, there is sometimes a need for volunteers to fill the following positions:

  • Event Support (helping with refreshments and directing patrons at concerts and receptions)
  • Surveyors (Requesting patrons to complete audience surveys)
  • Runners (running errands for various staff members and artists)
  • Merchandise
  • Transportation

These jobs will be assigned to volunteers who have proven themselves reliable in the past.

NOTE: Although volunteers are assigned to specific positions, Berks Jazz Fest volunteers function as a team and assist with other tasks as requested by the House Manager.

Dress Code

All volunteers are required to wear their Berks Jazz Fest Staff T-shirts along with name tags that should be prominently placed on the right side of the shirts. It is very important that volunteers wear both the T-shirt and name-tag so they can be easily recognized and addressed by patrons and staff members.

Production Volunteers

Volunteers are also instrumental in Berks Jazz Fest Production – all on-stage and backstage activities. This includes all “load-in” and “load-out” activities. These positions require long hours and physical labor.

If you are interested in volunteering for Production, please contact Gary Spencer at 610-898-1930 x24 or email.

Sample Front of House Sequence of Events for a Typical Performance 

90 -120 Minutes Before the Event: All volunteers arrive and sign-in on the attendance list. Volunteers are admitted for duty only if attired per dress code.

75 Minutes Before the Event: VOLUNTEER BRIEFING by House Manager, where special instructions and situations are discussed. Merchandise personnel complete their set-up at this time.

60 Minutes Before the Event: Ushers report to their assigned stations; LOBBY OPENS. Ticket Takers start taking tickets and merchandise areas open. Ushers are inside the house checking the seats in their assigned areas.

45 Minutes Before the Event: HOUSE OPENS! All Ushers will seat people, watch for problems, enforce rules governing smoking, food & beverages, and recording equipment (audio and video).

Show Time! Ushers clear the aisles and wait in the lobby for latecomers. All volunteers are requested to stay on-site until the House Manager relieves you of duty. Those volunteers wishing to remain at the show after being relieved by the House Manager may do so, but will be requested to assist if any problems arise.

Volunteer Registration has currently closed. For more information about volunteering please email us.

If you need additional information or have questions about volunteering, please contact our volunteer coordinators via email.