Thanks for your interest in Getting Involved with SHIFT Festival!

Please read all the information below for the available Volunteer departments!


This department is in charge of signage at SHIFT, so that festivalgoers know where to find what! If you have interests in creating beautiful signs and then working with the Direx Lead to place and remove these signs around the festival, please volunteer with us!

*This work requires being comfortable with heavy equipment such as T-post drivers!


  • Meet pre-event to assess inventory and plan necessary signage
  • Meet pre-event to create signs as needed
  • Install signs the weekend before festivalgoers arrive!
  • Remove signs post-event, after festivalgoers leave!

When this work is done: Pre-event, right before event, end of event.


Our department is responsible and in charge of Flame Art and Flame effects, such as the Tectonic Sign, Volcano Poofers and other event-run fire effects. We help restock propane daily and make sure all fire effects are up to standards and have sober and safe people running the effects. Fire Safety training is required (we will provide this on site) and sobriety while on shift is a requirement as well. 

List of Tasks:

  • Attend fire safety training at the event
  • Set up and test flame effects
  • Monitor flame effects and keep everyone safe
  • Help refill propane (during the day)

When this work is done: during the day (propane refills) but mostly at night

Gate & Parking:

Gate: Gate volunteers are responsible for admitting ticketed participants into the event safely, quickly, and efficiently, ensuring no backup onto roads. Volunteers will direct traffic into lanes as appropriate and ensure that all stopped vehicles have been shifted into park, and turned off. Volunteers will then determine whether participants are authorized to enter the event by checking tickets and IDs. Volunteers will wristband participants and may provide them with informational material. Volunteers will use radio to contact department lead and event producers as necessary. In coordination with other departments, Gate will help ensure that participants drop their belongings off and return to park their vehicles in a timely manner. 


Parking: Parking volunteers are responsible for ensuring that participant vehicles are parked in a manner that makes good use of space and maintains vehicle and emergency access. Participants will park their vehicles after dropping off their belongings at their camp locations. Volunteers will direct participants to appropriate parts of the parking area and monitor conditions by periodic inspection of the area. Volunteers will assist with any possible event efforts to mark or otherwise identify vehicles. Volunteers will use radio to contact department lead, event producers, greeters, and/or placement department. Volunteers will ensure that fire lanes and other relevant areas are kept clear at all times according to the event fire safety plan.

All department volunteers may work Gate, Parking, or a mixture of both, based on volunteer preference and event needs.   

Physical Requirements:

  • Able to stand and walk for the entire shift.
  • Able to communicate verbally over radio.
  • Able to use tablet computer
  • Willing to be assertive with participants and say “no.”
  • Willing to read, understand, and apply event rules and follow Gate procedures.
  • Sufficient visual acuity to avoid moving vehicles.
  • Able to remain sober on shift.
  • These are the requirements for primary Gate/Parking duties. We welcome people of all abilities on the team, and we will find a way for anybody to help. Please discuss this with the department lead in advance.  

When this work is done: Pre-event open and during event hours. Gate/Parking is usually open 10am-12am.

Grass Guardians:

Grass Guardians will operate 24 hours a day, working 6 hour shifts. If you are familiar with Rangers at burner events, this is sort of like that with some fire safety thrown in. While it is helpful to have prior experience, it is not required because there will be pre-event training(s) and people will be partnered, as much as possible, with someone with experience.

The main overall task of the Grass Guardians is participant safety.

Grass Guardians will: 

  • Attend a required pre-event training
  • Be sober, alert, and rested for their shifts
  • Roam the event field in pairs while equipped with radios
  • Watch for wristbands
  • Monitor the event perimeter
  • Talk to participants about fire safety and enforce designated smoking areas
  • Answer general event questions and act as an information resource to participants
  • Help solve problems
  • Respond to emergencies and help get the appropriate resources to the scene
  • Help mediate disputes in a non-confrontational and objective manner
  • Listen to participants who may be having a particularly rough day
  • Wear distinguishable green Grass Guardians shirts
  • And so much more!

When this work is done: Around the clock, during event hours


Are you welcoming, positive, friendly, and great at concise verbal communication/interactions (in 5 min or less)?  Then Greetz is the volunteer job for YOU! 

SHIFT greeters are the welcome wagon for the Volcano!  With an enthusiastic smile, welcoming energy, and maybe some consensual hugs, Greetz interacts with each car filled with distracted and excited festival goers coming from the gate. You will help folks get oriented and remind them to follow the event rules. You will also hand out goodies and information about SHIFT.

List of Tasks:

  • Greet participants as they arrive to the event, prioritizing consent
  • Gift participants their welcome items
  • Give directions to the parking lot, camping areas, and offer general information about the speed limit 
  • Remind them about fire safety
  • Offer brief SHIFT cultural information

When this work is done: When Gate is open, usually 10am-11:59pm

Cubez & Info: 

Be a part of the team that provides useful information to participants and sells ice! You will help answer people’s questions, find things on the map, direct them where they need to go, and sell them ice! This team will also be responsible for gathering and storing Lost & Found. 

List of Tasks:

  • Provide information to festival participants and volunteers, including performance times, daily music lineup, smoking areas, restroom locations, and just giving out directions!  
  • Distribute volunteer shirts.
  • Relay communication of information to Festival volunteers, rangers, gate/greeters, medical and leads on a Radio.  
  • Collecting, documenting, and storing Lost & Found. 
  • Interact and communicate with participants in selling and slinging bags of ice from trailer to participants’ hands. 

When this work is done: During the event, usually around 10am-5pm

LNT: Leave No Trace!

Hello future SHIFTer! Thank you for your interest in the LNT team. In the Burning Man spirit, SHIFT aims to be a Leave No Trace event by leaving the event site as it was– or better! The LNT team is in charge of keeping the event site looking just as pristine as it was before the festival. This crew works during the event and Post event.  This includes engaging with attendees during the event, and staying on site after the event ends to perform “MOOP sweeps”.

LNT Vollies will:

  • Perform Daily event sweeps, which includes walking the roads, checking the music stages, and clearing the surrounding public areas of debris every morning. 
  • Processing any lost & found, and delivering to Info Booth
  • Quick check of each porto-potty.
  • Sweeping Designated Smoking Areas
  • Roaming the event site and campsites, and talk to participants about LNT
  • Post Event LNT and Moop Sweeps to ensure the site is left as good as it was when we found it.

When this work is done: During and after the event, during the day.

Water Guardians:

Lifeguard shifts at the pond will be during daytime & evening hours. You will be acting independently, must be self-motivated and alert as you are responsible for the safety of festival participants, keeping a watchful eye out for unsafe behaviors as well as making sure there are no unattended minors in the area.

Most importantly, YOU will be the superstar of our beach party! You will be a judge for the Annual Rubber Ducky Race and Deflate Contortionist Olympics. You will have your own lifeguard chair, kayak and buoys! And you will have sun-safe fluffing tools such as a water mister, sun screen & aloe vera gel for consenting beachcombers. 

Skill Requirements:

  • Must have (or have had) lifeguard/ first aid certification and/or EMT/Medical qualification.
  • Must be a strong swimmer
  • Must be sober throughout your entire shift
  • Comfortable long periods in the sun, crowds and nudity
  • Have a fun, body positive, consenting attitude!

When this work is done: During the event, Friday-Saturday, when people are at the beach. Some pre- and post-event shifts possible.


Like to lift heavy things? Werx is looking for YOU! Werx is the festival infrastructure team.  Work comes in four phases…

  1. Loading and Transport: Volunteers will meet at Tectonic headquarters for loading of the Werx main manifest in to cargo vehicle(s). Equipment includes base camp structural components, car ports, staking and marking materials, communications technology, and finally hand tools. Werx will also provide loading labor for the other volunteer groups as needed. Transport duties involve driving cargo to site and also includes pickup of any rental gear and heavy equipment.  
  2. Setup Weekend: Volunteers spend the weekend on-site, staking-off the perimeter, erecting base camp (and Werx) structures and carports, porto placement, and marking smoking areas. Volunteers will be trained in use of rental equipment and will provide support labor to the other groups. 
  3. Event Support: Volunteers will assist with any last minute setup of the event the night prior to it opening. During the event, volunteers will be on call and must respond to Werx assistance requests from other groups. 
  4. Tear Down: Takes place on Sunday and Monday, July 14-17. Volunteers will deconstruct all relevant structures and repack it into designated cargo vehicles. Volunteers may also be instructed to assist with deconstruction of other camps depending on the level of progress of Tectonic tear down. This phase is absolutely critical. Due to scheduling and previous labor levels these shifts will have the highest capacity of volunteers assigned. Working these shifts makes you eligible for a FULL ticket refund!

All four of these stages are critical for SHIFT to run smoothly. We are the hardcore backbone of this event. 

When this work is done: ALL THE TIME!


Our department is split into two main jobs. Fixing and Making Tectonic Art during pre-event work parties and building the Tectonic Structure onsite during Build Weekend. We work very closely with the Werx department and other departments to ensure they have everything they need built ahead of time for their crews to run smoothly. 

Fixing and Making Tectonic Art: MÄKZ is a crew of builders who will be making art and infrastructure before the event. There will be a few build parties for volunteers to get their hands dirty. Most shifts will be painting and finish work at the parties. This department will be a great additional source of hours for for your schedule!

If you are a skilled builder in wood or metal make a point to mention that in your volunteer form and we may seek you out for more specific tasks that involve more hands on production of SHIFT infrastructure!

Tectonic Structure Build/Teardown On Site: Help make the magic happen!  While the Werx crew is tackling all of the infrastructure of the event itself, this crew will be responsible for raising the volcano from the ashes of last year. Tasks will likely include some pre/post events of loading/unloading our box truck in Portland, while the rest of the work will be performed on site.

  • Load box truck – pre event  (possible crossover event with Werx)
  • Load all necessary items onto box truck for transportation to event site from Portland
  • Assemble the Tectonic structure, stages, ambiance, & art
  • Build will take place the weekend prior to the festival and some items will occur on the Wednesday (7/13) prior to the festival opening
  • Tear down will begin on Sunday (7/17) of the festival and will continue on Monday (7/18). You’ll get to stay an extra day in beautiful Grass Valley!
  • Unload Box Truck – Post Event (possible crossover event with Werx)
  • Unload All The Things!  

When this work is done: Pre-, During, and Post- Event; lots of opportunities to get involved!


The Sparx crew keeps the lights on! We are looking for a few reliable volunteers to support our team and the work that we do. Sparx volliez will either work on trenching and laying/removing cables, or they’ll be supporting Sparx leads primarily at the event. For the latter role(s), ideally we are seeking folks with experience working with electrical distribution, main and sub panel wiring, familiarity with wire gauge ampacity, generators, grounding, electrical code, and electrical safety. Volunteers for SPARX must first be interviewed and approved by the department lead. 


Sparx Team #1 List of Tasks:

  • Work with one other vollie to trench, lay cables, and backfill trenches
  • Rip up and organize the cables after the event. 

When this work is done: One to two days before the event, and one day post-event.

Sparx Team #2 List of Tasks:

  • Setting up generators and running 3-phase distribution lines from generators to load centers and/or spider boxes 
  • Run cabling/extension cords from spider/distro boxes to user endpoints
  • Balancing load per phase on generators
  • Watching generator fuel levels 
  • Connecting/monitoring smaller generators for needs not in the main grid area. 
  • Taking sober on-call shifts during the festival for problems that may arise.

When this work is done: Some pre-event, some during event.


Thanks for feeding all the workers volunteering their time to make this event happen! Together the crew must be able to read the recipe, prep, cook, and clean up (including leftovers) a pre-planned meal during their assigned shift.  These kitchen shifts will have non-permanent positions within each shift that include preparation, cooking, dishwashing and grey water/LNT and maybe a wandering waiter/server to deliver meals to gate, lifeguards, and/or other stationary positions that may need food/drink.


Knowing and maintaining the always-available snack area as well as refilling the beverage station with water, Gatorade, and coffee will be required of the crew as well. 

  • People with kitchen experience are preferred. Must be comfortable with knives and hot flames. You must be sober for your shift. Clothing and safe shoes must be worn in the kitchen.
  • We will maintain a bus tub wash, rinse and sanitize area for diners to clean their own eating ware.  Our pots and pans will be washed in a separate area.
  • Food prep will be done in Portland and participating will be an option to earn vollie credits.   Stay tuned for more details.
  • To be as inclusive as possible, the meals will all be vegan-based with plenty of meat, cheese, etc. available on the side to add in for omnivores. Most of the main courses will also be gluten free, with GF options for the meals that are not. We’ll also strive to accomodate for any and all dietary needs/restrictions.

When this work is done: Before, during and a bit after the event.


Sanctuary provides a peer-staffed, supportive space for participants who are having an intense personal experience at Shift. We aim to create a quiet, comfortable environment where participants can feel safe and cared for. We will take hand-offs from Medical and Rangers. 

We will be available for walk-in care for all participants. 


Skill Requirements:

  • Preferred to have previous experience at Zendo and/or Sanctuary spaces at other events
  • High need for 1 volunteer per night shift with professional experience in Mental Health and/or community crisis work  
  • Must have healthy boundaries and calm presence in times of stress  
  • Must be sober throughout your entire shift
  • Comfortable with people in extreme states 
  • Excellent communication skills 

When this work is done: During the event, Thursday-Sunday shifts cover 24/7. 

Fire Circle Depot:

Fire Circle volunteers help provide and oversee a space for people to share and enjoy fire based performance art.

Vollies must possess an adequate understanding of fire performance safety, fire approved clothing, and first aid techniques associated with possible flesh burns. 

Each night we will begin with a noo-burn. Anyone is welcome to come spend the first hour enlightening their soul with fire. We will have three people minimum running at any given moment but as the night progresses we need more safeties. 


The mandatory posts to begin each night are:

     …fire safety. There may be up to four safeties at one time depending on how many performers we have burning. Will be posted up in the depot tent making sure that performers are responsible and safe with their fire. May be required to put a performers vapor transfer out.  Extinguish props of performers leaving the circle. Put out any grass fire the guardian has not made it to. 

     …fire depot. This is a single person position that will be responsible for helping to fuel props. You will also be required to check to sobriety of performers to make sure that they are not inebriated when performing. 

     …fire guardian. This positions is that of an active fire performer within the circle. Even though you are performing you will be required to put out any grass fires immediately.  Everyone else’s safety comes first just as safety is first and third, never second. 

Let’s keep the fire bright all night and into the morning when the sun rises to share its light with us.  Come be a part of our amazing crew as we share the light while burning the night.  (approval by lead is required to join this team)

List of Tasks:

  • Prepare the fire circle in the evening.
  • Ensure dip cans are topped off throughout the night.
  • Ensure performers agree to and follow the rules.
  • Ensure that performers are paired with safeties (possibly by being said safety).
  • Check that fire props meet quality and durability standards.
  • Prepare the stage for scheduled performances.
  • Pack up the fire circle at the end of the night.

When this work is done: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

All set? Fill out your volunteeer interest form:

Volunteer Interest Form