Festival season is upon us again. Bejeweled, blindingly sparkly outfits are being bought, tents are being dragged down from those dark corners of the attic and playlists (#BodySoul18’s available here 😉 ) are blasting from bedroom speakers. Body&Soul is around the corner and the Irish festival of craic, culture and creativity is starting to take shape on the hallowed grounds of Ballinlough Castle. It’s magic that flows through the veins of Body&Soul but behind that magic is a massive team of curators, creators, builders, drivers, directors and (most importantly) volunteers.

Volunteers at Body&Soul are a cherished, vital component of the running of the festival, a much appreciated asset to all of us at team B&S. Sometimes their contributions can go unnoticed by festival attendees, but before everything kicks off for summer 2018 we thought we’d take the time to highlight the hard work and experiences of one of our long term volunteers. Niall McQuaid has volunteered at Body&Soul for years and believes volunteering is a rewarding experience for all.. The beating heart of our volunteer team, Niall is the perfect individual to represent the spirit of volunteering at Body&Soul.

How many times have you volunteered with Body&Soul?

I’ve been volunteering at Body&Soul since 2012. My first year I was a weekend volunteer and every year since I have been an advanced volunteer working the week before the festival. This year I am back weekend volunteering again as I’m on an ETB course during the advance week!

Why do you volunteer? What makes you come back every year?

I love the festival and the vibe! It always helps that I really like a lot of the line up each year! Someday I mean to apply to volunteer at Solas during Latitude event with ye too in England.

What has been your favourite Body&Soul moment?

It has to be Jon Hopkins first appearance in 2013. Shivers ran down my spine. That set was extremely good and will forever be etched in my memory. That moment is followed closely by the Max Romeo set in 2014, I believe? There have been lots of delightful moments but maybe too many to mention.

What have you gained through volunteering?

An awareness I suppose of the health and safety behind the event and the enormous organisation and love that goes into making such an event work. On a more down to earth level, I’ve learned how the one way traffic system works and how to make sure the production area doesn’t get clogged up with traffic and crucial times in the build up to each event.

Any tips for first-time volunteers?

Just go for it. It’s well worth it and you make lots of like minded friends who will look out for you during the weekend.

And finally Niall, what are you most looking forward to this year?

Fever Ray without a doubt! I seen them at Electric Picnic in 2010 and The Knife in 2013 and both times they blew me away. Jon Hopkins of course… James Holden. Mano Le Tough (I’m a bit of a techno head woo hoo!) Pantha Du Prince, Olof Dreijer, Saint Sister, Daithí, RSAG, Bitch Falcon and Slow Place Like Home amongst others.