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Some of the real stars at Festival International are those behind the scenes

Posted: 10:47 PM, Apr 25, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-26 21:29:16-04

The second day of Festival International is wrapping up, but things are just getting started.

From the music to the food, Festival has a lot to offer, and it’s the volunteers who make it all possible.

Every year, about 3,000 people come to downtown Lafayette to help out with the world-renowned festival. Each one of them is the reason the five-day event remains free to attend.

“Festival wouldn’t exist without all of the volunteers. They’re always talking about needing more volunteers. It’s definitely enjoyable,” said volunteer Kevin Hebert.

Board member Erin Helms is going on her fifteenth year of volunteering, taking on more responsibility in recent years. She says she was born into it.

“My dad and my uncle started volunteering probably the third year of Festival, so I kind of grew up at that particular tent. I would try to sneak in when I wasn’t really old enough really to start working over there,” laughed Helms. “But, I’ve always been around them, and it’s just been kind of a family thing.”

She says no matter the role, each volunteer does their part.

“You’re just helping this huge festival that brings all these acts from all over the world here, and you just feel like even though I’m a small part of it, you’re doing such a huge… making a difference for it,” explained the longtime volunteer.

Helms hasn’t met a single volunteer who didn’t want to do again, and it’s no coincidence festival is going on its 33rd year.

And, there’s no need to worry; being a volunteer doesn’t stop you from getting the full festival experience.

“You’re right there by the stage. You have probably the best seat in the house. So, I feel like you’re still so involved in Festival that even when it gets busy that it’s still so much fun, and it doesn’t really ever feel like work,” said Helms.

It’s not too late to sign up to be a volunteer. You can work with security, merchandise, clean-up or in another section.

If you sign up for three shifts, and one of those is Friday or Saturday night, you can get a special pin. You’ll also be invited to a party next month for all your hard work.

To register as a volunteer, go to https://festivalinternational.org/volunteer/ .