The Volunteer Diaries: Scottish Final 2018!

Rock Challenge® Ambassador Ethan tells us about his experience at the Scottish Final this year and what a day in the life of a volunteer is like!

I travelled with a group of friends from Peterhead in the northeast of Scotland to Dundee’s Caird Hall for this year’s Scottish Final. I had volunteered at nearly every other Scottish event and had seen most of the finalists perform at their heats. There is roughly a month’s gap between heats and finals, this means teams have time to reflect on judges comments from the heat and make changes to improve their performances. As the heat performances were already such a high standard, I wondered how everybody could possibly raise the bar higher. So seeing that was what I was looking forward to the most!

The morning starts the same as any other Rock Challenge® event. I was outside welcoming and greeting the teams. For safety reasons, wristbands are provided to all teams. The big group of volunteers and crew make sure everyone that enters the venue has their wristband on. The first few teams rehearse, then it’s time for the morning production meeting! This is when the running order for the show is decided.

At night, the comperes of the show will be given script cards – these are pre-printed, but are put in correct order by volunteers to ensure the show runs as arranged in the morning production meeting. Organising the judging sheets in order of performance was something I helped with. I was there on hand for the crew if they needed to delegate tasks to me throughout the day to ensure that the event ran smoothly.

When the doors opened for the audience, I was on the greeting team for our invited guests and then when the show began, I helped for a little while running the performers from their dressing rooms to the stage. This is probably one of the hardest jobs as the dressing rooms are spread out across the venue – and one was even off site in a nearby cathedral. My friends and fellow volunteers Chris, Elissa, Holly and Maisie did an amazing job of this and kept the show running to schedule.

During the interval, I interviewed the invited guests and the general consensus was that they all were impressed at the standard of the show. Marie Todd MSP said she was inspired by the performances and the mature way in which sensitive concepts were handled to commemorate past events. The interviews will help to spread word of Rock Challenge® in the press and on social media.

For the results ceremony, we had to relay results to the dressing rooms as there wasn’t enough space in the auditorium for all the teams to get in to watch. To do this we are on the phone or have walkie-talkies with someone standing in the wings so we can pass on the information about who is winning awards as it happens. I had to explain to everyone in the dressing room how important it was to stay quiet so they wouldn’t miss a thing, and to be happy and supportive no matter the outcome. When the results had all been announced I was happy to see the teams congratulating one another. They all knew that top 9 in Scotland was a great achievement, and was something to be proud of! This year’s Scottish Final was such a high standard, I was really impressed with their creativity, skill and passion from performers to crew and design. Very excited to see Kinross again at the National Final!!

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