Volunteer at the 46th Annual Powell Street Festival!

Powell Street Festival is an annual celebration of Japanese Canadian art and culture. We rely on hundreds of volunteers to make this festival the wonderful event that it is! Volunteering is a great opportunity to meet new friends, spend time with friends and family, and get behind the scenes of this vibrant and special event. See more perks of volunteering below.

Online applications have closed.

Festival Volunteer Roles

Volunteer roles can be grouped in three main categories: Friendly Talkers, Friendly Walkers and Behind The Scenes

Friendly Talkers

Sign up for Friendly Talker roles if you like interacting with the public, artists, or other volunteers. Some of these positions are mostly seated and some involve standing and moving around.

Helping with events, workshops, and ushering people at venues.

Answer questions and interact with festival go-ers at our Info booth.

Help sell tickets at out festival lottery booth.

Become the voice of the Festival! This volunteer position entails speaking in front of an audience on the stages. You will be provided with notes. Seeking English, Japanese, French, and bilingual speakers.

Help sell festival and artist merch at our sales booths.

Make sure our volunteers are well fed, hydrated, and happy at the Chill Space beside the Volunteer Booth. You may be asked to cut fruit and deliver snacks to volunteers.

Help sign volunteers in and out of their shifts at the festival.

Friendly Walkers

Sign up for Friendly Walker roles if you like moving around! You will be walking from one end of the site to the other, and often interacting with the public along the way.

Play ball! Can you strike out an Asahi Baseball star? Pitch balls past the batter’s swing to win an assortment of prizes. Asahi Pitch Game volunteers will take tickets, keep the line organized, explain the rules and prizes of the game, and distribute prizes.

Hang out with kids, seniors, and families! Have fun encouraging them to use our Photo-op Boards, interact with our Public Art Installation(s), the Asahi Pitch Game, and our Free Seniors Draw!

Mainly interacting with our littlest Festival goers! You will be for leading activities such as origami, suika wari (watermelon game), face painting as well as doing crafts with children and parents.

A daruma is a traditional Japanese doll. Walk around in our giant Daruma costume to greet and interact with festival goers!

You are Daruma’s Friend! Walk alongside our Daruma and greet festival goers together! You will be doing the talking for the Daruma and handing out Daruma’s business cards.

Help Festival guests complete our survey.

Are you flexible, and open to doing any role? Sign up to be a Floater!

Make sure our Festival Coordinators are well-fed. Take their orders, pick up their food from vendors, and deliver food in time for their lunch breaks!

Be the eyes and ears of the festival! You will patrol the festival site while keeping an eye out for potential issues. Also help Festival goers by answering questions about the Festival.

Capture the heart of the Festival! You will be acknowledged for photos and videos taken. Must bring your own camera!

Make sure our seniors have everything they need to enjoy the festival.

Passionate about the environment and sustainability? Help us achieve our goal of becoming a Zero Waste festival! Assist festival goers sort and recycle their used food containers and waste.

Behind The Scenes

Behind The Scenes roles are great for introverts and energetic people who want to move around and experience what it’s like to produce a live event. You will be working alongside other volunteers or staff. Many of these roles involve a fair amount of lifting, walking, and dolly-ing.

Very important position! Load-out takes place on the Wednesday and Thursday preceding the festival, and Load-in happens the Monday after. Help us load in and out festival gear and supplies.

Ensure the cleanliness and safety of the area before set-up. Duties include picking up waste and needles with tongs, gloves, and a bucket.

These volunteers are key to a successful festival! We do set-up on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with tear-down happening on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. For Friday Set-up Volunteers, we provide bento boxes and for Sunday tear-down volunteers, we provide dinner afterwards. Involves heavy lifting!

Watch this video about set-up: How to Set Up a Tent (English)

Help visitors find their way! Put up signs, posters, banners and boards, and chalking the sidewalks to attract visitors.

Moving equipment and supplies to support festival production.

Must have experience with managing sound and tech at shows or concerts. Assistant out Sound and Tech Coordinators at our stages and venues!

Duties include helping with the Sumo Tournament sign-up and set-up of the tournament. Some heavy lifting may be required.

Passionate about the environment and sustainability? Help us achieve our goal of becoming a Zero Waste festival! Be an ambassador for the festival by assisting folks sort and recycle their used food containers and waste.

Before and After Festival

Help us prepare in advance of the Festival, or assist with wrapping up. Or, choose to get more involved with the organization and community through our Board of Directors or Committees.

Pick up & delivery of supplies for the festival. Must be comfortable driving a pick-up truck and have a valid Class 5 Licence.

Data Management, organizing supplies, preparing for mail outs, preparing documents, and other administrative tasks.

Advertise the festival by putting up posters in different areas across the Lower Mainland.

Sell (and buy!) lottery tickets for our annual festival fundraiser to your friends, family, and colleagues from May until July. The Grand prize is a flight for two to Japan!

Work on planning and executing advocacy programs and workshops all year long. After volunteering at several workshops or events, consider applying to join the Advocacy and Outreach Committee. This committee promotes the profile of the organization to the cultural, social, political and mainstream communities and participates in Downtown Eastside community-building efforts

Work on planning and executing fundraising initiatives all year long. After volunteering with several fundraising projects, consider applying to join the Fundraising Committee. This committee solicits and secures financial support through sponsorship, donorship, membership, and fundraisers.

Work at artistic events and programs all year long. After working at several events, consider applying to join the Programming Committee. This committee searches and identifies artists, curators, art forms, and art organizations that give voice to the Japanese Canadian community and/or represent Japanese heritage.

Learn more about our Board of Directors here.

Volunteer Perks

  • Meet new friends.
  • Free lunch on Friday if you help set up.
  • Food vouchers if you volunteer during the Festival on Saturday or Sunday. 4 hours = $5 voucher to spend at festival food vendors.
  • Vouchers are like cash and vendors will provide change. You will receive your food voucher at the Volunteer Booth at the end of your shift.
  • Free snacks & hydration drink the Volunteer Chill Space.
  • Free tenugui towel (wet & tie around your neck to cool off)
  • Goody bag at the end of your shift at Festival, full of treats!
  • Free dinner if you stay for Sunday takedown until the end.
  • Powell Street Festival Hachimaki! (Headband)
  • Volunteer Appreciation Party on the Tuesday after Festival with awards, dinner, door prizes, and bingo! Volunteers Only. This is a dry event.
  • And More! Become a volunteer to find out!

Have you volunteered before and want to get more involved? Joining the Festival Committee might be a good fit for you.

The Festival Committee is a crew of dedicated volunteers who coordinate the logistics and production of the Festival. Over 30 volunteers each year are recruited for these positions. Most positions demand a full two-day commitment, in addition to preparatory work leading up to the festival. These volunteer coordinator positions are confirmed in the spring of each year.

If you would like to join this committee, please contact Emiko Morita at emiko [at] powellstreetfestival.com.

Volunteering at Powell Stree Festival: More Things You Should Know

Please contact us for more details:

Festival volunteer opportunities – volunteer [at] powellstreetfestival.com.

Year-round volunteer opportunities –  admin [at] powellstreetfestival.com.