Volunteer at Powell Street Festival 2024

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.

The 48th Annual Powell Street Festival will take place Saturday, August 3 and Sunday, August 4, 2024. Volunteer opportunities span Thursday, August 1 ~ Tuesday, August 6. Applications are now open! Click the link below to submit your volunteer application:

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.

Manage the Asahi Pitch Game: Powell Street Festival’s own fair game celebrating the historic Asahi baseball game!

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!

Macro Maki are our popular plush sushi costumes. Help festival goers put them on, or assist them in taking photos!

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.

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!

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 our 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 trip for two to Little Tokyo, Los Angeles!

Volunteer Perks

  • Meet new friends and help bring the festival to life!
  • Free lunch on Friday if you help set up.
  • Vouchers to spend at food and marketplace boothsif you volunteer during the Festival on Saturday or Sunday. 4 hours = $10 voucher. 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.
  • Goody bag at the end of your shift at Festival, full of treats!
  • Free dinner if you stay for Sunday take-down until the end.
  • Powell Street Festival hachimaki! (headband)
  • Volunteer Appreciation Party on the Tuesday after the 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.

Contact for festival volunteer opportunities – volunteer [at] powellstreetfestival.com.

Volunteering at Powell Street Festival: More Things You Should Know

Interested in year-round opportunities? 

Share your experience and interests by joining one of our Committees. Learn more about them here. Or, if you would like to contribute in other ways, contact admin [at] powellstreetfestival.com.