Memphis In May Volunteer Application
Thank you for considering volunteering with us to produce the 2023 Memphis in May International Festival events!
New volunteer registration has closed for this year.
Please check back after the 2023 events for information on how to register.
This year’s Volunteer Program is sponsored by Terminix. Thank you!
Join us at the 2023 Volunteer Expo and learn more from committee chairs about working behind the scenes during Memphis in May! RSVP for the expo by clicking here.
Thank you for considering sharing your time and talents with Memphis in May to help us produce the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and the Great American River Run. The 2022 application period for new volunteers for the music festival has now closed. The 2023 application will open early next year.
Thank you for considering volunteering with us to produce the 2023 Memphis in May International Festival events! Information and volunteer applications can be accessed by clicking here. You must be 18 or older to volunteer.
If you are already a registered volunteer, click here to sign up for shifts.
The Communications Committee is a small group of volunteers who serve as the information hub for vendors, staff, volunteers, and emergency services. They are also responsible for the maintenance and inventory of communication equipment.
- Command Post – The command post is the center of all in-park communications during the MIM events. Each radio channel in monitored and emergency situations are related to event security, Police, Fire, and EMS.
- Radio Distributions – Approved volunteers, MIM staff and contractors must check out their assigned radio from Communications (Command Post) at the beginning of each day and return it at the end of their shift
- Pork Forkers – Fork-lift volunteers assist WCBCC teams with moving materials and placing barbecue rigs/trailers. All forks require a spotter to avoid accidents. Pork Forkers are recruited and dispatched by the Communications Committee.
The Production Committee is responsible for the majority of the pre-event creation and maintenance of MIM materials. Production is also responsible for assisting in site preparations and solving last minute event issues.
- Pre-Event Building – Volunteers build festival items such as tables, a-frames, info booths, decks, and various other festival items. Production volunteers rebuild and fix broken items.
- On-Site Event Assistance – Volunteers assist Operations staff with event set-up, including hanging banners, table and chair set-up, painting, assembling decking, etc.
- Pre-Event Set-Up – Volunteers assist Operations staff solving small issues during the event day (Re-hang fallen banners, move plywood, lay decking/flooring, etc).
Volunteer Services is responsible for supporting the event committees on site during all MIM events. The committee is responsible for Volunteer meals, check-in, shuttle, and filling gaps in other committees as needed.
- Volunteer Check-in – Volunteers staffing check-in distribute volunteer T-shirts, credentials, and instructions on where to meet their committee and work assignments.
- Volunteer Food Service – Volunteer Services prepares and serves volunteer staffing their meals and provides delivery to volunteers. During the day, snacks and cold beverages are provided to committees.
- Volunteer Shuttle – The shuttle runs from Volunteer Check-in to various predetermined locations to transport volunteers to their stations.
Volunteers with Office Resources support and assist the Memphis in May staff with vital event related communications, materials and resources. Committee members are involved with all facets of the events and are essential to their success.
- Office Assistance – Volunteers help with a variety of office related tasks including: mailings, collating, filing, data entry and labeling. The work is scheduled through the Office Manager. Projects include WCBCC team packet mailing, volunteer information and parking pass mailings, poster and merchandise packaging, sponsor packet assembly, and the Great American River Run packet pick-up and Expo.
The Recycling Committee is responsible for the implementation of Memphis in May’s greening program. Volunteers sort recycled items, assist in waste diversion, and change bags in the receptacles when needed.
- Recycling Container Placement – Volunteers work with MIM staff and the trash cleaning vendor to ensure appropriate distribution of recycling receptacles. Containers are located in high traffic, visible places, with one recycle receptacle to every trash receptacle when possible.
- Recycling Monitoring – Volunteers are assigned an area to monitor and maintain. Volunteers assist the cleaning crew by checking the recycle bins every hour, changing the bags in the receptacles and taking full bags to designated trash compounds. Volunteers also serve as recycling ambassadors, reminding patrons to recycle and encouraging them to recycle their bottles and cans.
- WCBCC Team Recycling Monitoring – Each competing team in the WCBCC is required to recycle all plastic bottles, cups and aluminum cans. Each team is given a separate recycling bin with a designated colored bag. Recycling volunteers help teams take bagged recyclables to the designated areas.
GREAT AMERICAN RIVER RUN
The Great American River Run is a Half Marathon, 10K and 5K running event on Memorial Day weekend. The course routes runners along the banks of the Mississippi River and through downtown Memphis.
- Runner’s Expo & Packet Pick-Up – Distribute runner’s bib numbers, shirts and goodie bags. Provide race information.
- Water Stations and Gear Check – Staff water stations, provide gear check
- Finish Line – medal distribution
- After Run Party – distribute food and beverages
The responsibilities of the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Competition Administration Committee run the gamut from setting-up and decorating the Judge’s Tent and Hospitality area to distributing the Cattleman’s sauce orders.
- Contestant Registration – The Registration Team is responsible for checking in teams as they arrive and distributing contest information and containers to the teams.
- WCBCC Judging Tent Set-Up – This group sets-up the physical elements of the Judging tent hospitality area and operates the food and beverage areas for the competition Judges.
- Judging Hospitality – The food and refreshment responsibilities of the committee include stocking and operating the hospitality bar inside the judging tent on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and to maintain the Judges’ Hospitality area with clean tables and chairs for the Judges.
- WCBCC Trophies – Committee members assist in the transportation, cleaning, and display of WCBCC contest trophies.
The team ambassadors provide critical information and assistance to the teams throughout the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Competition.
- Ambassadors – The Ambassador Committee assists contestants during WCBCC load-in, WCBCC week, and Team Load-out. Ambassadors are responsible for several teams, providing answers to their questions, helping them with recycling, and communicating the judging and turn-in times.
- Team Check-out – Ambassadors check out their assigned teams based on the check list provided by MIM.
WCBCC Judging volunteers aid in the implementation of the WCBCC judging system by ensuring the integrity of the judging process.
- WCBCC Judging Tent – Volunteers are used for set-up, monitoring and clean-up of the blind areas of the judging tent. This includes delivering team samples to the judges.
- Auxiliary Contests – Volunteers work with the MIM staff to plan and coordinate the Ms. Piggy, Best T-shirt and Best Booth contests.
- Judge’s Spotters – Spotters make sure that the contest judges locate the contestant’s team space. The spotters sweep the park following the judging period to aid any stragglers.
- Meat Inspection – Volunteers receive team assignments and visit the teams to ensure that the meat to be cooked for competition categories has not been previously cooked.
WCBCC Programming Committee
WCBCC Programming volunteers assist in the implementation of Kingsford’s Tour of Champions, Cooker Caravan, and Barbecue Alley programs.
- Kingsford Tour of Champions – The Kingsford tour volunteers distribute items to competing teams prior to the contest, check in and brief participants and retrieve team items upon completion.
- Auxiliary Judging Events – This committee coordinates the Best T-shirt and Best Booth event contests and provides support for the Ms. Piggy Contest as directed by the Committee Chair.
- Cooker Caravan – Volunteers coordinate and oversee the Cooker Caravan tour participants. Tours are led by veteran volunteers who lead 15-25 people on a behind the scenes tour of the WCBCC.
- BBQ Alley – Barbecue Alley volunteers assist in the operation of the tent by stocking supplies, assisting chefs and serving guests.
Logistics plays an essential role in surveying and marking the locations of the WCBCC team and sponsor event structures and spaces according to the pre-set event map. They also survey and mark key locations for the Beale Street Music Festival. The majority of the Logistics Committee’s responsibilities occur during the week leading up to WCBCC.
- Stake Out – Volunteers assist with team layout and mark out key operational points and WCBCC contestant spaces. Layout requires measuring with a 100’ tape, driving stakes and writing information on stakes.
- WCBCC Load-in Monitoring – Observe WCBCC Load-in and respond to any issues teams have with their pre-assigned space.
International awareness is at the core of Memphis in May International Festival’s commitment to the education of the Mid-South community, children, and adults alike. The committee assists the Memphis in May Education Department in the development of educational programming which includes the Children’s Art Poster, International Competitions, World Cargo Crate, and the Curriculum Guide. Volunteers also assist staffing the Education Awards Ceremony. As an education volunteer, you will be aiding Memphis in May’s goal of giving students the opportunity to experience the customs and cultures of Memphis.
- International Education Competitions – Volunteers help recruit judges and encourage participation in these competitions. The competitions include the Children’s Poster Competition, the Creative Writing Competition, the Best Classroom Competition, and the PowerPoint Design Competition.
- Education Awards Ceremony – Volunteers assist in coordinating set-up and assist in staffing the annual Education Awards Ceremony where prizes are awarded for the International Competitions.
The committee assists in the implementation of the Memphis in May Salute festivities. International Programming volunteers work closely with MIM staff in the implementation of the Salute Week.
- Exhibit Installations – Volunteers work with staff on exhibit installations for the International Salute at museums and attractions throughout the city.
- Gala – Volunteers may assist in setting up items, running errands, decorating and/or assembling auction display for the International Gala.
- Cultural Performance – Student and public performance take place at the Orpheum Theater and volunteers staff various roles.
- Memphis in May Barbecue Tent – Staff all activities in the Memphis in May Barbecue hospitality tent.
Each year, Memphis in May taps into the local ethnic community of the honored country. Individuals and community groups from the honored country’s community are encouraged to join the volunteer ranks to support MIM’s celebration of their country. Insight from ‘resident experts’ helps MIM improve its international programming.
- International Event Support – Volunteers assist the international committees (education and international programming) to provide translation, awareness of the honored county’s language and customs, and assist with volunteer roles in the education and international programming committees.
Festival Services volunteers are the public face of MIM and provide patrons with information about activities. Volunteers assist staff with executing various auxiliary events, including staffing VIP areas.
- Information Booths – The information booths are a main point of contact for patrons. Greet patrons, answer questions, distribute programs and report any emergencies to the Command Post.
- BSMF & WCBCC Hospitality Areas – Volunteers manage and operate the VIP areas to including, install decorations and banners, set-up venue, stock bars and serve patrons, control VIP access.
The Transportation Committee is responsible for the control of vehicular access into site and parking areas inside the festival gates. This includes media, vendors, performers, VIPs, and emergency personnel.
- Golf Cart Compound – Volunteers are responsible for golf cart distribution and control prior to and during all MIM event days and staff the compound during all event hours.
- Golf Carts Maintenance – To ensure consistent operation of the carts, volunteers monitor thegas level, tire pressure and oil level of all carts.
- Vehicle Access to the Event – The Transportation Committee is responsible for assisting with the control of vehicular access into the event site, including media, vendors, performers, VIP’s and emergency personnel.
- WCBCC Load-in/Load-Out – The volunteers direct the teams to their team space.
The Hospitality Committee is responsible for providing food service and contract rider fulfillment for the Beale Street Music Festival, World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and Great American River Run performers. The committee is also responsible for maintaining backstage areas and upholding a high level of professional service. Food service experience is necessary to serve on this committee.
- Beale Street Music Festival – The committee operates and manages hospitality services and meals throughout event days serving in excess of 100 people per meal.
- World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest – The committee operates and manages hospitality services and meals throughout event days serving approximately 30 people per meal.
- Great American River Run – Volunteers will assist in providing beverages for the performers on the run course.
I Don’t Live In The Memphis Area, Can I Still Volunteer?
We have volunteers from many states, most of whom are long term volunteers who have moved out of Memphis and come back in May to volunteer. Volunteers must commit the time necessary to learn and perform the tasks by attending committee meetings for training and orientation. All volunteers must attend the committee’s Volunteer Orientation (1st meeting for every committee). Additional meetings (generally 3 to 4) will follow for more detailed training with your committee and attendance of at least 2 of these meetings is required.
How Much Time Would I Be Expected To Commit?
We ask volunteers to contribute a total of sixteen hours of volunteer time. In addition, there are training and orientation requirements for each committee. We understand how valuable your time is and we promise to do our very best to make sure the time you give us is worthwhile and enjoyable.
How Can I Stay Up To Date And Involved?
We will notify you of important information by email or (by request) USPS mail. Check back on our website from time to time for Monthly Updates. Once you are assigned to a committee, your chairperson may be contacting you directly. Be sure to ask your chairperson what is the best way they wish to be reached, as they will be your link to the on goings of that specific committee.
Do I Have To Attend Meetings For My Committees?>
Yes. Our volunteer committees have such an in-depth involvement with the Festival that your participation is vital to the success of not only the committee but also the event itself. The committee meetings are carefully designed to offer several things.
- Communicating important information and training specific to that committee
- Signing up for and confirming shifts
- Social and personal interaction with other committee members- a chance to make friends!
If you cannot attend a committee meeting but still want to be involved, please contact your chairperson directly.
Can I Be On More Than One Committee?
Absolutely! Many of our volunteers serve on multiple committees, but usually no more than TWO. If you are a new volunteer, we recommend one committee. Be sure when you are signing up for your shifts that you do not schedule yourself to be in two places at once. Regarding BBQ committees, we suggest that you serve on only one as the shifts for these committees do overlap.
What If I Want To Volunteer With A Friend?
Make sure you and your friend sign up for the same committee. Be sure to attend the committee meeting and tell your chairperson you would both like to work the same shift’s. This can almost always be accommodated.