Anna Bushmina lives in Petrozavodsk, much closer to the Finnish border. One of her friends, a great Arctic Monkeys fan, heard that the band would be playing at the Flow Festival. Bushmina looked for information about the festival online and found a call for volunteers. Organizers promised a 3-day ticket and free meals in exchange for two seven-hour shifts of work – before, during or after the event. She applied and became one of about 400 volunteers, many of them Russians from St. Petersburg and other places close to the border.
Volunteers could choose shifts installing and dismantling the stages, cleaning, decorating the premises, checking visitor bracelets at the gate and doing other kinds of jobs.
Bushmina’s day started at 6:30 a.m. She cleaned Suvilahti’s area and sorted garbage until 1:30 p.m. The 20-year-old philology student had to sign an agreement committing to do the job or return the money for the ticket – 215 euros. She met girls who had volunteered for the third year in a row.
“It was awesome,” she said. “I got lucky with my shifts and I didn’t miss a show. But there was no sleep for me,” Bushmina said.
She didn’t know most of the line-up, so she didn’t have any expectations. The one group she knew, Artic Monkeys, didn’t impress her. “I wouldn’t say they were very energetic. Alex Turner looked so tired, he didn’t chat with the public, didn’t smile. He was like ‘listen and let me go,’” she said. But she deemed the rappers Brockhampton “electric and cool” and found the young R&B diva Jorja Smith “amazing.”
In spite of having little sleep, Bushmina would like to volunteer at Flow again. It opened up a new world for her, both in music and with a new circle of friends. She stays in touch with some of them every day.