Gilda’s Laughfest is closing in on the start of its eighth year. The festival will run from March 8 to March 18. LaughFest has an extensive volunteer program, where the festival searches for “Jacks of all trades” to help contribute in the day-to-day operations for the events.
Ben Mepham is a volunteer coordinator at Laughfest who is going onto his fourth year working for the organization.
“We having going on 600 people who tend to get involved each year, and we have one of the largest volunteer packets in West Michigan, and we have many ways volunteers can get involved,” Mepham said.
Laughfest is a large festival that requires a large list of different jobs that need to be performed. Mepham said some of these include, “ushering at events, helping with retail at events, selling merchandise. Beyond that people helping here at our office, assisting with staff. People willing to help with transport artist from airports to events.”
Other jobs that can be performed at events are production level assistance, involving spotlight, soundboard and video systems. These jobs do require a special interview.
Volunteering does come with its fair share of benefits as well. Those who offer their time to Laughfest may receive exclusive perks.
“We have a really good volunteer incentive program as well,” Mepham said. “For example, we give out a stylish t-shirt for our volunteers. Volunteers get a discount on merchandise. We hold special events for our volunteers every year. We give out prizes during the festival. And in some cases, restaurant partners will buy special deals for our volunteers.”
Grand Rapids Laughfest continues to operate as a branch of Gilda’s Club and is in support of their mission. Mepham stated,
“Laughfest is, at its heart, a fundraiser for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids where we provide free emotional support for anyone on a cancer or grief journey. It’s a great way for members to get involved to help and support that mission.”
The 2018 volunteer application period is now closed, but for future volunteer opportunities visit
LaughFest 2018 will include more than 150 free and ticketed events featuring over 100 artists at more than 40 venues in West Michigan. LaughFest tickets are available for purchase at laughfestgr.org.