Insomnia Gaming Festival criticised for using volunteer workers

Festival organisers claim the practice is "very much in line with other events"

Insomnia Gaming Festival has been criticised for advertising volunteer job vacancies for next month’s event in Birmingham.

On Saturday (March 4), Insomnia put out a call for “passionate individuals” to volunteer at the games festival, which will run from April 7 to April 10 in Birmingham.

As listed on the festival’s website, the studio is looking for volunteers to work in a number of unpaid positions, ranging from social media and community engagement roles to logistics and stage crews.


Insomnia also noted that while steel-toe cap boots and high-vis jackets are mandatory for technical and logistic teams, they must be “self-sourced” by volunteers.

“Volunteers are the most important part of Insomnia Gaming Festival,” reads the page. “We have been inviting people to volunteer at our events for over 20 years and it’s a fantastic way to get behind the scenes, work with hundreds of like-minded individuals with a passion for play and help us make sure Insomnia is the greatest gaming event in the UK.”

However, Insomnia’s use of volunteers has been met with criticism. The organisation has hidden a number of replies to its listing, with users accusing the practice of “exploiting” volunteers and urging Insomnia to pay them.

“This is a job role,” said one Twitter user. “We’re in a cost of living crisis pay your workers.”


“You can keep hiding the replies but you should still pay people working for you, the country is in shambles right now, people can’t afford to pay their bills and you’re exploiting people who need experience,” wrote another user.

Speaking to NME, organisers for Insomnia said that its paid and unpaid roles are “very much in line with other events around the world”.

“We’re always very clear with the opportunities we offer and we receive applications from people of all ages, situations and backgrounds who view it as a way to be a part of something that they enjoy,” they continued. “Volunteer roles obviously aren’t for everyone and we leave it up to the individual to make a choice whether to apply or not.”

In other gaming news, Take-Two Interactive has announced plans to lay off staff at its Private Division publishing label.

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