Set-up and Take-down Sessions

Set up will commence on Sunday 19th January till Wednesday 22nd January. Take down will commence on Saturday (25th) evening after closing to the public at 7pm until approximately 9pm, and continue through Sunday 26th with a small team continuing on Monday 27th. For full details of access times, click here.

Please note anyone staying for the staff party on the evening on the 26th will be expected to assist in some way with takedown. Light duties available Just ask.

The days when volunteers are most needed are Sunday 19th, Monday 20th and most particularly Sunday 26th (when we have a strict deadline to clear the site). If you haven’t already, please consider volunteering for at least one of these days in addition to public serving sessions.

Whilst all help is appreciated, the first two days of set up and the take down session involve an amount of physical work. There are other lighter duty roles available on these days too, such as putting up publicity and information. However, if you are not able to perform manual handling please check with the Volunteer team that there is suitable work before booking your hotel for set up and take down days as our accommodation budget is limited.

Volunteers working set-up will receive beer tokens that can be redeemed when the festival is open, even if they are not working on open days.

Food & Drink during set-up & takedown

During set up and take down the Volunteer Welcome Team will advise you when the set lunch break will be. Volunteers who have worked from 10.30am or earlier will be entitled to a cash subsidy to purchase lunch.

Beer & cider will be available for lunch and at the end of each set-up day for those who wish to stay on site at Manchester Central.

Hot & cold drinks will be available all day.


Clothing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The construction of stillages and bars can be rather dirty. It is therefore advisable that you bring some old clothes or overalls for this period. There will only be minimal heating in the hall during set-up and take-down so warm clothing is recommended. As the work may be strenuous, multiple layers are recommended to keep you comfortable.

For your own safety, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be worn during set-up and take down.

MBCF recommends that all volunteers for set-up and take-down have their own safety footwear. Safety shoes, safety trainers and safety boots in common sizes are increasingly available in retail outlets like B&Q, Homebase, Aldi & Lidl.
Screwfix stock a wide range with sizes available from 3 to 14. Branches may not carry all sizes in stock so you may have to “Click & Collect” – click here to view their safety footwear range.

There will be a stock of CAMRA steel toe capped safety boots available, but for your own comfort is better to have your own If you require CAMRA to provide sizes below 6 or above 11, please advise Volunteer team well in advance!

The hall will be a “High Visibility” zone during set up – everyone entering the hall must wear a hi-vis vest. If you have your own yellow hi-vis vest from other work or previous years, please bring it with you. Hi-vis vests will be provided to anyone who does not already have one and can be taken away afterwards. Please remember to bring any PPE issued to you back for subsequent days of the festival. At the end of the festival Hi-Vis vests and gloves can be taken away as your personal property. Safety shoes and hard hats should be returned.

Anyone handling casks and other heavy equipment MUST wear the safety gloves which will be provided. The wearing of hard hats is recommended for those constructing stillage.

Other PPE will be issued for specific tasks requiring them.

Delivery vehicles will be driving direct into the hall. When vehicles are moving in the hall, keep well clear and ALWAYS follow instructions from the logistics team and/or their appointed traffic marshals.

Take down

The uplift of casks etc. will occur on Sunday and Monday.  On Monday 27th January there is NO access to the hall. All empties will need to be placed outside the hall as directed. A minimum number of Volunteers will be required to assist with the uplift of casks left over that will have been placed in an external store.  If you are available please speak to the Volunteer’s Welcome Desk.