Catering… When & Why!

Posted on Friday, October 20, 2023

We know that food and onsite catering can at times be a hot topic amongst crew, so we’d like to break down when to expect a meal provision at an event or festival, and why.

We’ll always tell you before arriving onsite via an information pack whether or not there will be food provided so that you may be as prepared as possible for your assignment. However, the best rule of thumb to use is whether the event has camping, how big the event in question is, and WHERE the event is.

For example, if there is camping then there will usually be a meal provision. If there’s camping at a small-scale event or festival, then this meal provision will likely be a meal deal from the local shops or a warm meal provided by your job lead in the form of a BBQ, or something prepared in a caravan microwave or oven. The size of your team is also relevant, i.e., we cannot provide a catering wagon for a team of ten, even if the event itself is large, therefore a meal provision would be appropriate.

If it’s a large-scale camping event, then there will probably be catering involved. If there is camping but the event is in London or surrounded by stalls or plenty of local amenities, then you will have the opportunity/be expected to choose and buy your own food.

The only time you absolutely will not be provided with food is if your shift is very short, and if it is an event without camping (where you will be returning home after your shift). If in doubt, refer to the information pack readily available on DCSS PAAM.

Now for the why. Originally food was provided purely because we would often find ourselves working in a field in the middle of nowhere, and after a twelve-hour shift it is not reasonable to expect a team of tired people to venture out ten miles to the local village for a sandwich. More than anything, it was an issue of welfare, but when considering the logistical matter of travelling in and out of an event or festival site, the power and water required for cooking and catering, not to mention the rising cost of food, it has been and remains a very complicated and expensive part of the entire process. But it is also something we continue push for.

The reason for not providing food for crew onsite is also a surprisingly simple one... we cannot provide you with what we are unable to recoup. What we’d ask you to take into consideration is whether you are returning home after your shift, and do you have plenty of food options available to you and in your immediate vicinity.

To recap:

Camping at a small event or festival or working in a small team = meal provision, not catering.

Camping at a large-scale event or festival = catering.

Non-camping or shorter shifts = no meal provision.

Some food for thought, anyway ;P

We hope that sheds some light on the ongoing discussion about food. Either way, make sure to bring plenty of sensible snacks!  

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To say the least, it has been a challenging year […] However, we got through it purely because of the strength of the teams we have on site, and that especially includes you. I know it was a tough one, so I wanted to say thanks from the bottom of my heart…

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We Organise Chaos