Volunteers are the heart and soul of On the Waterfront. Over 250 members of the Steering Committee work all year long to produce the On the Waterfront Festival each Labor Day Weekend and numerous others help to produce our other events. Why do they work so hard? Mostly for the love of it. Where else can you help over 80 not-for-profit organizations raise half a million dollars each year? But besides that, Steering Committee members also receive:
- A wonderful opportunity to meet new people and make life-long friends
- Updates on programming and event information
- Invitation to the Steering Committee Thank You Party
- Opportunity to buy special Waterfront Steering Committee clothing
There are 10 different committees that work year-round and are responsible for different aspects of the On the Waterfront Festival. These committees make up the Steering Committee for the Festival. Every committee has an Event Manager and one or more Assistant Managers who supervise the committee, manage the budget, and ensure that everything runs smoothly. In addition, each committee has many different positions and subcommittees within it that report to the Event Manager.
Two other committees work year-round to help produce Groove Walk and the Rockford City Market.
If you are interested in helping to produce this fantastic city-wide celebration or any of our other events, please fill out and submit the following volunteer application.
Instructions for Completing Your Application
- Please submit all requested information.
- Use one form per person. If your spouse or friend would like to volunteer, they will need to fill out a form as well
- Select no more than three committee preferences.
- Committee assignments are made on a first come first served basis, so please send your application early. You will be contacted by a staff member or event manager.
- Please understand that some committees may be full and are not currently accepting applications.
If you have any questions please call the On the Waterfront office at 815-964-4388 or e-mail us to become a Rockford volunteer.
If you are having problems with the application, please print it out and fax it to 815-964-4399.
Atmosphere & Signage Committee
The Atmosphere & Signage committee works year-round and is responsible for transforming the 30-city blocks that comprise the festival grounds into a spectacle of light, color and drama. This is achieved through special lighting effects, large-scale art installations, bold pageantry flags and different themes in each venue. Colorful entrances, signage and directionals provide festival attendees with on-site information.
- Lot Coordinators and Team Members (Country, Jazz, Ethnic, etc.)
- Specialty designer and production positions like Pageantry, Specialty Lighting, and Water Effects
- Signage Coordinator and Signage Team Members
- Set-up and Strike Team Members
- Entrance Installation Team Members
- Art Installation Coordinators
- Equipment Operators for fork lifts and scissor lifts and trucks
- Pageantry Production Team Members
If you can eat it or drink it, the Concessions Committee does it! They work with all the not-for-profit food vendors as well as the commercial food vendors, beer tents, and Pepsi tents and trailers. They also staff all the answer tents which are located in each venue to assist the food booths and to be a source of information for our festival patrons.
- Answer Tent Coordinators and Staff
- Ice Coordinators
- Beer Supervisors
- Team Pepsi Coordinator
- Food and beverage booth coordinator
- Supply coordinator
- Signage coordinator
- Beer garden coordinator
The Finance Committee is responsible for the accuracy and accounting of all the money, admission tickets and food tickets at the On the Waterfront Festival. Volunteers need to be reliable, accurate and good with math and computers.
- Finance Coordinators
- Finance Counters
- Finance Runners
- Finance Communication Coordinators
Letting the community know all the new and spectacular things happening each year at On the Waterfront is a big job. The Marketing Committee begins immediately after the Festival on the next year’s Festival logo. Working with graphic artists to produce award-winning promotions, Marketing produces all the brochures as well as places the advertising for print, TV and radio. Plus, they manage the media and public relations for the Festival and oversee OTW’s website. Waterfront’s merchandising program is coordinated by Marketing and Marketing Committee volunteers staff the Waterfront Store at the Festival.
- Media Relations
- Print, TV, & Radio Advertising Coordinators
- Merchandising Coordinator
- Waterfront Store Coordinator & Committee
- Waterfront Photographer & Videographer
- Share the Festival Corporate Festival Pass Coordinator and Sales Staff
- Festival Pass Outlet Volunteers
- Glow Merchandise Sales Staff
Need a fence put up? Did your golf cart break down? Who ya’ gonna call? Operations! From closing city streets to ensuring that there are enough port-a- potties for the 350,000 people that attend On the Waterfront, the Operations Committee is there. Operations handles security for the Festival, fencing, tents, golf carts, radios, ADA requirements, staging, lighting, electricity, tables and chairs, and more.
- Security – Beer Tent, Backstage, Festival
- Radio Coordinator
- Table and Chair Coordinator
- Fire Extinguisher Coordinator
- Golf Cart Coordinator
- Green Team Coordinator
- Tent Coordinator
Special Events Committee
What would Waterfront be without all the other fun things for kids and grown-ups to do when they aren’t eating, drinking and listening to music! The Special Events Committee is responsible for the special events and activities that make Waterfront a continual source of entertainment, like the 5K Race, nightly fireworks, Wheelchair Basketball, Sports Alley, and the carnivals. Each year they strive to bring new and different activities like the Lawn Chair Drill Team, Square Dancing Tractors, and Lawn Mower Races.
- 5K Race Coordinator and Committee
- Taste of Waterfront Coordinator & Committee
- Lullaby Lounge Coordinator
- Fireworks Coordinator
- New Special Event Coordinator
- Other Special Activity coordinators
The Sponsorship Committee is the fund-raising and hospitality part of the Festival. Through the Admiral’s Club, Corporate Hospitality and Sponsor Relations, the committee ensures that the many important corporate sponsors of Waterfront get the exposure they expect and have a great time while here! The Sponsorship Committee also manages admission ticekt sales prior to the Festival and works on many of the special promotions for Waterfront.
- Sponsor Relations Team
- Corporate Hospitality Coordinator and Hosts
- Admiral’s Club Chair and Committee
- Backstage Club Chair and Committee
- Sponsor Signage Coordinator
- Corporate Party Security
The On the Waterfront Festival is just too big for only 250 Steering Committee members to run, so each year the Volunteer Committee recruits and trains over 1,500 additional volunteers to help during the Festival. From Festival Greeters to Schnucks Great Lawn Ushers, we couldn’t do it without the fantastic volunteers that this Committee recruits. They also recruit and organize the Waterfront Ambassadors, OTW’s corps of volunteers who serve as greeters at the Festival, answer questions, distribute brochures and serve as hosts on the RMTD shuttle busses.
- Great Lawn Usher Supervisor
- Crews Quarter Coordinator
- Waterfront Ambassador Steering Committee members and Waterfront Ambassadors
- Volunteer Recruiters
- Access Pass Coordinator
- Bus Ambassador Coordinator
Groove Walk is a music walk in the downtown River District. Held in May, it is produced in cooperation with the River District Association and the Rockford Area Music Industry (RAMI). RAMI-nominated and Best of Rockford bands are hosted by some of the area’s best establishments as they compete for the “People’s Choice” Best of Rockford award and a slot on a stage at the next On the Waterfront Festival.
- Groove Walk Chairs
- Groove Walk Programming Committee Members
- Atmosphere Committee
- Establishment Supervisors
- Night-of Volunteers including Ticket Takers and Runners
OTW Annual Fundraiser
Each year OTW has a fundraiser to alleviate the cost of the operations of the event. In the past OTW has produced a golf outing as well as an auction dinner. Either way, it is always a great event with great people!