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How do Volunteer Shifts work? Do I have to?

All all-access pass holders are required to take on 1-2 volunteer shifts over the course of the week. As the festival draws near we will send a list of all the shifts that need to be covered. You can sign up on that sheet. If you need to swap shifts with someone, that is fine and should be pretty easy to do.

Your volunteer shifts help keep the price tag for this event manageable. Everyone working on this event (except the chef and featured companies), are volunteers. We want to create an environment where we all pitch in to help and take collective responsibility for our success. Therefore we don't offer a "No Volunteering Price". If you don't want to pitch in, this probably isn't the festival for you.


What is included in the All-Access Pass?

  • Camping

  • Breakfast and dinner each day. Participants are on their own for lunch and can be made at their campsite or purchased from a food truck.

  • Swimming pool

  • All shows

  • All workshops and other activities


What is a Resident/The Residency? 

A resident is a person living on site for the duration of the festival. The Residency is a creative community, curated to elevate the dreams of everyone participating for the week. It's a way to immerse yourself in the camping environment and spend 24/7 with some truly awesome and inspiring people. We were inspired to use this model based on similar festivals in Europe. We know that there are different models for creative residencies around the world, and this one might not match with what you've previously experienced, but we hope you'll put any preconceptions aside and give yourself over to an amazing time.


What is a “creative contribution”?

A creative contribution is a short term activity that happens once or twice during the week. This could be a workshop, show, facilitated discussion, a master class, a pop up performance, a dance party, a pool party, a renegade show, a ritual of some sort.  Every resident is required to make a creative contribution during the week.


What facilities are available on site?

 Our Festival is on a beautiful 35 acre, partially wooded piece of land outside Benton Harbor, MI, just 2 hours from Chicago. Featuring hiking trails and a swimming pool and a river, it’s the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate your circus brain and body. Training and shows will take place both outside and in our beautiful vintage big top. Bring your tent and camp in the camping zone, or hike into the forest and find a primitive site for more privacy. We will have some limited space available for campers, trailers and vans. Toilets will be of the port-a-potty variety and showers will be of the solar/hot-bag-of-water variety. This is not an experience for the dainty.


What kind of food will be available?

 Breakfast and dinner will be provided by our wonderful chef and all meals will be vegan. Volunteers will help with meal prep and everyone is responsible for their own dishes--both bringing them and cleaning them (we will have mess kits available for purchase). Our plan is to encourage a communal dinner time. Lunch can be prepared on your own, purchased in town, or from an on site food truck.

What about COVID?

Oh, that old thing? All people staying on site will be required to show proof of vaccination, including Residents, Featured Companies and Staff. We are closely monitoring federal health guidelines and recommendations, but at this time we anticipate requiring a negative test or proof of immunity from Day Pass Holders, and masks required from the audience during indoor shows.

Who's paying for this? Who is going to roll in that cash?

Aloft Circus Arts is putting up the financials for this festival, and we are taking the risk of any loses in the end. Everyone from the tent to insurance to lights and sound to toilets to food has to be paid for. However, we are no dummies when it comes to putting on successful events, having created the first circus festival in the US in 2014 with the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival. We didn't make a lot, but we also didn't lose money! If this year's festival is profitable, we will most likely form a separate business entity to run future festival, and all profits will go into making those future events even more awesome! So, sadly, no one gets to in cash at the end

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