Selection & Requirements

Otafest selects its volunteers based on your submitted availability and departmental needs, in addition to the following requirements:

Selections will be made after the volunteer application deadline has passed. We will notify all applicants as to whether or not they’ve been accepted.

Fees & Benefits

There is a non-refundable $20.00 fee to volunteer for Otafest. This fee is your commitment to volunteering with us and covers some up-front administration costs. In exchange, you’ll receive the following benefits:

In the past, Otafest has provided food for volunteers, however with the vast variety of dietary restrictions it has become increasingly difficult to provide food for everyone to enjoy.

Instead of providing food directly we offer the following compensation program for volunteers to purchase their own food during their breaks. Volunteers will be compensated based on the number of shifts they are working:

4 Shifts

5-6 Shifts

7-8 Shifts

9+ Shifts
+ our undying affection and gratitude

Café, Pokémon League, Sketch Drive, and other specialized volunteers receive $50.00 regardless of the number of shifts worked as these positions tend to require a large commitment prior to Otafest.


Volunteers are the face of Otafest, so we expect you to behave in a professional, mature, and safe manner to represent Otafest in a positive light.

In addition to your individual departmental duties, all volunteers are responsible for the following:


You may select which role(s) for which you are interested in volunteering on your application.

Below is a short description of each position, click on each title to expand its details.

Keep in mind that the below responsibilities are in addition to the responsibilities listed in the section above.

Admissions Attendants are responsible for selling Otafest admission to patrons and checking in those who pre-purchased their tickets online. This position is a fast paced work environment, however you should still be friendly and interactive with all of our attendees!

General Duties

  • Receive payment for tickets using both a till and iPad (must input everything accurately).
  • Scan pre-purchased patron tickets.
  • Apply the correct wristband to patron wrists after their payment has been processed.
  • Data entry for attendee information.


Useful Skills

  • Customer service experience is an asset.
  • Cashier experience / money-handling experience (basic math skill is required).
  • Must be able to cope with busy lineups and stay calm under pressure.
  • Must be able to think on your feet and adapt quickly to changing situations.

CONbini assistants promote and sell Japanese baked goods, drinks, and other items to hungry/thirsty patrons throughout the weekend.

General Duties

  • Recommend and sell Japanese baked goods and assorted Japanese drinks to patrons.
  • Learn about the products to assist patrons with any dietary concerns.

Useful Skills

  • Cash handling skill is an asset but not required.
  • Customer service and people interaction experience are assets.
  • Having a fun and outgoing personality.

Exhibitor Hall Assistants get attendees to their destinations in the Exhibitor Hall, even if the attendees don’t know where they’re going! These knowledgeable volunteers constantly interact with attendees, whether answering questions, directing them, or encouraging them to donate to our yearly charity.

General Duties

  • Monitoring and promoting traffic flow.
  • Helping attendees find the booths/tables they seek or with other questions they have.
  • Collecting funds for Otafest’s selected charity.


Useful Skills

  • Customer service and people interaction experience are assets.
  • Comfort with a certain level of activity (you’ll be on your feet and moving around a lot).
  • Having a friendly/outgoing/energetic/enthusiastic personality.

We’d say the pun was unintended, but would you really believe us?

Gaming Monitors patrol the gaming room area to monitor occupancy, assist attendees with equipment, and ensure that everyone is playing fairly, sharing the equipment fairly, etc.

General Duties

  • Monitoring gaming equipment to ensure that it’s being safely used and shared fairly.
  • Assisting attendees with getting set up on a game and/or any technical difficulties.
  • Monitoring occupancy and foot traffic.
  • Cleaning/organizing the equipment in the room.
  • Set up and tear down.


Useful Skills

  • Customer service and people interaction experience are assets.
  • Being observant and aware of your surroundings.
  • Comfort with large groups of people.
  • Gaming knowledge is an asset but not necessary.
  • Technical troubleshooting knowledge is an asset but not necessary.

Line Control Assistants are enthusiastic and energetic individuals who manage line flow and attendee traffic all around the festival. They use kindness and fun to keep people flowing. They are able to guide folks to events and are often the first to meet attendees and introduce them to the Otafest experience, so kindness and a positive attitude are mandatory! Line Control Assistants are needed in all areas of the festival. Join this team if you like to be organized and in control!

General Duties

  • Providing directions to attendees looking for specific events.
  • Directing and forming lines for events and rooms.
  • Ensuring attendees still have a good time, even while they’re waiting in line.
  • Working closely and communicating with Otafest’s Policy Enforcement team.


Useful Skills

  • Ability to remain calm and kind under pressure.
  • Customer service and people interaction experience.
  • Good with directions and able to read maps.
  • Team oriented.
  • Solution-oriented mentality.

Merchandise Attendants run the Otafest Merchandise booth. This position involves promoting and advertising Otafest merchandise as well as assisting attendees with sizing and information regarding the different products.

General Duties

  • Selling Otafest merchandise.
  • Assisting patrons with sizing and color recommendations.
  • Accepting transactions in cash and card.


Useful Skills

  • Cash handling is an asset.
  • Customer service and people interaction experience are important assets.
  • Sociable and outgoing personality.

The Operations setup team gets Otafest ready to go before the show even starts! They help get the festival ready to operate for the weekend by setting up signs and equipment, moving bins and displays, and handling fragile materials. A behind-the-scenes experience!

Note: this role is specific to the Thursday (all day) and Friday (morning) of Otafest only!

General Duties

  • You will be doing a lot of lifting and moving in this role.
  • Moving Otafest equipment between the loading dock, event rooms, temporary storage, and the staff room.
  • Setting up and deploying Otafest signage.
  • Transporting supplies and equipment to different parts of the venue.

Useful Skills

  • Knowledge of special equipment handling (e.g. speakers, computers, sets).
  • Observant and aware of your surroundings.
    Detail oriented.
  • Confidence in asking questions when you’re unsure.

Policy Enforcers maintain a visible presence at the festival, ensure that Otafest’s policies are being followed, and that everyone has a safe and fun time.  If you like being out and about while meeting new people this is the role for you.

General Duties

  • Ensuring costume props conform to Otafest’s guidelines.
  • Assisting in running the Policy Enforcement Desk.
  • Walking throughout the festival space to maintain a visible presence.
  • Reporting any unsafe situations/behaviors.
  • If you’re above the age of 18, we may ask you to do late-night shifts (e.g. shifts which end at midnight).

Note: Policy Enforcers are not expected to enforce any COVID-19 regulations.

Useful Skills

  • Customer service experience is an asset.
  • Observant and detail-oriented mind.
  • Energetic and enthusiastic to be at Otafest.

Programming Helpers ensure that Otafest events/panels run smoothly and oversee that event transitions are as seamless as possible. These volunteers work with panelists and attendees to create a safe and fun experience for everyone involved. This role is great for those who enjoy being more involved with various Otafest events.

General Duties

  • Monitoring and supervising assigned events.
  • Assisting Programming staff and Zone Leads.
  • Performing panel setup and tear down (includes some light lifting).


Useful Skills

  • Knowledge of special equipment handling (speakers, computers, etc.)
  • Personable and friendly.
  • Comfortable with large groups of people.
  • Energetic and enthusiastic to be at Otafest.
  • Observant and aware of your surroundings.


Volunteers will be sent a volunteer contract to sign, which describes your responsibilities to Otafest as well as Otafest’s commitment to you.

Volunteers who do not return their contract before their first shift will not volunteer at Otafest. Volunteers under 18 years of age must have a parent or legal guardian sign the contract as well.

Training & Orientation

This year we are trying something new! The mandatory training for this year will be distributed via online learning! This allows you to access the training at your own pace and a time that’s convenient for you! More info will be available after the volunteer selection date!

The usual in-person orientation is still happening. The in-person orientation is OPTIONAL (but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED). We will give you a tour of the festival venue and you’ll have the opportunity to meet fellow volunteers and the Otafest staff. The in-person orientation will be held on April 8, location TBD. Keep an eye out for any updates!

Important Dates


Otafest communicates primarily through email. Please check your email regularly and add volunteer@otafest.com on your safe senders list as we had occurrences in the past where our emails have been flagged as spam/junk.

Should you have any questions or concerns please send us an email at volunteer@otafest.com.