People & Places

'newbo evolve' makes big push for volunteers

At least 250 helpers being sought quickly for 3-day festival

Aaron McCreight
Aaron McCreight

CEDAR RAPIDS — Planners are making a heavy push for scores of volunteers to help ensure the new newbo evolve festival runs smoothly early next month.

GO Cedar Rapids, the local tourism bureau producing the three-day event, put out the call Monday for help. Recruitment is being coordinated online through a United Way of East Central Iowa volunteer dashboard.

The website had 330 positions posted, but the goal is 250 to 300 volunteers, said Aaron McCreight, president of GO Cedar Rapids. As of Wednesday morning, there were 69 signups, about 25 percent of the ultimate goal.

“We get alerts when someone signs up and we’ve been pinging all day,” McCreight said.

The Aug. 3-5 festival features musical headliners Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson, along with a diverse mix of events and speakers, such as figure skater Adam Rippon, craftsman Clint Harp, access to a private pollinator garden, charm school and a “mimosa mile.”

Volunteer needs run the gamut: pour and run beer at event bars, staff registration tables, check in people at the different sessions around downtown, pick up trash and reset the festival grounds after concerts for the next event.

“We are trying to avoid, as much as we can, bottlenecks,” McCreight said. “We are trying to get people through. We are trying to avoid having people stand in lines. The more people servicing the guests the better experiences they will have.”


People can sign up by going to and scrolling down the page to the volunteer link.

Some posts require volunteers to have an iPhone to scan tickets and credentials. McCreight said planners still are reviewing what training may be required for the alcohol duties. Some events require volunteers to complete 90-minute online alcohol compliance training.

Shifts run from a few hours up to eight hours, and they are at all times of day and night, such as a post-concert beer runner shift ending at 2 a.m. or a registration shift starting at 8 a.m.

Volunteers are not allowed to sample alcohol, and they must cover parking costs. Light snacks and drinks will be provided, but people should bring their own food if they need a meal.

Sue Driscoll, senior manager of volunteer engagement for United Way, said the volunteer need is large but not nearly as big as the effort for Day of Caring or the 700 volunteers needed in 2012 for Cedar Rapids events while hosting a stop on the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.

“The (timetable) may seem tight, but it really isn’t that out of the ordinary,” Driscoll said.

In some cases, volunteers will get to participate in the event, such as listening to the concert or speaker session. Driscoll has been reaching out to businesses asking them to encourage individuals or groups or employees to take shifts.

Among other details:

l The festival stage near the Sinclair levee will begin set up July 30.

l The tourism bureau will be billed for security costs after the event, as well as for any cleanup costs beyond the city’s normal event participation, according to city officials.


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l Multiple pop-up shops are being planned inside on the first level of Town Centre, 221 Third Ave. SE. Harp Design Co. and Barnes & Noble are the only two announced of an expected six to eight shops. The shops will open to passholders from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 3, and to the public from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 4 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 5.

l Last-minute talent additions include Radda Radda, a rock-pop band opening Aug. 3 for Kelly Clarkson, and singer-song writer Marc Scibilia, who replaces the Shadowboxers as the Aug. 4 opener for Maroon 5. The Shadowboxers, who include Cedar Rapids native Adam Hoffman, wrote on Twitter they will continue touring in Europe with Justin Timberlake.

l Comments: (319) 398-8310;

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