A SCOTTISH music festival has defended charging volunteers a £95 deposit to work there – after a trade union called it a “moral outrage”.

Doune the Rabbit Hole, a Stirlingshire music festival which last year hosted the likes of Patti Smith and Belle and Sebastian, defended its volunteer deposit as being standard practice among festivals.

But the trade union Unite Hospitality claimed it was a ploy to “to make as much money as possible off the back of the hard work of workers”.

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Glastonbury, the UK’s largest festival, requires its volunteers to pay a £340 deposit for volunteering, which staff forfeit if they fail to show up for a shift or are found to have behaved in an “unruly” way.

Doune the Rabbit Hole said the deposit deterred would-be freeloaders who they said could view it as a way of bagging a free ticket “without making a contribution”.

But Bryan Simpson, the lead organiser of Unite Hospitality, questioned the practice, saying it was not “moral".

He said: “To charge workers a deposit for the privilege of unpaid labour is not just a moral outrage, it brings into legal question whether this is actually genuine volunteering and not just another way for the owners to make as much money as possible off the back of the hard work of workers.”

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Doune the Rabbit Hole’s volunteer manager Ruth McGill said: “Volunteers make an invaluable contribution to the running of Doune the Rabbit Hole.

“As part of our recruitment process, and like most other festivals, we ask volunteers who are new to our team to pay a deposit.

“The purpose of this is to deter the very small minority who may see festival volunteering as a way to get a free ticket without making a contribution.

“Most festivals ask for the same as a ticket price, for example the charity Oxfam take £360 from volunteers applying to steward at Glastonbury.

“Our deposit is currently £95, making it less than half the ticket price. In spite of the financial challenges experienced in 2022, all bar one of our 168 volunteers received their deposit back within days of the event.

“The one exception was an individual who did not turn up for any of their assigned shifts. This year we have partnered with a company called Volunteer Heroes which was set up by one of the team who manages our volunteers for the sole purpose of holding volunteer deposits in a safe, neutral and unconnected bank account, allowing them to be refunded with a single click once volunteers have completed their shifts.”