Hello! We have recently relocated from the United States to the sunny south west of France. VINX is an internationally touring vocalist, percussionist, songwriter and professor and JENNIFER is his manager and also runs her own independent business.
We are looking for help to prepare for our Music Festival in August OR for general renovations like small carpentry and painting / plastering!!! The music festival brings artists from around the world to our small village for an entire week of creativity labs, performances and the Official Music Festival at the end of the week. We are in need of volunteers that would like to add some significant and serious experience in event planning and management to their resumes. We can provide lodging and meals. If you speak French and English that is a huge bonus! We hope to hear from you....
MORE DETAIL.... We made the move because we spend most of our touring time in Europe. After much searching we were thrilled to find our lovely, 14th century home in the heart of a small town where we can build our music studio and establish our workshops and festival.
The house is right on the square in the middle of everything... easy walk to all services, a lovely small lake and the two restaurant/pubs. We have room enough for our home, the studio, a commercial space and an entire floor reserved for guests and workshop participants. We are just about ready to move into the living space and are anxious to get going on the studio, the commercial space, the guest suites and the attic with it's amazing view of the Pyrenees mountains.
The region is fantastic for sight-seeing and there are tons of opportunities to explore the surrounding area: vineyards, lakes, Cathar Castles, Pyrenees (skiing nearby in winter), Roman baths... Our small town of Chalabre is 45 minutes from the walled city of Carcassonne, 45 minutes from Foix, 90 minutes from Toulouse as well as the Mediterranean and Andorra, and just 3 hours from Barcelona. Chalabre is not large (one baker, two butchers, three greengrocers, a pharmacy, two cafes, one hotel/restaurant) and has no train or bus service in or out (but we are happy to come pick you up and drop you off from any of the nearby train stations).
We are excited to welcome volunteers to our home and our lovely corner of the world. Meeting new people and getting to know other cultures and customs is one of the things we enjoy best about our touring life. It will be fun to be the hosts for a change...! Vinx and I both love to cook so a good meal at the end of the day will be the standard. We welcome the possibility to sample your local and family favorite dishes as well. We are building our dream and work hard to make it a reality but we also love to play and entertain. There is so much for you to do here in your spare time: great walking and bicycling on the Voie Verte, exploring the Cathar history, hiking in the mountains, canoeing, swimming in lakes, internet-surfing, ambling around local "vide greniers" (the equivalent of car boot sales = literally "empty your attic fairs"), etc.
All of this renovation work is new to us, so any experience is most welcome. We are particularly looking for people to help with plastering and painting. But... we are open to anyone! Strong arms, an adventurous spirit and a willingness to work and play hard are all you need! We have a zero drugs tolerance - but we love a few glasses of wine at the end of the day.
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
You will be around people from all nationalities (we have Russian, English, Belgian, Irish, Dutch, American, Australian and German neighbors in this small town as well as of course many FRENCH people!!!! :)
We both love to share our skills - VINX through his music, production, songwriting, etc - and Jennifer through social media/marketing, finance, travel/tourism and music as well. Our hope is to turn the commercial space into some sort of shop by next summer so building a new business from scratch will certainly be full of interesting new experiences. We have started a business teaching contemporary voice lessons for stage and studio so if you like to sing or play an instrument please join in!
Driving on the right hand side of the road might even be a new experience for some of you!
Learning the way of life of international people living in the midst of a small French town will be full of stories and special moments throughout your stay. And for anyone interested in learning basic house renovation skills - we are the project for you!
We are flexible as to volunteering hours - and we believe the best way forward with any offer to volunteer is to take it on an individual basis. If you are happy to help long hours for a number of days and then take a long break of several days - that's fine. If you'd rather help shorter days and go off exploring every day that is fine too.
Your schedule will be up to you - provided it is fair to us to accommodate and feed you in exchange for the volunteer work you put in. We will simply ask that we plan ahead together to make the most of everyone's effort.
Right now, we need a lot of work with planning, scheduling, booking travel accommodations, business development for the festival. On the renovation side, depending on when you come and your skills/interest in learning, there is some remaining demolition, wallpaper removal/stripping, carpentry, joinery, electrical work, plumbing, painting and decorating, stonework, and cleaning at all phases. Please be aware it's best if you have work shoes and a good pair of work gloves that can protect your fingers and toes and one set of clothes that can get ruined (by plaster, paint, etc.). We have some spare clothing if necessary but not spare work shoes or gloves.
This is a big house and it has all the basics functioning - a bathroom with shower facilities, a working kitchen and laundry. But most of it is VERY basic and all are under renovations. This is a serious renovations project... not a good place for any dust allergy sufferers as renovations do imply dust and some demolition, and then the clean-up of building materials. We live where we work (even if the rooms we eat in are not the room we are working in)! You will have your own room (unless you are happy to share). There is good wi-fi and mobile phone signal (but only some mobile networks work here), and hot water for showers or baths. BUT you will be staying in a building site with some dust, etc.....!
How to travel here:? You can arrive by bicycle, by car, by plane (closest airports are Carcassonne, followed by Toulouse) or by train (not to Chalabre directly) in the nearby towns listed in order of closeness: Limoux, Quillan, Carcassonne, Pamiers, Foix. There is no public transport to and from Chalabre - which is why as hosts we will encourage you to tag along with us to some of the lovely spots around us (whether for recreation or for shopping, etc.).
In your time off you can hike around the area, or if you have your own car (or we trust you with ours for the day) or you just tag along with us you can visit Mirepoix, Limoux, Carcassonne, Foix, Toulouse, Ax-les-Thermes (skiing and also Roman Baths all year), Andorra, Barcelona, or go and dip your feet in the Mediterranean. We are often on tour and if it is possible you may be able to tag along if it's for only a few days. If we are gone for longer we can arrange to leave you the car and you can manage your own time.
We expect you to work hard and then enjoy yourself a lot too - and we will go out of our way to make the latter happen. We eat fresh food and will feed you well. We also love to drink good wine / beer and laugh and relax. Within a few hundred meters of the house you are out in the open countryside in the foothills of the Pyrenees: mountain walking, biking, lake swimming, horseback riding, skiiing are all available depending on the season, your budget and your stamina.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week