I'd start with: is helping put up a barn or paint a house with new friends your idea of a vacation? (Assume that when you're done, there's a barn dance to be had.) If the answer is "maybe", I recommend a try.
It's not for everyone, surely -- there are certainly those who have tried it, and decided it was too much work, and others who really felt like if they didn't get their twelve hours of stage time every day, they were missing out. But for us, now ten years into a volunteer experience (my wife and I both volunteer, and we tend to have to do it at opposite hours to keep tabs on the wee kiddies), there's music aplenty. Yes, there is suddenly a good five hours or so per day to work, and you'll always miss something -- though my experience is that most crews allow some flexibility of scheduling, and anyway, don't we already miss something, with four stages happening at once?
More specifically -- and others will surely have their say, too; everyone gets something slightly different, I think -- among less obvious benefits/blessings, I count these:
1. For those volunteers who return, it's not about the free entry or the very cool t-shirt; ultimately, I think, it's about the way experiencing the festival from the community within the community is priceless. There's something about being a part of making it happen, and something about seeing all those shirts and knowing that's all your crowd, that feels good.
2. Having the large volunteers tent available to you as just one more outpost of community and shade is a nice benefit. The snacks/juice throughout the day without having to head back to the tent area are wonderful, too. The volunteer tent access shade is, in fact, one reason my wife volunteered to begin with.
3. I like the volunteer camping area. Again, not everyone does this, but it's nice to be with the folks who are working. Makes for a whole new layer of community; see #1.
4. I do find that I can't see as MUCH music, especially since I took on running a volunteer crew. But the volunteering itself tends to be good work, done cheerfully and with good spirit. Being a part of that is itself a wonderful thing to add to the experience that is FRFF. And there are fewer crews that run after dark, so you can almost always ensure seeing the song swap and other night shows.
5. There is something to be said for paying with labor. It's folky, I guess, but in this economy, it also helps us be able to go at all. But if you decide to come and buy the ticket, don't feel bad -- we'll still love you, and after all, we need paying patrons aplenty, too!
Cover Lay Down
Folk covers of familiar songs. Reimagined versions of folk songs.
Because in the folk tradition, music belongs to the community.