Festivals – The future is green
1st March 2016
For many music enthusiasts, festivals are an essential part of the summer period, there’s nothing we love more than to relax in the sun with a cold drink, good company and equally good music. Research by Linzi Nuttall suggests that in 2015, 14 million UK adults had plans to attend a music festival, with nearly 3 in 10 of these saying they would attend more than one.
Music festivals are getting bigger each year – not just in terms of the number being held on a yearly basis, but also the size of the festivals and the number of people attending them. Unfortunately, with high wastage levels, transportation issues and the disruption of wildlife, festivals have become known for being relatively anti-environmental these days. This poses the question, are festivals doing all that they can to be green?
Many festival organisers have acknowledged the growing concern for the environment as a result of the festival period, organisers are now exploring ways in which they can produce a more environmentally friendly festival. Glastonbury in particular have a green policy in place which vows to reduce negative impacts on the environment where possible, the procedures that have been put in place include:
- ‘Reduce, reuse and recycle’ – Encouraging festivalgoers not to bring items that will end up in Landfill, or that they aren’t able to take back home with them. In 2014 50% of waste was recycled, however in 2016 the festival aims to recycle 60% of all waste generated.
- ‘A tent is for life not just for a festival’ – Encouraging people to spend a little more money on a tent that is going to last you rather than leaving it behind for volunteers to dispose of.
- ‘Taking energy directly from the sun to the stage’ – Glastonbury have introduced solar power and green technology. Certain areas of the festival will now be powered by sun or wind, reducing the need for diesel generators.
- ‘We love trees’ – Since 2000 Glastonbury have planted over 10,000 native trees and hedge plants in the local environment, working hard to protect vulnerable habitats like badger sets, ponds, streams, hedges and ditches.
These are just a select few of the many green policies that Glastonbury organisers have put in place over the years. According to the Telegraph Glastonbury are leaders amongst the events industry when it comes to hosting a greener festival, as a result of Glastonbury, the industry now has its own green auditors and an awards scheme to ensure climate and wildlife are protected in the long run.
Similarly to Glastonbury, another festival that prides itself on being environmentally sustainable is the Northampton based festival Shambala. In 2014 they were awarded the international ‘A Greener Festival Award’ for the second year running! You may or may not be aware of Shambala and the brilliant things that they are doing in order to continue their lead as a greener festival, but here’s a few things that you should know-
- In five years they have reduced the onsite carbon footprint of the festival by 81% and 100% of the festival is now powered by renewable energy.
- They have reduced the use of 10,000 single use plastic water bottles by banning sales on site and promoting their ‘bring a bottle’ campaign.
- Food stalls are only offered a pitch at Shambala if they can prove that they operate to strict environmental and ethical standards, including only using fair trade, organic and local supplies wherever possible.
- Attendees are charged £10 as a recycling deposit, which they can claim back at the end of the festival, in return for a bag of sorted recyclable waste.
With this is mind, its clear that many festivals now seem to be doing all that they can to produce a greener festival, but are the current plans that are in place enough?
As the numbers of festivals held each year are increasing, so are the resources available to help festivals measure their green rating and discover ways in which they can be improved. Julies Bicycle is a creative industry green tool that can be used to measure the carbon impacts of energy, water, waste, recycling, transport and production materials. This data can then be used to understand the environmental impacts of festivals of all sizes and create an effective management strategy.
Similarly, another useful resource for festivals to use when looking to go green is ‘a greener festival’; they are a non-profit organisation dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of music festivals and events. Their main objective is to share good ideas and encourage festival organisers to put these ideas into practice, with the hope of increasing how green future festivals are. With tools such as these available to all festival organisers, is there really an excuse for festivals not to go green?
Photo sources – Flickr, Wikipedia