Have Festival Organisers Thought About The Local Community?

Have Festival Organisers Thought About The Local Community?

For many people today, the excitement of a festival begins from the moment they’ve been lucky enough to get a ticket, to booking the time off work, buying their wellies & packing their rucksacks.


Being a festival goer, you may consider yourself a modern young adult who is eco-friendly, but when you book that ticket have you thought about the impact on the environment and on the residents living in the village, along with the rest of the local residents in the surrounding community?

“Festival audiences consider environmental performance important.

The virtual festivals census of 2012 concluded that 67% of participants considered environmental friendliness of festivals very important.”

(Powerful Thinking, 2015, p5)

If so, you’ll be pleased to know that many festival organisers are now considering these issues.

“80% of festivals organisers participating in the Industry Green Manifesto stated that they are committed to improving performance.”

(Powerful Thinking, 2015, p5)

What’s working?

“In 2014, nine UK festivals undertook the A Greener Festival assessment & five of them were awarded.”

>(Powerful Thinking, 2015, p15)

Festival organisers are working on making festivals better for the environment with new procedures in place.


Noise patrols are new measures that some major music festivals are deploying to reduce noise pollution. Organisers can be fined if noise levels aren’t monitored correctly, and conversely this is very difficult to measure. In some cases, events offer to pay for temporary relocation of residents in the immediate locality. Some argue that although noise can have a large impact, any noise pollution created by festivals is only temporary. So does it matter?

“Festivals are noisy – that’s part of the reason why they’re fun! But noise can be a pollutant too.”

(A Greener Festival, 2016)

A great example that measures to tackle noise pollution is Glastonbury’s innovation; the festival had a fun idea to introduce a silent disco. This was set up to reduce overnight noise for residents in the nearby village of Pilton. This was a fantastic idea!

“This time last year, Glastonbury were getting complaints about overnight noise so this is a fantastic improvement.”

(BBC, 2005)

However this graph shows that noise is still considered an issue. What more can be done?


A great way of making people travel to events via public transport is to charge festival goers £20 per car and also ask for donations. Shambala Festival do this very well and although people are still taking cars, the amount of car shares has risen, which is excellent.

“Nearly a third of all ticket holders come to the site on coachestrains and other forms of public transport. We’d encourage you to join them, and reduce your carbon footprint.”

(Digital, P. 2016)

Main incentives for traveling by public transport are money off when purchasing your ticket and being greeted by a performance when arriving at the festival. This is seen as a reward to those who support carbon footprint reduction. Shambala are always going to extra measures to make their festival a responsible ‘green’ event, along with many other festivals.

“Coach travel is the most environmentally friendly way of getting to Bestival and Big Green Coach makes it even greener with their commitment to sponsor and protect 5 square foot of Amazonian Rainforest.”

(Bestival, 2016)

However, transport is in the top five areas that still needs to improve fast in order to reduce the immediate effects on the surrounding community and environment.

Would you agree?


“Get a reusable bottle, re-use a bag you already have for shopping, and re-use straws – they can’t be recycled and they end up everywhere.”

(Drake, Kambe Events, 2016)

The aftermath of a festival was once probably the most noticeable impact on the local environment. Many creative ideas have since been put in place at festivals to keep this to a minimum.

Shop local

Using local suppliers and produce will help the environment and can generate a positive economic impact locally. Festival organisers now require suppliers and contractors to change what they offer in order to enable local suppliers to be sustainable.

Glastonbury Festival encourages stall owners to be sustainable by having the ‘Green awards’ which means each supplier gets rewarded either bronze, silver or gold!

Bestival takes place in the Isle of Wight which has a policy that ALL food & drink stalls need to use 100% compostable cups, glasses, knives and forks which can go in with the organic food waste.

What still needs to be done?

Festival organisers have come a long way over recent decades in reducing negative impacts on the local communities, but they recognise there is still some way to go. Industry think-do tank, Powerful Thinking have presented a pledge to the festival industry in the hope that participating festivals will sign up to take on the action.

Festival Vision: 2025

  • Reduce waste where possible and aim for 50% recycling rates.
  • Work with audiences, suppliers & artists to positively influence travel choices & reduce travel-related emissions.
  • To work with the supply chain to improve sustainability of food sourcing.


While your local festival is working hard to be responsible, it can generate a lot of money for your community!

“A study has revealed that last year’s Glastonbury Festival generated over 73 million in spending in the local area!”


Enjoy getting ready for the festival season!

(Photo Sources: Google Images & Pixabey.com)


Hattie Hope says:

Very informative! I like how you have highlighted the problems and come up with solutions to these. Also, I like how you have used quotes from festivals on what they are doing for the environment.

Thank you Hattie for taking the time to contribute to my blog.

Very interested read. It is so important to consider the people living around music festivals.

Thank you Catherine, I am glad you found it interesting.

Daisy says:

Really insightful read about the effect festivals have on the local community. Do you feel there could be noise pollution when attendees are leaving a festival sight? If so, are there policies and procedures to reduce this?

Hi Daisy, thank you for commenting. Yes certainly there will be some pollutant noise when all attendees are leaving the site, however there are normally policies for all festivals stating that everyone has to leave the site by a specific time in the day, for example midday. Therefore this results in the site being empty and there will be no noise after 11pm, when noise needs to be regulated. If you know of any procedures or policies about this then please do let me know, I am very interested and will be researching into this more.

Helen says:

Can imagine the impact a festival has on the local area.Good to read procedures are being put in place to protect environment and area. Good read.

Thank you very much Helen, I agree. Let’s hope the procedures continue to improve!

Stephanie Tipping says:

A very insightful blog on such an important issue. It is interesting to see what festivals are doing currently, compared to what should be implemented for future improvements.

Thank you Stephaine. Yes it is such an important issue, festival organisers and goers need to consider the community surrounding an event.

George says:

Definitely a topic which will gain interest over the coming months due to festival season approaching! Interesting to see that festivals are making changes to transport arrangements, but how much do you think this is really being taken into consideration?

Hi George, thank you very much for your comment. Transport arrangements are changing every year in order to better them. Conversely, transport is in the top five areas that needs to be improved quickly in order to reduce the effect it has on local communities. It is definitely being taken into consideration but not enough! I feel the biggest issue with this is the amount of effort it can take to carry tents, food and rucksacks, along with waiting in long, busy queues. If you are interested in this issue, then when attending your next festival do consider the ‘big green coach company’. Please do feel free to speak to me about this topic further.

Debra Lucas says:

A very interesting insight to event management. I think it’s very important to use local suppliers and for all events and festivals to be greener and think about the environment .

Thank you for your comment. Yes using local suppliers will have such a positive impact on the environment and local businesses.

screwthesystemjoe says:

This is great. Really like the focus on the environmental impact of festivals. It’s something all business should consider and great to see some festivals being responsible and taking the lead with this.
Very interesting article – well done.

Thank you, I am very glad you find it interesting. It’s definitely good to see festivals are taking lead with these issues.

Daniel Daly says:

A very well written, enjoyable and informative article highlighting the environmental impact of festivals and the efforts of organisers to reduce the impact on the local environment.

Thank you Daniel for your comment. I am pleased that you found it interesting to read about the efforts festival organisers go to, in order to reduce the impacts on the local environment.

A really interesting article on the effects festivals have on the local environment. Let’s hope future festivals can become more sustainable!

Thank you very much. Yes, let’s hope so!

Alan says:

Great blog,

I do think festivals need to be aware of noise and gabbing silent discos is a great way to reduce noise but also continue the party for the festival goers.


you mention travel, indeed these companies put on coaches to try and stop people taking a car but it costs a hell of a lot more to get a coach then drive, they need to offer something with more incentive to not drive, don’t you think ?

Thank you for your comment Alan. I agree, the silent disco was such a fun, enagaing and very appropriate innovation. Transport is a huge problem at festivals, so many incentives have been put in place to encourage attendees to use the public transport services provided, however yes it is still exspensive! I also feel that travelling via public transport takes a lot more effort and time. There is such a long way to go and I really hope festival organisers can make transport more frequent, easier to use and more affordable to reduce carbon footprint. Please let me know any other thoughts you may have on this issue.

Great information! I am glad someone is thinking about how and what festivals do to out environment and how it effects us. Very interesting blog to read.

Thank you Felicity. It is so good to hear that people also find impacts on communities an important issue, and not just focusing on how an event can be sustainable for the environment. If you have any other ideas how festival organisers can help improve any of the issues above I would love to hear them.

Jenny says:

Great article Chloe!
You mentioned how some people are offered to be relocated during the event but this is sometimes a huge hassle. Castle Combe race circuit used other incentives for residents in a certain radius of the track, for example giving free tickets to race days and getting entered into prize draws for free, these types of incentives would help stop local people complaining about noise and traffic. At bike races if competitors cant comply with noise regulations they simply cannot ride, so well done for mentioning noise regulations and new measures. I feel festival organisers need to charge more money for car parking, because people just split the cost of a full car which ends up being cheap, although this is not public transport the car sharing scheme supports environmental issues and lessens pollution which supports communities along with less traffic congestion, local residents must be infuriated with congestion impacting their normal routine. Aftermaths of festivals I feel is one of the key issues that needs to be drastically improved, festival goers need to be responsible to reduce waste and where possible use recyclable products. Lastly, encouraging festival organisers to use local producers, retailers and stall holders to use all local producers is key to arranging a successful sustainable event. One of the main benefits for the community is the income generated by the attendance. I am sorry if I repeated some points you have already made, well done.

A very good blog about an important issue with the growing popularity of festivals! It is good to hear that many festivals are making changes to their events in order to reduce the impacts on the local community, and hopefully with leading festivals such as Glastonbury making changes it will encourage other festivals to do the same!

Emma says:

This is an interesting read – and ultimately a positive insight into the festival industry. I was pleased to learn that many festival organisers are taking this seriously. I think festival goers need to share this responsibility and make conscious decisions about their own environmental impact when preparing for and attending these events.

Clare says:

Nice topic, love to read articles, discussion, research papers about music culture

Chloe says:

An interesting read. Ecotricity have set a good example in thinking about the environment in an industry (football) that might not always consider the impact on the environment, perhaps they are a big company who could offer insight into how it can be achieved in regards to festivals, it’s about creating a fine balance.

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