Glastonbury: How do you power a major music festival?

Festival season is well and truly upon us and it won’t be long before the King of the field-frenzies, Glastonbury, starts to set up tent. With the likes of The Rolling Stones, Arctic Monkeys and Mumford & Sons topping the bill this year, Worthy Farm in Somerset is gearing up for one of the biggest of them all.

With more than 177,550 people descending on the Eavis family’s fields this summer, the G lastonbury festival needs temporary power on a massive scale. From the stages and sound systems to the food stalls and the dreaded portable loos, the festival uses over 30,000 megawatts of electricity over the weekend – as much as the city of Bath would use in the same period.

Despite the huge demands, Glastonbury’s organisers are determined to make the event as environmentally sustainable as possible, and their methods highlight some smart ways for any business to improve its green credentials.


As with most major music festivals, Glastonbury produces a lot of rubbish. Organisers have taken an active stance on reducing waste material, installing recycling bins around the festival site which have ensured that around 50% of the two thousand tonnes of waste produced is recycled.

Electric vehicles

Since 2011, mud-phobic celebs and VIPs have been able to opt for transportation in electric golf buggies which are recharged using solar power.

Greener fuel

Glastonbury is proud of its green credentials and festival organisers encourage traders to take this into consideration when planning their energy sources.

Most of the power for the festival is provided by generators, with hundreds of them being used around the site. Many of the generators are run on 100% biodiesel fuel, powered by waste vegetable oil, a renewable substitute for regular diesel, emitting 85% less CO2. Tractors carrying equipment around the site are also run on biodiesel.

This year the organisers have aimed to reduce the number of generators needed through power sharing, a practice which can be beneficial to the small businesses taking part. Splitting the costs on a larger generator can help to reduce business energy prices for the many food traders and stall holders who help to make the festival what it is.


Festival organisers encourage traders to think about investing in portable solar panel kits by offering them a reduced price pitch fee for their stall the following year if they take part in the scheme. Not only does this reduce the amount of generators required, it’s also another way of helping small businesses to keep commercial energy prices down during the five-day party and hopefully, to encourage them to use solar power at other events they attend too.

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