The environmental impact of music festivals can be immense. Even festivals that try to focus on sustainability often fail. It takes a lot of energy to power the lights and sound for the stages alone, not to mention the food and merchandise booths surrounding them. Festival-goers have an impact too, generating loads of waste to dispose of after the event. According to a report from Powerful Thinking , UK music festivals generate 23,500 tonnes of waste each year. The report also says that the 279 festivals in the UK each summer generate approximately 20 kilotonnes of greenhouse gases.
Festival organisers know this is a problem. Not only are they concerned about the impact they are making, they know the people coming to the festivals care too. Therefore, more festivals are increasing their efforts to become greener and more sustainable. The objectives of these eco-friendly festivals are to:
– Lower carbon emissions
– Reduce energy use
– Increase recycling efforts
– Decrease waste
It’s the rise of the eco-friendly festival. Here are some of the greenest festivals going and what they are doing to minimise their impact.
Glastonbury Festival, England
It’s the reigning champion of UK music festivals. But that doesn’t mean Glastonbury shrugs off its responsibilities to the environment. Hosted on private farmland, the music festival and its 175,000 annual attendees take a toll on the environment. Here’s what the festival is doing to increase its sustainability:
– Every five years they allow the farmland to fallow. That means it’s left vacant and there is no festival that year. This gives the farmland a chance to recover from the impact made during the four-day music festival.
– Volunteers help clean up the site when the festival is over. They focus on picking up the rubbish and recycling everything that they can when the revellers go home. The recycling efforts even raise funds for various local charities .
– Glastonbury encourages festival goers to do their part, too . They encourage attendees to bring reusable water bottles and take all their tents/equipment home with them.
Green Man Festival, Wales
“Being green is fundamental to the Green Man Festival (it’s one half of our name, after all),” states the festival’s website . Their policies also reflect that commitment to festival sustainability:
– Attendees can donate any unwanted camping equipment at the end of the festival. It all goes to charities working with refugees. The charities also accept any unwanted food.
– Green Man knows that festival-goers love glitter, but they are also aware of the impact these tiny pieces of plastic have on the environment. That’s why vendors only use bio-degradable glitter. The festival asks attendees to do the same.
– Disposable cups are a thing of the past, too. Festival-goers will need to buy one of Green Man’s reusable cups for all their drinks. Any cups not taken home get washed and used again the next year.
Wood Festival, England
Wood Festival takes sustainability to the next level . It was even awarded full marks from ‘A Greener Festival’  – an organisation focused on helping festivals become more environmentally sustainable. Looking at Wood Festival’s achievements, it’s easy to see why they are leading the pack when it comes to sustainability.
– The festival uses only composting toilets. The toilets break down the organic materials creating a nutrient-rich composting material that plants love.
– They use 100% renewable energy sources. Their website states they use “solar panels, mains Ecotricity, biodiesel & wood-burning stoves.” 
– There are plenty of recycling bins all over the grounds of the festival. In previous years, they’ve achieved an 85% recycling rate and are aiming for even higher numbers in the future.
Festivals are doing their part. So are festival attendees. The eco-friendly festival is likely to become the new normal when it comes to event management.
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