The British festival - there’s nothing quite like it.. Rain, cans of strongbow and loud remarks echoing across a muddy field. Many would agree, we do it best. But with the backlash music festivals have received over the last few years, regarding their impact on the environment it was about time that we saw a change to the way us Brits do festivals.
It’s the big players like Glastonbury which have the biggest environmental impact purely down to the number of people who attend - 200,000 people attend Glastonbury every year, for 5 days of music, alcohol and mayhem in the middle of a field in Somerset. Running an event for that number of people requires an extensive infrastructure to ensure it runs smoothly, but an army of only 1,000 volunteers are responsible for the clean-up - costing a huge £785,000, it begins as soon as the last of the festival-goers have gone home and takes 6 weeks.
Organisers at Boomtown Festival in Winchester are working towards a totally sustainable city, which will be able to be run entirely on renewable energy. The festival itself builds a storyline for attendants to immerse themselves in, with live shows, actors and opening and closing ceremonies. In recent years their focus has been on creating a circular economy within the city, encouraging festival-goers to leave minimal impact on the environment.
While amidst the craziness of a festival, it’s sometimes hard to remember that once everyone has gone home and the clean-up is complete, they go back to being home for herds of cows and wildlife - many festivals ban glass for this reason, don't be that guy.
The biggest impact festivals have on the environment are the number of tents and camping equipment which are left at the end of the weekend, Boomtown organisers saw a 50% reduction in the number of tents and equipment left behind across their main campsites and also introduced a Zero Waste Camp which saw a 90% reduction in waste left compared to 2018. It’s great to see that festivals are beginning to see a change in how attendants leave the site, if you're heading to a music festival this summer - here’s how you can help:
Use the facilities provided
Use the recycling bins
Only use what you need
Take your tent and equipment home with you
Use public transport, cycle or car share
Bring a reusable water bottle
Use water responsibly
If you really don’t want to lug your tent all the way back home with you, most festivals have recycling points where you can leave unwanted tents, chairs, gazebos, empty batteries and unopened tins of food. Make sure you check the festival website, to ensure they provide this.