The folks over at UK-based A Greener Festival
have been doing some great work to green festivals over the last couple of years. My primary contact there is Ben Challis, one of three co-founders. Ben works for Glastonbury
, the mother of all festivals and a festival that's been incredibly proactive on the greening front
for many years.
Last year, A Greener Festival started a festival certification program that got quite a bit of press coverage, and this year they've doubled the number of festivals that participated. The certification program is voluntary. Festivals fill out a 54-point self-assessment form
and send it in with $200. A Greener Festival spends the money on travel costs for volunteer auditors who visit the participating festivals with a copy of the self-assessment and verify each of the items. I'm sure that there are folks out there who will find some flaws with the point-based system or the items on the form, but it's a whole lot better than nothing. As the old cliche' goes, let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good here.
Since this is a US-based blog, I'll point out that the sole participating US festival as of press time was Bonnaroo, which was singled out for being a "beacon of excellence." This is well-deserved praise, as Bonnaroo was an early leader in the greening of US festivals and takes its greening very seriously.
Other international (i.e., not in the UK) festivals include a handful of Australian festivals, although regrettably not Peats Ridge festival
, which was cancelled this year due to extreme rain before the event. Peats Ridge, for those of you not familiar with it, is quite possibly the greenest festival in the world. A similar program called Green'N'Clean
is run by YOUROPE
for continental European festivals.
The next round of announcements about the awards will be made in September, and on October 30 A Greener Festival will give out the actual awards, in three categories: Improving, the basic A Greener Festival Award, and Outstanding.
Congrats to the participating festivals and kudos to A Greener Festival for putting the spotlight on the industry.
Full Press Release below.
EIGHTEEN FESTIVALS TRIUMPH IN THE GREENER FESTIVAL AWARDS
PRESS RELEASE 14TH AUGUST 2008
Eighteen UK and international festivals are the first recipients of the prestigious 2008 Greener Festival Award for their efforts in promoting environmentally friendly music festivals. In the UK, recipients of the leading eco-award included Latitude, the Glastonbury Festival, the Camden Green Fair and the Cambridge Folk Festival, all praised by the award organisers for their green efforts. In the US, the Bonnaroo Festival was singled out as a 'beacon of excellence' and in Australia three festivals, Falls Festival, West Coast Blues & Roots and Bluesfest all received the Greener Festival Award.
The Award is based on a seven part questionnaire which covers event management, travel and transport plans, CO2 emissions, fair trade, waste management and recycling, water management and noise pollution. Points are awarded for festivals which can show an active plan to promote public transport, reduce on-site waste, recycle and compost wherever possible, re-use water and use sustainable power. Festivals are expected to have a coherent environmental policy and organisers http://www.agreenerfestival.com/
has environmental auditors who visit as many festival sites as possible to assess how festivals implement their plans.
A Greener Festival co-founder Ben Challis said “we are very encouraged that so many more festivals are making an effort go green and adopt environmentally friendly practices. Some festivals are going through a steep learning curve to improve their green credentials, others are old hands now who keep improving year on year. The UK and international festival scene is now making a concerted effort to be a leader in protecting the environment and fighting climate change”. He added “applications for the award are double those for 2007 and standards are undoubtedly higher with some great new innovations ranging from new green power sources, to better public transport solutions to biodegradable tent pegs.”
So far in 2008 the Greener Festival Award winners are
Big Session Festival
Camden Green Fair
The Cambridge Folk Festival
City Blues Festival (Leicester)
The Glade Festival
The Glastonbury Festival
Hard Rock Calling
Leicester City Blues Festival
Lounge on the Farm
02 Wireless Festival
The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (USA)
Bluesfest - Eastcoast Blues & Roots Festival (Australia)
The Falls Festival (Australia)
West Coast Blues n Roots Festival (Australia)
Here is what the environmental assessors said about each festival
Camden Green Fair http://www.camdengreenfair.org.uk/
London's Camden Green Fair, which incorporates London's Bikefest, promotes a green ethos and a green lifestyle. This year was the 17th annual Camden Green Fair, and the Fair ran on 100% sustainable energy with hydrogen cells powering the site office, recharging the electric buggies used for site transport and providing back up power for the main stage. The Fair hosted the Mad Hatter's Sustainable Tea Party and broke a World Record with the Intergenerational Fair Trade Tea Dance as well as hosting initiatives for greener homes, greener energy and a speakers forum.
The Cambridge Folk Festival http://www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk/
The Cambridge Folk Festival has made real efforts to organise a sustainable event and promote sustainability. We were very impressed with just how clean the festival was with excellent on-site recycling facilities, a good public transport policy and excellent plans to work with Julies Bicycle, the cross music industry initiative on climate change, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2009.
Download won the 'most improved' festival in the 2007 Greener Festival Awards and organisers Live Nation built on this in 2008 with travel planning and carbon offsetting offered to the audience. A new artist briefing booklet that explained the festival’s environmental work was given to performers who were encouraged to improve their own carbon footprint with handy hints and tips. The deposit system for recycling introduced in 2007 was continued and audience recycling in the campsite was encouraged and further promoted.
The Glade http://www.gladefestival.com/
An award winner in 2007 The Glade had an on site sorting point where all litter is searched through by hand with estimated 70% of all waste, including cans, bottles, paper card and some plastics recycled. There is on site composting for food waste and compostable plates and cutlery. Organiser Nick Ladd said "Previously our waste has been sorted for recycling off site, but we were never sure how effectively it was being done - by taking it in house we now know we are making a big difference to our landfill impact".
The Glastonbury Festival http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/
Jay-Z’s headline slot may have grabbed the headlines but Glastonbury continues to promote sustainability. Always inspirational, Glastonbury's 'Love the farm, leave no trace' really worked in 2008 with everything from biodegradable tent pegs, a fleet of bio-tractors running on sustainable bio-diesel from waste vegetable oil, totally compostable beer cups and the always innovative and informative Greenfields, Glastonbury is a worthy winner of the Greener Festival Award for the second year running.
Hard Rock Calling & 02 Wireless Festival http://www.o2wirelessfestival.co.uk/home/
London's Hyde Park was home to these two festivals headlined by Eric Clapton, Jay-Z, the Police and Morrissey amongst others. The excellent public transport solutions in London are already there to minimise audience travel carbon footprints. The waste cooking oil from site is refined off site to be used as sustainable biodiesel. As audience travel forms a large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions from out of town festivals, city based festivals which utilise public transport have a distinct advantage in being sustainable – and Live Nation’s 02 and Hard Rock Calling are in the heart of London.
Lounge on the Farm http://www.loungeonthefarm.co.uk/
Set in the beautiful Kent countryside, Lounge on the Farm has excellent on-site recycling, a solar powered cinema and amazed us with a fantastic range of local suppliers providing everything from local fruit and pies to local beer - saving on those food miles. The festival also does a lot to promote sustainability with a shuttle bus to and from Canterbury's rail and bus terminals and an excellent website.
Latitude has set itself out to be at the forefront of sustainability and organisers Festival Republic have introduced some marvellous initiatives including a fuel-cell powered stage. 'Campers Waste Kits' are given out to the audience so they can sort waste for composting and recycling and the now much loved souvenir beer cups which clearly reduce plastic and glass waste have been instrumental in making Latitude green, clean and beautiful. At ten bags of compost per bag of landfill coming out of the arena, the audience really took to composting their food plates and leftovers.
Scotland's T-in-The-Park has been carbon neutral since 1996 and goes to great lengths to protect the local environment and waterways. The festival promotes public transport and works in partnership with Perth & Kinross Lift Share. Recycling facilities are found throughout the festival site and T's website is excellent - the 'Green T' section covers environmental efforts made by organisers as well as information for the audience to reduce their environmental impact.
Workhouse Festival http://www.workhousefestival.co.uk/
All profit from the Workhouse Festival goes to support the Llanfyllin Workhouse project - a charitable environmentally sustainable community project. Workhouse prioritises local traders to reduce food miles and makes every effort to re-use or recycle materials and the festival’s power is sourced from ecotricity and from renewable sources.
2000 Trees Festival http://www.twothousandtreesfestival.co.uk/
2000 Trees is a great small festival surrounded by gorgeous countryside and the organisers work hard to keep the festival clean tidy and fun. The Maker Green Team pop up everywhere In their noble crusade to leave no recyclable uncollected and the relaxed friendly crowd seem to make the effort to tidy up after themselves which is a refreshing change. Looking around the floor it is hard to spot any litter and many revellers feel safe to wander barefoot through the site (which was a bit muddy this year!). The organisers are enthusiastic about their efforts to be an eco-friendly gathering and it is inspiring to see many stalls handed over to local suppliers and to organisations promoting environmental messages.
Big Session Festival & Leicester City Blues Festival http://www.bigsessionfestival.com/
The Big Session Festival won the ‘greenest festival’ public vote at the 2007 UK Festival Awards and was also the winner of the 2007 Greener Festival Award. Joined by the City Blues Festival, the organisers of the Big Session are proud of their environmentally friendly practices. To reduce CO2 emissions at De Montfort Hall, no generators are used and all power is taken from the councils eco-tariff supply – this, coupled with a city centre based location and a good transport policy substantially reduces the event's carbon footprint. Complete Wasters handle the festivals’ recycling and look out for plastic bottles, cardboard, paper and glass, collecting compostable food waste and pint glasses. Composing reduces what would have gone to landfill by 20% and recycling some 50%. To add to this, in 2008 the Big Session Festival undertook a comprehensive environmental audit and also promoted a lightbulb give away - donating energy saving lightbulbs to customers who pledge to use them.
The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival http://www.bonnaroo.com/
The Festival continues to take progressive steps towards mitigating the event's environmental impact and in 2008 new initiative included a car-pooling competition where vehicles with four or more occupants could win VIP tickets, an extensive recycling and on-site composting programme and excellent environmental education and campaigning in the now famous 'Planet Roo' village. All food is served with biodegradable warps, plates, cups and cutlery, local food and drinks are promoted and horses have replaced vehicles wherever possible.
West Coast Blues 'n' Roots Festival http://www.sunsetevents.com.au/
Our assessor reported that the West Coast Blues 'n' Roots Festival excelled in sustainable energy with a real commitment to renewable energy resources and the audience was invited to offset their own carbon footprints with a 'plant a tree' scheme. With good onsite recycling it was encouraging to see that the majority of stallholders were local and that a number of environmental organisations and charities had been invited by organisers
Bluesfest (East Coast Blues & Roots Festival) http://www.bluesfest.com.au/
Winning the award for a second year, our environmental auditor said that Bluesfest had a 'very effective' environmental policy with a host of good ideas and the festival was 'really setting high standards in communicating sustainability to audience members'. The festival has good travel and transport plans and excellent recycling on-site - volunteers patrol the site using anything from drama to poems to song to highlight environmentally practices
The Falls Festival http://www.fallsfestival.com/
The Falls have a really good approach to promoting public transport (ferry, coaches and bus) as well as promoting car pooling for staff. Our environmental assessor was very impressed with the festival's innovative composting toilets which were marked as excellent as well as on-site composting of food waste, again, clearly very effective. The Falls promotes local suppliers with local cheese, wine and beer all available on-site. The Falls worked with Greening Australia to ensure that 30,000 trees were planted around the site with each ticket sold. Their tickets were printed on 100% recycled paper with soya ink via their ticket provider GreenTix.
These are the first of the 2008 Awards to be announced. There will be second announcement of further Awards which will be made in September 2008 when the UK and US festival season ends. All Awards will be confirmed at the UK Festival Awards which will be held on October 30th in London.
see http://www.agreenerfestival.com/ A ‘not for profit’ company
Labels: Bonnaroo, festivals, jason, Peats Ridge