Guest Post: Greener ways to enjoy your favourite festival
Sustainability is is becoming more and more important for festival organisers, who recognise the impact that huge gatherings of people have on the environment. Festival-goers, too, have woken up to the idea that there are green and not-so-green ways to enjoy their music. Here are a few ideas to help make your festival experience an environmentally friendly one.
We’ve all seen the carnage that can result from a good festival: the wrecked tents, the mud, the junk and assorted detritus from hordes of people enjoying a week of their favourite music. Not to mention the effect of 10,000 cars queuing for hours as they converge on the same field. But the impact on the environment doesn’t have to be directly proportional to the amount of fun to be had. Think ahead a little and you can both avoid trashing the planet and save some money.
Buy to last
Ours is a disposable culture and there are a lot of products marketed at festival-goers that are effectively designed to end up in the bin a week later: cheap torches, flimsy tents, waterproof ponchos made from plastic only slightly thicker than cling film. Whilst these might be convenient at the time, their destiny is to end up blowing around a muddy field, and ultimately land-fill. Instead of buying into this culture, why not opt for higher-quality products that will both work better and last longer? That way, even if you spend a bit more at the start, you’ll have decent equipment to take back to festival after festival in the future – knowing that you’re benefitting the planet, too.
Getting to a festival can be a headache, and the traffic jams shown every year on the news make driving a less and less attractive option – both in terms of carbon footprints and sheer frustration. Public transport might not get you the whole way there, and cycling is a non-starter for most people thanks to the distances involved and amount of kit you need to take. Car-pooling is one way forward, but how do you find others who live near you or on your route who will be prepared to take you? The website festivalrideshare.co.uk offers one solution, putting you in touch with like-minded festival-goers who want to cut down on petrol costs and their carbon footprint – helping you out in the process.
Part of the festival experience is trying all the great food and drink on offer, but there will be times when you want to cook for yourself or just make a cup of tea. The problem is that most of the ways to do it involve a lot of pollution or waste packaging – old gas canisters, oil and fuel tablets or, worst of all, disposable barbecues. Most festivals won’t allow open fires, but biomass is the most environmentally-friendly fuel you can use since it’s carbon neutral. A bio-fuel burner will let you use leaves and sticks to cook, and it can even generate electricity for a torch or mobile phone battery.
It might be tempting to bring the creature comforts of a motorhome with you, but it’s no good for the environment and you will probably incur the contempt of your fellow festivallers who did it the proper way and took a tent anyway. Tents come pretty cheap nowadays – you can pick one up for £30 or £40 – but think about going a bit up-market. That way, it will last longer so you’ll save money in the long run. If you really don’t want to keep your tent, don’t just leave it behind at the end. Instead, donate it to Oxfam or the Red Cross’s disaster relief efforts.
This article was supplied by new festival culture and lifestyle blog, festivalmag.com. For the latest festival news, reviews and opinions, type ‘Festival Mag’ into your favourite search engine.