Almost 14 million Brits will attend a festival this year – double the attendance of just three years ago.
This huge rise has been accredited to an explosion of themed events, with almost 800 festivals being staged in the UK alone last year and offering everything from boutique beer festivals, to mainstream music gatherings and literature conventions.
Many of the world’s leading events have already established a firm commitment to adopting environmentally-friendly practices and educating their attendees about green issues.
Organisers of the Glastonbury Festival, for example, have announced that visitors who travel to the event using pubic transport will be rewarded with food discounts and free access to on-site solar showers.
The Green Traveller project was introduced in response to research that showed 50 percent of the event’s CO2 emissions came from festival-goers travelling to Worthy Farm.
Similarly, Camp Bestival in Dorset now encourages visitors to car-share while also offering free cups of tea to those who collect rubbish from around their tent and take it to an on-site recycling pen.
V Festival last year recycled two tonnes of steel after partnering with the Every Can Counts programme.
And not-for-profit outfit, A Greener Festival, is aiding the good work carried out by leading cultural events.
The company is championing positive behaviour among the festival community and providing advice to organisers about how to implement waste-recycling plans, minimise land damage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Along with farming alliance Sustain, they have also published the Good Food for Festivals Guide, which offers information on which events serve locally and sustainably-produced food.
A Greener Festival also recently launched the Festival Woods scheme, an initiative aimed at encouraging festival-goers to donate £5 to plant new trees.
In addition, they have partnered with Eco-Action to create the Love Your Tent campaign – a scheme that encourages people to re-use their tents instead of discarding them. You can see the campaign’s video below:
Since 2007, the company has also run the annual AGF Award, with auditors travelling to events to assess the environmental performance of festivals.
A Greener Festival Co-Founder, Claire O’Neill, has picked a handful of the most environmentally friendly events taking place this summer.
Each of the five events listed below have been awarded Outstanding status in the AFG Award, an honour that recognises exceptional events which have significantly reduced their greenhouse gas emissions, implemented transport and waste management programmes, and inspired the public to become more environmentally aware.
The Cambridge Folk Festival has become one of most famous folk music events in the world since launching in 1965.
However, as well as being renowned for its musical pedigree, it also has a reputation for its pioneering environmental efforts.
After identifying that 75 percent of CO2 emissions came from the diesel and electricity used on-site, organisers have now reduced the event’s carbon footprint by more than a third over the past five years.
The on-site recycling rate last year was 36 percent, and they are now targeting 50 percent this year.
Each bar generates zero landfill waste, while 40,000 plastic glasses were saved in 2015 thanks to the introduction of a returnable deposit system. Meanwhile, the entire festival sent just 381kg of waste to landfill sites last year.
Caterers are not allowed to use generators and traders have been prohibited from providing plastic bags to customers. The Festival also runs a Sustainable Stand Award, which recognises the environmental impact of the transport, energy, waste and purchasing ethics of caterers and traders.
Running since 1997, Portugal’s Boom Festival has already established itself as a leader in the field of environmentally-efficient festivals.
It received the Green’n’Clean European Festival Award in 2010 and the Green Inspiration Award in 2012.
It continues to host presentations by leading environmental opinion makers and has introduced on-site water treatment facilities, as well as the widespread use of bio fuels and innovative compost sanitation techniques.
Oya Festival has established itself one of Norway’s leading music events, featuring a line-up of international rock, indie, electronic and hip-hop acts as well as up-and-coming Norwegian artists.
However, since launching in 1999 the festival has worked hard to find new ways of saving energy, reducing waste and shortening the travel distance of goods to the festival.
In 2003 it introduced a policy of only serving organic food and in 2009 switched to using renewable landline power.
Since 2008, it has succeeded in cutting 6500 kilometers from the distance travelled by festival staff thanks to the implementation of car-sharing services and sending drivers on eco-driving courses.
It currently boasts a recycling rate of 60 percent.
Described as ‘eco-friendly partying in the heart of Paris’, this two-day event features rock, pop and electronic music and has been dubbed Europe’s best small festival.
The main festival stage is powered entirely by solar and wind power, and all waste is composted – even the cutlery.
Local students donate the on-site art installations and all the food sold is local and organic. They also provide free, fresh-water supply to visitors.
There are free workshops run by experts offering advice on social economics, food waste, biodiversity, and urban agriculture. There are also DIY educational workshops on how to reuse and make objects from recyclable material.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Welcome to the Future is a house and techno festival that promises ‘guilt-free partying’ thanks to its commitment to environmental sustainability.
It features 53 artists performing across seven stages and has a reputation for being one of Europe’s most intimate music festivals.
It remains the only Netherlands-based festival to have been awarded the Greener Festival Award of Excellence by A Greener Festival, and visitors are encouraged to travel the 9km route from Amsterdam by bike. More than 7,000 people made the journey last year.
The event is run entirely on biodiesel fuel while it also offers free fresh water.
It hosts an organic food market and all decorations are made from recycled materials.
The festival has also partnered with the 10,000-hour project and promotes volunteering days to attendees, such as community cleaning and helping out in nursing homes.
To learn more about A Greener Festival, visit: http://www.agreenerfestival.com