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How to have an ethical music festival


Radiohead are doing it. Pearl Jam are doing it. Now Jack Johnson is doing it. These are musicians listening up to the fact that making music means making tonnes of CO2 and are actively reducing their carbon footprint. It’s estimated that UK music festivals alone – attracting around five million revellers every year – are emitting a whopping 84,000 tonnes of CO2.

Fortunately, festival organisers are working hard to cut the carbon. This year sees a major focus on everything from car-share schemes (audience transport is responsible for two-thirds of carbon emissions); to biodegradable tent pegs and solar-powered stages, to make the whole green field experience, well, greener.

Music indeed ‘has the power’ and it’s hoped that knock-on effects will resonate. Glastonbury told us: “We have a chance to let a receptive audience know that the things we do – like running on renewable energy and avoiding plastic packaging – are things festival goers can carry on in their regular life once they've gone back to their cities and offices.”

So, with musicians and organisers doing their bit, what can regular festival goers do to have a greener festival experience?

Minimal impact is the key. Or as eco-watchdog Ben Challis puts it from NGO A Greener Festival: “The best festival goer is one that leaves no trace.” So, our advice is to opt for items that biodegrade before the memories of good times fade – bag some compostable plates and cutlery for your nosh. Or take something reusable like these durable resealable containers.

When you’re packing your survival bag a wind up torch is a must to get you through the night. For those gadgets you really can’t leave at home, a portable solar charger will keep your mobile, MP3 player or iPod fully powered up. And for a little indulgent festival luxury, slip under a solar powered shower. Music to any green festival goers’ ears.

Top ten tips for a greener festival

1. If you can, travel by public transport – if you can’t, car or lift-share
2. Take your tent home – please!
3. Buy durable products, returnable bottles and containers that can be re-filled – a bottle of water can be re-filled at taps on-site
4. Look out for recycled goods and those packaged in recycled materials
5. Cut down on packaging by buying your fruit and vegetables loose
6. Please save water on-site
7. Buy local, fair trade and organic food, drinks and products, at stalls if possible
8. Use re-sealable containers to keep your food fresh
9. Use rechargeable batteries or buy a portable solar or wind charger for your mobile, MP3 player and radio. Get a wind up torch – they don’t run out!
10. Remember: reduce, reuse and recycle!

Top 10 was provided by Ben Challis at A Greener Festival.
Ethical Superstore has a Summer Festival Survival Kit for a greener festival, priced £49.95.

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