Sometimes it looks like the amount of festivals keeps increasing every year. There is something to do every weekend and we also don’t stop in the winter season anymore. Great for the ones that like to go to a party, but it also has an enormous impact on the environment. More and more festival organisations and event management agencies are aware of this and take measures to make their event more sustainable. Usually this happens with some standard solutions, which has some but little impact on the amount of used energy or the amount of waste. Sometimes, the ideas are a lot more original yet simple and they improve the sustainability and increase the awareness.
Riding your bike for more energy
We have already seen this concept at different places such as MadNes Festival in The Netherlands, but it stays worthy of mentioning: Biking for energy! The idea is actually quite simple, you take a few hometrainers and connect them to a generator, which is connected to the energy using products at the festival suchs as the lights. The visitor of the festival starts biking and energy is being produced. The American festival Coachella already uses the same technique to charge the battery of your phone. To provide a whole festival of energy might be a bit optimistic, but every little bit helps.
Giving back to the community
One of the biggest issues at festivals is the absolute devastation that is left behind at the campsite. Visitors bring old stuff, stuff breaks or they just can not bear to take it home anymore. This results in loads of stuff that is left behind at the campsites and creates a huge amount of waste. The German festival Hurricane decided to do something about this and has joined forces with Hanseatic Help. After the festival, all left behind camping gear is being sorted and the usable products will be donated to different organisations in Hamburg (DE). The best is to prevent that everything stays behind, but now the camping gear gets a second life and they help out someone else.
We’re in this together
According to many organisations that work to make festivals more sustainable, such as Powerful Thinking UK, the most CO2 emission does not even come from the festival itself. Around 80% of the emissions actually comes from the transport to and from the event, by visitors, artists and the organisation. This is mainly caused by the enormous amount of people that travel by car and sometimes have to travel very far.
A more sustainable option, which has grown more popular over the years, is hiring a bus. A touring car or party bus is being hired by a group of friends and when you pay a small fee you can use it as well. This means you do not have to switch trains or busses 5 times to even get at the shuttle bus provided by the festival. You can get on the bus in your own neighbourhood and are dropped off close to your home after the event. Still want to go by car? Try to make sure the care is full, full of friends that is. It is not only very boring to drive by yourself, but it is also twice as much pollution. In the United States, some festivals even charge you a fee when you come alone by car (30 - 40 dollars). Some make sure you share your car by giving away prices when you carpool to the festival, like at the Coachella Festival. Prices to win are lifetime VIP passes, backstage passes, merchandise or food vouchers. It also creates a nice parade of painted cars, which is already worth it to see.
A better world starts with you
Eventually it is not just the organisations that are responsible for making the event more sustainable. As one of the thousands of visitors, you also contribute quite a bit to the pollution that is created, but there are some thing you can do yourself. Think before you leave your stuff or try to use the public transportation more often. Simple but effective! In what ways do you try to contribute to a more sustainable festival experience? Let us know, we would love to hear it!