Music festival season is in full swing meaning thousands of people will be descending on parks, farmland, and various other green spaces all over North America and Europe to let loose, take in some awesome bands, get sunburnt and spend too much money on festival libations.
While music festivals give you an opportunity to take a break from being a responsible adult or relieving you from faking it as an adult for a few days, that doesn’t mean you should shirk your responsibility towards the environment.
Organizers have taken note of the environmental impact of their festivals and have been improving collection programs, amassing armies of green team volunteers, and strengthening temporary infrastructure to help keep refuse to a minimum while turning diversion up to eleven, man.
You have to do your part as well with lowering your impact at a music festival. Organizers have set the stage for your, now it time to let your sustainability shine.
BRING A REFILLABLE BOTTLE
Check event websites to see if you can bring a refillable water bottle onto the grounds with you. Many festivals provide free water, with as many refills as your sun-parched body can handle. This ensures people stay hydrated while preventing tons of plastic bottles from entering the waste stream.
Bonnaroo Music and Arts began their Refill Revolution a few years ago offering Bonnaroovians a refillable water bottle, a reusable metal cup for beer and mixed drinks, and reusable cutlery.
Festival goers even receive a discount on refills with a reusable cup! A little incentive never hurts.
PAY ATTENTION TO MATERIAL STREAMS
Many festivals have expanded their collection programs to include compostable material, besides the usual suspects of paper, glass, plastic, and aluminum. Check ahead via the internet through your festival’s app (all the cool music fests have an app nowadays) to see what’s accepted taking care only to bring divertible material.
An excellent way to cut down on waste and save yourself some money, especially for one-day festivals, is by bringing in your food in reusable containers and some real cutlery. If you’re a foodie and anticipate taking advantage of the army of food trucks that usually attend music festivals, reusable cutlery should be a part of your festival arsenal.
If you smoke, don’t treat event grounds like a giant ashtray. It can take nearly ten years for a cigarette butt to decompose, so the green vistas of festival locations probably aren’t the best place for them. Barefooted festival goers (don’t knock it till you try it) will appreciate it!
LEAVE YOUR CAMPSITE LIKE YOU FOUND IT
The post-event campsite cleanup can seem like an incredibly difficult task, especially after three to four days of poor diet and life choices that leave the muscles sore, the skin burnt and your internal organs angry. That doesn’t give you’re the right to abandon your campsite regardless of how eager you are to get back home, have three showers and sleep for twelve hours.
In 2014, Reading Festival saw 596 tons of waste go to the landfill, with camping equipment such as tents, tarps, and chairs making up a significant portion of it.
Campsite waste is inevitable, and organizers have been coming up with ways to prevent perfectly usable camping materials from being sent to landfills. Across the pond, festivals have teamed up with sustainable accessories brand What Daisy Did. They take tents left behind at festivals and create drawstring bags out of them to be sold at festivals across the UK the following year.
RIDESHARE OR CARPOOL
An excellent way to lower your carbon footprint during festival season is by carpooling, taking advantage of any rideshare programs, or by using any shuttle service provided festival organizers.
Many events enlist the help of sharethebus, a North American based company who are experts in shuttling thousands of people to and from an event, giving festival goers the greener option of public transportation. Their expertise has been procured by Amnesia Rockfest in Montebello, Quebec and Wayhome Music and Arts Festival, which takes place just outside of Busch Systems’ hometown of Barrie, Ontario!
There’s nothing like enjoying some of your favorite bands while outside, under the vast open sky, with the dirt under your feet, surrounded by thousands of fellow festival goers bonded by great music and good vibes. It becomes a community and as a community it up to us to ensure we have our fun, without leaving a pile of trash behind.