Last weekend Glastonbury Festival banned single-use plastic for the first time and Sir David Attenborough took to the stage to thank festival-goers for caring more for the environment.
But with a sea of plastic still left littering the site when the crowds had gone, what more can be done to ensure music lovers enjoy outdoor festivals without leaving a permanent mark on the planet?
Here, we round up the top 10 eco-friendly festivals leading the way on green initiatives.
1. Burning Man Festival
Burning Man operates by 10 guiding principles, including eco-measures such as “leave no trace”. Festival-goers must remove their own rubbish and leave their camp space exactly as they found it. There are dedicated areas for recycling, waste products are converted into garden fertiliser and many camps are solar-powered. Hundreds of bicycles are provided for travelling around the camps, and people are encouraged to donate to eco-focused charities.
When and where: 25 August – 2 September 2019. Black Rock City, United States
2. Green Man Festival
Set beneath the majestic beauty of the Brecon Beacons, Green Man’s organisers strive to preserve the local environment. Green policies include bringing only biodegradable wares (tent pegs, glitter etc.) and single-use plastics are banned.
Any unwanted camping items left behind are donated to refugees worldwide, so nothing goes to waste.
When and where: 15-18 August 2019. Brecon, Wales, UK
3. Splendour In The Grass (Australia)
Splendour In the Grass festival in Australia offers a ‘Carbon Offset’ option when purchasing tickets. This allows you to offset your carbon footprint during your time during at the festival, with all money raised going directly to renewable energy projects.
The ‘Camp Zero Footprint’ campsite challenges each camper to minimise their impact as much as possible, with reusable camping equipment a must and tree planting sessions each morning. The winner is rewarded with VIP tickets for the following year.
When and where: 19-21 July 2019. Yelgun, Australia
4. Pohoda Festival
This Slovakian festival puts as much emphasis on green policy as it does curating a diverse and colourful line-up each year.
It partners with domestic solar companies to provide energy at the festival, and national railways offer exclusive transport options to reduce emissions.
When and where: 11-13 July 2019. Trenčín, Slovakia
5. Secret Solstice
Secret Solstice is currently the world’s only carbon-neutral music festival, as the emissions it creates are balanced out by trees purchased for a conservation project in Madagascar.
With 21-hours of daylight throughout Iceland’s summer solstice, the energy output is lower than the average festival. The energy it does use comes mainly from geothermal sources, so it’s powered by volcanos.
When and where: 21-23 June. Reykjavík, Iceland
6. We Love Green
We Love Green limits paper use in its eco-toilets, composts food waste, and promotes green living through workshops and discussions during the festival.
When and where: 1-2 June 2019. Paris, France
As the world’s biggest festival, Lollapalooza is committed to promoting green initiatives through its ‘Rock and Recycle’ scheme. Recycling bins, composting bins and water stations are dotted around the site, dramatically reducing single-use plastics. Festival-goers are challenged to collect recyclable items in exchange for Lollapalooza merchandise for added incentive.
When and where: 1-4 August 2019. Chicago, United States
One of the UK’s most flamboyant and creative festivals, environmental sustainability is at the heart of Latitude. It works with non-profit organisation Julie’s Bicycle with the aim of reducing emissions in the creative industries.
It also aims to reduce both diesel consumption and waste by 50 per cent by 2025 as part of the ‘Festival Vision 2025’ pledge.
Latitude is also set to go plastic-free as part of a push by concert promoter Live Nation to achieve zero waste at its clubs, concert halls and venues by 2030.
When and where: 18-21 July 2019. Southwold, UK
9. Fuji Rock Festival
The Fuji Rock Forest Project offers Green schemes to protect its tranquil surroundings such as re-using cut timber to create flyers and maintain the natural boardwalks.
When and where: 26-28 July 2019. Naeba Ski Resort, Japan
Many of the zero waste initiatives being adopted by festivals today have been part of the framework of Pickathon for years. The US festival has done away with single-use cups, dishware and utensils and promotes composting of leftover food.
It also challenges festival-goers to pack away as much as possible when they go home. Pickathon is now working to cut down waste generated purely through packing materials used to ship items to the festival grounds. All recycled cans and bottles at Pickathon are collected post-festival and given to local social services non-profit The Ant Farm.
When and where: August 2-4, 2019. Happy Valley, Oregon, United States
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