Sum­mer fes­ti­vals with a conscience

It’s all about fun in the sun, but so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns also come high on the list at Ragga­muf­fin and Splore fes­ti­vals this sum­mer.

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Fes­ti­val is a con­cert of ur­ban and reg­gae mu­sic that has stepped up for the sec­ond time to support char­i­ta­ble trust Yfor Youth.

The or­gan­i­sa­tionsY for Youth and Ragga­muf­fin Mu­sic Fes­ti­val teamed up in Jan­uary 2014 at the last event in Ro­torua, where the fes­ti­val has been run­ning since 2008.

Noweight years old, this De­cem­ber Ragga­muf­fin has moved its stages to Auck­land where 70 per cent of its au­di­ences live.

Its part­ner, Yfor Youth, helps ed­u­cate and support New Zealand’s youth, a group that, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Health De­vel­op­ment, suf­fers from high sui­cide and un­em­ploy­ment rates.

Yfor Youth was started in 2011 by co-founder Alex Greig. Hewanted a so­cial brand that would pro­vide fund­ing for New Zealand youth or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Yfor Youth em­pow­ers con­sumers to make a dif­fer­ence by pur­chas­ing from com­pa­nies that con­trib­ute an on­go­ing per­cent­age of sales to the char­ity.

This cre­ates a re­source en­gine to pro­vide sus­tained fund­ing for or­gan­i­sa­tions that ed­u­cate, mo­ti­vate and men­tor youth.

Part­ner busi­nesses opt to give a per­cent­age of sales to the char­ity, which then dis­trib­utes the money to other youth char­i­ties. The aim is to lock in sus­tained fund­ing for char­i­ties work­ing with youth. Greig says the fes­ti­val is the per­fect place to do that. “The Ragga­muf­fin Fes­ti­val is an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity to showcase the Yfor Youth mes­sage in front of a wide and di­verse au­di­ence,” he says.

Just like the pre­vi­ous Ragga­muf­fin Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, one per cent of ticket sales will go to Yfor Youth, which will dis­trib­ute it to the Heart for Youth trust to fund newyouth men­tor­ing pro­grammes. Greig says the part­ner­ship for the one-day event on De­cem­ber 13 is an ex­am­ple of how­com­pa­nies can help NewZealan­ders.

“Ragga­muf­fin’s com­mit­ment to youth is a fine ex­am­ple of the newwave of so­cially con­scious busi­nesses ben­e­fit­ing our com­mu­ni­ties,” he says.

The R18 fes­ti­val will nowhave two stages, one play­ing ur­ban mu­sic, and one for reg­gae bands.

Ragga­muf­fin Mu­sic Fes­ti­val will be held out­side at The Trusts Arena, ten min­utes from Auck­land’s CBD. Another Auck­land-based fes­ti­val that’s do­ing things a bit dif­fer­ently is the mu­sic and arts fes­ti­val, Splore.

It’s of­fi­cially the most eco-friendly fes­ti­val in the coun­try. Splore’s low-im­pact ini­tia­tives and suc­cess in their 2014 fes­ti­val has­won­them the Greener Fes­ti­val Award.

In all, there are 36 Greener Fes­ti­val awards, given to groups around the world, but Splore is the first to re­ceive one in New Zealand.

It won­the award for green ini­tia­tives and re­sults from the last fes­ti­val.

For ex­am­ple, they served drinks in 14,000 re­us­able cups in­stead of buy­ing 55,000 dis­pos­able ones.

Splore’s sus­tain­abil­ity man­ager Dave Wat­son keeps the fes­ti­val fo­cussed on hav­ing a low en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact. “I think it’s bet­ter, rather than talk­ing about it, to make pos­i­tive ex­am­ples and have peo­ple be a part of that so they can see that [be­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious] is pos­si­ble,” he says.

The Splore team is aim­ing for even lower en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact re­sults in their 2015 fes­ti­val by in­creas­ing the amount of waste that is di­verted from land­fill from 73 per cent at the last event, to 85 per cent in 2015.

“Over 90 per cent is what you would called a zero-waste event, so that’s the ul­ti­mate goal — to get up into the nineties, but this year we’re aim­ing for 85. Hope­fully we’ll get bet­ter,” says Wat­son.

Most of the land­fill waste cre­ated by the event is made up of tents, airbeds and cos­tumes left be­hind at the end of the fi­nal day. Wat­son is en­cour­ag­ing fes­ti­val-go­ers to take their rub­bish home.

In terms of ev­ery­thing that is pro­duced on site, Splore has a strict rule that ev­ery­thing needs to be 100 per cent com­postable to en­sure waste is downto a min­i­mum.

Held at Ta­pa­pakanga Re­gional Park in South Auck­land over three nights, the fes­ti­val was once bian­nual but due to high­de­mand fes­ti­val direc­tors de­cided to make it an an­nual event.

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