Eco-fes­ti­vals rock

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Green Issues -

When we think of ‘green fes­ti­vals’ the im­age of long-bearded men talk­ing about wormeries deep in a for­est may spring to mind.

While that kind of ex­pe­ri­ence is still on of­fer (see Scot­land’s Big Tent Gath­er­ing), even the most main­stream of fes­ti­vals - from Glas­ton­bury to Read­ing - are go­ing green, en­cour­ag­ing mu­sic-lovers to re­duce, re­use and re­cy­cle ev­ery­thing from their tents and wellies to their cut­lery and travel habits.

Ben Chal­lis, co-founder of A Greener Fes­ti­val [www.agreen­er­fes­ti­], a char­ity which au­dits fes­ti­vals world­wide ac­cord­ing to their poli­cies on cut­ting CO2 emis­sions, eco trans­port ini­tia­tives, waste and re­cy­cling, wa­ter man­age­ment and noise re­duc­tion, has been im­pressed with the in­crease in fes­ti­vals’ eco aware­ness.

“We were wor­ried that in a year when the re­ces­sion bit hard we might see fes­ti­vals shy­ing away from their on­go­ing com­mit­ment to green is­sues, but we have been gen­er­ally pleased with the ef­forts of fes­ti­vals around the world to keep sus­tain­abil­ity high on their agenda and to pro­mote en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness to fans,” he says, re­fer­ring to 2009’s UK award win­ners - which in­cluded Bes­ti­val, Big Chill and Cam­bridge Folk Fes­ti­val.

“We had more ‘out­stand­ing’ win­ners in 2009 and a 20% rise in ap­pli­ca­tions from 2008.

“But much re­mains to be done and in the UK, a car-cen­tric so­ci­ety means that au­di­ence travel, and in­deed leisure travel in gen­eral, is a mas­sive prob­lem.”

While choos­ing an eco way to get to and from a fes­ti­val can help both or­gan­is­ers and tick­ethold­ers cut back on their emis­sions, sim­ple ef­forts on be­half of the fes­ti­val them­selves, Chal­lis says, can of­ten make the biggest dif­fer­ence.

“Fes­ti­vals like Crois­sant neuf make a real ef­fort to get lo­cal sup­pli­ers to pro­vide lo­cal prod­ucts - any­thing from beer to bread to bikes to baltis, and many fes­ti­vals have now adopted sou­venir cups for beer. not only do these dra­mat­i­cally cut down on waste and pol­lu­tion, they re­duce lit­ter on site and give you a real mo­mento to take home!”

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