Music festivals, fairs, and charity events happen across the country’s parks, farms, and cities every single year. But do the organisers of these events consider the environmental damage they could be leaving behind? Or is the issue one that the attendees should be responsible for?
Let’s look at festivals.
Each year festivals create around 23.500 tonnes of waste, 32 per cent of which is recycled. Match this with the fact that travel to the festival, which typically constitutes around 80 per cent of its known CO2 emissions, and it’s clear that there has to be a collaboration between attendee and organiser to make any real impact.
So where can this collaboration take place? The most important and prevalent opportunity is our chance to communicate with audiences. Festivalgoers are open to environmental initiatives with one study finding that in 2008 just 56 per cent of festivalgoers believed that the impact was their responsibility. A study conducted in 2012, however, found that this figure had risen close to 80 per cent. Festivals need to pivot and put their environmental issues at the forefront of their budget. By clearly communicating the impact of festivals on our environment, we can normalise, and even popularise, green initiatives in not just festivals, but all outdoor events across the country.
Of course, sustainability is never, and will never be the number one priority for ticket buyers. But sustainable ideas and tactics will enhance the festival experience. It will lead to better quality food, a cleaner environment, and safer travel. By putting green initiatives at the forefront of event priorities we are making it a much more attractive prospect for ticket buyers.
A shift is happening; 78 per cent of festivals say that they already have an environmental policy in place. All we need to do as event organisers is give our attendees the opportunities to make greener decisions; ample recycling bins; discounts for greener travel; tips on clearing campsites to make it easier to recycle waste. All easy things to implement that can and will make a big change.
Each event leaves a stamp in the hearts and minds of those who attend. Let’s make sure that we don’t leave one on the environment too.