Festivals look for greener ways to rock

Hannah Love is a lifelong festival goer. Her first festival is believed to have been the Sidmouth Folk Festival, when her mother was eight months pregnant with her. Love, now an expert on baby sleep and parenting, says she has attended festivals each of her 46 years.

"My children and I would prefer a festival to a vacation"says this mother of three. She says that when she brings her children, she looks for festivals that entertain the whole family.

"For example, I love Wilderness because there are woodland crafts, swimming, good headline acts, plus there are playgrounds so the kids can go out and explore. We feel safe".

While the events and activities are the main attraction, she says the values ​​of a festival are also important.

"I think the type of festivals I go to put a big emphasis on sustainability and attract people like us who do think about the environment. Going to a festival has a carbon footprint much less than traveling abroad".

Festivals that consume a lot of polluting energy

It's something the entire festival industry is thinking about. A lot of electricity is needed to run a festival and they are often held in remote areas where there is no connection to the national grid.

Many festivals rely on fossil fuel-powered generators, which pump out carbon dioxide, the main cause of climate change.

The UK festival community alone uses more than 12 million liters of diesel a year, according to research by A Greener Future, a sustainability consultancy and industry think tank, Powerful Thinking.

Transportation is another large source of emissions and includes transporting people to the event and transporting materials to and from the venue.

Greener festivals


Festivals are striving to improve their environmental impact.

For example, last year's Glastonbury Festival installed a 20-metre wind turbine to power selected stalls.

Installed by Octopus Energy, the turbine, along with solar panels and a battery, supplied a small grid with enough electricity to run 300 refrigerators a day.

More and more festivals are investing in greener energy options, including solar power and battery storage.

One of the driving forces behind green festivals is Chris Johnson, co-founder of the Shambala festival in the UK, which has adopted a number of green measures throughout its duration.

It only serves vegan and vegetarian food, and has moved from diesel generators to supplying energy through sustainably sourced hydrogenated vegetable oil, solar and hybrid units, and has introduced energy tariffs for traders to encourage greater responsibility in consumption of energy.

Johnson says there has been a "complete cultural change" in Shambhala.

And adds: "What we've realised... is that we need to reduce demand, so a big part of what we're doing is working with everyone who uses energy at the festival, for example food traders, and trying to reduce the demand".

Mysteryland is a three-day electronic music festival held in the Netherlands that attracts 130.000 attendees each year.

Their chief operating officer, Maarten van't Veld, says they have taken a number of steps to become less reliant on fossil fuels.

Now 80% of their energy is generated by solar panels on a nearby farm. The festival and its partners also dug electrical cables into the ground to connect the festival to the national grid.

"[The grid connection] was a big investment, but in 10 years we will recover the investment and then we will have no additional costs"says van't Veld.

He says connecting to the network can be a big challenge.

"In many areas of the Netherlands there is a shortage of electricity capacity, which means that some companies cannot get a new connection to the grid or extend the existing connection.".

"We started this project in 2017 and commissioned this new connection some time ago. If we started this project now, it probably wouldn't be possible".


With information of: https://www.bbc.com/