Recycling pee, solar-powering stages and constructions made of bamboo are just some of the eco-friendly innovations happening at some of Europe’s music festivals this year – all in the name of helping the environment. In 2019 it certainly seems that more festival organisers are taking on the job of making their festivals green.
This is for good reason too – the European festival industry is responsible for a huge amount of wastage and is under pressure to go greener.
More than 19,000 tonnes of carbon gas emissions are caused by UK festivals alone, according to research from organisation, Powerful Thinking. As much as 23,500 tonnes of waste is created from UK festivals overall, which places festival organisers under pressure to take more action in the global interest.
This includes doing more to help the surrounding areas of their festival site, fizzling out bad habits such as dropping cans, peeing in bushes rather than queueing for the loo and meat-eaters relentlessly chowing down on hot dogs and burgers, most blissfully unaware of the environmental impact of meat production.
Yes, the number of festival managers going greener is growing and many are doing a stand-out job of it; the best of the bunch getting industry and fans involved in the process.
For example, the number of UK festivals working with their power suppliers to reduce energy usage and increase efficiency doubled from one in four to half of all events between 2016 and 2017. The numbers have similarly increased in continental Europe. Meanwhile, many people who travel for their festival fun are becoming aware of how they can help the environment around them and be responsible by doing their ‘green’ bit thanks to a raft of immersive and innovative on-site activities.
So how are your favourite festivals going green this year and what are they doing to be green?
Sustainability award-winning dance festival, DGTL, holds its annual festival across Europe at various venues throughout the year. Its eco-friendly schemes to get punters on board include using recyclable cups and having a meat-free menu to reduce the release of CO2 up and down the food chain. This year, DGTL’s menu is based on food surplus waste and leftovers.
Proudly winning the “Outstanding Award” at the Greener Festival Awards, the event team has been innovative for its efforts in recycling urine phosphate to produce plant fertiliser that gets distributed to local farmers!
LED panels are displayed to show an up-to-date calculation of phosphate created and CO2 saved to keep festival-goers engaged. These efforts have succeeded in keeping its audience interested in more than just the music.
Next DGTL Festival: 23-24 August, Barcelona, Spain.
The organisers behind this chilled out, month-long jazz fest have pledged to neutralise the carbon footprint of the event, cutting down on its energy use and finding alternative solutions, as well as going straw-free. What’s more, you’ll only find recyclable cups and you’re asked to keep hold of these to reuse at the event. The event’s star-studded line-up includes Jamie Cullum, The Roots, Best Youth, Jessie J, Churky – and even Tom Jones. The event is held at two outstanding locations in the heart of Cascais, at the Hipodromo in Manuel Possolo and the Marechal Carmona.
Happening from 8-31 August, Lisbon, Portugal.
This spiritual, well-being and music bi-annual festival is largely focused upon creating an environment that’s green; from its solar-powered energy solutions to its bamboo-based stage construction. It’s partnered up with organisations including CompostEra, Ecocentro IPEC, as well as DIY enthusiasts to realise the vision.
This event team has really done its homework to create compost toilets and build its structures out of natural materials, including stone, cane, willow and recycled materials.
As well as an epic line-up, the Boom Festival has an array of art installations and a truly chilled out garden area.
Be there this 22-29 July, Idanha-a-Nova Lake, Portugal.
Electronic, indie and alternative pop dance artists pave the way for this festival, which has been successfully running on renewable energy from the grid for the last 10 years. To add to this, the Oya’s Festival food is served only in compostable packaging, cups are reusable and more than 90% of the food is organically-produced. That’s pretty good going for a four-day festival. With the festival’s location, you can easily get there by walking, cycling or taking public transport.
Look forward to a stonking line-up featuring The Cure, Cult of Luna, Sigrid and Mitski this 6-10 August, Oslo, Norway.
Underpinned with the values of ethical, healthy and sustainable living, this festival uses alternative energy systems to power its stages to house this year’s up-and-coming acts, from poets and activists, to DJs and magicians.
Arrive on-site in the festival’s organised transport and dance your way to ecstasy through tribal trance dance, bioenergetics and cacao ceremonies. The festival’s audience are very much supportive of the festival’s ethical and sustainable approach to having fun.
Happening from 14-17 June in a remote location in Alentejo, Portugal.
Following through on its journey to be the world’s most green and sustainable cultural event, this festival commands you to separate your recycling waste into different kinds of materials and offers up a smorgasbord of all-organic food; once again, involving festival-goers in the process.
There are no car parks on site, encouraging festival-goers to take public transport.
Walk, cycle or bus your way there this June 6-8, Aarhus, Denmark.
The dub-themed event and culture organises trash into recycling bins, including a compost for food waste, harvesting food leftovers and using dry toilets to save on water usage. What’s more, its suppliers and caterers accept cash only to save on electricity.
Expect acoustic and bass-heavy sets from Moja, Daddy Freddy, Kazman Dub – happening from 11-14 July, Lake Vioreau, France.
About the Author
Emma Otusajo is a freelance content writer specialising in events, sustainability and HR-related topics. She has written blog posts, articles for start-ups and online publications to help increase engagement, build awareness and gain new leads for businesses. She also provides VA services in admin and event planning.