Summer is the time for sun, beaches, hiking, fruit picking, camping, bonfires, gardening …markets …biking…kayaking……swimming…okay, so pretty much insert any fun activity here that you cannot do in the winter! Summer is of course main season for MUSIC FESTIVALS! For nearly every musical taste there is a festival to suit your tunage needs.
Personally, I have not been drawn to music festivals until recently, but now that I live a very eco-conscious lifestyle, I knew that there would be obstacles in the way of waste reduction, as I have seen the destruction that a mob of humans can leave behind at any such festival, such as this disgusting mess at Pemberton Music Festival, and this grossness at Glastonbury. Also, read this post from treehugger referring to music festivals as an “environmental disaster”.
Music festivals are a time to relax, dance, eat good food, be with amazing people, meet new people, and just have a crazy good time. At what cost are we experiencing this though? Why do we seem to lose all self control and basic manners while attending music festivals or other large events? And how are the music festivals themselves promoting a more sustainable way of attending a celebration of music and good vibes?
In my experiences, there are festivals that value sustainability and encourage attendees to act responsibly whilst getting their jam on. In July, my sister and I attended the Vancouver Island Music Festival in Comox Valley. My eyes immediately caught a glimpse of bins that were placed all around the grounds, collecting garbage, recycling, and COMPOST (yay). Another thing I was happy about was that most of the food vendors offered cardboard or paper trays/plates, and compostable cutlery (win!). I had my own with me anyway, but I would not have been hooped had I not prepared! There were also plenty of watering stations where you could refill your water bottles. Oh, and did I mention the tunes?!
In Seattle we had a more wasteful experience, especially within the beer gardens, as there were lots of vendors set up selling beer and cider, each in their own plastic cup; I found no recycling stations there?! A little disappointing and surprising.
A couple of things you could do to lessen your impact on the festival clean-up:
1. definitely bring a reusable water bottle. You will need it! If you can fit it, bring
2. bring your own travel cutlery and wrap it in a napkin; these are light and small enough to fit into your bag.
3. try and stick to vendors that offer smarter packaging/serving options! Basically, anything not plastic is preferred.
4. remember your responsibility, and try not to always choose the most convenient option; you’ve got time, you’re not going anywhere, so relax and think green 🙂
A few more tips from Trash is for Tossers.
Recently I saw something that the Wapiti Music Festival is doing in Fernie, B.C., which I think is a BRILLIANT idea. They have switched to 100% recycled, reusable steel pint cups to use for their beer and cider. What a promising initiative, and great example for other festivals to show that plastic-free can be done! Sustainability win!
Next week I will be heading to the Invermere Music Festival, and hopefully there I will also find some happy alternatives to plastics!
In your festival experiences, have you found more wasteful or sustainable venues? What have been some really promising things you saw, or some very discouraging ones? Please share your experiences!