There are now around 1000 music festivals that take place annually in the UK, a massive increase on the 100 registered in 2004. With more festivals than ever before, more and more people are touring the country to see their favourite artists in action â€“ not to mention the rise in international festival tourism too.
Whilst the idea of camping, partying with friends and getting back to nature for the weekend appeals to hundreds of thousands of us every year, few consider the potential damage done to local areas. Its true that the impact done by a single festival-goer is minimal, but each person can make a difference if they choose to be greener whilst camping.
After careful consideration, and plenty of trawling through the facts and figures, we at AMA have come up with our top three environmental challenges, and their solutions, that modern festivals face:
Going On Tour
Most festival revelers won't give much thought to how they travel to their festival of choice this year â€“ opting simply for what is most convenient and cheapest in their area. Transport is one of the biggest contributors to a festival's pollution â€“ almost everyone will arrive by car, train, bus or even plane, causing not only massive pollution but clogging up roads and transport systems across the country.
Many event organisers are already tackling this problem to help make their festivals greener. Glastonbury actively encourages lift sharing, running up a service to connect ticket holders to make it easier to find a car to share; estimating that 15,000 cars were cut from their carparks last year following the scheme. Shambala festival also reduced cars by charging an extra Â£10 to park, Broadstairs offered heavily discounted public transport through a sponsorship with Stagecoach, whilst some give food and drink vouchers to those arriving by bus or train.
Camping Under The Stars
You probably will have seen it for yourself on TV and in papers - the aftermath of festivals that leave both farmland and public spaces looking like landfill sites. Especially at the largest events, such as Glastonbury and Reading festivals, thousands of tents, chairs, gazebos and all manners of camping equipment are left behind once everyone goes home.
Many festivals will arrange for tents to be donated to charity, but usually rely on the tent being handed in to staff at the end of the festival, simply as they don't have the manpower or time to collect and dismantle thousands of tents. Unfortunately there is very little that can be done about tent abandoning, as the culprit leaves the site before the tent is found, though many are introducing extra recycling bins and signs to push more people to be environmentally friendly.
Waste Not, Want Not
There is, obviously, much more waste produced by festivals than just camping equipment. From food waste to packaging, magazines to clothes, people leave or lose all sorts of things around campsites and festival spaces. Over 70% of festival attendees agree that general waste is a negative aspect of festivals, and so organisers have been taking steps to help.
Many festivals now charge customers a deposit for cups and cutlery, meaning that they are not treated as being so disposable and people return them, instead of discarding them, with some festivals even paying people to do ad-hoc litter picks mid-weekend to keep the site clean. Some, such as Reading and Leeds, also accept donations of leftover food and drink from partiers at the end of the festival to be donated to charity, helping to cut down on even organic waste.
It is then very easy to help cut your environmental impact at any festival this summer. With using public transport, donating anything you don't want and recycling the rest, there is no excuse not to be green this summer.
If you're planning your own local event or music festival, check out all of our site waste management services, and our commercial skip hire too, to help keep your space as tidy and as green as possible.