We all love the unparalleled experience of going to a festival where production is top notch and the vibes are on point. Unfortunately these out-of-this-world events can have a pretty detrimental impact on the environment.
On average, an American will produce one tonne of waste in an entire year, but large scale festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival generate hundreds of tonnes of waste during a 3 to 4 day event. With this in mind, and taking into consideration that there are close to 800 music festivals in the US per year alone, music festivals are wildly wasteful.
Thankfully, festivals around the world are stepping up and taking action to lower their contribution to climate change. Many are initiating sustainability plans such as Ultra Miami and Deep Tropics, and making a commitment to action. In the UK, over 40 UK festivals have pledged to cut their emissions by half and reach recycling rates of 50% by 2025.
While there are positive strides by industry leaders to a more sustainable festival experience, there are many ways that you, as a festival attendee, can be more environmentally conscious while dancing to wubs and shuffling your heart out.
- Opt for shuttle buses or carpooling – Shuttle buses/carpooling are an easy and fun way to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Not only are you doing something better for the environment, it is a fun way to get excited with your besties pre-festival.
- Shop small and local or reuse and buy used rave wear – There are hundreds of small rave wear businesses now that produce high quality, unique and cost friendly pieces. Supporting larger scale fast fashion companies contributes to high levels of unnecessary waste.
- Think about pregame waste – Solo cups and plastic bottles are the common culprits during a festival pregame. Using reusable cups can be an easy way to cut down on pre-festival waste. Additionally, try making snacks ahead of time instead of buying packaged snacks.
During The Festival
- Bring a hydropack or reusable water bottle – Water filling stations have become a staple at many festivals. Take advantage of the free water stations and reduce your plastic use and waste.
- Try the vegan or vegetarian options – The meat industry is a large contributor to emissions of greenhouse gasses. So make your meals more sustainable by purchasing a delicious meat-free meal, or making it your pre-fest fuel.
- Be mindful where you toss your waste – When you’re in the middle of the crowd it can be easy to just toss a cup on the ground or flick a cigarette butt away. This collectively contributes to massive amounts of litter to be cleaned after the festival ends. Try to hold onto your waste and dispose of it properly, especially try to find recycling bins for your plastic waste.
- Join a volunteer clean up – Join the already enacted efforts of environmental organizations and event companies to help reduce the impact of festivals. Some examples of these efforts include: Bonnaroo’s “Clean Vibes” initiative, Lost Land’s “leave no trace” policy, and Ultra Music Festival’s “Mission: Home“.
- Camping waste – Always bring home your tent, air mattress and dirty clothing because it will be sent to the landfill if you leave it at the festival. Try donating your old tent or air mattress so it can be used by someone in need. Wash your clothes and donate them to clothing banks or check if your festival has partnered with any charity organizations to collect gently used items. For example, Coachella this year will have a donation center for tents, sleeping bags, pillows etc.
- Pay it forward – Spread the word of all the good ravers can do for the community. Let your rave fam know how to dispose of their trash properly, reuse their clothes, and donate to those in need. Live the PLUR lifestyle both at a festival and in your everyday life.
Authors: Merinah Buller and Danielle Levy