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A Greener Festival - Leave not a whisper - nor a trace - take away only beautiful memories

Having helped drive awareness of the environment in the live music sector, the Greener Festival team now hope to encourage and reward those Festivals that deliver more environmentally friendly music events.

Do we really need another group of people preaching the cause to us? surely in this nanny state there can't really be a need for yet another cause we have to embrace - can there? - do we really need to bother ourselves with serious issues when we're out on a jolly? - before you raise your eyebrows and yawn consider this:

  • According to a report by the IPCC (2001) substantial and significant research indicates that most of the change in our climate in the last 50 years is due to human activities.
  • UK temperatures are expected to rise by 2 - 3.5 degrees Celcius by 2080 (Defra, 2005).
  • Globally 10% of the hottest years on record occurred since 1990.
  • Landfills sites in the UK are approaching capacity, emitting gases that contribute to global warming.
  • The Ozone layer is depleting globally and over the UK (Defra, 2005).
  • Recent research from the US proves that car fumes cause asthma, a breathing condition that now 1 in 8 children in the UK suffer from - a six fold increase in the last 25 years (Semylen, 2003).
  • The effects of climate change include rising sea levels, loss of bio-diversity, more extreme weather conditions and natural disasters (Defra, 2005; EEA, 2005; IPCC, 2001; King, 2004).
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO 2) is one of the greenhouse gases contributing to the climatic changes (EA, 2005). Burning of fossil fuels emits CO2 to the atmosphere.

In 2006 there was a £250,000 landfill bill generated by the Download Festival - after the last Glastonbury Michael Eavis’ barn was stuffed full with thousands of discarded Glastonbury Wellington boots - the waste from all of our well loved festivals is unacceptably high. The environmental impact of Britain’s rapidly burgeoning festival scene is becoming scarily obvious, more importantly it is clear that something needs to be done in order to clean up our act, we all know it - yet there has been little real opportunity to co-ordinate information and encourage and enable all festival organisers to get on board and make a real difference. Currently there is a notable mix of efforts with some festivals way ahead with the green agenda, others beginning to address it and some that need a real push. It's a message that really needs to be got across to those of us who attend festivals as well - this is a joint responsibility and we all need to do our bit for our planet, we can't simply absolve ourselves of responsibility for what's going on any longer - so do we all need to do something? hell yes we most certainly do.

And that's where the people behind A Greener Festival have stepped in, the inspiration behind A Greener Festival sprang from research undertaken by Claire O’Neil an honours graduate from Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College - the UK's premier university for event management training. Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College is an industry leader in terms of the innovative and forward thinking training in event management - and this is further evidenced by the launching of A Greener Festival Website which has been designed by Luke Westbury, another forward thinking Chilterns honours graduate. The whole project has been co-ordinated by Ben Challis, a music industry lawyer, editor of who before other work commitments intervened was also a visiting lecturer at BCUC.

Having helped drive awareness of the environment in the live music sector, the Greener Festival team now hope to encourage and reward those Festivals that deliver more environmentally friendly music events - this is a really significant development because these guys are not just handing out awards to those who are already getting there - the Greener Festival website is packed full of help and information which means that those who urgently need to improve have ready and easy access to quality information, help and advice - and they will be encouraged to take small steps that ultimately lead to big changes and rewards. It's clear that all of us who love our festivals need to get on board with this agenda and make sure that we help them out by doing our bit as well.

Whether driven by an ethical stand point or the financial bottom line, this year’s festivals will address the issues of the environment as never before and that's great news for all of us. Further, the team behind independent website A Greener Festival have established this voluntary award scheme acknowledging individual festivals commitment to environmentally friendly practices, the gauntlet has been well and truly laid down. This is an innovate project and one that should make us all a little more aware of what's going on - but more importantly aware about what we can all do to help change our own behaviour and practices - and it isn't all about the big things - it's the little things we can do that add up.

Greener Festival co-founder Ben Challis told Safe Concerts about the new award:

“The Greener Festival 2007 award is to promote greening practices at music festivals. We don’t expect festivals to be able to meet every single point on our check list but they must reach a minimum standard. They need at the very least to have a coherent transport and travel policy promoting public transport; they must consider ways to reduce waste and pollution; they must have recycling on site and they must protect the environment and protect wildlife. We also expect festivals to aspire to a 26 point action plan – our A-Z of going green – and by 2008 we really do hope that all UK festivals will have basic green policies and practices in place. Ultimately we expect all festivals to aim for a ‘leave no trace’ philosophy where their festival is totally green and leaves no impact on the environment."

A Greener Festival website is not for profit and therefore is being run and promoted by people with a passion, understanding and commitment alongside a wealth of knowledge and ability they posses that will undoubtedly help to move the agenda forward promoting change for all the right reasons - the site’s research and recommendations are set to be a source of debate and ultimately creative environmental solutions - they have a strong ethical policy statement:

We try to maintain an ethical stance and there are certain industries (along with companies and organisations servicing those industries) we cannot deal with. We will not deal with those involved the production, sale or distribution of arms and ammunition. We will not deal with those who are involved in the exploitation of non-sustainable resources in forestry and/or in the agricultural, mining and fuel industries. We will not deal with those who exploit the individual and/or who do not respect those basic human rights enshrined in the European Convention for Human Rights. We support Fair Trade and an environmentally efficient approach. Let's all try and Make Poverty History.The aim of is to spread the Best Practice of successful festivals, allowing festival organisers and promoters to understand how waste, traffic, CO2 emissions, noise, water pollution and land damage can all be minimised or eradicated.

And it's really good news to know that the music industry are really on board with this one, A has been at the centre of the movement for environmental considerate music events since its launch last summer. Their work has included contributions to special features in The Times, Independent and industry magazine IQ, a seminar at the International Live Music Conference and work with the European Festival Organisers Association to promote best practice within the industry. Really good news for all of us:

Claire O’Neil who provided the spark that ignited this innovative project says

"Festivals really are top of my list when it comes to entertainment and generally enjoying life and music! It's that love for life and enjoying it in nature that has inspired the research into making festivals not only neutral but a positive force towards sustainability ... so that future generations can do the same. I hope that people will utilise the website, connect, exchange ideas and information to make any environmental damage from events a thing of the past."

A major piece of work that will have long term benefits for all is the fact that the Greener Festival Team are compiling a database of green suppliers for festivals - and database manager Chris Klasinski is including anything from biodegradable plates and rubbish bags to wind powered stages and from environmentally friendly printers to recycling co-operatives. So if you are a supplier you can contact Chris and get your services added to the database - e-mail here  

if you need any more details on agreenerfetsival you can contact their PR team headed up by Sam Hinde at Freeman PR - email Sam

We simply can't recommend the A Greener Festival team and their website highly enough - this quality site is absolutely packed with quality information providing a wealth of links to other resources - a message board that is full of helpful insights - and separate sections on specific aspects such as noise, water,vland damage, CO2 emissions, research etc. You simply won't find better information on green events anywhere - this team of people are going to instigate change by encouraging and empowering us to change - festivals will never be the same again - they will be better forever - we thank you A Greener Festival


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23rd November 2008
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A Greener Festival - Leave not a whisper - nor a trace - take away only beautiful memories
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