Considering that festivals as events normally take place in a field, most festivals are far from ‘green’ in their operation. Emissions generated from revelers traveling to and from the site, mounds of rubbish left behind and the onsite diesel generators, means that although a green ideology exists in principle, the reality is different. The carbon footprint made by a typical festival event is quite scary when analyzed.
During a project conducted by Oxford University researchers into the environmental impact of 500 UK festivals upon the environment, the combined total of emissions was 84,000 tonnes of C02 per annum. Most experts were in agreement that the biggest single contributor to this statistic was the transportation element. According to Julie’s Bicycle, an organization that was created to assist the music industry clean up its act and reduce its festival carbon footprint, the transportation of large groups of people contributes roughly 68% of the total carbon emissions – approximately 45,000 tonnes.
To try to counter this, some festivals have adopted the lead from Glastonbury to encourage people to car share as a means of transportation to the festival site. Several incentives were set up offering VIP upgrades on tickets for lucky prize winners who could prove that they had adopted the scheme. Although this is a good idea, it is a drop in the ocean compared to the overall magnitude of the problem.
A survey by the music industry campaign group Agreenerfestival.com conducted by Buckinghamshire New University has recently published its findings. It quizzed 1407 festival goers across Europe and asked people’s opinion on green issues at live music events. The survey took in 500 fans from the UK, almost 600 fans in Finland and 330 fans in Germany and Holland. It is important to note that the awareness of festival attendees on the relationship between CO2 and climate change had increased by 26% in two years since the original survey.
The survey also compared the opinions of people in the UK with those of their European counterparts and found the following information:
The survey also showed that there was a large number both in the UK and in Europe that were resistant to the environmental impact of festivals, many of which refused to acknowledge that any problem existed at all.
In 2009 Bestival and the Isle of Wight Festival were the only large UK festivals to receive the ‘outstanding’ awards from ‘A Greener Festival’ for their commitments to reducing the environmental impact of their respective events. Hopefully more festivals will use these examples to inspire them to clean up their acts.
Author Bio: Peter is an internet marketer who enjoys writing about environmental issues, music and topical stories.