Here at A Greener Festival HQ we have been busy analysing the results from our 2011 Greener Festival Awards and Nico has done a marvellous job in aggregating the data collected by A Greener Festival’s environmental auditors at 46 events during the 2011 festival season in North America, Europe and Australia, which were attended by over 2.25 million people. The festivals, which range from massive events such as Glastonbury (177,500 England), T-in-the-Park (85,000 Scotland), the Malmo Festival (200,000 daily, Sweden), SOS 4:8 (40,000 daily, Spain) and Bonnaroo (80,000 US) to smaller festivals such as the 1,000 capacity Wood Festival and Waveform in the UK and the 4,500 capacity Island Vibe in Australia, have all signed up to the Greener Festival Awards scheme to adopt environmentally friendly practices and reduce their impact on the planet.

Last year we focussed on travel and transport, and it was really rewarding to see festivals adopting better practices, and the audience starting to slowly reduce its reliance on the car. Whilst this work is ongoing, this year we are going to focus more and more on water & waste – in particular the issue of abandoned tents and camping gear at out of town festivals – a vast waste of resources and a cost to festivals – as well as to the environment.

Here are just some of the key things we found:

TENTS

– Only 34% of festivals said that they did NOT have a problem with left behind tents and in the UK these tended to be smaller festivals;  Conversely 81% of festivals now have action plans to deal with the ever growing problem of unwanted tents and other camping equipment.

– Abandoned tents were not just a UK problem, with non-urban festivals in mainland Europe, Australia and the USA reporting a rise in left behind tents and other camping gear.

TRAVEL, TRANSPORT AND ENERGY

– 100% of award winners promote public transport

– 88% promote liftshare and car pooling

– 80% calculate the event’s travel footprint, measuring CO2 emitted by the public and production transport (77% in 2010)

We also looked at a number of other areas and you might find the following interesting

– 87% of our Award winners use at least some renewable energy on-site (84% in 2010) – some others use green tariffs and/or green energy from their national grid

– The most common on-site green energy sources  are bio-diesel and solar power,  and festivals also use pedal power and kinetic energy.

– 100% of our festivals recycle plastics, glass, paper and metals – at least partially

– 75% can compost food waste

 – 52% prioritise ethical, fair trade, environmentally friendly and organic traders

– 75% conserve water and re-use grey water

– 75% promote water efficiency to the audience

This year we have our first South American entrants and more European interest, but we are just hoping that the recession doesn’t give Festival’s more headaches when it comes to continuing to reduce their environmental impact, and lead the fight against climate change. Keep up the good work and remember – take your tent home!!!

Photo  (c) 2007 Claire O’Neill