Traffic congestion, associated parking problems and pollution are clearly an environmental concern associated with festivals especially where festivals are on greenfield sites or distant from centres of population.
The most positive way to allay these concerns is to promote public transport. Festival organisers can consider:
- Lift share programmes (speak to a company like Liftshare.com or Freewheelers.co.uk)
- Use parking charge to subsidise public transport
- Work with public transport providers to provide dedicated services
- Make sure you think about luggage and bags!
The survey of 649 festival visitors revealed that:
- 70% of festival goers believed that festivals cause traffic congestion. This highlights that traffic is one of the major negative effects that should be addressed.
Six of the festival organisers sampled referred to measures they take to reduce the amount of traffic coming to events. This includes provision of public transport, car park charges, and encouragement of car shares.
- 61% usually travel to festivals by car.
Persuading people to give up the comfort of the car is difficult, especially when there is luggage to carry. Perhaps if the government was to spend more on public transport and less on new roads this would help the balance.
Organisers can do something though, and festivals will often take measures to try to minimise the amount of traffic. For example, Glastonbury Festival provides a shuttle bus to and from the event, and operates a lift share scheme with liftshare.com. A festival visitor highlighted the method used by Shambala festival, which is to charge £10 per vehicle brought to the event, the proceeds of which are used to subsidise cheap public transport.
- 65% agreed or strongly agreed that they would travel to festivals by public transport if it was provided as part of the ticket price.
Such a scheme could potentially be organized through a sponsorship deal with transport companies. An example of such incentives being put into practice was given by Broadstairs Folk Week, who had a sponsorship deal with stagecoach to provide transport.
A number of festival goers highlighted that it was really not practical for them to use public transport as they were traveling with babies and a lot of luggage. It is important to address these type of issues as you are trying to pursuade your customers to come to your festival – not put them off. You have to make it EASY for people!
Traffic problems not only cause disruption and delay within the local area, but the combined CO2 emissions reduce air quality and ultimately contribute to climate change.
Liftsharing: A Glastonbury Approach
Liftsharing is a great way to reduce traffic to the Festival and save money and hassle. We’ve teamed up with www.liftshare.com to make that easier (contact firstname.lastname@example.org / t: 08700 780 225). You can ask for a contribution to costs and save some money on your own travel, or maybe don’t bring a car at all. It’s also another great way to meet new people at the Festival.
It is estimated that as many as 15,000 car journeys to the Festival are eliminated each year because of people sharing their cars using these internet services. This takes a lot of pressure off the local roads, and helps keep local residents happier, and probably most importantly reduces the amount of time we all spend in traffic jams waiting to get into site. If you have spare spaces in your car, or you don’t really have to use your car then please consider lift-sharing. It definitely must be part of the future of private transport.
Sharing a lift to Glastonbury is environmentally friendly and should share out costs. Lift sharing also reduces the amount of car parking needed at the Festival site.
However, all arrangements which you make are private arrangements between you and other sharers. Glastonbury Festival does not arrange lift sharing or have any liability to or for lift sharers.
Safety first: Make sure you know the identity of the person or persons you are sharing with. Having a home telephone number is sensible precaution and make sure you leave details of the lift share, the driver and passenger’s number(s) and home address if possible with friends and/or family. Take your mobile phone with you. If you are at all uncomfortable with any arrangements, or the condition of the vehicle being used, then make other plans. If a vehicle is not taxed it is possible the driver has no driving licence, no insurance and no MOT.
Safety first: Trust your instincts and use common sense.
Travel – Hitch-Hiking
AGreenerFestival cannot recommend that you engage in hitch-hiking, but if you are willing to take the personal risk to yourself then a festival is still a very popular hitching destination. Glastonbury say that many of the best stories of people getting to the Festival involve them going to the end of their road with a sign that reads “Glastonbury Festival” and making it there. There are no guarantees though, and you must be prepared to spend a night sleeping under a hedge if things go wrong.
Remember some essential tips:
- It’s best not to hitch-hike alone, especially women.
- Always be polite, you are not owed anything.
- Do not walk on the motorway, it’s illegal.
- Always let someone know you are going, and let them know when you arrive
- A sign showing your destination helps a lot, making sure it can be read clearly
- It helps if your appearance is clean and tidy
- Keep your luggage to a minimum
Please remember that there is a risk associated with hitch hiking, and you are putting yourself in the care of a complete stranger. Generally it is a good way to meet interesting people, but if you are not confident that you can handle the risks then you should never consider this type of transport.