Many events involve the use of green field sites, temporarily transformed into busy centers of activity. They may involve the use of heavy structures, machinery, 100s – 100,000s of feet and 1000’s of cars etc. Some the scale of Glastonbury turn a green field site into a temporary city!
In addition to the physical land itself comes the wildlife who live there.
Festival organisers should consider:
- Using trackway to minimise damage of vehicle movement on site (and in the UK avoid spending half of the build pulling vehicles out of the mud!)
- Where possible enhance the environment by planting trees and preserving nature
- Preserve hedgerows, trees, and consider wildlife when planning your event.SEE THIS EXCELLENT ARTICLE BY GEOFF MONCK ABOUT TREE PROTECTION AT FESTIVALS (PDF Download)
- Consultants can offer their expertise and advise for minimizing land damage and protecting local wildlife.
- Liaise with local environmental and wildlife charities and organisations.
- A percentage of takings could be donated or invested into local environmental/wildlife projects. Check out www.groundwork.org
From an internet survey of 649 festival visitors the following was found with regards to attitudes to waste management at events:
- 49% of respondents agree or strongly agree that land damage is a negative environmental effect of festivals. 23% chose not sure, and 28% disagreed or strongly disagreed
5% of the comments made by festival goers related to land conservation:
“Essentially what you are doing is very similar to a camping trip; ideally, each individual should apply the same rules that they would when anywhere else in nature. You are taking something from the land, i.e. your enjoyment, and it deserves to be treated with respect. It would be great to think that everyone tried to apply a ‘leave only footprints’ approach to their time at a festivals, which of course should be mirrored by any traders etc there.”
“The main impact would be making festivals themselves sustainable, by not annoying the locals we are seen as less of a pest by the authorities, and save the land for the future”
“Too many people want to get wasted and have a good time and forget about the real world when, if they are willing to be out in the open then they should appreciate EVERYTHING that comes with the experience. This includes making sure they left the land just as clean as when they arrived with respect and maturity!”
Festival organisers and workers also highlighted measures taken to protect the land they use:
“BGG is very concerned with the environment. All stallholders products are expected to be environmentally friendly, we actively discourage vehicles on site (cars belong in a car park, not with tents), we leave the land as we found it (litter clearing can take up to 2 months after event). We work with the local council and encourage any local environmental organizations to take part.” Jennifer Sundance (stalls co-ordinator BGG, Healing area reception Glasto)
“Many urinals for men to discourage them from urinating against the fence / trees.” Nick Ladd (Glade Festival)