Can you be green at a music festival?13th June 2014
The weather's getting better, the World Cup has started and there's a buoyant sense of optimism circulating. If that wasn't enough, there's a plethora of different music festivals on the horizon that could easily be the standout moment of the summer.
Such events have the potential to create memories that will last a lifetime as you and your friends hear some of the hottest acts, push your body clock to its very extremities as you sleep during the day and party all night long, and learn to embrace the fact there's always going to be excessive amounts of mud everywhere.
However, festivals like Glastonbury could also help to rack up a considerable carbon footprint if you're not careful. As you're not at home, there's a good chance you'll not be quite so aware of your actions and whether or not you're being mindful of the environment. In light of this, here are some of our tips to help you to have an awesome and green time this summer.
How are you going to get to the festivals? With thousands of music fans travelling across the country to get to various events, the potential for carbon dioxide emissions to go through the roof is very likely.
Glastonbury is obviously one of the biggest festivals and the organisers will reward you for being green in your travel methods. They're running the Green Traveller Initiative, which has been going for a few years now.
Every festival goer that turns up having used public transport or cycled will receive special Green Traveller vouchers, which will contain money off at food stalls throughout the event and enable you to purchase an official T-shirt at a lower rate than everyone else. It pays to be green, literally.
The aim for 2014 is to get 40,000 people travelling by bus, which equates to one-third of all festival goers. Have a look here on their website to find out more details. Alternatively, there's the train or the good old-fashioned bike.
Another option is to lift share – obviously if you're going with friends then it would make sense, in this situation, to ride together. There are also various websites that you can organise journeys on to enable as many people as possible to reduce their carbon footprint.
Limit what you bring…and take it home!
If you're travelling by public transport then what you're able to carry with your hands and back might be limited anyway, but this could still apply for those of you who are crafty in packing concisely.
Even if you're going by car and don't mind numerous trips unloading your various different outfits, camping accessories and beauty products, give a thought for how utterly exhausted you'll be at the end of the event. Will you really want to lug everything back many times to the car?
We'd advise you to think carefully about what you actually need to bring. We don't need to tell you how annoying it is to carry various items around and about, and then for them to sit in your tent unused, roasting in the sun, to then take home again.
Another important thing to bear in mind is don't be tempted to simply abandon anything you don't need at the site, once the event has finished.
At Glastonbury each year, thousands of tents and other pieces of camping equipment – such as air beds, gazebos, roll mats, chairs and blankets – are left behind by festival goers. Don't bring items that will end up in landfill sites or that you know you won't be able to take home with you.
Consider buying a good-quality tent that will last for many years, instead of a cheap one that will serve its purpose one summer and then you have no further need for. Financially, it makes more sense to spend a little more on a reliable model and it will save you time and the hassle of going to buy a new one each year.
Furthermore, you can never guarantee that it won't rain at these events and the likelihood is that, the better the tent you purchase, the less likely it is to leak or get damaged by any adverse weather conditions. One of the worst things known to man is surely to find your possessions damaged by a storm and then having to sleep on a soaked airbed.
Some things can't be reused and that's OK. Just make sure you properly dispose of any rubbish, which means finding the right bin depending on what you're throwing away. Glastonbury is providing 40,000 bins that are colour-coded and in easy-to-find locations around the site.
This is particularly pertinent if you smoke, because a cigarette butt can take as many as eight years to break down. So, once you've had a puff, dispose of it in the correct place. There will also be buckets of sand for you to put discarded butts in once you're finished.
Hopefully these tips will encourage you that you can take a green approach to the forthcoming music festivals, while still having a great time.