6 eco-friendly festivals in the UK

Festivals have become infamous for producing tonnes of waste – not to mention the effect hundreds of thousands of people congregating in a field has on the environment.

But it doesn’t have to be that way..

Shambala Festival, Northamptonshire

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In just five years, Shambala Festival has reduced the onsite carbon footprint by 81%. The festival is also 100% renewable energy powered and has a 65% recycling rate, which it is trying to better.

This year, for the first time ever, the festival will be going meat and fish free.

“Instead, keep your eyes peeled for insect dishes, Bacon Lovers Anonymous support groups, luxury dining experiences, a range of delicious food from around the world, debates, talks and creative exploration of the wonderful world of food.”

Food stalls are only offered a pitch if they use biodegradable plates, cups and cutlery, and use fair trade, organic and local supplies wherever possible. The festival also runs a recycling deposit scheme, charging each ticket booking an extra £10. Festival goers can exchange a green bag of recycling for £10 cash back or a festival pack.

25-28 August. Adult ticket from £119.

Tickets here.

Wood Festival, Oxfordshire

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The family-friendly festival is wholly powered by renewable energy. It has two stages; one built of wood and solar powered, the other run on bio-diesel. There’s also a bicycle-powered disco, and organisers plan to make the event zero-waste in the future. Cycling and car-sharing is strongly encourage as a means of travelling to the festival.

20-22 May.  Adult weekend ticket £80. Children under 12 go free.

Tickets here.

End Of The Road Festival, Wiltshire

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The alternative music festival prints its programme on recycled paper, using eco-friendly ink sourced from vegetables. In 2014, the festival boasted a 58.6% recycling rate, with the remaining waste incinerated by a waste company to create energy.

All onsite caterers have to use biodegradable cutlery and plates, as well as only selling free range eggs, while the festival’s FreeFill scheme provides drinking water to festival goers, with funds going to clean water projects in developing countries. Anyone travelling to the festival by car can opt to buy a tree to restore ancient woodland and wild forests in Scotland.

August 29-31. Adult weekend ticket £170.

Tickets here.

Cambridge Folk Festival, Cambridgeshire

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The popular festival asks all its major contractors to consider their impact on the environment, distributing Green Action Plans to highlight awareness. Organisers ask their onsite electricians to use LED and low energy lightbulbs on stage, and use fewer, more efficient and smaller generators. The festival has reduced its fuel consumption by a third in the past five years, and uses sustainable products wherever possible.

The festival provides backstage water coolers to reduce plastic bottle use, taps around the campsite so festival goers can refill their bottles. The festival’s bars use a system of reusing plastic pint glasses with a returnable deposit, which, organisers say, has saved more than 40,000 plastic glasses being used.

All artists are transported in minibuses instead of individual vehicles, and are housed in local accommodation. The festival is also hoping to become zero landfill in the future.

July 31-August 3. Adult weekend ticket £144.

Tickets here.

Hebridean Celtic Festival, Isle of Lewis

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The festival is so green it even has its own trust, which ommitted to minimising their impact on the environment and building on work they are currently doing.

Last year, the festival had “ecocups”, branded plastic cups designed to be reused annually by the festival. All catering waste at the festival is fully compostable, and each waste point around the festival is divided into general waste, organic waste and tins and plastic bottles.

Through its trust, the festival pledges to sustainably mange the use of all resources, energy and water; raise awareness in environmental matters; continually seek to reduce pollution and waste, and to encourage more sustainable forms of transport.

July 13-16. Adult weekend ticket £87.

Tickets here.

Glastonbury, Somerset

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The final festival on the list needs no introduction. In spite of the masses of attendees, Glastonbury is determined to be green.

The festival’s organisers want their clientele to “think zero waste”, and take home what they bring onto the site. Controls are placed on staff, contractors and traders as to what they can bring on site, while all cans, glass, paper, wood and organic waste are separated and recycled. There are a whopping 15,000 bins on site.

The festival says it is “recycling like mad”; half of all waste in 2014 generated by the festival was recycled, with hopes this will go up to 60%. Organisers have also introduced solar power and green technology to various areas at the festival, with some cafes and stalls being powered by the sun or wind.

Glastonbury claims to have installed the “largest privately owned solar PV array in the UK” – amounting to 1,500 sqm of panels, which power the showers.

Additionally, all tea, coffee and sugar is Fairtrade, all cutlery, cups and plates are made from compostable wood or cardboard, or reusable porcelain, and there are more than 1,200 compost loos on site.

More info here.

Did I miss any? Comment below or tweet @sherrifflucy and I’ll add it in.


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