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Greener Festivals Despite Recession

New research from environmental advice and campaign group A Greener Festival shows that music festivals have kept up their environmental efforts, despite slower tickets sales at some events and the economic recession.

The research, compiled by Rob Faull at Buckinghamshire New University, analysed the environmental assessments made at 37 festivals in 2009 compared with 32 festivals in 2008 as part of the ‘Greener Festival’ awards scheme.

The results shows that an additional 7% of festivals now have environmental policies meaning that 97% of festivals implement green good practice. The research also showed that 94% of festivals now promote lift sharing and 97% promote public transport in a move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition 7% more festivals (71% in total) now used at least some sustainable power (usually wind, solar or sustainable bio-fuels). But there was mixed news on recycling, and whilst 94% of festivals have plans to place to prioritise recycling, there was a marked drop (24%) in recycling plastics and glass, something the Award organisers put down to a drop on the global demand for recycled metal and plastic caused by the recession which meant some festivals struggled to offload waste metal and plastic.

There was also a big jump in the number of festivals who now promote environmental awareness on site or on their websites, jumping 17% to 94% in total. Ben Challis, one of A Greener Festival co-founders said “overall we are delighted with our Awards scheme in 2009: we had 5 more festivals applying (37, up from 32 in 2008) and we judged 13 festivals to be ‘outstanding (up from 6 in 2008). We were really encouraged by the number of festivals who are engaging with music fans and promoting sustainable lifestyles and implementing environmental good practice. The biggest area of concern remains audience travel and we are delighted that almost all of the participating festivals now promote lift share and public transport as a matter of course, with many working with new partners to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from audience travel. The other good news is that we are extending the Awards. The scheme currently covers The UK, Europe, Australia and the USA and we now plan to roll out the Awards scheme into India and South East Asia”.

Photo by Nick Cordes at the Glastonbury Festival