Going green: how to festival with a conscience

Scenes at Sunrise Celebration 2010 by Callum Vellacott
Scenes at Sunrise Celebration 2010 by Callum Vellacott

Sunrise Celebration organisers are back with new green ideas following the success of their latest festival.

Fresh out of a beautiful and successful Sunrise 2011 we are buzzing with new ideas and a sense of what worked and what didn’t work for us.

It is so crucial that festivals are part of the growing green consciousness that is sweeping the planet. In the media we see carbon levels far out stripping their projected levels and never before have we been so many, consuming so much.

Many festivals are greening up. Many like Sunrise, Shambala and Croissant Neuf have been pioneering for some time. However green the festival is, the attendees always have the power of their pound to show that the green stuff matters.

Food and Drink
Choose organic food and drink where possible, and the stuff served on biodegradable plates/cutlery.

Eating at the event is often the greener option as it means reduced packaging and supports small-scale vendors.

At Sunrise this is certainly the case because the food is organic and local, with all the meat and dairy products sourced directly from the farm the festival is on. Where people spend their money shows organisers what their priorities are.

Use water refill point
Our water refilll point really worked, people paid a donation to Drop4Drop, Life Water’s charity, either through buying a Sunrise refillable bottle or through donating as they refilled their own.

Not only did people get access to delicious spring water but we reduced the number of plastic bottles disposed of on site.

Hopefully more and more festivals will be bringing these in as it makes so much sense and can generate money for those without access to clean water. Use them where you can!

Fill your car
We see that this year Secret Garden Party is introducing a green tax of £2.50 per empty seat for people attending by vehicle. We will also be introducing a £5 solo occupancy charge for next year’s festival, so the message is clear, to save money and minimise impact fill your car with friends or one of the numerous lift share sites out there. Or travel by train/bus.

At Sunrise we are working on making sure it is easier to arrive by public transport than by car.

Let your views be know – People Power!
If you see an event or attendees not doing well with reuse and recycling let them know. It is only because it is deemed okay that people drop litter or leave their possessions discarded.
Just because there are teams of litter pickers it doesn’t make it okay to be careless. Festivals are microcosms for the rest of the world and making a difference begins wherever you are.

Get in touch with event organisers if you feel that they could do better, or even just to let your views be known. It may feel like a drop in the ocean, but organisers do listen as their event depends on you!

We are now off to Glastonbury where we host a the Ancient Futures Stage in the Tipi Field, from where we have a great perspective of the entire site, so hopefully we will see an improvement in the usual devastation left behind.

Next year 2012, Glastonbury is taking a year out, and Sunrise Festival will be moving to Solstice Dates, usually occupied by the mother of all festivals…

See you there xxx

Sophie Docker and Daniel Hurring, Organisers, Sunrise Celebration Festival.