A Greener Festival: Green News

By benchallis on 26 May 2011

We had a massive number of entries into this year's Great Big Green Ideas competition - the competition that lets you suggest new greenining initiatives to festival organisers. It's taken some time to look at all the ideas but we now have the winners and we wanted to blog these as well as some of the other really good entries.

The Glastonbury Festival’s official rail partner RailEasy, has two tickets to give away in a competition for entry to the sold out Festival. Raileasy are also offering exclusive rail travel packages to the Festival including a free coach shuttle from Cranmore station to the Festival site. Raileasy’s exclusive train service offers Festival goers the opportunity to travel on the Glastonbury Express from London, Preston, Bolton, Manchester, Crewe and Stoke-on-Trent and you can find out more here. You can also book on to the regular rail services that run to Castle Carey – again a free shuttle operates to the Festival site and to Bristol stations where a coach services operates which can be paid for on the day. For more on winning tickets and regular services click here.

Also in other Glastonbury news, Greenpeace will set up a recording studio – made out of wood and straw – at the Glastonbury Festival this year and will encourage all sorts of artist to record songs about the environmental and economic issues that are affecting the world right now. Greenpeace said ”We’re calling for left-field artists, musicians and writers; everyone who opposes environmental destruction, exploitation, corruption, manipulation and fraud – the things that have become staple fodder of the increasingly half-baked media reports we routinely ignore. Raising Voices aims to use the uniquely positive atmosphere that is Glastonbury to build momentum around the protest song”. The eco-group has teamed up with producer Joe Leach of Cowshed Studio London to create the temporary recording space, and a video feed from inside it will allow festival goers to see what is going on. Any artists or labels interested in getting involved should email glasto@cowshedstudio.com  

Finland’s Ilosaarirock Festival has announced a unique co-operation on sustainable development to establish a new “Pop Forest” in co-operation with UNESCOs MaB programme – along with plans by Ilosaarirock to help in the conservation of the endangered Great Crested Newt in North Karelia. The new memorial tree park will be close to Finland’s Koli National Park and all of the trees in the forest will have a special significance either from cultural or environmental point of view. Ilosaarirock say that the Pop Forest will symbolise the overall goal of the whole culture sector to contribute to sustainable development, and there are also plans for the park to be used for celebrating and remembering events and environmental deeds of the sector. The opening of the park celebrates the 40th anniversary of Ilosaarirock festival and its extensive environmental actions, together with the study done to measure the festival’s carbon footprint. Results of the study were presented in the press conference during the opening ceremony of the memorial tree park. This year Ilosaarirock Festival have announced that they are going to ‘offset’ the Festival’s annual greenhouse gas footprint based on research executed during the 2010 Festival. The offset compensation will be used for concrete environmental protection in the region and the first project which will benefit by 6,000€ is the conservation of the endangered Great Crested Newt which has been badly affected by climate change. Katri Kilpiä, the producer responsible for the environmental issues at the Festival said “It is important for us to donate the compensation sum to North Karelia the first year. We emphasize that the donated money will be directed to nature protection at first hand and the process can be carefully controlled. We now have the opportunity to supervise the work phase and every bill incurred, to be sure that the donated sum will be used fully on the agreed actions”. Ilosaarirock is a leading example of environmentally friendly festivals and Katri said that the Festival has recently invested intensively in recycling, cutting down the emissions and decreasing the overall environmental impact of the festival. The investment has brought real results and the growth of the waste has been halted, recycling has increased annually and most of the electricity used at the festival is now Green Electricity from renewable sources. Ilosaarirock has also invited partners, subcontractors, artists and audience to participate in the environmental co-operation. The goal is to enlarge the memorial tree park to be a real “Ilosaarirock forest”, where every tree has a specific significance in both cultural and environmental sense.

The Premises Studio in North London have won the first Julies Bicycle Green Business Award at the Music Week Awards at the Roundhouse in London on the 24th May. The Premises were nomineated alongsid Koko Camden, The Sage Gateshead, Firefly Solar, Wood Festival and the NEC Birmingham. With photovoltaic solar panels on its roof, The Premises main studio is designed to be energy efficient and runs exclusively on solar energy and the Premises have used their innovative scheme to work with artistes such as The Klaxons, Razorlite and Lily Allen to actively promote self generated solar power. Other winners from the live sector were Concorde2 (Brighton) as Best Venue, SJM Concerts as Best Live Promotions Team and T-in-the-Park won Best Festival.

And finaly Helen, our awards co-ordinator, has just come back fro the fabulous Wood Festival saying this “Not so deep in the Oxfordshire countryside under the soaring gaze of the Red Kites is a gem of creativity and sustainability. Wood Festival claims to be the ‘folkier, younger, cleaner, greener and mysteriously beardier brother’ of Truck Festival. What it does achieve is a celebration of music and nature. Four stages showcase music, poetry, discussion and workshops. The festival is a safe environment for young families. It almost feels like a village fete with packs of new young friends playing on tractor inner tubes, bubbles floating across the arena and the entire morning program tailored for keeping young minds and bodies active. Wood workshops ranged from traditional skills such as thatching to lessons in nature, music and dancing. I didn’t imagine for one moment that Isla (aged 2) and I would be participating in a harp workshop or witnessing the creation of fantastic whistles made from vegetables. The ladies in compost corner provided gardening and compost advice while my neighbour made his own rolling pin on a pedal powered lathe and his daughter made a beautiful copper bracelet. The greatest thing about all of the workshops and demonstrations was that everyone was welcome to give it a go and be involved. 

Powered almost entirely by solar, pedal and wood burners there is no buzz of generators, there is a calm and relaxed feeling around the spotlessly clean site. A contentious and well-informed audience are tidy, considerate and pro-active in helping the waste management team at More-bins minimise waste and strive to exceed its 85% recycled figure from 2010. Local suppliers provide organic, Fairtrade and ethical goods. Inevents (Wood and Truck organisers) and Braziers Park collaborate effectively to ensure that the event has a minimal impact to the beautiful estate and surroundings. Permanent compost toilets provide the estate with compost, grey water goes back into the park irrigation system and the park community work tirelessly with the organisers to provide meals and food for thought around the site. Everyone from the moment you arrive and greeted by friendly security has a positive attitude and thankfully this rubbed off on the weather too. Is Wood a ‘folkier, younger, cleaner, greener and mysteriously beardier brother’?  Definitely!

For more about Wood Festival click here, for more about sustainable waste management click here and for more on Braziers Park click here.

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