A Greener Festival @ Lounge on the Farm

By benchallis on 26 July 2010

Lounge on the Farm is a fantastic ten thousand capacity festival that is now a well established part of the Kent music calendar. Set in rolling farmland near Canterbury, the festival has a real emphasis on local – local foods, local juices and even local beers.

This year the festival was blessed by glorious sunshine which came in handy as I ended up walking from the rail station to the site. Now there was meant to be a shuttle bus but I have to say it wasn’t at the station and no-one knew anything about it – no signs – no staff – but you know, the festival crowd is a great bunch of people and within a few minutes train passengers were working out taxi shares with (up till then) complete strangers, and some of us set off on foot (yes, I checked the map first!).

Merton Farm
was buzzing when I got there and I had planned to meet up with Neil who was looking after all things green. As we had set a time for later on, I decided to catch up on a couple of bands and these included the Yearner Babies who feature on our ‘Festivals Harvest’ album, and I had the interesting experience of a rather over excited dreadlocked young man dancing in front of me – I just wish he had thought to wear trousers that fitted – or worn a belt! Grey pants aside, the Cow Shed (yes, it really IS a Cow Shed) was really relaxed with a good crowd.

One new innovation at LOTF this year is that the festival is now using tools from Julies Bicycle to measure their greenhouse gas emissions. It is important that festivals set a ‘benchmark’ and measure their greenhouse gas emissions on an annual basis – it’s only when they know what greenhouse gases they are emitting  and from where that festivals  will have a chance of reducing  carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. You can find out more on the Julies Bicycle website  - www.juliesbicycle.com.  But as audience travel is going to be a major factor, a well-publicised travel and transport plan remains a must.

Recycling is a priority at LOTF and it is a really clean site with well marked recycling points which split waste into four streams –three recyclables - paper, glass, plastics and then waste.  All of the catering I saw used recyclable plates and cutlery although the bars still use plastic disposable glasses – it would be nice to see souvenir or reusable glasses in the future – something a number of festivals like Cambridge Folk Festival have brought in. But it really was great to see almost all of the food and drink sourced through local suppliers and from local firms. Kent is called the ‘Garden of England’ so why not use food and drink that grows on your doorstep!

The line up was as good and varied as ever – Hercules & Love Affair, Toots & The Maytals, Martha Reeves, Phill Jupitus on the new comedy stage, Electric River, Josh Weller and DJ Yoda – but it was nice to see that LOFT has a solar powered cinema as well as a number of charity stalls over in the Meadows, excellent to see that  kidz weren’t forgotten and Greenpeace had a big presence on site. LOTF is great fun – and getting greener every year – so happy fifth birthday LOTF!


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