Sonisphere a great big green hit!

By benchallis on 06 August 2010

It was a busy week for A Greener Festival environmental auditors: our new assessor Clare was off to the ever enjoyable Cambridge Folk Festival, Kim and Pomme had Kendal Calling and I got the big metal banana itself, the now 60,000 capacity Sonisphere. And I have to say having enjoyed a rain soaked Sonisphere last year, it has definitely got bigger – much bigger – and good news for organisers Kilimanjaro Live, the Sunday was a complete and utter sell out as metal fans flocked to Knebworth House in Hertfordshire for a feast of metal, rock, electro and punk. With a stellar line up topped by Iron Maiden, Rammstein, Alice Cooper, Slayer, Placebo, Motley Crue, Gallows, Pendulum and Alice in Chains the weekend was blessed with remarkably good weather too (last year it rained!) continuing this blogger’s run of good luck with festivals this summer – a baking Glastonbury, a roasting Lounge on the Farm and now a glorious sun drenched Sonisphere.
I got the train from London and the shuttle bus at Stevenage station couldn’t have been easier – a distinct improvement on last year when things were a bit more muddled - and well done to the organisers for making train travel so easy. There were big signs up at the station, directing festival goers to the shuttle bus, friendly staff on hand to help and plenty of room for rucksacks and tents.  It’s a quick ride over the motorway and then Sonisphere comes into view – with vastly more camping (and parking) this year.
The lovely Lucy showed me round the site just as Skunk Anansie came on stage – we had to stop and watch the end of their set by the way – they were on TOP form – a real eye opener – and Skin hasn’t changed AT ALL – I must get some of whatever she is taking – my picture in the attic is running out of time.  The site is remarkably litter free (for a festival) and one new innovation at Sonisphere this year was a Coke sponsored recycling scheme where punters could ‘swap for swag’ – returning used plastic bottles to a big stand in the main arena where they could swap them for swag  – 10 bottles gets you a torch and lanyard, 15 bottles a cap and 20 bottles a T-shirt.  It works – when we got to the stand they were urgently trying to get hold of more stocks having completely run out – just as two of the sites most avid collectors returned with more recycling (see picture on the right)! Sonisphere also now have a 10p deposit scheme on their paper and plastic beer glasses and again it just encourages people to return glasses to the bar for recycling.
We all know left behind tents remain a big problem.  Apart from their ‘Simply The Fest’ campaign for recycling tents, Sonisphere have teamed up with The Better Festival Group (www.thebetterfestivalgroup.co.uk) to launch the Big Tent Recycle Campaign for 2010 to urge festival goers to recycle tents, sleeping bags and camping mats – it really is best to take all your gear home and reuse it, but knowing some people just won’t do this we really hope this scheme works.
Overall, a bigger, better and distinctly greener approach at Sonisphere this year. Hats (or recycled caps) off to them!

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