A Greener Festival Blog #9
By ben.challis on 06 October 2010Lee, who heads up our Greener Festival Award environmental assessing team in North America, had this to say about Osheaga in Montreal, Canada, headlined by Arcade Fire, Snoop Dogg, Keane, Weezer and The National.
The festival is sited on reclaimed land in Park Jean Drapeau - an island made of landfill from the construction of the tube (Metro) system in Montreal. Lee says that an amazing 90% of patrons arrive by the hydro-electricity powered subway system – and even better - the Metro is free for anyone with an Osheaga ticket! The festival is very proud of its solar and wind powered green stage, and has created across-the-board efforts by working with environmentally friendly sound and light suppliers, renewable energy suppliers, recycling companies and the public transit network to meaningfully reduce the festival's ecological footprint. And this is what Lee had to say about the Oshega Green Stage: “The GREEN STAGE was really something... it was specially constructed by the owners of Osheaga - and made to run on solar power and electricity from two built-in wind turbines. It has a battery storage to store power for the night time acts - managing to run at over 60% off renewable power. The sound and light tower in the green stage was made of reclaimed lumber, and the floor for the Green Stage area was the new "US" eco flooring all made of recycled materials. This green space also offered local organic and raw foods."
Lindsay, one of our US festival assessors visited Lightning in a Bottle at Oak Canyon Ranch in California. This is what the festival says about itself: “Lightning in a Bottle's mission is to create an experience that is both immediate and far-reaching, both temporary and enduring... and always unforgettable. By setting amazing music and performance, inspiring works of art, educational workshops, and enlightening discussions against a backdrop of natural beauty and wonder, LIB aims to devise an alternate reality where all have the opportunity to connect, to interact, and to create for themselves."
And Lindsay was very impressed saying: “I loved meeting the people from the Do Lab who put on the LIB festival. They truly took every single detail into consideration and are so ahead of the curve in their greening policies and procedures. The mission statement of LIB 2010 was "Leave it Better, Leave it Beautiful." They set out to create a net positive impact on both the site location (they planted 32 native oak trees, 98 additional trees, installed CFL light bulbs on existing inefficient lighting in the park, repaired existing fences, installed low-flow aerators on sink taps, improved toilets to decrease flush volume and installed swales adjacent to the festival grounds to improve current drainage) and event attendees. Lightning in a Bottle had dozens of workshops and demonstrations throughout the weekend so attendees could gain experience and pay it forward by taking their new skills home and enacting some of the sustainable actions they learned in their daily lives, while teaching others about it as well. From composting, container gardening, to raising urban chickens - they taught it all!
“The water situation was incredible. I always get so sad to see the amount of waste created at festivals from single use disposable plastic bottles. There were no plastic bottles offered or allowed at LIB. Free filtered water was offered instead and attendees were told to either bring their own reusable bottle or purchase an eco-bottle at the festival. The amount of waste this saved was huge!
“The green vendor policy they had in place was fantastic as well. All vendors had to serve vegetarian, organic, seasonal fare with compostable plates, cups and cutlery. They had to compost any waste, and all food that was left over at the end of the weekend was not to be put in a landfill… they asked that it be given away or donated to a local shelter or food bank.
“Social and Environmental sustainability was the heart of everything. The stages were all made from recycled or sustainable materials (one stage was made up of all old reused pallets). Everyone camped and there was a strict pack in, pack out policy. Bags were given to sort recycling and materials were to be taken home with the attendees. At their 2008 festival, the last time LIB took place, 84% of waste was diverted from a landfill (58% recycled, 26% composted), and they were hoping to do even better this year.
Bio-diesel generators and solar ran the stages and vending areas, and bio-diesel shuttles were used to move the attendees from the parking areas to their campsites. I can't say enough great things about the amount of thought that went into every detail of this festival.”
Both OSheaga and Lightning in a Bottle received our OUTSTANDING Greener Festival Award alongside The Sunrise Celebration, The Isle of Wight Festival, Shambala, Wood Festival, Croissant Neuf Summer Party in England, Big Tent in Scotland, Boom in Portugal, Oya Festival in Norway and Peats Ridge Festival in Australia.