A Greener Festival: Bestival

How Bestival keeps things green

A Greener Festival: Bestival

01 June 2009

Bestival’s aim is to continue to reduce our carbon footprint by promoting the use of public transport and car sharing, by sourcing local produce and services as much as possible, to reduce energy usage while increasing the use of more alternative energy sources, to reduce waste and to utilise the island’s waste facilities as best they can to improve year on year the quantity of waste recycled, and to look after the local and neighbouring environment upon which Bestival takes place. Bestival also actively tries to educate Bestival-goers about environmental concerns and encourage them to act responsibly at the event and to do their bit to help Keep Bestival Tidy.

Bestival’s traffic and travel policy centres on encouraging the use of public transport – the festival has good relationships with the Big Green Coach company, South West Trains, Wightlink and Red Funnel ferries, Hovertravel and Southern Vectis (the Island’s Bus Company) and promote the use of their services as well as the environmental benefits and the money the customer can save by doing so.  

And when people still intend to drive we encourage car sharing via the Bestival bespoke Liftshare page. The use of the Liftshare service increased by more than 300% in 2008 and those who used it saved 368,778 miles of car travel, 113 tonnes of CO2, 37,588 trees and £36,878 of their own money.

Bestival is also working on a plan to help quantify and then further reduce CO2 emissions – Bestival has conducted a survey on site (and are in the process of setting one up online) to find out more information about how people intend to arrive at Bestival. These figures added with the Ferry schedules – which show organisers the production transport arrivals at the show - and quantities of fuel used on site are helping to produce a clearer picture of our CO2 emissions total so the Festival can work on reducing this year on year.

Bestival is working with on Island Bio fuel manufacturer Wight Made - they collect the old cooking oil from all of the traders during and after the show and from businesses all over the Island. And we are currently in talks with local generator suppliers that successfully run on local Bio-fuel and our current power suppliers to make as much as we can of the 35,000 litres needed to run the show.

Each year we have had wind turbines in place and are working towards small solar panels for various lights and stand alone power needs. The Groovy Movie Picture House Solar Powered Cinema has been at Bestival since 2005 and Bestival are in talks with other solar stage companies for future years. Bestival are converting generators to  sustainable bio-fuels.

We source as much as possible locally – from bio-fuel to sound equipment, marquees to site hardware, production vehicles to staff, sweetcorn to staging, and much more. Organic is also preferable. We have many Organic traders and as much fair trade food and drink as possible. Our preferred bottled water supplier is in bio-degradable plastic bottles and profits go to Water Aid Charities in Developing Countries. The festival organizers use recycled stationary and paper for office and programmes alike and encourage re-use of everything from scenery to fencing to material.


Successfully introduced in 2007, the Bestival Green Team return to patrol all areas of the site throughout the weekend in small highly visible groups spreading the 'Keep Bestival Tidy!' message (with some fun and frolics thrown in for good measure) to encourage festival goers themselves to recycle and generally clean up after themselves... and to use the loos provided and not wee or poo in or near the lakes or woods (as the animals, fish and other wildlife don't like it!). They also hand out recycling bags and reusable cigarette butt bins to those that need them.

The  proposal for waste recycling at Bestival 2008 aimed to reach a figure of between 80% – 90%  but due to unprecedented weather conditions including 10 inches of rain on the first 2 days of the show we were unfortunately unable to meet these percentages due to the mud contamination of much of the waste. Bestival did, however, manage a very credible 43% recycling rate

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