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A Greener Festival Blog #10


17 July 2009

Our first Greener Festival Awards for 2009 have been handed out and six English festivals, one Scottish, one Italian, two American and five Australian events are worthy recipients of the coveted 2009 Award, given to reward the festivals’ efforts to reduce their environmental impact.

In the UK, Download, Firegathering, the Sunrise Celebration, the Glastonbury Festival, Wireless and the Isle of Wight Festival were praised by our environmental auditors for their green policies and on-site activities whilst in Scotland T-in-the-Park was congratulated for its innovative approach to water use and engaging with the audience to reduce T’s greenhouse gas emissions.

In Italy the massive 10 day long Rototom Reggae Sunsplash was praised for separate bins provided for recycling, biodegradable cutlery and plates for composting along with food waste, the complete absence of chemical toilets and a free shuttle to ferry people from local train stations. What’s more, festival goers are encouraged to get involved with recycling points where they can exchange a bag of recyclables for a lottery ticket to win great prizes! In America, the Atlanta Jazz Festival and the 80,000 capacity Bonnaroo Festival were both winners - both have coherent and effective environmental policies and again work with the audience to improve on green issues. In Australia green festivals seem to becoming the norm now - which is great news - and the five fantastic festivals who received the award were Peats Ridge, The Falls Festival, Bluesfest, WomAdelaide and Southbound.
 
The Greener Award is based on a 56 point checklist which covers green office policies, energy use and carbon reduction, travel and transport, support for green initiatives, waste management, recycling, water use and environmental protection and noise pollution and we have a team of environmental auditors who visit festivals to assess environmental good practice and effective green policies – thanks to Amie in Australia, Greg and Jason in the USA, Iain in Scotland and Anna, Claire, Cass, Emily, Luke, Penny and Rob.

The Award scheme is supported by Robertson Taylor, specialist insurance brokers for the music and entertainment industries and if you see the Award logo on a festival’s website it shows that they festival has entered our scheme, has been independently assessed and is doing its best to reduce it’s environmental impact. All the award winners in 2009 will receive a special trophy designed by sixth form student Sade Goddard from Keswick School in Cumbria whose competition winning design is constructed from recycled plastics made from crushed CDs, remoulded plastic water bottles and unwanted Wellington boots. The recycled plastic boards combine a strong environmental message with an evocative and distinctive appeal linked to the processing of plastic waste. The ultimate winner will be announced at the UK Festival Awards later in the year.

This is the third year of our Awards and the key issue now is working with the audience (you!) to reduce travel emissions – which can sometimes make up almost three quarters of a festival’s carbon footprint. The other area we believe festivals have a really vital role is passing on information - our green auditors noticed that more and more festivals are starting to work with the audience to promote sustainable lifestyles – the team that came back from the Isle of Wight raved about the really clever initiatives there; in the US the Bonnaroo Festival was praised for its innovative education programmes and both Glastonbury and T-in-the-Park both work hard to promote green issues – by adopting new and improved practices each and every year, and by working to publicise new initiatives. We have a lot more applicants to get through yet with more UK, US and European festivals yet to be assessed so watch this space for more news on the greener festivals.

Remember, if you want to donate to our new Festival Wood project to plant a new wood in the UK, you can donate £3 and plant a tree by texting 'FESTIVAL' or 'festival' to 82540 – if you Text 'GREENER' or 'greener' to 82540 then you will donate £5 and plant two new trees.

Click on the banner below for more green tips, advice and info:

A Greener Festival.com

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