A Greener Festival Blog #3

by Ben Challis | 19 July 2010

Firstly, congratulations to all of the winners of the competition to win a copy of our brilliant double CD and download album ‘FESTIVALS HARVEST’ – if you have won, you would have got a email from us by now. And almost all of Virtual Festivals’ truly international readership (as far a field as the USA and Germany, Australia and Belgium) got it right – how do you cut down on personal CO2 emissions to get to festivals? Well, walking and cycling are brilliant, followed by coach and train - but if you have to go by car – the answer is LIFTSHARE!
On the topic of travel, Latitude sent us a really really well planned out transport plan for this year’s festival (which has just finished). Organisers Festival Republic were keen to encourage festival-goers to respect the local environment and local residents and put in place public transport options to encourage everyone to leave their cars at home, with a convenient network of coaches, trains and shuttle buses to get right into the heart of the festival. With transport to and from festivals the biggest contributor to CO2 emissions, public transport options are essential to lightening a festival’s environmental load. Not only that, it will also help to reduce congestion in the car parks and on the surrounding roads. Cycling was certainly one option – and Latitude had bike racks available onsite for cyclists and whilst actually walking to the site was discouraged, as local roads around the site are not suitable for pedestrians, there was a shuttle bus available. The festival also joined up with National Express, Anglian Bus and rail operators to offer a variety of convenient and good value public transport options pointing out that travelling by train emits three and half times less CO2 than travelling alone by car and travelling in a full coach is the greenest form of motor transport with each journey generating less than 10% of CO2 per person than those who travel alone by car (see the statistics below). Latitude also promoted Liftshare and had almost 900 people registered for Liftshare for the Festival. If just a third of them matched a lift, that’s a potential saving of almost 24 tonnes of CO2 - if every car coming to Latitude Festival had 4 people in it, there could be almost 3000 fewer cars and a reduction in CO2 emissions of almost 240 tonnes!
It has been really nice to see bands who feature on ‘Festivals Harvest’ out and about at festivals too – Ellen & The Escapades, Mayhew, Tom Williams & The Boat and My Luminaries were all at Glastonbury and Yearner Babies at Glastonbury and at Lounge on the Farm (yes Duncan, that WAS me in the audience). The amazing Beaus will be at the Tramlines Festival at the Peace Gardens in Sheffield on the 24th July - catch them if you can - its free!  If you haven’t got a copy of Festivals Harvest yet – you can get 28 brilliant new tracks from 28 brilliant new bands here and here and here.
We have been busy busy busy visiting festivals who are taking part in our Greener Festivals Awards scheme – in the UK, on mainland Europe and in the USA.  Penny kicked off our visits with a trip to Spain for SOS 4.8 in Murcia, Rob then had a mini tour of his own to Open Air St Gallen in Switzerland and then on to Rock for People in the Czech Republic and back for The Big Session in Leicester, Luke visited the ever brilliant and inspiring Isle of Wight Festival as well as Wireless in Hyde Park, Sharon was at Hard Rock Calling, Claire went to  Hadra in France, Penny and Mish visited Glastonbury, Iain made it to T-in-the-Park in Scotland, Hel went to Wood, Alicia was at Sunrise and Ben made it to Lounge on the Farm in Canterbury. Over the pond in the USA, our Awards organiser, Lee, organised visits to Summer Camp, Lightning in a Bottle and Bonnaroo  - and thanks  to Rashon, Lindsay  and Derek for their help in the US. Over in Australia, Amie has done all her hard work and has her feet up, busy sticking our own very special labels on recycled empty bottles of wine – for our 2010 Awards season winners – hic! We have more to get too as well, including Sonisphere, Kendal Calling, Big Tent, The Cambridge Folk Festival and Splendour in the Grass, Grassroots, Summer Sundae Weekender, Oya Festival, Malmo Festivalen, Rototom Summer Sunsplash, Solfest, Bestival and the Croissant Neuf Summer Party. See you there!
Lastly – it was really nice to get an email from Shai, a festival organiser in Israel, thanking us for our efforts. This is what Shai said: “Thanks for the quick reply, and for the data you've sent.  Your site brings a lot of inspiration to where we could be if we gather in good ideas and knowledge from festivals with experience.  We hope you'll keep on with this beautiful work, and hope we'll get some progress here that we can show off! We’ll  be in touch and Thanks again!”

Those travel statistics:
CO2 Emissions per Passenger Mile getting to and from a Festival
(1) Coach: 26.97g. Car: 334.2g.
(2) Train: 96.32g. Car: 334.2g.
(3) Car (4 people): 86.05g.
Based on DEFRA 2008 emissions figures, coach with 40 passengers, train with
national average occupancy rates, solo occupant in cars.

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