The Environment and Festivals

If you are interested in either of the two ... please fill in my questionnaire :Grin:

The link is in my signature :Smile3:

xXx
 

Stuoolong

Professionally fluffy
Hi there UV22! I have many comments to make on this.

I should say that my main experience of "festivals" was, and still is, "green gatherings", in fact I was an organiser of one for three years. It was only more recently that I started going to events that were more in the scope of "Music festivals".

2. Many sites are too far away from public transport routes to be accessible thus. Even the Big Green Gathering is 8 miles from the nearest bus route, up a fat hill.

3. Festivals have a greater or smaller impact on the environment depending on how much effort the organisers and participants are willing to put in. For example, you can run an event for 20000 people without using generators. The impact of waste is only an issue if people cannot be bothered to pick things up/recycle them. Hiowever the traffic issue and general land damage you can't really control, and it will increase with numbers. You can limit the numbers of people driving arpound the site, and charge people extortionate amounts to park (but only if there are alternatives!)

5. You mean people don't?

7. Does it actually cost any more to make such improvements? OK, say the organisers bought themslelves a Motswedi to pump water round the site I'd pay a pound extra but in general no.

8. There's nowt wrong with potato starch plates! But yeah, forcing them to use china mugs is important. If we could do the same with places in towns, such as McDonalds, we could slash the polystyrene industry in pieces!

The first time I went to a large festival, I was horrified at how little effort the organisers had made to make the thing a little more environmentally friendly. The "green field", for example, had a sound system called "Fuel Tipper" which featured two greasy biker guys hanging off the doors of a sports car, which was being revved up, dancing to gabber. Not the most earth-friendly thing I have seen.

Part of the reason the Leeds festival was moved to Bramham Park is the impact it was having on Temple Newsam, it's former home and one of the most beautiful bits of Leeds. If you put a hundred thousand kids in a field with beer, you'll end up with a completely trashed field with litter embedded into the land and large amounts of soil pollution from cars, cooking stoves, lost drugs, lighters and make-up.
 
Stuoolong said:
Hi there UV22! I have many comments to make on this.

I should say that my main experience of "festivals" was, and still is, "green gatherings", in fact I was an organiser of one for three years. It was only more recently that I started going to events that were more in the scope of "Music festivals".


2. Many sites are too far away from public transport routes to be accessible thus. Even the Big Green Gathering is 8 miles from the nearest bus route, up a fat hill.

Transport can be specially provided at events. Generally I think that the amount you might be carrying to festival plays a factor too.


3. Festivals have a greater or smaller impact on the environment depending on how much effort the organisers and participants are willing to put in. For example, you can run an event for 20000 people without using generators. The impact of waste is only an issue if people cannot be bothered to pick things up/recycle them. Hiowever the traffic issue and general land damage you can't really control, and it will increase with numbers. You can limit the numbers of people driving arpound the site, and charge people extortionate amounts to park (but only if there are alternatives!)

5. You mean people don't?

Network recycling report a 30% waste at source seperation at festivals.


7. Does it actually cost any more to make such improvements? OK, say the organisers bought themslelves a Motswedi to pump water round the site I'd pay a pound extra but in general no.

This is a point I have raised in discussion. But at the moment for extra man power to do recycling it can be more expensive (although landfill tax will soon change this). To power with solar for example it is more expensive that generators (because they are less widely available). I think it would be difficult to prove to the general public that that was the reason for cost increases.


8. There's nowt wrong with potato starch plates! But yeah, forcing them to use china mugs is important. If we could do the same with places in towns, such as McDonalds, we could slash the polystyrene industry in pieces!

The first time I went to a large festival, I was horrified at how little effort the organisers had made to make the thing a little more environmentally friendly. The "green field", for example, had a sound system called "Fuel Tipper" which featured two greasy biker guys hanging off the doors of a sports car, which was being revved up, dancing to gabber. Not the most earth-friendly thing I have seen.

Part of the reason the Leeds festival was moved to Bramham Park is the impact it was having on Temple Newsam, it's former home and one of the most beautiful bits of Leeds. If you put a hundred thousand kids in a field with beer, you'll end up with a completely trashed field with litter embedded into the land and large amounts of soil pollution from cars, cooking stoves, lost drugs, lighters and make-up.


Hi Stuoolong :Smile3:

I've put some answers in your quote.

Thanks for your detailed response :Smile3: what festival did you organise?

xXx
 

warm hunger

Junior Members
Stuoolong said:
8. There's nowt wrong with potato starch plates! But yeah, forcing them to use china mugs is important. If we could do the same with places in towns, such as McDonalds, we could slash the polystyrene industry in pieces!

The problem I've had with meals served on potato starch plates at festivals is that if the food is at all sloppy (which a lot of festi food is) then it soaks into the plate, which then falls apart before I've had time to finish my meal. It may be that there are other kinds of potato starch crockery that are designed not to start degrading quite so quickly, but if there are, I've not seen them being used.

I reckon washable plates and cuttlery is the way, though of course there are problems with setting up an efficient and hygenic washing up system in the middle of a field and with disposing of the dirty water afterwards. Problems worth overcoming though - the amount of landfill generated by most festivals is astounding.
 

Stuoolong

Professionally fluffy
I used to be an organiser of the Northern Green Gathering, which ran fron 1997 to 2002.

Laying on transport - yeah, buses to and from the local train station are a great idea, as long as it's a frequent enough service. Not for small events. Putting the event near the bus route is better but not always possible.
The amount you carry - it's amazing what people feel they couldn't live without for a few days - I've seen people at festivals who've brought deckchairs, beds, kitchen sink units....I can always get what I need in a rucksack.
For the people doing stalls/performances/services etc, there is usually little alternative to using a vehicle when they have loads of tat. The next best thing is to persuade them all to use biodiesel in those bloody great hippy-wagons!

Financial cost - for Northern Green, the cost of getting the site powered was fairly minmal because we just got people in who were willing to do it for cost, i.e. we'd pay their expenses but no "fee". We are talking sums of as little as £100 for people doing odd jobs, up to maybe £1000 for people running an entire stage and doing haircuts/phone charging etc on top. The same kind of people who go from one event to another all summer, doing power providing, and these "fees" keep them bobbing along. Some of the ones I spoke to said they got most of their cash for reinvestment from doing Glastonbury who could afford to pay large sums. I don't actually know the costs of hiring generators, so I can't compare, but I bet it's not that much cheaper.
Similarly, staffing with volunteers is cheap enough, you can feed people for around £4 a day or less if you have an organised crew caterer, and people will want to volunteer so they can blag in to the event!

Warm hunger, I've never experienced a potato starch plate falling apart on me so there must be different grades of them. I'm sure it's possible to make them stronger, and tastier (so they're more likely to get 'et.

At BGG the water disposal was done by having vast containers round the back of each cafe for pouring waste water, which were then emptied by big tankers. I don't think it's particularly hard to overcome the hygiene problems, unless of course you are working with lunched out hippies!
 

JohnM

blah blah blah
Shambala does a very simple thing that always impresses me - its a tenner for a car ticket (which you need to buy in advance) and this money is then used to sub cheap coaches from around the country - it was £15 rtn from Shef-> nr Plymouth the other year.
 

Stuoolong

Professionally fluffy
Quality! NGG charged a similar amount for vehicles, I think maybe it was even £15, but that was recouped as part of the main revenue for the event (it kept the ticket prices down).

Anotehr thing that will discourage excessive car use is to have a festival that's more local. NGG was set up to be a Northern alternative to BGG, the idea being that it's not so far to drive for us northerners. Most of the stallholders, participants etc were based in the north of england, and if someone rang up from, say Devon, wanting to run a cafe, they'd get told no.
 
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