Festivals With An Eco Conscience

Reducing our eco footprint is a hot topic that isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. We all have a part to play in protecting the environment — that includes festivals. All too often, abandoned tents, plastic coffee cup lids and food containers are left on festival sites for landfill.

Festival organisers have the opportunity to spread the word in a big, fun way; by championing sustainability, they can prompt conversations and provide inspiration. Getting attendees, volunteers and food producers on board challenges them to think about the how they can help contribute to awareness and reduce the overall impact on the earth under our dancing feet.

From encouraging party-goers to make organic choices, to recycling your goods and reducing plastics, the following festivals are on a mission to clean up their act.


As the king of festivals returns again for 2019 it brings with it a clear message to party-goes. Estimating that a whopping 1 million plastic bottles are used during the event and clearing up the aftermath took nearly two weeks last time, this year, it won’t be quite the same. The festival is banning plastic bottles from the site for the first time in 2019, encouraging all to ditch the bottles in favour of stainless steel cups and water kiosks. 

Sunrise Celebration

Having won awards such as the Guardian and Observer’s Ethical Travel Award and The Shelter Award for ‘Most Socially Responsible Festival,’ Sunrise is top of the league when it comes to supporting sustainable, ethical living. Knowing that transportation remains one of the biggest carbon footprints, it runs the whole festival with 100 percent renewable energy — using the sun, wind and peddle power — reducing its carbon emissions aplenty. A team of jolly-good realists aims to offset what carbon emissions will inevitably be created by planting trees and making charitable contributions. What’s more, site-wide compost toilets ensures that chemicals are minimised and soil can be returned to the earth, continuing a more natural the cycle of life.

Green Man

The clue is in the name: the folk running the intimate, independent Green Man Festival in the Brecon Beacons encourages everyone to be as eco-friendly as possible. With more than half of the waste generated coming from guests, they’ve teamed up with Help Refugees and Newport to Calais Aid Collective who will collect unwanted camping equipment and food to donate to refugees. The organisers know that a caffeine fix can be a life-saver if recovering from the night before but it’s worth bearing in mind that an estimated 2.5 billion disposable cups are used every year in the UK alone. Reusable coffee cups can be purchased at the Table Top Coffee stalls dotted around the festival. It doesn’t stop there —all food traders’ packaging will be verifiable compostable too. Glitter is a party essential but its micro-plastics are damaging our environment and oceans. That won’t hinder your glam at Green Man — they’re one step ahead, as all face painters and traders will be using biodegradable glitter.


This wildly eccentric festival is known for putting the environment at the core of what they do and has won plenty of awards for it. Having pioneered the Bring A Bottle campaign (therefore cutting down on 10,000 plastic water bottles), and encouraging festival attendees to share a car or hop on the biodiesel shuttle bus, Shambala knows all too well the importance of sustainability. Shambala is 100 percent powered by renewable energy sources like wind, solar and waste biodiesel, and was the first UK festival to send zero waste to landfill — it doesn’t get much greener than this.

Valley Fest

Good food is paramount to the dedicated team behind the family-friendly Valley Fest. As an organic-only food festival, Valley Fest is working towards making good food the easy and best option for all. Delicious organic fare will fuel festival-goers and be as pocket-friendly as possible. This year, they’re striving to reduce the amount of plastics and disposables too, so fields full of litter will be a distant memory.

When you’re in your muddy wellies, having crawled out of your tent after a night dancing at a festival, the not-so-friendly non-biodegradable glitter on your face and plastic bottle in your hand probably aren’t at the forefront of your mind. What can you do to make a difference?

Ditch your old glitter and use biodegradable glitter instead.

Share a car to reduce CO2 emissions and encourage others to do so too.

Take your own coffee cup to eliminate the amount of plastic lids  left for landfill.

Clean up after yourself when you go to leave.


Joele Forrester


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