Sustainable UK Festivals - a round-up

Posted: 10th February 2020
A round-up of the "green-ness"/ sustainability of a number of UK festivals for 2020

In this climate emergency, it's heartening to know that music and arts organisations are willing to make a change to help do their bit. Going to a festival has typically been seen as "part of the problem", with frequent reports of rubbish and tents being left behind, as well as the energy needed to run the events and an ocean of disposable plastic required to feed and water the festival-goers.

Below we have a round-up of a number of festivals which are doing their bit for the environment. They have been chosen on the basis of the following criteria:

  • green/ renewable energy usage
  • banning of single-use plastics (bottles, straws, take-away containers)
  • encouragement/ enforcement of their vendors to use bio-degradable containers
  • partnership with green and ethical bodies

Wood Festival (15th - 17th May) in Oxfordshire. Billed as a "sustainable", family-friendly festival. Green Credentials: runs on 100% renewable energy. Awarded 4 (out of 4) stars award by the "A Greener Festival" organisation in 2017. Line-up to be announced.
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Glastonbury (24th - 28th Jun) in Somerset. Green Credentials: As well as promoting sustainability, partners with charities includng: Greenpeace, Oxfam and WaterAid. Attendees are also required to sign a "Green Pledge". 2020 features Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, Diana Ross and many more.
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Maverick Festival (3rd - 5th Jul) in Suffolk. Green Credentials: ban on single-use plastic bottles, providing water stations around the site and selling aluminium water bottles at a discount. They also encourage all vendors to use veg ware (most already do) and are upgrading their recycling. The line-up includes: Steve Forbert, Terra Lightfoot, Dan Walsh, Legendary Shack Shakers, Dean Owens, Hank Wangford and many more.
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The 1975 (11th Jul) in London. Not a festival, but a one-dayer in Finsbury Park. Green Credentials: they will plant a tree for every ticket sold, use sustainably sourced HVO fuel, use paperless ticketing, use hybrid powered generators with solar arrays. Support comes from Charli XCX, Clairo, Pale Waves, Phoebe Bridgers, beabadoobee, Cavetown.
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Wilderness Festival (30th Jul - 2nd Aug) in Cornbury, Oxfordshire with a line-up to be announced. Green Credentials: water refill stations provided, a cup deposit scheme, a ban on plastic straws, campsite deposit stations (for left-behind tents which will be given to a refugee charity).
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Shambala Festival (27th - 30th Aug) in Northamptonshire. Green Credentials: Shambala has been steadily reducing its carbon footprint, has banned single-use plastics, uses 100% renewable energy, is meat and fish free (since 2016), doesn't stock any mass-produced fizzy beverages. Performers to be announced on the spring equinox.
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It's a depressingly short list, isn't it? If you know of other UK festivals with green credentials, drop us a note via:

Daniel O'Connell