Music festivals are a summer tradition, especially for young people. There’s something truly unforgettable about being outside, hearing every note of the music live, and feeling the musical vibrations throughout your entire body! Friends, old and new, have a bonding experience they’ll never forget and the memories created last a lifetime. However, as wonderful as the experience is, there’s a terrible dark side to music festivals too! They produce a staggering rubbish removal problem and fifty to eighty percent of this rubbish, depending on the festival, ends up going into landfills!
Let’s take the Glastonbury Music Festival, the UK’s largest music festival, as an example of the rubbish removal problem that occurs at these summertime music festivals. The monumental task of rubbish removal from this one event at the Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset in 2017 is estimated to jave cost a staggering £785,000 pounds and took about six weeks to complete — and that’s with about a thousand VOLUNTEER litter pickers brought in to help clean the mess! Approximately five thousand tents were abandoned on the site after the festival and the litter strewn everywhere made the entire site look like a landfill. Thousands of tonnes of rubbish was left behind.
It’s obvious we need to stop this terrible problem but what can we do? Here are seven ideas, some of which have been tried with some success and all can be tried during the next music festival season.
1. Boycott the Worst Offenders
Contact the festival organisers of the worst offenders, the festivals that produce the most rubbish removal and the ones who send most of this rubbish removal straight to the landfills. Let them know that you plan to boycott their music event because you are appalled at the rubbish removal problem you’ve seen at their event. Let them know that squalor is not conducive to having a good time. And…. hit them where it hurts… tell them you will be attending another music festival instead, one that has take serious efforts to reduce the rubbish removal at their event and recycle and reuse what’s left instead of sending it to the landfills.
2. Public Shaming
Post your critical comments about certain music festivals and their rubbish removal problem on social media and in the public comments section of articles about the festival. Aim your comments at both the festival organisers and the festival goers. Let the organisers know that you are not happy with how they have handled this problem in the past and be specific. Tell them you want to see significant change. Let the festival goers who leave their rubbish behind that they are ruining these amazing events for others.
3. Join Forces With Others
While adding your one voice is a good start, if you join forces with others to both boycott events and provide public shaming, each person in the group you form will have a louder voice! This can be as informal as getting your friends and family together or as formal as pitching the idea to an organization you already belong to. If a festival organiser hears from ten, twenty, one hundred, or more people that they’ll be boycotting their event, they will take notice. Even if they have no social conscience, they’ll understand the economic impact.
4. Suggest a Code of Conduct Agreement
This has worked really well at the Isle of Wight Music Festival. Have festival goers, especially campers, sign an agreement promising to not leave behind any camping equipment or rubbish. Further, have them agree they will place their rubbish in the appropriate rubbish removal bins and recycling bins. You could even suggest to festival organisers that you intend to boycott their event unless they require that every ticket holder and campground attendee sign a code of conduct agreement. This puts everyone on notice that it is not acceptable to litter or to leave camping gear behind.
5. Take Along a Water Bottle When You Attend Musical Festivals
Almost all music festivals provide water stations where you can continuously refill your water bottle. Therefore, if you take a reusable bottle along, you can significantly reduce the rubbish you produce at the festival.
6. Take Along a Reusable Plate, Bowl, Cup, and Utensils
If you have a backpack, you can pack a lightweight plate, cup, bowl, and utensils. Some are designed to be light as a feather and you can easily wash them and reuse them over and over, thereby producing far less rubbish at the festival.
7. Bring Your Own Snacks In Reusable Containers or Bags
You’ll likely want to sample the typical festival food but you can help prevent the rubbish removal problem at the festival by bringing along some of your own snacks that do NOT have a wrapper or packaging! Examples include fresh fruit, dehydrated vegetables, trail mix, granola, and nuts that can be easily stored in reusable containers.
Clearabee Would Like To Hear From You
Social media is a powerful force, especially when many people join forces to make statement. You do have the power to make a very significant difference. If you and your friends get involved in boycotting a music festival that has an egregious record when it comes to putting tonnes of rubbish removal in landfills, public shaming efforts, or attending festivals with a greener approach, post these to Clearabee’s Facebook page and Twitter feed! This will amplify your good efforts and thank you for caring!