From this Wednesday some 200,000 people will gather at Worthy Farm in Somerset for the annual Glastonbury Festival. But while festival goers enjoy the music, events and activities, what is the impact of such a sudden influx of people on the environment?
The Festival is clearly very aware of green issues. Not only is Greenpeace one of the causes to benefit from the event, the Glastonbury Festival has its own set of green policies designed to reduce its carbon footprint and cut waste. This includes introducing solar power and green technology to some areas of the festival site. Indeed, according to the festival’s website, all of the cafes, stalls and stages above the old railway line in the Green Fields are powered by the sun or wind; and there are no diesel generators. Even the showers are solar powered.
From saving water, to recycling, to clearing up after yourself, the Festival also has some important messages including “Love Worthy Farm, leave no trace” and “Please don’t pee on the land”. Even so, Glastonbury organisers says it costs a staggering £780,000 to dispose of all the rubbish left at the festival.
This year a group of young Green Party members are taking an active role towards making the festival more sustainable. The Young Greens are trialling a project at Glastonbury to transform public camping. They aim to create community led and sustainable villages which will have a minimal impact on the farm and leave no trace after the festival.
Inspired by permaculture design and principles, they will set up three villages within the extremely popular Pennard’s Hill camping field.
Each village will have its own identity and skills, and each is experimenting with different solutions to collecting community rubbish and recycling, ensuring that villagers feel safe and included, and that all that is brought into the village is taken away or appropriately disposed of.
“Village greens” will act as focal points for the communities and to serve as reminders of the appearance of the space before the arrival of the public. The Greens will also host workshops to create art out of waste, performances and act as community hubs.
Fiona Brookes, Coordinator of the Young Greens, who is leading the team at Glastonbury Festival said:
“Tackling climate change through community driven schemes give me hope. It provides a solution to the most frightening crisis the world has ever faced whilst improving everyone’s quality life, by giving us back what we all need to thrive – a support network and a connection with nature. I’m also grateful for the partnership with Green Futures Field on this pilot.
“The fact that Glastonbury Festival, who are world renowned and a vital part of our national culture, are committed to this pilot is a strong signal to everyone of that our vision for what the future could look like isn’t an idealistic dream but necessary change that will benefit all, not just a few.”
This sounds like a great initiative, and should compliment the environmental work aleady underway at Glastonbury. I hope it’s something that will be of interest to other big festivals.