How Music Fests Are Improving Their Sustainability Scores

According to reports, a typical music festival emits 500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. That is the weight of three single-storey houses
Several music festivals and organisations are trying to decrease their carbon footprint
Several music festivals and organisations are trying to decrease their carbon footprintShutterstock

Love attending music festivals? But ever wondered about the carbon footprint generated by them? Reports say that of the 100 per cent average carbon emissions produced at music festivals, two-thirds, or 80 per cent, are generated by attendee travel. Then there is the waste—from plastic water bottles to beer and soda cans, food packaging, and more. According to reports, Coachella, Stagecoach, and Desert Trip, three of the biggest music events in the US, each produce about 100 tons of solid waste per day. UK outdoor music festivals produce 25,800 tons of garbage annually, according to a 2020 analysis by Powerful Thinking's 'The Show Must Go On'. The typical festival emits 500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the weight of three single-storey houses, according to research by Greener Festival, which analysed data from events held in 17 countries. Several music festivals and organisations are trying to change the situation. Here's a look at some. 

The DGTL Fest

The DGTL techno music event in Amsterdam claims that it is the world's most sustainable electronic music festival,  having established a circularity loop pattern. And, as the world's first "circular" festival, its emphasis on sustainability represents a significant shift in how large-scale events might approach sustainability. Their current goal is to evolve from the world's first circular festival to the world's first regenerative event organisation. Read more about it here.

Electric Zoo

The Electric Zoo music fest (which took place in 2022 on Randall's Island in NYC) has taken steps to increase its sustainability by introducing improved recycling and composting containers, eliminating plastic water bottles and expanding water refill stations, requiring vendors to use compostable utensils and food containers, prohibiting food sourced from factory farms, and promoting zero-emission transportation. The festival also recruits dozens of volunteers, who are arranged by the long-running festival clean-up group Clean Vibes, to guarantee that the grounds are kept immaculate throughout the event, that trash is meticulously processed on a continuous basis, and that recyclable products are properly recycled. More info here.  

Andanças Festival

This festival in Portugal does not use disposable dishes. They offer reusable mugs, plates, and cutlery, which are washed after meals. You can also bring your own cup from home. Alternatively, you can get one at the festival for a small deposit. You can return the mug and get your money back. To reduce the use of plastic water bottles, they provide drinking water taps. And encourage the sale of pressurised drinks like beer on tap. They use sugar cups instead of individually packed sugar and wooden disposable sticks for stirring coffee. Travel by the Andanças Bus is encouraged for more sustainable mobility.  

Clean Vibes

Clean Vibes is a US-based company dedicated to responsible on-site waste management at outdoor festivals and events. They say that their mission is to actively encourage and promote recycling, composting, and proper waste disposal. They show concertgoers how easy it is to minimise one's waste footprint through recycling and composting in hopes that they might take this knowledge and apply it to their daily lives. The goal is to divert waste from landfills by increasing the amount of material that is recycled and composted, thereby greatly reducing the ecological footprint of outdoor festivals and events. Read more about them here.

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