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Green Events & Festivals: A Circle Training for Sustainability

, Green Events & Festivals: A Circle Training for Sustainability, eTurboNews | eTN

Summer has finally come in many regions of the world. Time to go outside and dance all night long and not worry about trashing.

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When people go camping for a party, many of them don’t think about what happens to all the stuff they leave behind.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people go to festivals. They throw away huge amounts of trash, broken tents, and camping gear.

A good example is the recently concluded Glastonbury Festival in England.

There isn’t much information about sustainability at events around the world yet, but Jacob Bilabel says there is “a systemic imbalance.”

He started the Green Music Initiative, a think tank in Berlin that encourages music events that are good for the environment.

An open-air concert or fair can be a place to try out new ideas for making things more sustainable. This is “circle training for sustainability”.

It has a message for those attending events.

Music events face a lot of the same problems with sustainability as the rest of society but on a smaller scale. These problems include energy production, resource use, mobility, and a circular economy.

A study of how events affect the environment in the UK found that about 5 million liters of diesel are used each year by the 3 million people who go to festivals there.

After a long weekend, the life cycle study shows that about 100,000 tons of CO2 were released into the air, including those from transportation.

A small village makes that much in a whole year.

France has twice as many people at music festivals as the United States, which has more than 10 times as many.

When 80,000 people go to an event over the course of a weekend, they leave about as much trash as a city of the same size does in a year.

Trash is more than just packing, one-time-use utensils, promotional materials, and decorations. A lot of trash is the camping factor.

Every year at music events in the UK, about a quarter of a million broken tents are left behind, and most of them end up in a dump.

Most tents are mostly made of plastic and weigh about 3.5 kilograms. That’s the same as 8,750 straws and 250 beer cups.

Tents don’t last very long, especially ones that were made cheaply.

So, a good first step to making events better for the environment is to buy a stronger tent that will last longer than one party weekend.

Some organizers have a place where tents can be left, and a crew goes through them and fixes the ones that only have small problems so they can be used again the next year.

Others start out with their own tent towns that festival-goers can rent every year.

Eco-power, a deposit system, and healthy food will be used at green parties.

A fair is a group of people, in a small city under a lot of stress.

The Dutch “DGTL Festival” for electronic music, for example, wants to be the first event in the world to focus on the “circular economy.”

The power for the 40,000 people at the event comes from the sun and the wind.

Meat has been replaced by foods that come from plants. The water from the toilets and baths is cleaned up so that it can be used again.

The trash is sorted very carefully, and a method for returning beer cups keeps people from throwing away more than they need to.

DGTL events can be found in Santiago de Chile, Mumbai, and Sao Paolo.

Composting toilets turn trash into fertilizer instead of chemicals.

The smaller “Terraform Festival” near Milan, which had more than 2,000 guests, gave its workers electric cars, which saved about 250 liters of gasoline.

They also made their stages out of trees that were knocked down by storms in the area, which is a nice way to help out the local community.

Items at the event can’t be made of plastic.

On the other hand, composting toilets can save a lot of water and chemicals.

The ZirkulierBar research project looked into how compost toilet waste from German events can be used as soil.

And the first results show that this is working.

Even regular chemical toilets can be more environmentally friendly if they are moved as little as possible and their waste is used in fermentation plants to make energy.

Hotel trains and party buses save money, time, and space.
Festival attendees can also do their part.

Instead of driving to the event site in a car, it’s better for the Earth to take the train or other public transportation. And if the event is farther from towns, car sharing can be a good idea.

Some events also have party trains and buses that take people from towns to the festival sites, which are often in the middle of nowhere.

“Melt Festival,” which is held in an old brown coal mine in East Germany, has a hotel train service, for example.

Festival-goers can take a train from Cologne or Munich to the festival site and then sleep on that train during the festival. There are tents and air beds. The Green Music Initiative says that this one step alone has saved 20 tons of CO2.

At the same time, the organizers also set up a bike tour that went from Hamburg to Berlin and took several days.

Festivals that are good for the environment want more government backing
The business sector is in charge of most events. So far, how green the party is rests on how the people who are planning it feel.

Those who follow these green rules on their own are being punished because it takes more work and costs more, while those who don’t do it are better off.

There is room for legislation to reward the green organizers.

IMEX Frankfurt or Las Vegas, a global trade show organizer for the meeting and incentive industry has the Green Meeting Award.

About the author


Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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