The Challenges of Curating a Greener Festival

When most people think about festivals, their minds turn to food, entertainment, music, libations…but how many of us think about sustainability, carbon footprint, or the environmental impact of festivals?

In light of the terrible Australian bush fires, there’s no better time than NOW to think about our footprint and how we can make small changes to save our big, beautiful planet. 

There’s a lot of petrol burned during travel, energy consumed throughout the festival, single-use plastic and other trash sent to the landfill, and let’s not forget about paper ticketing waste. 

We all have a responsibility to turn our attention to the longevity of our planet. However, a festival curator’s responsibility is unique, because there’s an opportunity to have an enormous positive impact. 

Image from Pinterest
Image from Pinterest

There’s a lot of petrol burned during travel, energy consumed throughout the festival, single-use plastic and other trash sent to the landfill, and let’s not forget about paper ticketing waste. 

We all have a responsibility to turn our attention to the longevity of our planet. However, a festival curator’s responsibility is unique, because there’s an opportunity to have an enormous positive impact.

Small Changes for a Greener Festival

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you start thinking about reducing energy consumption and waste—particularly for an event that involves hospitality for a large crowd. Where to start? How to keep it convenient and enjoyable for guests? How to make it affordable?

Rather than be overwhelmed, we can start small. Focus on making just one aspect of the festival greener, or make minor changes in a number of areas. 

Here are a few ideas for creating a greener festival: 

  • Transportation:  Encourage ride sharing with prime parking spots for vehicles with three or more passengers. Provide mass transportation from surrounding metro areas. Offer admission discounts or coupons to walkers and bike riders. 
  • Energy:  Consider alternative energy sources for lighting, sound gear, food prep equipment, rides and more. Solar-powered lights are a good place to start. Generators that use alternative fuels, like vegetable waste oil or biofuel, are options too.
  • Waste:  Eliminate single-use plastic cups and food containers. Replace them with biodegradable and recyclable items. Do away with plastic drinking straws. Insist that food vendors do the same. Be sure to provide plenty of receptacles for trash and recyclables. Furnish water sources so patrons will refill cups and bottles. Or, curate a “zero waste” festival, where everyone is encouraged to bring their own reusable implements, and are required to take any trash or recyclables home with them.
  • Produce:  Serve locally grown fruits and vegetables, beverages from local wineries and breweries, and foods that are prepared nearby—to reduce transportation impact and to support small, eco-friendly producers.
  • Ticketing:  Replace print-at-home tickets with mobile ticketing. Switch from point-of-sale paper tickets to hand stamps. 
  • Toilets:  Instead of using chemical-laden portable toilets, consider compostable toilets or johns that use green-certified, ecofriendly solvents. 
  • Suppliers:  Whenever possible, purchase from those suppliers that adhere to green standards, and who will, by association, make your festival a greener one.

The Challenges that Come with Greener Festivals

Image from Pinterest

Why isn’t every household, every business, and every festival a green one? There’s more work involved than with a traditional festival, the greener way can be more costly…and in some cases, there’s a fear of pushback from festivalgoers. 

However, despite the challenges that face festival curators, more and more of them—around the world—are making small changes in order to save this big, beautiful planet. At Bamboozled Productions, we are doing our part by using only biodegradable and recyclable products at Stirling Fringe, for instance. And our bar is stocked only with local wine, beer and food. 

We are continually looking for ways to run a greener operation and support our local community, and will continue to do so as we curate future festivals. 

Join us for the Stirling Fringe Opening Night Party on 21st February, and help us raise funds for bush-fire-affected communities. 

At Bamboozled, we always welcome questions regarding our festivals and how we’re working to make them greener. Get in touch here.

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