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  • Event Promotion Tips

Festivals leading the sustainability charge in 2024

  • By Ryan Moss

  • 01 Feb 2024
  • 2 min read
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Over the past few years, protecting the environment and sustainability have become fiercely debated topics. Whether it’s activists gluing themselves to the roads or giving speeches at world government events, there has been a shift in how we think about our environmental choices. 

Gigs, club nights and festivals have taken stock, too. According to ‘The Show Must Go On’, a report by the Think Tank Powerful Thinking, festivals produce 23,500 tonnes of waste annually, with 68% of that going to landfill. 

This includes disposable plastics like cups, bottles, food containers and plastic cutlery. Elsewhere, items like toiletries and sleeping bags are unable to be recycled, ending up in landfill sites across the country. 

As a response, we’ve seen green festivals, schemes to reduce carbon emissions and initiatives that use clubgoers’ body heat as fuel to warm up venues. That’s right. Collective body heat stored and used at a later date.

So, we’re going to highlight some of the festivals we think are leading the charge when it comes to sustainability measures. Keep scrolling to get the lowdown. 

Music In The Park Festival

First up? Music In The Park. It’s set to take place on Sunday 24th May at Leyland’s Worden Park, with all food stalls at the festival using recycled or responsibly sourced materials where possible. 

Elsewhere, fixed penalty notices will be handed out to attendees who drop litter and leave behind blankets or chairs when the festival has finished. 

It’s all part of South Ribble Borough Council’s commitment to sustainability by eradicating single-use plastic from its events and a desire to maintain Worden Park. 

Kelburn Garden Party

Kelburn Garden Party takes place among the magical lands of Kelburn, promising a weekend of exciting cultural and musical activity across its four-day operation. 

Sustainability is at the core of the festival’s mission, with an Environmental Deposit Scheme helping to keep the site clean. 

Attendees with an adult or youth ticket pay a £10 cash deposit upon entry, which is then returned to them at the end of the event if they bring back a binbag full of litter, a small bag of cigarette butts, or they can show staff that they have properly packed away their tent. 

Elsewhere, Kelburn Garden Party operates a substantial sustainability policy which emphasises the core values of the One Planet, People Over Profit model.

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Junction 2 Festival

The summer months see Boston Manor Park host Junction 2 Festival, bringing with it a selection of some of house and techno music’s brightest stars. 

Like many of the festivals on our list, Junction 2 is committed to a sustainable approach with an ambition to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2025. 

After 2023’s event, the team measured the carbon footprint and found that 77% of emissions came from audience travel. In response, they’ve added a £1.75 climate levy to their tickets, with the funds used to offset emissions with investments in ecosystem protection and restoration through certified partners. 

They’ll also be publishing a full sustainability report on the festival, which will go into further detail on emissions and what Junction 2 plans to do to achieve their net-zero target. 

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Boardmasters Festival

Boardmasters is a stalwart of the festival scene. First set up in 1981 as a surf competition, the event has expanded into a four-day celebration of live music, surfing, skating and BMX. 

Sustainability has been at the heart of the event, too. Boardmasters have worked with Surfers Against Sewage for the last twenty years, focusing on ways to implement sustainable strategies and trying to improve year on year. 

Elsewhere, attendees will be able to chat with Boardmasters’ Green Team, who will be on hand to advise on how to keep the site in tip-top condition.

The festival has also worked with betternotstop, a B Corp sustainable impact and audience behaviour change agency, to measure and review the work they’re doing.  

North Green Gathering

As awareness around environmental challenges becomes more common, lots of festivals have sprung up with an emphasis on sustainability. 

Northern Green Gathering is one of the original sustainable festivals, first starting back in 1997 with a small, green-focused event. 

The event has been through different locations and the promoters have run the event in various ways over the years, but one thing has always been a constant: affordable tickets, a community spirit and a focus on renewable energy. 

At Northern Green Gathering, stages are run by bike power and solar fire engines, with other stages focusing on crafts, activism and more. 


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