In a new generation of free spirits, many are drawn to festivals of all kinds to meet new people, have fun with established friends, and let go from the nine to five pace. While the music, lights, and laughter are very fun, large gatherings generate a ton of waste. From water consumption, noise and light pollution, and litter that never gets picked up, these festivals can be very damaging to the surrounding environment. Luckily, we’re here to help you plan sustainably.
In their research, Ahmad et al found the main tenants to greening an event. First, they advise that planning in advance is the most important aspect to creating a green event. From the moment the festival is conceived, eco-friendly measures should be considered. That intention ensures that each step is as sustainable as possible!
When thinking about planning an event, sustainable management encompasses all aspects. Think in terms of where your energy is coming from, consumption, and distribution. If possible, use clean energy from local sources.
Additionally, source sustainable products! Instead of selling plastic water bottles, use water jugs to reduce waste. Water fountains are a great alternative as well! It is important to place many recycling, trash, and compost bins around the event to ensure many opportunities for people to properly dispose of trash.
Develop supply chains that minimize impact on the environment by sourcing local vendors and small businesses. Bring in as many environmental advocates and businesses as possible to inspire others to care about our ecosystem. From food to clothing, many local designers would appreciate the chance to share their passions.
Most importantly, the greatest sustainability efforts come from making a sustainable culture. Educating members of the events, friends, and family reinforces green habits and behaviors. By placing signs on what can and cannot be recycled or composted, it gives others the opportunity to do the right thing. Handing the appropriate tools for change is the best thing you can do for our ecosystems.
In 2019, Ultra Music Festival made a commitment to sustainability. Taking place on Virginia Key Beach in Miami, Florida, preserving the beaches and culture became essential to their operations. Ultra followed six objectives: pollution prevention, nature preservation, community engagement, responsible sourcing, waste reduction, and traffic mitigation.
Operations encouraged and educated guests about the dangers of littering while providing physical barriers to protect important ecosystems and historical sites. Ultra banned polystyrene (styrofoam), plastic straws, single-use cups, balloons, and confetti. Operations even included portable ashtrays to reduce cigarette litter! They included noise mitigation features to respect their neighbors and wildlife. Ultra created their Clean Vibes volunteer group to help manage the grounds after the festival and composted organic waste through Fertile Earth Worm Farm! While only sourcing Florida based food vendors, they required that all food packaging must be compostable. Following these steps, Ultra partied sustainably.Remember that greening an event is about progress. Progress is far from linear. Any steps towards a sustainable society do not have to be perfect to make a difference. Each piece of litter collected and water saved helps the planet a little more everyday.