How Clean is Your Festival?

A while back, we read an article from the U.K. about music festivals. It seems a rumor had started floating around that if you were to leave your tent behind, festival organizers would come by and take down your tent, and then donate it to homeless folks and refugees. At huge festivals like Reading and Leeds, thousands of tents were left behind. Some marketers were even selling tents advertised as “festival tents,” implying that they were disposable.

Tents are not disposable, and they didn’t get donated.

Not only that, festival-goers seemed to have left behind everything else they touched while they were getting in touch with the music. The United Kingdom has historically had some pretty epic music festivals, but the country is only so big. Yet a report in 2015 estimated that their annual music festivals generated over 23,000 tons of garbage, and less than 50% of it was recycled.

We were pretty excited to be at the recent State Fair of Virginia. The State Fair was a big part of our early history, and it was great to return. Our presence there was small, but we talked to thousands of people about the importance of litter prevention, recycling, and keeping Virginia beautiful. We used the opportunity to hand out tons of pocket ashtrays and had a team traveling the fairgrounds reminding people to use the trash and recycling bins properly.

The week before that, we were at the Richmond Folk Festival. This, too, has become a regular event for us. A few years back, we helped to provide the City of Richmond with 100 recycling carts. They keep them in storage and pull them out for events just like this. We again had a great volunteer Green Team that got to enjoy a weekend of fantastic music as we helped to recycle and keep the Folk Festival environmentally friendly.

We’ve even helped NASCAR do a better job when they make their annual trips to Richmond.

Some friends of ours own a company called Haymaker Productions. They provide everything from generators to stages to lighting and ticketing for events like the Folk Festival. They’ve done everything from smaller events like concerts at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens to presidential inaugurations and Bonnaroo.

One of their services is helping to keep a big event environmentally friendly. They have generators and large vehicles that run on biodiesel. They offer a tracking service that tells a festival host exactly what the energy cost is for their event. They even have vehicles that are specifically designed for environmentally fragile areas – vehicles designed to leave an extremely small footprint.

We love a good outdoor event and we love good music. But your attendance should be like a walk in the mountains. Take nothing but pictures and memories and leave nothing but footprints.