10 European Festivals Using Their Influence To Save The Planet

Article by: Marcus Barnes|@mgoldenbarnes

Wed May 24, 2017 | 15:30 PM

We’re entering a period of increasing worry as far as the fate of Planet Earth is concerned. With the new president of the US seemingly adamant that climate change is non-existent and pledging to cut investment in renewable energy and redirect it to the oil and gas industries, things could get pretty dire very quickly. Because, let's face it: We’re already living on a knife edge.

With this in mind, it’s imperative that everyone pulls together and does that they can to try and save the planet. Within the festival community this is already happening, from switched-on festies who have adopted eco-conscious lifestyles, to the festivals which are actually enforcing strict eco-friendly policies – giving us all more than just a glimmer of hope. Here is a list of some the European festivals that are putting their energy into this collective effort to keep our beloved planet afloat.

Shambala, Northamptonshire, UK (August 24-27, 2017)

Shambala Festival 2015 Carolina Faruolo   01

Shambala is possibly one of the most forward-thinking and pro-active festivals out there trying to make a difference. Its organizers have not only established myriad eco-conscious policies and schemes, but they also lend their knowledge to other festivals in order to educate and help everyone progress in the field of conservation. From going meat-free in 2016 to their anti-plastic bottle rule, food stalls recycling their excess oil for fuel and many more initiatives, it is a leader not only in the UK, but in Europe and the rest of the world. We hope they inspire countless others to follow in their carbon neutral footsteps (they're actually seven times carbon net positive due to their investments in renewables!).

Glastonbury, Pilton, Somerset (June 21-25, 2017)

Glastonbury 2009 Flickr Cc Wonker Pyramid Stage

Any festival of Glastonbury’s size is going to struggle with protecting the future of the planet, an unfortunate by-product of growth and progress. However, Michael Eavis and the team do their utmost to encourage people to be conscious and promote environmentally sound values. With that in mind, they employ 1,300 green volunteers who help with recycling, several stages are now powered with sustainable energy sources, including solar panels at Shangri-La and 1,200 compost toilets. That’s just a fraction of the methods Glasto’s team use to keep the festival as eco-friendly as they can.

Les Vieilles Charrues, Carhaix-Plouguer, France (July 13-16, 2017)

In France the eco-conscious movement is picking up steam with Les Vielles Charrues leading the charge. As well as actively discouraging people to fly to France in order to attend their event (we recommend taking a train) the festival has also implemented several key policies that have made it one of the most respected environmentally aware festivals in Europe. Organic food as standard, recyclable cups, all bins are recyclable, compost toilets across the site and much more permeate this fest.

Øya, Oslo, Norway (August 8-12, 2017)

Oyafestivalen Official Oyafestivalen Official   35

Photo by: Oyafestivalen

Oslo in Norway was voted the third greenest city in Europe back in 2009, so you can bet that many of the events held there will maintain a similarly respectable outlook. Øya most definitely pertains to the ideals of its home nation – which aims to ban all petrol-powered cars by 2025, quite an admirable goal. At Øya all of the festival waste is hand-sorted and divided into 16 categories for recycling, so almost 70% of the waste ends up being reused. This reportedly saved 40,000 tons of CO2 in 2015. It’s this kind of attention to detail and an unwavering duty of care that makes Øya a beacon of inspiration within the festival world.

Le Paleo, Nyon, Switzerland (July 18-23, 2017)

In an attempt to maintain Switzerland’s fresh air, Le Paleo has strict rules to keep the environment protected. One of those is utilizing 100% green energy to power the festival, with no diesel generators allowed. As renewable energy becomes more and more accessible and reliable, we hope this will become a trend across the festival sector. On top of this, like Øya Le Paleo sifts and sorts waste materials to recycle them more specifically. Proof that dedication to the cause is often necessary to ensure the job is properly. Inspiring.

Secret Solstice, Reykjavik, Iceland (June 16-18, 2017)

Secret Solstice 2016 Kerri Chandler 1

Last year Secret Solstice went carbon neutral, an amazing feat for which the organizers have been commended by observers across the globe. By using geothermal energy (Iceland uses volcanic energy to power many of its homes and businesses), hybrid vehicles to transport staff and performers around and repeatedly attempting to encourage visitors to be eco-conscious, Secret Solstice has emerged as one of the world’s most progressive festivals.

Wood Festival, Braziers Park, UK (May 20-22, 2017)

Not only does Wood Festival run on 100% renewable energy, (with energy sources ranging from biodiesel to solar power) but its organisers have even gone as far as investing in sustainable infrastructure – an amazing venture. It means that stages can be taken down and some of them can be reused or recycled as they’re all made from wood. There are firm plans to become a zero-waste festival in the future, and Wood Festival already promotes public transport schemes, (especially cycling and car pooling), for people traveling to and from the event.

DGTL, Amsterdam, Holland (April 14-16, 2017)

Dgtl Festival 2015 Courtesy Of Festival Dj Crowd

Photo by: DGTL Festival

Amsterdam’s respected electronic music event doesn’t only enforce a forward-thinking, eclectic music, policy but it also does everything it can to promote sustainability and run programs to support that ethos. From the Revolution Market at their Barcelona event, where festies could peruse stalls run by companies that produce sustainable brands, to educational programs at the Dutch event, DGTL leads the way in connecting with their clientele to inspire them to think twice about the way they dispose of litter, for example. One of their key aims is to become carbon neutral, and we’re sure they will achieve that in no time at all. In 2016, the festival also went meat-free as an additional effort to cut its carbon footprint.

We Love Green, Paris, France (June 10-11, 2017)

Another French event that puts the health of Mother Earth at the forefront of its ideals is We Love Green, a fest that stands by its name by delivering a stringent policy on the environment and promoting responsibility for the environment amongst its patrons. Like several other festivals on this list, tit is powered entirely by green energy, too. A force for change and positivity, we tip our hats to We Love Green and all the festivals on this list, together with all the others around the world that are fighting the good fight and helping to protect our precious Earth.

Honorable Mention:

Sunrise Celebration, Chepstow, UK

Sunrise is another British event that carried on the earth-loving traditions laid down by the festivals of years past. With love, happiness and spirituality at its core, the team behind Sunrise made sure that all the energy used at the festival site was supplied by renewable sources such as solar and wind power. On-site biodiesel fuel was also widely used. It was locally sourced and typically made from waste vegetable oil. They had a simple goal, which was to achieve the very best practice in ethics and the environment. A Greener Festival rated them "Outstanding" in 2013. Sadly they cancelled their event in 2015, but were saved (partly) by Boomtown Fair who gave them a 'Sunrise Area' at their far bigger event. No word as yet as to whether they will make a return, but their ethos was so inspiring we thought they should be mentioned regardless.