Sustainable events Music Festivals are a popular experience in Australia, but have you ever thought about ways many of them have tried to reduce their impact on our planet? It turns out you can be attending these events and doing your part in the process!

Many music festivals have a substantial environmental footprint. Countless people choose to leave behind rubbish and things they don’t want to take with them after pitching tents and partying on parklands. Organisers have recognised this and are taking steps to reduce environmental impact. Here are some of our favourite festivals and what they’re doing to minimise impact:

1. Splendour in the Grass

Held in the North Byron Parklands every year in July, Splendour in the Grass is one of the most sustainable festivals out there. This starts right from ticket purchase, where there is an option to buy a Carbon-offset ticket for an extra $3. This money then goes to Australian renewable energy projects. The eco fun continues upon arrival with patrons being awarded for carpooling. Bags to compost and separate rubbish are also handed out, with someone winning a handful of passes to attend the next Splendour through the initiative.

During the festival, there are refill stations everywhere, and if you need to buy a bottle, there are cartons of Carton & Co Water everywhere. Food is packaged in recyclable packaging, and vendors are eco-friendly (think Rolla Bottle and TOM Organic). Even grabbing a drink at one of the many bars is a feel-good affair, with reusable cups that offer a $2 rebate when handed in.

Showers and toilets are also transformed, with 246 dry-composting toilets being the majority of what is used at the site. Waste is composted and used to help grow trees in the parklands. And showers are gas-fired, low-flow and connected to water tanks of course! Sewerage and greywater are also treated on site.

2. Woodford Folk Festival & and the Peats Ridge Sustainable Arts and Music Festival

These festivals in (Queensland and New South Wales respectively) both take on a variety of initiatives. They treat sewerage and greywater on-site, and also use renewable fuels. Much like Splendour, they have recycling and composting initiatives that include eliminating the use of products not suitable for these. They also aim to encourage and facilitate the use of locally sourced organic foods which assists in reducing the carbon footprint of food provision. Public transport is provided and encouraged, and environmentally themed topics are included in these festivals’ talks and programs. Woodford and Peats Ridge use festival resources for habitat restoration to enhance the ecology of these sites.

3. Falls Festival

Falls Festival runs from late December to early January in Lorne, Marion Bay, Byron Bay and Fremantle. This is another festival you can feel good about attending, with composting toilets being used here too. They claim it saves roughly two and a half million litres of water each year! The showers and drinking water facilities here are the same as at Splendour in the Grass. They also try to get festival-goers to get involved in green initiatives to keep the area clean, having planted 7,000 trees at the site by staff and patrons thus far.

Food that has been untouched and is still fresh is donated to Byron’s Liberation Larder to help feed people in need. The festival also teams up with BYO Bottle to cut unnecessary plastic water bottles that harm our environment. It is also encouraged to bring refillable bottles for the event. There are refill stations and water at all bars. They team up with local organisations to bring a positive change to their communities and even have a sustainability page for more information.

4. Island Vibe Festival

This festival is held on North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) every year in the last weekend of October. They have recently introduced the Righteous Reusables initiative, which aims to eliminate disposable cups and plates and the emissions created concerning that. They have composted plates and cups from previous years which have allowed them to provide around 3,000 second-hand items for patrons to use.

Another initiative they have had for a while is Cycle Vibes. Island Vibe provides Borrow Bikes for patrons, including one at the campground for easy travel to and from the festival grounds – all for a $5 wristband. They’ve also made camping as sustainable as possible. They provide a service where patrons can borrow hand and power tools, camping and sports gear through the Brisbane Tool Library.

5. Field Day & Listen Out

Hosted by the same event company, Fuzzy, Field Day is in Sydney on New Year’s Day, and Listen Out is in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney in October. Both events have taken on a Recycling Deposit System – with aims to move towards zero waste. Patrons pay a $1 deposit at the bar and can take cups to a recycling station to redeem the $1.

They both also take on the Further Greening initiative, donating trees to Centennial Parklands, Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, Adelaide Botanic Gardens and the parks of Melbourne. You can also be part of the process by checking out both events’ Charity Initiatives pages.

If all of this shows anything, it proves that Australian festivals are conscious of the impact they have. There is a responsibility of organisers as well as festival-goers to clean up after themselves and minimise overall effects on the beautiful land these events are held on. It’s clear the right steps are being taken, and if we all continue to do our bit, festivals around the world can follow suit!

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