October 27, 2015

Seven Aussie festivals among the greenest in the world

Seven Australian festivals were among the 43 international events which received gongs in this year’s A Greener Festival Award.

To score a win, each festival had to pass a checklist of environmental good practices, followed by an inspection by independent environmental auditors. They also had to offer proof that their environmental policies and waste management plans worked, and also an analysis of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Receiving an Outstanding Award were Falls Marion Bay, Island Vibe, and Splendour In The Grass.  Australian events did well: in the category there were 4 UK festivals, and one each from America, Norway, Netherlands and Sweden.

In the Highly Commended section, for taking significant steps to reduce waste, and greenhouse emissions and engage with their audience, were Falls Lorne and Regrowth, which included four UK events (which included Glastonbury and Cambridge Folk), one each from America (Bonnaroo), Spain and France.

Folk, Rhythm & Life was the sole Australian winner of the Commended Award (or well-managed and environmentally aware festivals) which included three each from the UK and Spain, two from Canada, and one each from France, Netherlands, Sweden and Germany.

Similarly, Bluesfest Byron Bay was sole Australian entry in the Improving category, which included six from the UK (including Brownstock and T-In-The-Park) and one each from Eire and France.

A Green Festival Director Helen Innes said 2013 had been “an encouraging year for environmentally aware events” in reducing power use and managing wastes. But next year it would tackle the “appalling sight of acres of left behind tents and camping gear at festivals” in northern Europe.

It’s been a good week for festivals in terms of winning awards. Two of the three Falls Festivals had gongs. The Lorne event received the Victorian Tourism Award for Excellence in Sustainability, for how 64% of its water use comes from harvesting 468,000 litres of rainwater, saving 160 kilo litres of water each year by using flush-free composting toilets, getting 62% of patrons to use public transport or car pool, and recycling 55 tonnes of waste.

Meantime, Falls Marion Bay won the Tasmanian Tourism Award in the Major Festivals and Events category for drawing people to the island. Last year, 55% of the crowd came from outside Tasmania. They usually stay 9 nights. In 2012, Essential Economics stated that Falls injected more than $15 million into the Tasmanian economy and provided numerous local residents with employment, tourism opportunities and added to its entertainment culture.

As reported here earlier in TMN, Bluesfest Byron Bay is nominated for International Music Festival of the Year in the international Pollstar Awards, alongside Glastonbury Festival (UK) Lollapalooza Chile (Chile), Rock In Rio (Brazil), Roskilde Festival (Denmark) and Tomorrowland (Belgium).