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Most Eco-Friendly Music Festival

Most Eco-Friendly Music Festival

Music festivals can be so much fun, however, they also have a negative impact on the environment; a lot of food goes to waste, as well as a massive use of plastic cups and straws, single use plates and cutlery from food trucks, water bottles, and even small things like glitter and glow in the dark sticks have a major impact. 

Over the past years, the concern on sustainability has grown, meaning that big festivals have started implementing more eco-friendly measures, here is a little recap of what the biggest music festivals around the globe have done concerning sustainability. 

Coachella: this music festival has partnered with Global Inheritance (a non-profit organization that develops creative experiences that inspire individuals to take action on global environmental and social issues) and has launched several initiatives to help minimize their impact:

  • Donation centers to give away unwanted camping goods.
  • “No impact” program to reduce waste.
  • They encourage people to take their own reusable bottles. However no steel, metal, aluminium or glass bottles are allowed. 
  • “Carpoolchella” you can enter a giveaway if you fill your car with 4 more friends. 
  • “Energy playground” is a custom teeter-totter that converts kinetic energy into electricity where you can charge your mobile phone.
  • Recycling store to redeem empty bottles, cups and cans for free water and prizes. 

Burning Man: Leaving No Trace is arguably Burning Man’s most important principle. They have done that by implementing a MOOP map for the festival, MOOP is an acronym for “Matter Out of Place”, which is a convenient way of referring to anything that is not originally of the land on which our event takes place. So everything that wasn’t originally on or of the Black Rock Desert, no matter how small, is considered MOOP, and is to be removed as part of our Leave No Trace efforts. MOOP also includes greywater, and the particulates contained therein.


  • “Get here green” they work with Green Mountain Energy to offset CO2 emissions, and encourage attendees to take low emissions route. 
  • “Reuse materials and bring your own bottle” they work with Event Water Solutions to provide free, cool, filtered water at Hydration Stations throughout the park to help you go refillable!
  • “Divert it” they’ve partnered with Love Hope Strength Foundation and Rock The Earth on Lollapalooza’s greening programs to encourage recycling and composting at the festival and educating fans on their missions
  • They support sustainable businesses by seeking out plant based, organic, locally sourced meal options at the festival from our list of vendors, and alternatives to plastic when consuming beverages.

Fuji Rock Festival: is considered the world’s cleanest, greenest music event.  The festival has carved out a reputation for being the most ­environmentally aware music event in the industry. This year there were a raft of innovative eco-initiatives like including a zero-rubbish tolerance policy, carbon-neutral stages powered by biodiesel fuel, a no-smoking-and-walking rule and staff uniform fashioned from ­recycled plastic bottles. 

Splendor in the Grass: This festival establishes collection/education, separation, recycling and disposal as their terms & responsibilities for waste management strategy. Some other measures they have implemented are: 

  • Carbon offsetting option on website
  • Environment page in the navigation bar of web site
  • Green team volunteers scouring the site for discarded refuse
  • Eco Cops handing out “I cleaned up at Splendour” badges
  • The generators used BioDiesel from PremiAir

Glastonbury: This year it was the festivals goal to make it plastic free, calling it green glastonbury. For that, attendees had to accept the Festival’s terms and conditions of entry when paying their balance, as well as signing their ‘Love the Farm, Leave no Trace’ pledge. Which stated the following:

  • I will take all my belongings home with me, including my tent and camping equipment.
  • I will use the bins provided and not throw my rubbish on the ground.
  • I will bag up all my rubbish using the bin bags provided and use the recycling pens.
  • I will use the toilets provided and not pee on the land.
  • I will try to use a reusable water bottle and avoid single-use packaging. 

Outside Lands: has started to do everything they can to make Outside Lands zero-waste, carbon-neutral, and generally as environmentally low-impact as possible. You can find the NGOs they have partnered with under; Eco Lands. Here is a list of some of them:

  • Friends of the Urban Forest, their mission is to promote a larger, healthier urban forest as part of San Francisco’s green infrastructure through community planting, tree care, education, and advocacy.
  • Garden for the Environment’s mission is to provide practical skills for all San Franciscans to personally contribute to sustainability through urban gardens, farms, and food. 
  • Imperfect is on a mission to reduce food waste and to make fresh produce more affordable, accessible, and convenient. 
  • The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s Mission is to provide enriching recreational activities, maintain beautiful parks and preserve the environment for the well-being of our diverse community.
  • Surfrider, are a dedicated group of volunteer activists, who are passionate about protecting the places we love to spend time. 
  • Urban Sprouts plants the seeds of social equity to build healthy and thriving neighborhoods through community and garden-based education. 

Tomorrowland: At this festival, they have started Love Tomorrow, which is a platform that creates added value do the sustainable development of our environment and fellow-creatures, but also an inspiration to the People of Tomorrow to shape the future together in a peaceful and sustainable way. It is based on the following principles; responsibility, nature, innovation, wealth, and respect. From these ideas they have two projects:

  • One world bridge, it is a permanent public installation on the holy grounds of De Schorre (Boom, Belgium). The installation is a 537-meter-long bridge, symbolizing the connection between people and bridging their difference.
  • Camp 2 camp, it is a game-changing project to make festival camping a circular activity, with a minimal environmental impact and a grand social added value.

Green Man Festival: Being green is fundamental to the Green Man festival. So here are some of the ways they encourage attendees to help keep Green Man green:

  • Can’t take it home, they have partnered with Help Refugees and Newport to Calais Aid Collective. They collect unwanted, unbroken camping equipment and food to give to refugees around the world. 
  • Travel, they promote traveling to the festival via more green methods to reduce the carbon footprint.
  • Food and drink, they have set minimum standards for their food traders, all of which provide compostable food ware and fair trade produce. 
  • Water, provide drinking water throughout the festival to refill reusable water bottles.
  • Power, they use all sorts of alternative power sources at the festival, like solar or diesel generators. 
  • Straws, plastic straws are banned.
  • Glitter, all their traders and face painters use biodegradable glitter made from plant cellulose and metallised aluminium.
  • Cups and plastic, festival goers will need to purchase a reusable stacking cup, to drink at our bars.
  • Bins, they provide attendees with several plastic bags for recycling and ask them to separate their waste accordingly. 
  • Cigarettes, they also provide butt pouches, available from the concession stalls to avoid cigarette buds to be dropped. 
  • Toilets, they are compost loos provided by Natural Event. 

DGTL: is highly aware of its environmental impacts and has one very clear goal; to become the world’s first circular festival in 2020. These are the measures they have implemented at the NDSM-Wharf in Amsterdam;

  • “Circular Foodcourt 3.0” they will change food waste by starting a circular food court.
  • “Giving back to the city” this year to give back they will design a circular and modular object that will serve as festival lightening during the Easter weekend and will be reshaped to serve an urban function after the end of the festival.
  • “Eco-toilets” they are implementing the use of composting toilets, which use the natural processes of decomposition and evaporation to recycle human waste. 
  • “Innofest” they are teaming up with Innofest to give three innovators the chance to test their cases at the festival: Litti, Calix, and Mobiele Stroom. Students from NHL University of Applied Sciences have developed the Litti, an ashtray and lighter in one. The Litti will be tested at the festival on a large scale in an attempt to minimize the littering.
  • Sustainable artist handling, they will be hosting artists in Amsterdam’s circular hotel Jakarta. The hotel has an energy neutral building, making this one of the most sustainable hotels in The Netherland. As for transportation, all artists will be transported in electric vehicles to and from the festival grounds.
  • Hardcups. Visitors only get served in reusable hardcups.
  • Smart energy plan, to maximize the consumption of energy from the power grid and other renewable sources. 
  • Meat-free, by removing meat from the menu, DGTL Festival has drastically reduced CO2-emissions and saved large amounts of freshwater and land.
  • Circular innovation, they use the festival to test sustainable and circular technologies of tomorrow. As a result, the DGTL Amsterdam edition always pushes the boundaries of sustainability at festivals by experimenting with state-of-the-art innovations.
  • Material flow analysis, since 2017 they introduced the Material Flow Analysis (MFA) to the festival industry, providing a clear snapshot of the event’s impact.
  • Resource management, since  2018, waste became the resource for new products. As such, they moved away from waste collection areas, which are typically tucked away behind the scenes, to a “Resource Street”, which is central for all visitors to see. The Resource Street consists of a recycled hub and a new technique called pyrolysis. The recycle hub works to separate all visitor waste, so the new “resources” can be picked up for further use. The pyrolysis installation turns bottle caps into oil, which in turn can be used to make new plastic. The most valuable component of the Resource Street is that it allows visitors to discover the value of their own waste and change the narrative from “waste as a problem” to “resources as a solution”.
  • Recycled decoration and art, their products are designed with ease of assembly and disassembly in mind. 
  • Semilla sanitation hub, one of 2018’s innovations was the Semilla Sanitation Hub in collaboration with Innofest where they converted urine into drinking water using pioneering technologies. 
  • Eco coin, is the world’s first ecological currency. With this new digital currency, they reward all visitors for their sustainable actions. 
  • Algae shots and smoothies, human breath contains heat and carbon dioxide, valuable resources for young algae. Lying down under the specimen-table, in 2017 visitors donated their time and breath to the algae above them. In return, the algae nourished the visitors in the shape of a fresh algae shot or smoothie.

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