Glastonbury’s Greener Performance
07 Sep 2009
A festival population of around 170,000 gave SustainabilityCo-ordinator, Lucy Brookings-Clarke and her team, the biggest challengeyet.
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A festival population of around 170,000 gave Sustainability Co-ordinator, Lucy Brookings-Clarke and her team, the biggest challenge yet.
Worthy Farm, in Pilton, Somerset, has been the home of the world renowned Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts for 39 years. When the event began in 1970, it was a small-scale affair. Since it has increased in size, its environmental impact has grown too.
Over the years, organisers have been trying to find ways to minimise transport and waste. This year, 25,000 tickets were issued for those using public transport ñ coaches being the favoured vehicles.
Another transport target was to limit the hauling of water. In previous years, large quantities had to be brought in by tanker but this year saw the inauguration of Worthy Farm’s own reservoir system. To do this, the site required quarrying and so, in keeping with the festival’s sustainability standards, the stone was reused to build affordable housing in the locality.
The amount of food needed for 170,000 people is staggering; so too is the waste management that follows. Over the years various schemes have been developed to lessen the carbon footprint. All cups and plates are biodegradable, as well as the cutlery. These are combined with all the food waste and then composted.
There are also plans to mix the human effluent with that from the farm’s cattle for anaerobic digestion. This, along with a new wind turbine, will create enough energy to power Worthy Farm, as well as local facilities. Material taken from the composting toilets can also be used as fertiliser by other farmers in the area.
During the festival weekend, teams of eco-police patrolled the site, asking all visitors to ‘Love the Farm ñ Leave No Trace’. Their key role was to encourage recycling, minimise on litter and protect sensitive areas, such as local streams and habitats. Policing was carried out in a humorous way, adding to the festivities.
Three weeks after Glastonbury ended, Lucy was delighted to hear that they had been given a Greener Festival Award for the third consecutive year! Judging is based on a 56-point checklist, covering green’ office policies, energy use, carbon reduction, travel, transport, support for green projects, water and waste management, recycling facilities, environmental protection and noise pollution. Other UK events given the award this year include The Sunrise Celebration, Firegathering, Download, Wireless, Hard Rock Calling and the Isle of Wight Festival.
The Green Police. Photo: © Paul Ellson
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