It is one of the nation’s most celebrated musical events. Now the Glastonbury Festival is also one of the greenest too.
Festival-goers travel hundreds of miles to see top acts play at venues around the country, putting much pressure on organisers to protect the environment as music gatherings can result in huge amounts of waste and generate substantial carbon emissions.
Last year’s Glastonbury Festival was one of the greenest to date – and not because mud baths failed to cover grass at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset.
Organisers enhanced the festival’s green credentials with a range of environmental improvements, including a £500,000 investment in a second water reservoir and localised sewage disposal, benefiting festival-goers through improved water pressure while a second water reservoir for the site meant there was no longer the need to truck extra water in.
Another measure that significantly reduced the road usage associated with the festival is the switch from transporting the site’s sewage to Bristol sewage treatment works in Avonmouth, almost 50 miles away, to using local sewage plants, within a ten-mile radius.
Pete Coombs, Wessex Water’s head of sludge logistics, says the measures significantly reduced vehicle movements, and the associated CO2 emissions generated by the festival.
He explains: “This year we removed up to 6,500m3 of sewage and wastewater from the festival site. But by carefully coordinating the waste to be treated at local sewage treatment works we were able to reduce the carbon footprint of this activity by more than 66%.”
The green ethos does not stop there. Plans to install 1,100 solar panels will benefit future festivals as it will generate enough power to supply 40 homes. The annual CO2 savings delivered by the panels is expected to be in the region of 100 tonnes, equivalent to the total annual footprint of ten people living in the UK.
Festival founder Michael Eavis says: “It was a very exciting project for us.
“We first had renewable energy at the festival in 1979 and we’ve been trying to increase it ever since. We
wanted the festival, and the farm, to be as green as they could be. The solar panels will make a huge contribution towards that.”
Organisers said that the lift sharing initiative, Glastonbury Car Share Scheme, and on site recycling facilities ensured festival-goers played their part in reducing carbon emissions.