Creativity, clout and some of the world’s coolest acts – UK festivals are renowned across the globe. With 2020's festival season effectively cancelled due to the pandemic, and 2021 having seen only a partial return, 2022 looks set to be festival-filled. So, how can you enjoy the music and performance, without sacrificing your passion for sustainable travel?
Some have already sold out, others are yet to confirm their 2022 dates – if you manage to get your hands on some in demand festival tickets don’t forget to plan your travel in advance.
Whether you are heading to the countryside or on route to a city gig, planning will be key. Last year we decided to put our active travel planning into action, with a few of us heading off to the Godiva music festival in Coventry. Putting the festival’s green credentials to the test, we were determined to get to the venue via sustainable means only.
A bit of context: Coventry was the 2021 UK City of Culture and has been working hard to improve its image as a car-centred city - a tough call for a place founded on the car-making industry. Coventry’s Bicycle Mayor and the West Midlands first Walking and Cycling Commissioner, aka Adam Tranter, is passionate about cycling. Recruited back in 2020 as Bicycle Mayor he was quoted in an early interview as saying: “We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help more people onto bikes for greater personal and public health and to help the climate crisis.”
Train and Cycle Friendly
Bikes were certainly evident at the Godiva Festival, which is held in the city’s large Memorial Park and close to the railway station. Because trains were running regularly over the September weekend, cycling either side of the journey was a clear choice.
This was made even more attractive, as the UK Cycling and the West Midlands Cycling Hub were offering Dr Bike sessions at the festival, right next to the secure cycle parking.
It was refreshing to see so many bikes racked up on both days and the ease of the route from the station to the park made it a far better option than fighting traffic and paying for parking. Train tickets were low priced and it took just nine minutes by rail, compared with 25 by car.
If all festivals, gigs and concerts were to make the effort to push sustainable travel to the front of their agenda when promoting to fans, the industry could cut its carbon footprint massively.
Other Green Ways
Of course, this would have to go hand-in-hand with efforts to make the rest of the infrastructure greener, such as generation of electricity, how the acts and their support travel and the policy of single-use plastics on and around the site.
Other ways UK festivals are providing their sustainable credentials:
Shambala Festival, held at a secret country estate in Northamptonshire, uses 100% renewable energy sources and in 2016 became a meat and fish-free zone. They’ve also banned the sale of plastic water bottles on site.
The Green Gathering in Chepstow aims to ‘stimulate and inspire current and future generations of responsible beings’. They use renewable energy and run upcycling workshops.
Latitude, in Southwold, partners with Big Green Coach. This means that for each person who travels to the festival on one of its coaches it sponsors and protects five square foot of Amazonian Rainforest for 10 years.
Green Man, held in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. Organisers work with Help Refugees and the Newport to Calais Aid Collective to ensure that following the event, any unwanted, unbroken camping equipment and food goes to refugees around the world. Visitors are encouraged to recycle as much of their other rubbish as possible.
Planning an Event?
If you are planning to hold any events or festivals, you may want to consider our Brightwayz range of practical incentives and specialist products to support active travel measures and carry your campaign message. Or for our wider range of products to support your events more generally see our extensive BrandMyThingy.com range - 100% of profits of both ranges are ploughed back to support safe, active, sustainable travel project and resource development at Brightwayz.
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Author: Fiona Fisher, Brightwayz