The sounds of birds chirping in the morning, the first set of red buds on the trees, and sunny afternoons signal the approach of springtime. For many people, however, the warmer days signify that it’s music festival time. Who wouldn’t want to spend some time outdoors with the sun warming your face, grass beneath your feet, and the sounds of your favorite musician filling the air? It sounds great! What aren’t great, however, are the mounds of garbage and destructed ecosystems that are left in the aftermath of many music festivals.
In the thrall of incredible music and dancing the thought of recycling and reducing carbon
footprint could be pushed to the farthest corners of the mind in even the most diligent environmentally conscious person. Plastic cups, water bottles, glow sticks, and tents scatter the ground of deserted music festivals like debris from a recent tornado.
Other environmental impacts of music festivals are not quite as visible yet equally destructive, such as heightened carbon emissions as a result of thousands of people traveling and tons of transported food, increased water consumption in the area, and damage to local ecosystems. Rivers, which serve as a habitat to thousands of organisms as well as a water supply for human consumption, are affected by the contaminated runoff from music festivals.
The list of environmental impacts can go on and on, but the good news is, the problem has not gone unnoticed, and many music festival-goers and coordinators have worked diligently to offset the impact of the festival. As a music enthusiast and an environmentally conscious individual, you can choose to participate in festivals that have decreased its overall impacts and you can choose to reduce your own impact.
Many festivals, such as Lightning in a Bottle, Lollapalooza, Coachella, and Pickathon have taken strides to introduce recycling and waste reduction programs, carpooling and public transportation options, and foods or drinks that have been locally produced.
As an individual, there are some key questions to consider to reduce your music festival footprint:
- Which festival are you going to? It’s always exciting to find a new favorite band or musician! Choose a festival that chooses to provide environmentally responsible options. Take a look at some of the best and worst festivals and choose wisely.
- How are you getting there? Many festivals are located near public transportation options, or choose to carpool with friends. The more the merrier.
- How will you dispose of your garbage? Some festivals provide a trash bag and recycling bag to campers, offer recycling, garbage, and composting bins at several locations, or offer reusable cups or containers for water. Use the receptacles provided, and most importantly, never leave anything behind!
You are responsible for your actions, and your actions will influence everyone around you.