From pedal-powered stages to awareness-building workshops, we highlight five summer festivals that are going green.
Music festival season is nearly upon us, and while they’re not usually known for their eco-credentials, a new breed of green-minded get-togethers is drawing the crowds. From renewable power and veggie food to compostable packaging, we’ve rounded up the greenest festivals to know about this year.
Green Gathering, Monmouthshire, UK
3 – 6 August
This family-friendly festival recently won the 2023 International Greener festival award for its environmental efforts – no surprise, really, when it bills itself as the original off-grid festival “powered by sun, wind, people and passion for change”. This year’s event will feature 100% renewable power, upcycling workshops and an entire field dedicated to sustainability campaigns, alongside an eclectic array of bands and politically conscious spoken word stars.
Øya Festival, Oslo, Norway
8 – 12 August
This annual Norwegian music festival prides itself on being one of the world’s greenest events. All of the food served on site comes in compostable packaging (which is turned into biogas once the festival is over) and drinks are served in reusable cups. Meanwhile, all the waste generated by the festival is painstakingly hand-sorted into 15 different categories, with over 60% of it being reused for new products. The festival-goers are a green-conscious bunch too, with 98% of them arriving on foot, bike or public transport for a weekend of rocking out to Blur, Wizkid and Lorde.
Futur 2 Festival, Hamburg, Germany
2023 dates TBC
Described as an experiment in the creation of sustainable events, Futur 2 is more of an open-air laboratory space than your average music festival. Each of the two sound stages at this free event are powered by renewable energy, one by the sun and one by pedal power, with the generator run by the enthusiastic cycling skills of concert-goers. All the food is served in compostable or recyclable containers and even your ‘personal’ waste is put to good use via the compost toilets (you won’t find chemical-filled porta-potties here).
Boom Festival, Portugal
20 – 27 July
This psychedelic trance festival takes place in an idyllic spot, right on the shores of Idanha-a-Nova Lake in east-central Portugal. As well as being a celebration of music and art, with mind-blowing oversized sculptures dotted around the surrounding wilderness, there’s also a strong focus on sustainable living. The festival is used as a chance to raise awareness and generate change, so you can expect eco-focused workshops, lectures and visual installations alongside the music line-up.
Northside, Aarhus, Denmark
1 – 3 June
Since launching in 2010, Danish festival Northside – featuring Muse and Little Simz this year – has devoted time and energy to ensuring it’s as green as possible, producing an annual sustainability report to examine that year’s event and identify areas for improvement. Last year they managed to reduce their emissions by 30% thanks to going fully plant-based and implementing an innovative power plan, which included getting rid of diesel generators.