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It’s festival weekend; you’ve spent the entire year being responsible; this is the one time you get to just let go and have fun. However, even reading this indicates you have a moral compass and would still want to do what’s best for the planet, whilst doing what’s best for yourself.

Here are some tips on how you can have a green and sustainable festival experience, without spending too much.

Prepare for festival weekend

With festivals often being spread over multiple days, it’s essential you prepare for your stay with the same diligence as if you were going on holiday. Create a checklist of items you’ll need beforehand; consider hygiene, food, drink, and fun. Festival weekend is a great time to let loose and have fun, but they can also be a money pit. That’s because many make a lot of money from people’s lack of organisation. They sell items they know you’ll forget, such as sunscreen, bug repellent, or towels. Some festivals even have hair ‘n’ make-up artists as top sellers.

Make sure you arrive in an eco-friendly way, whether that’s by public transport, cycling or walking. This cuts your carbon emissions and saves you money on petrol or train tickets. If you’re driving, carpool with friends to split the cost of fuel and parking.

Although festivals see tonnes of waste within their perimeters, a lot more is left outside the gates. It’s important to know what you can and can’t bring to a festival to ensure you spend less money replacing your items and reduce your chances of adding to the piles of waste already generated at the event.

Festivals have lists of items you can and can’t bring on their website:

Side note: Petrol Burner is on the list for things not permitted at Reading Festival. I’m not sure what festival attendees have been doing for them even to tell you.

How to save money and the planet at a festival?

Save money and the planet by packing your reusable water bottle! Most festivals have free refill stations, so you can avoid buying plastic bottles. Utilise the refilling station app Refill; it will show you the nearest drinking water fountains near you so that you can remain hydrated throughout the weekend at no extra cost.

How to save money at a festival? Bring your own food. Use the list we provided above to know which festivals allow you to bring your own. This doesn’t mean you must bring a full picnic spread; simple snacks and sandwiches will do. If you’re worried about them getting squashed in your bag, consider investing in a reusable lunchbox or cool bag.

Go digital and re-usable this festival weekend

Between all the food, drink, and merch sold onsite, it’s not uncommon for festivals to generate a lot of waste, especially with non-recyclable items. There are some simple steps you can take to reduce your impact. Purchase your tickets online instead of at the gate, and download any maps or schedules ahead of time so you don’t have to rely on paper copies. Recycling posters can be shared through social media, rather than printed.

Most festivals have apps these days, providing a one-stop shop of information including; set lists, act times, food vendors and even tips for staying green. Just don’t forget to pack a portable charging station, as the queues for onsite phone stations could force you to miss your favourite acts. 

We looked into how festivals themselves can become more sustainable, in a previous article.

Leave no trace

Do your best Criminal Minds impression and leave the festival ground with no trace that you were there. It is essential to the planet that we don’t delegate our responsibilities to others. When leaving a festival, ensure you take your tent, used clothes and waste with you. You can save money and be sustainable by camping at the festival; however, once it’s time to leave, take everything with you.

Take advantage of any available recycling facilities; most festivals will have some form of green initiative in place, with non-recyclable items, dry mixed recycling, food waste bins, recycling posters and more. (On the topic of recycling posters, why not download some of ours to remind other attendees of their role too)

Finally, enjoy yourself!

Have fun and make memories that will last a lifetime. With these tips in mind, you can have a green and sustainable festival experience without spending too much money. So go out there and enjoy yourself! Just remember to be responsible and take care of the planet.



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