We spoke to Emily, the Sustainability Coordinator at Boomtown about this years Green Mission
The festival season is in full swing, and Boomtown is inching ever closer! This year, it seems several festivals are pushing their own initiatives when it comes to becoming more eco-friendly. We had the chance to talk with Emily, the Sustainability Coordinator at Boomtown and ask her what’s happening this year, and how Boomtown is becoming even more green.
What new sustainable initiatives does Boomtown have for CH11?
Boomtown is a big event and reducing the impact that we have on the environment has long been our priority. We’ve just launched our Green Mission where we announced our environmental commitments for Chapter 11 and there have been some really exciting developments.
We are no longer selling plastic water or soft drink bottles preventing 225,000 plastic bottles from being sold. We’re encouraging everyone to bring their own reusable bottles and reusable bottles will also be available at the festival. We’re collaborating with WaterAid to provide a load more free refill stations around the arenas & campsites too! Backstage will also be plastic-free, with canned drinks and reusable water bottles available to artists and crew.
For the first time, we’re working together with Vegware to standardize the trader and bar packaging to ensure it’s 100% EN13432 certified compostable, this includes everything from the lining in all coffee cups, coffee cup lids, bar cups, food boxes and by working closely with our waste contractor, recycling team and a local composting facility to ensure all serve ware that is disposed of correctly will be sent to an industrial composter and turned into soil within 12 weeks used to help plants grow.
We’ve already banned plastic cutlery, plastic food packaging and straws from all traders, caterers & bars but the exciting next step has been introducing compostable bar cups to all bars! This will keep all packaging streamline and easier for our audience to dispose of correctly as all serveware just needs to go in the same bin.
We’re also working with a reforestation and culture change charity called TreeSisters and are planting a tree for every citizen that attends.
We are also part of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) where 60+ fellow independent festivals and played a leading role in helping to create an industry wide campaign to raise awareness around the issue of single use tents and starting a dialogue with tent retailers to prevent the marketing around cheap tent packages and instead manufacturer durable tents and promote reuse and love your tent.
For Chapter 11 we’re introducing a dedicated zero waste space in DSTRKT 5 camping , in collaboration with Environmental Recovery Solutions. By camping here you’ll benefit from one of the most central campsite locations, a NiftyBin system to sort waste at the source, campsite helpers who’ll assist everyone living there to maintain the clean camp ethos, free workshops to inspire a zero-waste lifestyle after the festival and a beautifully CLEAN space to call home for five days. Plus the best part is that it’s totally free!! All you have to do is turn up and verbally agree to the clean campsite ethos and you can be a part of making a change for a better future of festivals as well as helping us safeguard the South Downs!
How will these changes affect the visitors this year?
The public will be part of a more sustainable show and it will be easier for them to reduce their own impact on the environment by using the initiatives on the ground to reduce, reuse and recycle. There are many options in place to help them to travel light and tent-free by choosing from the different pre-pitched camping options available.
But it also plays an integral role in the festival’s design and story for Chapter 11. Visitors will find our sustainability messages interwoven into the Boomtown storyline and supported by our performers and visible across the city’s themed districts and venues, all with a massive Boomtown twist.
How much of an impact does removing plastic from the festival have?
By stopping the sale of single use plastics we’ll stop 225,000 plastic bottles from ending up in landfill.
Each year, visitors leave behind tonnes of gear across the campsites. What effect does this have on not only the festival but the local environment?
Firstly, we run a major clean up operation to protect the environment and the money we spend on the clear up could be re-invested in better environmental initiatives to help us all to lower our impact even more! Tents are made up of lots of different materials and recycling and incineration facilities reject the waste as it can break the machinery, so it ends up in landfill.
What can visitors do to be as eco-friendly as possible during Boomtown?
By far the biggest problem that we face in terms of environmental issues is the sheer volume of campsite waste that’s left behind and discarded, from tents, chairs, airbeds to left over food packaging. Leaving your tent is not a charitable move. They are multi material and can’t be recycled, and by the end of the festival most cheap tents are not reusable and only a very small percentage are able to be salvaged and put to good use. If our visitors cut back on what they bring, prioritise reusable items and use the recycling facilities and bins provided and took all of their belongings home with them, that would make a significant difference. They can travel greener and make a difference before they even enter gates by choosing to arrive by public transport, or lift share.
Are there any incentives this year for visitors to get involved in?
Yes! This year if you book your public transport for Wednesday arrival then you don’t have to pay for the add on! You can also book your transport (coach, train & shuttle, cycle ride) alongside a Public Transport Saver ticket which is cheaper than a standard entry ticket. Once again we will have our EcoBond, where we’ll add £10 on top of each festival ticket, which is then refunded when people drop off a bag of recycling.
If you could ask visitors to do one thing this year to be more eco-friendly, what would it be?
Please don’t bring more than you need and take your tent home!
A huge thank you to Emily for taking the time to speak with us about this years Festival and the eco efforts they’re undertaking for CH11. You can keep up to date on the Green Mission over on the official Boomtown Blog. Boomtown CH11 runs from 7-11 August. Tickets available on the official website.