Since Woodstock, the music festival has evolved into a
hedonistic rite of passage in which young adults–many wishing they’d come of
age in the ’60s–revel in sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll for a long weekend. Then
they tuck their dusty sandals into cars and motor away, leaving behind
overflowing port-a-potties and fields of trampled plastic cups. Not exactly the
careful environmental stewardship one might expect of people hoping to live on
this planet for most of the coming century.
But we can’t blame neo-hippies for the whole mess. It’s the
people who plan (and profit from) festivals that have the power to initiate
earth-friendly practices full-scale. And as Sami Grover reports for Treehugger (May 6, 2013), a few of them are doing just that.
Shambala Festival–probably the leader in the green-festival arena–is almost
entirely powered by renewable energy. In addition, it closes the loop on the
nutrient cycle with composting outhouses. Way Out West in Sweden has
nixed meat vending in an effort to keep its ecological footprint low. In Barcelona, Summercase
asks festival-goers to put a deposit down on a reusable cup, returnable for
recycling at the party’s end. And at Virginia’s
FloydFest, drinks are served in stainless steel pint glasses, which can be
purchased for $6 and reused at the festival for years to come.
Some efforts even reach beyond the festival grounds.
Coachella offers a ride-sharing board for would-be carpoolers, while Bonnaroo
schools its captive audience on issues from the global water crisis to the
benefits of gardening.
Most of these venues still have a long way to go, but
they’ve certainly demonstrated a willingness to change. With more urging from
concert-goers, the average music festival could become a place that would do
the hippies of Woodstock