Hands up who loves a good festival? Me too! They’ve been a summer highlight almost every year since I was 18, although I’ve definitely learnt the hard way when it comes to enjoying them. From throwing a tantrum over carrying a suitcase through a field (what was I thinking?!), to coming away with a serious kidney infection… I’m certainly a pro when it comes to knowing how not to do festivals.
In order to learn from my mistakes, I thought I would throw together this festival guide. I’m going to take you throw my top picks of eco-friendly festivals to attend this year, and also how to party hard without hurting yourself – or the environment!
Choose Your Festival Wisely
If you’re eco-inclined, there’s certain festivals that will make you smile at their efforts to be green, and others that will make you cry at the carnage they cause.
My top pick this year is Timber Festival, a new festival held by The National Forest to celebrate their “forest in the making”, called Feanedock. Feanedock is 6.5 hectares of new woodland which will be home to the festival, and play host to bands such as This Is The Kit, Jane Weaver, H. Hawkline, Hope & Social and more. In its first year, the organisers are paying special attention to how sustainable they can be, providing tap water, links to local food suppliers, green electricity and more. I can’t wait to go!
My other personal recommendations are Green Man, which I attended last year and multiple years prior. As a bit of a veteran, I can tell you they have sustainability at heart, using music, art, and wellbeing activities to promote a respect for the environment. They only sell drinks in reusable cups, and the festival is both family-friendly and the perfect rave-fest… You can tailor the busy programme to whatever you want!
If neither of these tickle your fancy, why not check out A Greener Festival’s Award Winners? The organisation encourages festivals to adopt environmentally efficient practices, and also ranks them in terms of their eco credentials!
As I retold in my guide to packing light, since my suitcase debacle, I’ve become a minimalist traveler. Give me a rucksack with the bare essentials and I’m good to go! The same can be said for festivals: you really don’t need to bring as much as you think you do. Forget the flower crowns and glittery makeup – you’ll be able to find these at the festival itself.
Other than my usual advice, I would say a shampoo bar is a must-have, along with a razor and good natural moisturiser that you can use on your face and body. It makes showering easy, and also keeps your skin and hair in check.
If you’re due to get your period at the time of the festival, using a MoonCup can be slightly difficult. Portaloos usually have hand gel dispensers rather than running water, so I’d recommend swapping to disposable organic cotton period products for the few days you’re away.
It’s extra important to bring all your eco provisions with you to festivals too. I couldn’t live without my Fjallraven Kanken Backpack, in which I carry my water bottle, KeepCup, utensils, and food box at all times.
I would also suggest bringing some store cupboard foods, unless you’re a millionaire and can afford to eat out for every meal. Simple things like rice cakes, energy bars, apples, etc. will keep you going and can be stored in your tent.
With all the communal facilities on offer, sharing is caring! Everyone is in the same boat, and it’s a great opportunity to strike up a conversation, potentially make some festival buddies, and enjoy yourself even more. I’ve met some brilliant people while queueing for food, sitting round a campfire, or even standing in the rain waiting for my favourite band to play!
Talking of campfires, it’s important to note that most festivals don’t allow you to start your own fire. They will provide campfires or barbecues for you to use instead – and some will even have vegetarian/vegan specific ones too.
However, if you’re thinking of going to a family-friendly festival, I would recommend trying to share with people in a similar situation as you… Having camped in the wrong field before, I’ve been woken up by loud children (and even louder parents) at the crack of dawn, and similarly had to creep through the field late at night when everyone else is asleep.
Before You Go…
Please, please, please make sure to leave with everything you brought with you. If you want to donate your tent or other useful items, there’s usually a stall to leave them with. If not, bins are usually divvied into rubbish and recycling. There’s just no excuse for festival-goers who leave their tents and stuff scattered around a field. Quite frankly, you don’t deserve to attend a festival if you do this. On the flip-side, I’ve met festival workers who love claiming these peoples’ cameras, phones, and valuables as their own… Karma does work in mysterious ways!
Photo credit: Martin Robles