Environmentally Friendly Music Festivals

Music festivals are massive events that take a ton of resources to put on. Although the music is often incredible, environmentally conscious concertgoers often struggle with the large amount of waste created by these behemoth traveling events. Incredible energy usage, mountains of garbage, and decimated public grounds are often left in the wake of a large music festival. But not all events are built the same. Many music festivals pride themselves on their eco-friendliness, and do a great deal of work to limit their waste and promote green causes. Here are some of the best environmentally friendly music festivals in the world.

The Rothbury Festival in Michigan is one great example of using popularity for a good cause. It has won two awards from Greener Festival since its inception in 2008, while attracting popular acts such as John Mayer and Dave Matthews Band. With four days and seventy bands, there’s a ton for the festival programmers to manage, but they still find time to create conversations about sustainability with their audiences. They run a Think Tank, inviting artists and scientists to discuss future green initiatives in between the musical acts.

The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival has been held outside of Manchester, Tennessee each June for the last decade. The eclectic fest has featured artists as diverse as Nine Inch Nails and Kanye West, as well as hot acts in jazz, gospel and world music. The location alone inspires environmental conversations, as it’s held on a seven hundred acre farm. They also offer local food options for their visitors, as well as art created by passionate artisans from all across the world.

The Glastonbury Festival in the UK is one of the largest in the world. And they have done a tremendous amount of work to make sure they leave nothing but footprints behind. Each year they bring in 1,000 volunteers to keep the venue grounds clean, and incorporate the highest levels of recycling with any generated waste. After the festival’s conclusion, a separate team comes in to manage any leftover garbage, assuring the festival can fulfill its “leave no trace” environmental policy.

Another great environmentally friendly fest is Coachella, held in the desert town of Indio, California. Coachella is fairly young, and not quite as large as some of the other festivals featured here, but has still made a significant mark. Any products they bring into the festival are centered on recycling and sustainability. They are even considering bringing in garbage cans that recycle. But until that day, the fest focuses in on alternative energy sources, featuring cell phone chargers that work by pedaling a bicycle, and DJ booths with solar panels.

Finally, eco-conscious music lovers should check out the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado. Not far from the gorgeous Red Rocks amphitheater, Telluride focuses in on camping as the primary option for its fans. But once those fans are in place, they are not allowed to drive into the host town. That keeps all the waste centrally located and easy to clean up, as well as minimizing fossil fuels in the picturesque Colorado atmosphere.

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