Last weekend I experienced what was for me the greenest music festival so far. And not only because at Rock-A-Field in Luxembourg you actually get to rock a lush green field surrounded by dense forest. The organisers of RAF also set an example of how to lower the environmental impact of 18,000-plus festival goers and 15 bands (amongst which Arcade Fire and the Arctic Monkeys) without sacrificing the experience. You could see plenty of cup recyclers (image below) around the site; the reason: 20 items got you a free soft drink!Waste not want not
All Sinalco soft-drinks were served in reusable bottles, which, together with the glass bottles, were collected by the supplier to reuse after the festival. The PET water bottles are being recycled. Food was served in biodegradable containers and the local fries came with a tiny wooden fork. All of these actions resulted in a 75% drop of unrecycled/unreused waste compared to the very first edition of RAF, back in 2006.
Recyclers at RAF. Photo Credit: Christian Berndt / Sandra Schmitz
Show me your ticket
RAF is really in the middle of nowhere so it is no nuisance to anyone. And the best thing is that your entrance ticket for the festival also serves as a transportation voucher for public transport around the country to get you there. I was a bit nervous showing the festival ticket to the inspector on the train but he happily declared it as valid. RAF made it very clear that all the roads around the site were closed off and you could only access by bicycle or with the shuttle bus.
No silly gadgets
Usually at a festival, you can see rather hideous promotional gifts being handed out and lying around trashed a few hours later. These are usually cheap things, done in a very unethical and un-ecofriendly way that in the end just create landfill. That's why I was positively surprised to read that, in order to reduce unnecessary waste on site, RAF instructed their partners and sponsors not to distribute any gadgets or goodies. I only spotted a few green-coloured beer t-shirts and straw hats but due to the extreme sun that day I guess they came in handy for protection.
Eat & drink locally
More than 75% of the food and drinks on offer at RAF were being supplied locally. "Besides sustaining the local economy", RAF organiser explains, "this policy is considerably limiting the carbon footprint of goods transportation".
100% good energy
The onsite electricity is part of the public electricity network, which is powered by the electricity company eida.green whose energy is 75% from wind energy, 12.5% from biomass and 12.5% from hydropower.
So the brilliant Arcade Fire gig aside, I believe this festival sets an example of what can be done to lower the ecological footprint of big events with good will, simple steps and logic. And maybe next year, we get to get reusable festival cups at RAF and a zero waste policy...