What could be better than a group of like-minded individuals gathering together in the middle of bucolic fields to dance and sing with their favorite musicians for the weekend? In theory, music festivals should be an idyllic celebration of nature, song, and camaraderie. In reality, the environmental impact of festivals is quite sobering.
Rolling Stone reported that in 2015, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, with around 90,000 attendees in southeast Tennessee, generated more than 979 tons of waste in just four days. Breaking it down per person, that's around twice the amount an average U.S. consumer uses in one day. The biggest culprits at fests? Single-use plastic: think water bottles, beer cups, wrappers, plates, and utensils.
If you want to take a hard look at each festival's impact and what green initiatives they are taking on, the Sustainable Concerts Working Group suggests keeping these five factors top of mind:
Encouraging or offering mass transit/carpool/bikes to get there (anything but a private car or jet)
Reducing landfill waste (looking at you, single-use plastics!)
Sourcing local, sustainable food
Reducing emissions through renewable energy sources
Communicating progress and initiatives through key stakeholders
Read on to see what these five festivals are doing to reduce their carbon footprint, one beer cup at a time.