I’ve just got back from an eventful and very special Glastonbury Music Festival.
The reason I say ‘eventful’ is because I split my shin open on a piece of sharp scaffolding on the Friday and had to have 5 stitches and a Tetanus jab. I say ‘special’ because I witnessed Florence Welch sing a secret session at NYC Downlow surrounded by drag-queens, on Sunday I heard the Dalai Lama’s speech at the Stone Circle, and then I heard Justin Vernon from Bon Iver sing with The Staves. Cloud nine.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been to Glastonbury, I went when I was 8 years old. Mum took Alice and I along when our aunty Felicity (great name) was at the festival with Eco-Trip. I remember very little… but I do remember seeing Blondie, the helter-skelter in the children’s zone, and cycling until 1am on the electricity-generating bicycles in the Eco-Trip tent.
So my first experience of Glasto was as a wee eco-warrior. This year, as I’m now earning my own money, I thought I’d treat myself and go as a regular punter — rather than with Oxfam, Greenpeace or WaterAid as I have done in the past.
I was really impressed by the greenness of Glasto, especially compared to other UK music festivals – an aspect I wouldn’t have remembered from when I was 8 years old. Obviously any event that’s going to involve over 170,000 people is going to generate a lot of waste, but Glasto is committed to minimising this waste and recycling like mad. In 2014, half of all waste generated by the Festival was recycled, and they’re hoping that they reached 60% this year. All the plates, cups, cutlery, and straws need to be bio-degradable, not merely recyclable. There were clean-ups daily (usually in the mornings) to ensure the festival grounds didn’t become engulfed in waste. Solar panels are used extensively throughout the festival to power various stages, such as the Theatre & Circus and Shangri-La areas.
1,500 square metres of solar panels sit on top of the cattle shed that is home to the 350 Worthy Farm cows. On a clear, sunny day, the panels generate around 250kW of power – around the same amount of power used annually by 40 homes. Any power that isn’t used on the farm is exported to the National Grid.
Read Glastonbury’s Green Policies for more information.
Many brands set up stalls at Glasto selling recycled and eco-friendly products, such as Festival Reboot, who make bracelets, notebooks and even waterproof beanbags out of leftover festival wellies. Last year, they collected over 15,000 wellies from the Glastonbury grounds.
The Eavis’ also encourage punters not to shower for the duration of the festival to save on water usage. I was planning on not showering anyway, but this gave me a legit excuse to get proper gross.
Unfortunately, the “Leave No Trace” tag line seems not to resonate with all its guests… as we found at Penard Hill campsite, where huge piles of broken (and perfectly functional) tents and chairs were left, along with obscene amounts of rubbish; a depressingly wasteful dumping phenomenon which has undoubtedly gotten worse over the past decade as we have descended into a more and more disposable society. It’s clear that there is still a lot that can be done to make Glastonbury the green music machine that it strives to be. But the issue lies in the enormity of its capacity and the fact that it’s exceptionally hard to regulate the environmental mindset of its campers.
So, it’s been a week since I got back from Glastonbury and I’m still finding myself day-dreaming about it at the office. I’d never have normally been so pleased with an injury that will leave me with a big ass scar, but this one is always going to remind me of an incredible five days so I kinda like it. I’m still going to try and claim a free ticket for next year as compensation 😉
Here are some snaps from the festival: