Festival fun without the planet overload

As a nation we are renowned for our fantastically varied festival culture. Catering to every taste and interest, from world-famous music festivals like Glastonbury and Reading to cultural celebrations like Edinburgh Festival Fringe, our festival scene is as diverse as it is dynamic.

Families can get their kids vibing at Camp Bestival, or jousting at the Chalke Valley Festival. With nearly 1000 to choose from across the UK and 6.5 million people letting their hair down, it’s big business. Festivals and concerts combined attracted over 37 million in 2022.

The end of June marks the biggest festival of them all – Glastonbury. Worthy Farm comes alive for five days with headliners always making a splash…more so if it rains! This year is no exception with Shania Twain headlining the coveted teatime slot.

Festivals offer something weird and wonderful hidden amongst the stages, a chance to escape for a while; you don’t have to hit the biggest ones to have a great experience because many are set against the backdrop of stunning landscapes and historic venues.

But there is a cost

According to Business Waste  our UK music festivals produce waste that is the equivalent to the weight of 250 blue whales. And, sadly they estimate that 68% of waste created at UK festivals ends up in landfill, even though much of it could be recycled. That’s why it’s important that revelers seek out more second hand to help reduce the overall impact.

Getting festival fit without the planet overload

There is not much space to pack what you need and you usually have to carry it all in, so to make sure you have an enjoyable experience. Here are some top tips:

 Your base camp

Choose a sturdy, waterproof tent that can sleep the number of people in your group. But you DO NOT need to buy this new. There are loads on offer at Rumage.com. Many festival goers leave their tents behind because they think they will be donated to charities. Sadly, however 90% of left behind tents end up in landfill each year. To get the best night you can bring sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and pillows, or even an inflatable hammock!!!

 What to wear

The boring bit…..Pack weather-appropriate clothing, it’s all about the layers for varying temperatures, rain gear, hats, and sunglasses. Don’t forget extra socks in case the mud shows up. Comfy shoes or boots for exploring all the opportunities for fun, and flip-flops for showering – if you are lucky enough to be able to!

But don’t BE BORING, the festival vibe is not to look like everyone else. Grab some glitter, tie dye or rhinestones on Rumage.

Fuelling up

Things like granola bars, nuts, canned goods, and fruits keep you energised. Along with plenty of refillable water containers, keep hydrated or you will fall in a heap.

If you are allowed a portable stove or grill along with cooking utensils and a cooler helps you manage cost and hunger. Again, you DO NOT need to buy any of this new Rumage has loads on offer as a fraction of the price of new and you are doing your bit to keep the circular economy going.

 The basics to keep you fresh

Toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable soap, hand sanitizer, are all good and wet wipes are a must, but be green and get biodegradable ones. Don’t forget sunscreen and insect repellent. Basic first aid is a good idea from bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, allergy medication.

Light the way

Finding your tent at the end of the long night is always fun. Make your own flag and take torches or headlamps. Lots of pre-loved ones can be found with a quick search on Rumage to keep the impact and cost low. 

What else have you forgotten?

Keep your devices charged with a portable charger or power bank.  Have a mix of cash and cards for purchasing food, drinks, and goodies at the festival. Keep a list of emergency contacts and important phone numbers just in case. Keep them with your ID, tickets, permits etc in a waterproof pouch. Finally, help keep the campsite clean by packing trash bags to help with the clean up.

Some inspo for which festivals to try

Gottwood – June 13-16 – Carreglwyd Estate, Anglesey

Taking place in the North Wales forest, Gottwood is a celebration of underground electronic music. It takes place over four days and has plenty of acts on offer. Mix that with breathtaking views and super stages.

Isle of Wight – June 20-23 – Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight

50,000 revelers head to the island each year for a weekend of music and fun. This is another date to plan in well before the summer with world-class acts and family-friendly vibes – leave  the daily drudgery behind and join like minded folk to have some island fun.

Also Festival – July 12-14  Park Farm, Compton Verney, Warwickshire

An alternative celebration of music, comedy, and more returns . It’s been running for eleven years now and offers a host of new speakers, performers and experiences. Its theme this year is Heavenly Bodies, so you can expect an immersive experience that brings the celestial magic. 

Gone Wild Festival, 8th – 11th August, Holkham Hall, Norfolk

With the goal of getting families spending time together in the outdoors, set in the stunning scenery of Holkham Hall, there’s a reason Gone Wild is the UK’s fastest growing family festival. You can learn how to light fires, go climbing, throw your mum down a 50-foot mudslide, then party together while watching great bands! 

Beautiful days – 16th -18th August, Escot Park, Devon 

Beautiful Days is the Levellers’ family music festival organised by DMF Music.  Since its inception in 2003 it is still proudly independent, having no sponsorship or funding. Last year it celebrated its 20th Anniversary. At 17,500 capacity it’s a small but beautiful experience!

Packing the essentials and being well-prepared will ensure that you enjoy your festival camping experience to the fullest while staying safe and comfortable AND if you search for preloved finds you will be doing your bit to make the festival scene more planet friendly. 

Photos: Annie Spratt – Unsplash, Brett Sayles – Pexels, Clem Onojeghuo – Pexels, Rosemary Ketchum

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