Boomtown Fair is set over four days in August, at the Matterley Estate in Hampshire. The first Boomtown took place in 2009 and it now attracts over 64,000 festival-goers annually.
The team at Boomtown have a strong commitment to running the event sustainably. In 2016 they took the Festival Vision:2025 pledge to act on climate change, alongside 75 other UK festivals, pledging to cut the CO2 footprint of the event by 50% by 2025 and targeting areas such as fuel use, waste, food and transport. With audience travel accounting for up to 80% of the average festival’s carbon footprint, it is clearly a key area to focus on.
Boomtown’s recognition of the need to tackle audience travel led them to collaborate with the teams behind Kendal Calling, Bluedot, Shambala and Secret Garden Festival to set up ecolibrium in 2015. The charity works with festivals and their audiences, suppliers and artists to calculate the CO2 emissions from travel to events, reduce it where possible and balance unavoidable emissions with investment in projects that create renewable energy.
Realising that reducing travel related emissions is the first step, Boomtown have a number of initiatives in place to engage their audience suppliers and artists in travelling sustainably. They work with dedicated coach companies and promote discounted ‘Public Transport Saver’ tickets to their audience which include coach and shuttle bus travel and the option to arrive at the event a day early at no extra cost. In fact, everyone who travelled by coach, train, bike or shared their car (3+) is invited to arrive a day early! In 2018 they worked with Red Fox cycling to offer a guided 2-day cycle experience from Bristol to Boomtown and in 2019 they are extending their ‘Boomtown Bike Ride’ by offering a London – Boomtown route.
By incentivising sustainable travel in 2018 they encouraged 35% of the audience arrived by coach or train. In 2018 Boomtown gave £1 from every audience car-parking pass to ecolibrium to invest in renewable energy to help balance CO2 emissions.
To benchmark travel data, identify new areas to tackle and to help qualify the success of their car-sharing incentive, Boomtown worked with Face Your Elephant to carry out a car park survey. Over two thousand vehicles were surveyed, counting the number of people, the number of vehicles and the fuel type from Wednesday – Sunday. The results showed that Boomtown effectively managed to gain above average car occupancy on Wednesdays proving the early day entry initiative was successful.
Find out more about Boomtown’ environmental mission here.
Photo credit: Scott Salt for Boomtown Fair