A four-day, low impact festival based in the Welsh Borders, The Green Gathering is the original off-grid festival. Existing in various incarnations since the early 1980s, it brings together a community of 5000 people every year for a weekend entirely powered by wind, sun and people.
Sustainability is written into the DNA of this community and event; for over a decade The Green Gathering has been showcasing green technologies, providing a networking hub for environmental activists, giving families their first taste of a greener lifestyle and demonstrating that festivals can be peaceful, sustainable and educational.
As electrical needs on site are met entirely by solar panels, wind turbines and pedal-power, travel ends up accounting for 98% of the festival’s entire emissions, and remains the festival’s final challenge to reducing its impact.
As a response, in 2019 The Green Traveller Guide was launched. The Green Gathering believes this final hurdle will be leaped through collaboration – organisers need to put in place initiatives, which inform individuals and empower them to make the best travel choices. All ticket buyers are emailed this guide before attending.
The guide does three things to help festival-goers change the ways they travel:
- Informs about emissions generated through different methods of transport
- Instructs how to get to the festival through alternate ways to driving, and explains in detail how to pack light to make this easier
- Incentivises festival-goers who choose to come by foot, bike or public transport; rewards include a free express shuttle bus from train station to site, free programmes and free equipment as part of Camplight tent hire packages.
Alongside this guide, The Green Gathering has also put in place a number of schemes to help reduce travel emissions by crew, artists and other contributors: only essential vehicles are allowed on site and their movements are limited; there is a limit to the number of free crew and artist vehicle passes available; a no idling policy is in place; and medical teams use bikes for non-emergency callouts.
Finally, for those who have no choice but to drive, The Green Gathering teams up with ecolibrium to offer the chance to balance travel emissions through donations, 100% of which are invested in projects that generate clean renewable energy.
So far success has been seen through a small reduction in car passes and Crew/Artist vehicle use dropping from above 50% to below. We’re going one step further this year by teaming up with Tuned in Travel to offer dedicated festival coaches from key towns and cities (and emissions from these coaches will be balanced through ecolibrium too) to encourage even more people to leave their vehicles at home.
Find out more about The Green Gathering’s green ethos here.
Photo credit: Stefan Handy for The Green Gathering