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Boomtown Fair’s sustainability plan that hopes to transform the ‘Radical City’

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Despite releasing a huge line up of highly sought- after artists last week for Boomtown Fair Chapter 11, it’s not only the acts performing that are contributing to the ‘Radical City’.

“We simply don’t want to put on an event that damages or puts the future of the planet in further jeopardy,” Boomtown Fair’s Sustainability Co-ordinator, Emily Ford, tells us following last year’s closing ceremony that heavily focussed on the environment and the future of Boomtown’s next chapter.

Approaching its eleventh year, the festival is aware that as it grows in size, it’s impact on the environment has grown with it. However, the organisers’ awareness has also grown, meaning that they are radically overhauling their approach to reduce the carbon footprint and waste streams.

Photo Credit: Leora Bermeister

Implementing even more initiatives on the ground this year to help the festivalgoers do their bit for the environment, Emily says they are continually looking for new ideas, “whether that’s by providing a comprehensive public transport offering, creating a number of pre-pitched camping options to reduce the need to bring and leave tents, and providing people with solutions for managing and reducing their own waste on the ground.”

“We need to educate ourselves as organisers, our crew and all those in attendance to make small but significant lifestyle changes so that together we can protect our world,” she continued.

Looking back to last year’s closing ceremony, AMI referred to the thousands of tents that are left over every year that end up in landfill. Weaving the message throughout the storyline, Emily explains that the festival is doing their best to educate people on the importance of taking their stuff home. “We have alternative pre-pitched camping options in place and info on how to reduce and reuse, initiatives on the ground to ensure as much as possible is recycled. Plus, we’ve got a few more major initiatives in the pipeline that we’ll be able to announce in the next couple of months.”

Photo Credit: Derek Bremner

Tents are made up of multi materials, can’t be recycled and often they are poor quality. When Boomtown crews make their way through the tent graveyard days after the festival is over, they try their best to salvage what they can, but last year only 2% were in fit state to be donated to charity.

“It would be better for everyone if only good quality, durable tents were manufactured,” Emily begins, “we can ban straws, water bottles etc but the amount of plastic waste that goes into creating a cheap two person tent is by far more damaging when left for landfill on the industrial levels festivals can experience; one of our biggest challenges is to debunk the myth that leaving your tent is a charitable move.”

With protecting our world and the environment being on the top of the agenda for this year’s Boomtown Fair, Emily teases that “this will be supported across the city’s themed districts, venues, performers and in the storyline, but you’ll need to wait to see how that looks on the ground!”

Photo Credit: Leora Bermeister_

With a lot of chatter on social media about Boomtown Fair potentially going meat free this year too, Emily explains it in more detail: “It’s a controversial subject with some strong views on either side and nothing is confirmed as yet… We do already prioritise vegetarian and vegan, local and seasonal traders but we’re still doing the research and looking into all the different knock on effects of going completely meat free. All we know is that we really do need to do something really big and make a statement about how much we all need to do our bit to reduce the impact of humans on this planet!”

Working on more ways to recycle this year, the Eco Bond scheme will also be back for 2019 with hopes to make it easier for everyone to recycle their campsite waste. The festival also hope that they can increase people travelling by public transport from 35% last year to 40% this year. To make this achievable, “we’ve loads of options in place to make this happen,” Emily says, “such as coach, train and bike; those who choose to travel green have a cheaper Public Transport Saver Entry Ticket, which includes free Wednesday entry.”

Photo Credit: Jody Hartley

But why do Boomtown Fair care so much about the environment? “We want to use the reach of our platforms to hopefully inspire some positive change, both for everyone at the festival, but also to take home into their everyday lives and make the changes that we all need to,” Emily tells us.

“It’s our responsibility to act now and make significant changes. Sustainability already feels like an outdated word, as society is at levels that are no longer sustainable. We still have time to make the changes needed but we, as a society, really do need to make radical change. Because of this, we have put the imminent environmental crisis at the front of all our messaging and embedding it into the centre of our event planning and infrastructure, and that’s where it will stay!”

Get tickets to Boomtown Fair Chapter 11: The Radical City here

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