Festival Republic, the owner of major festivals such as Leeds, Reading and Download, has offered support to environmentalist group, Extinction Rebellion (XR).
XR, the self-described “do-it-together movement”, partakes in demonstrations, marches, protests and other “non-violent civil disobedience” tactics to raise awareness for climate change. It has recently orchestrated protests in five major UK cities – Cardiff, London, Leeds, Bristol and Glasgow.
Naturally, large-scale events such as music festivals gain a bad reputation in regard to this subject. They often demonstrate expendable culture at its peak when fans leave litter, mess and abandon their tents that are then destined for land-fill.
However, an increasing number of festivals are now attempting to improve their sustainability, with many banning single-use plastic and being more conscious of their carbon footprint.
Festival Republic director, Melvin Benn, praised XR’s “incredible” actions stating that everyone should be active in regard to sustainability.
“I think it is incredible the way XR has put sustainability back on everyone’s agenda,” he said. “It has been on our agenda from around 2008 and since 2009 we have been measuring our carbon footprint.”
The Festival Republic’s sustainability policy 2018 states: “Festival Republic endeavours to deliver festivals and events with the least amount of environmental impact as possible.”
The policy continues to say that event organisers are proactive in key areas such as waste, water, energy, transport and purchasing, in order to improve their environmental footprint.
“We’ve encountered highs and lows when people have been interested in sustainability and when people have been interested in what is our planet,” Benn continued. “It is a mood XR has captured and put it to the forefront – some might like their methods, and others might not. The reality is that they’ve got it back on the agenda in this country and I thank them for that.”
Victoria Chapman, Festival Republic’s sustainability coordinator, commented on XR’s “amazing” work: “XR has done an amazing job so far in terms of really raising awareness of environmental issues at a policy level.
“We are encouraging all our staff to bring a reusable bottle; we’re not providing any kind of single-use plastic water bottles for staff. The same for artists; we are providing plant-based water bottles, made 100% from plants.”
Chapman said the company is focusing its energy on eliminating plastic bottles this year, having already eliminated plastic cutlery and serve-wear.
Examples of other festivals committing to ban plastic from their sites include Glastonbury, Bestival, Shambala and Boardmasters.