Inspiring eco-friendly changes gain focus at Glastonbury 2019 

Will this year’s Glastonbury be remembered for its efforts to cut its carbon footprint?

A reveller arrives for Glastonbury Festival at Worthy farm in Somerset, Britain June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

By Clare Cavanagh | Jul 24, 2019

This year, there was much enthusiasm for the Glastonbury’s philosophy: ‘Love the Farm, leave no trace’. The organisers aimed to be entirely ‘eco-friendly’ this year; in a statement published on their website Glastonbury said that they “are committed to reducing greenhouse emissions and using clean energy sources whenever possible”.

A reveller arrives for Glastonbury Festival at Worthy farm in Somerset, Britain June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

This biennial event is officially established as the largest music and cultural festival in the world.

Glastonbury takes place at Worthy Farm in Somerset, hosted by organizer Emily Eavis and her father Michael Eavis who co-founded the festival in 1970. Fans from the around the world arrived on June 26th to enjoy the musical entertainment on offer but, as music festivals continue to extensively grow year on year, they come with a climate cost.

Somerset, Britain June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

In previous years at Glastonbury, half a million bags of rubbish and 1,000 tonnes of recycling have been left behind by revellers on the site so there was much hope for big changes for the land this year. Emily Eavis and her team remain hugely passionate about making a difference in environmental issues.

“I think people are really starting to understand how important it is to treat the land with respect, and to stop living a disposable lifestyle,” says Eavis.

This year, with approximately 200,000 people on site each day, green travel was encouraged, and sustainable electricity was supplied by the 1,500 solar panels which had been installed so that areas such as The Green Fields run entirely on sun and wind power.

Workers are seen clearing detritus left on the ground following Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, Britain July 1, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

After the organizers were fined in 2015 for polluting the local river and killing 40 fish, confident plans to take action were promised. The sale of single-use plastic bottles has been banned and instead purpose-built water reservoirs on Worthy Farm provided 850 water tanks and water kiosks for thirsty audiences across the 900 acres of the site.

This year, Glastonbury struck a partnership with the Young Greens (the youth branch of the green-focused UK political party, the Green Party) to develop a Sustainable Villages Project.

Worthy farm in Somerset, Britain June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Sir David Attenborough took to the Pyramid Stage on the final day to praise and thank festival goers for respecting the ‘plastic-free’ credo. Despite the media photos showing that there was still much waste left in the clean-up aftermath, this year’s theme ‘Climate Change and Environment’ has proven as a solid start to follow. Glastonbury’s team philosophy will no doubt provide a strong platform inspiring organisers of similar summer events to take note and make some important changes in the coming years.