Glastonbury Festival 2008, ‘Love the Farm, leave no trace’ that’s what this year’s slogan said. The organisers even developed some biodegradable tent pegs to stop those lovely dairy cows cutting up their feet and mouths.
So how were the festival’s green credentials? Well a damn site better than any other festival in the UK I have no doubt about that, but the tent pegs were rubbish. The weather was good and the firm ground, snapped a third mine. It’s the design, not the materials.
Glastonbury always is an eclectic mix of green knowledge, music and madness. This year was no exception. My forth time, it was my best year yet.
But all was not perfect in this land, that suffered from archipelago syndrome during the sea level rise in the 7th millennium BC.
The sun kept the Solar Panels gushing with clean energy, but on the first day of the festival. I was disappointed to see the lightbulb bunting around the camp site still on in the daytime. Maybe it was powered by biodiesel.
This year a number of Green Gadget stalls were present selling solar panels etc.
The queues at the Vegetarian food stands seemed slightly longer this year but maybe that was wishful thinking.
Last year there were signs everywhere to tell people not to p*ss in the streams, this year there were less. It may be a coincidence but there were a lot more people relieving themselves that way this year, and even more people not taking them to task about it. I guess the number of dead fish, and reduced water oxygen will eventually give the real picture.
There was also a lot less rubbish around the site this year than the last sunny year I saw. I never saw a paper cup bonfire this year, but I heard they went on. Overall it was disheartening to still see so many ignorant people. Sure someone will be around at the end, to pick it up, but does that make it ok? Recycling bins were everywhere though and recycling bags seemed to magically appear outside my tent.
Trash City, a Mad Max-esque, re-incarnation of various metal remains, showcased a darker side to recycling. Surrounded by fire breathing, metal towers, fashioned into dark structures, the Bar’s exterior announced ‘ Abandon all hope we have!’. Tucked inside a corner of Trash City, the Rubbish Fairy demonstrated a twisted, but fun side to recycling through her art.
The Green Fields showcased an eco-home, a greenhouse made of recycled bottles, a giant felled redwood made into a banquet table and chairs and numerous stalls including campaigns for the people of Tibet, skilled craftsmen and women, and various connotations of climate campaigns.
Up in the Tipi Field, you got the good appreciation for nomadic living, and the sheer happiness of people living a basic but fulfilling life. The showers and saunas nearby were powered by renewable energy (fire and solar).
WaterAid initially inspired me to raise funds for them at Glastonbury with their (slightly more pleasant) toilet experience. This year they were back again with their African Style Pit Latrines.
Was the festival Green? You bet it was.
Could it do better? It always does, I can’t wait until Glastonbury 2009.