Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The Glade Festival - a free (ish) state, but quite a green one....

Phew - recent events over, I thought I'd tell you about my weekend at The Glade festival.

I didn't take a camera (mine's quite cumbersome, and you know the rule: if you can't fit it in your pocket, don't take it to a festival) and the organisers haven't posted any shots on their website yet for me to nick, but I thought a picture of a bottle of water would illustrate this piece as well as anything.

And not just because I drank lots (although I did, in between Underworld, Squarepusher, about a thousand unidentified DJs - and of course Notting Hill's Channel One Sound System) - but because the water on sale, belu, was something of a metaphor for the way festivals should be done in the 21st century: Pride organisers take note!

Everyone was friendly (and a bit wasted) - but Glade organisers (who outgrew their tent at Glastonbury and span-off to form a dedicated electronic music festival some five years ago) were determined to make this year's event as 'green' and sustainable as possible, without banging on about it. (They just let the techno do the banging on).

Firstly, they encouraged car sharing by offering free site parking for any car carrying three or more festival goers, then they adopted a local-food policy for stallholders - to ensure local farmers benefited from the invasion), then they insisted on compostable cutlery and glasses and recyclable plates and cups.

All the waste was sorted out (by hand, nice!) on site before being driven away for recycling or composting.

And all this without a song and dance! It was the water that did it for me though: 10,000 thirsty ravers buying clean water for a week for someone in Africa every time they took a swig: all water (officially) sold on site gave all of its profits to development and water projects, and it came in a compostable corn-starch bottle too!

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