This week’s gig is a little bit different and it’s fairly possible you’ve never heard of the star of the show, Melvin Benn. He’s not a regular centrefold in Kerrang and he’s certainly not in the midst of an arena tour right now but he is actually one of the biggest names in the music industry and he is currently on a bit of a mission. As Managing Director of Festival Republic Melvin is the man behind Leeds, Latitude and many more of our favourite events and this week he’s been in town to talk about how we can turn our festivals green.
It’s ironic really that festivals are all about camping in all weathers, freedom, music, a kind of getting back to our primal roots but what we leave behind us at the end is a mountain of modern day rubbish, from plastic bottles to welies and even entire tents. And beyond our own personal spaces there’s all the transport, the power, technology, sanitation and other infrastructure that’s required to keep the whole machine running.
But led by Melvin the team at Festival Republic have made a clear commitment to reducing environmental impact and improving the sustainability of our festivals. Last year Lattitude and Reading were awarded a three star Green rating which recognises the inroads they’ve been making to seriously reduce emissions, energy consumption and waste and it was inspiring to hear some of the innovation and creativity that’s going into that effort. Working alongside Julie’s Bicycle, the not for profit organisation which administers the Green rating, Festival Republic have introduced Facebook based car-sharing pools, biodiesel fuel, recycling facilities with a whole raft of comms around them and salvage teams running clean-ups that effectively sort out what needs to be re-used, recycled or responsibly disposed of.
So while we’re a way off festival season it’s good to know there’s a strong green agenda working alongside all the commercial aspects of the shows. Bearing in mind all the rain we’ve been soaking up over the last few months there’s one aspect of the environmental that won’t be improving….maybe trade the wellies for waders this year….